My first tunnel model
was made from TUNA and CAT FOOD cans! I scoured the neighbor's rubbish,
on collection day, until I had about a dozen. I then cut the bottoms and
tops completely off, cleaned and painted the interiors white, then squished
them into a semblance of an oval.
Experimenting with the
arrangement of the lights allowed me to match the look of the "Tunnel"
in it's various modes. During the experiments, I stumbled across the "self
masking" effect that the rings have. This keeps spill from illuminating
un-targeted rings, once the luminaries are positioned correctly. (illustrations
show only ONE side)
I installed lighting
for alternating blue/white illumination of the rings, controlled by a SPDT
switch. I also used the old train transformer and steel wool trick to simulate
the "transfer" pyro effect. I changed to alternating each ring's color,
from white to blue and back, though isn't exactly the way it looks, I like
it this way! %^)
LEGO my tunnel...
My second version was
made from white curved and straight LEGO sections I, um.... "borrowed"
from my younger brother. I assembled the white ring block sets into a column
of black blocks. This made rounded off squarish ring sections and it was
rather small to boot.
The top white block,
of each ring was absent which allowed light to enter, the colors of which
were controlled by a sliding gel holder on top of the assembly.
third version was an attempt to construct the tunnel with the requisite
I made a series of ring
section "interiors" from a cone of paper squished into an oval cross-section,
sliced in increasingly narrow rings. These slices of the cone were then
surrounded by an outer shell to form the ring, the space between filled
with plaster and allowed to harden.
Unfortunately, the long
axis of the sections failed to be aligned parallel to each section's base,
as well as the ovals becoming uneven, giving the completed tunnel assembly
a "Dali-esque" look.
4) The cast-away
The forced perspective,
from the above attempt, worked good enough that I proceeded to construct
a more ambitious tunnel. From work I obtained a quantity of Polyester Resin
and catalyst to cast a solid, forced perspective, cone of material from
which I would slice the individual rings.
I again made a mould,
including inner and outer edges mounted in a fixture to keep all pieces
aligned. The mouth opening of the cast monolith would have been about six
inches high by eight inches wide (from memory).
UNFORTUNATELY, as the
polyester was hardening, I found out why most casting mixes are mostly
filler. There arose such a stench, and cloud of noxious fumes, I had to
hold my breath and run up the stairs to throw the mould outdoors. After
the casting cooled enough to handle, I unmoulded the unit and found most
of the resin had cracked or crazed into an unusable MESS !!!
One of the FIRST things
I tried to do in 3D computer graphics, on my Amigas, was, you guessed it...
"The Time Tunnel" !!! I had the tunnel, round "rings" (seen in matte shot
of chamber), consoles, chamber flooring, and power unit laid out before
most of my time was sucked up by my, at the time, new laser lightshow hobby.
A new beginning
After seeing Larry
Scheflin's description of cutting styrofoam
with a "hot knife" I was interested in actually trying a method
similar to his, one that I'd thought of a while back that would be a good
course of action.
My version of the method
is to obtain or cast a block of styrofoam, or suitable material, draw the
opening outlines on one end and the "distant" outlines on the opposite
side. The center is then removed and the outside cut down to size, connecting
the delineations on either end. The resulting preform is then sliced into
reducing perspective thickness'.
Above, and at the top
of the page, are pictures of the prototype tunnel made with this method.
The actual model is three inches high by four inches wide and six inches
long. I carved it in about an hour out of firebrick !