PzKpfw VI Tiger I

Here you can see the loaders hatch position on the top of the turret. It still needs work before it's ready to be fitted. In these pictures you can also see the air vent at the back of the turret and the commanders cupola and hatch which still needs more work to be completed. Click the images for bigger versions.
I've started work on the top of the hull which is made from 6mm aluminium plate. I managed to obtain some used anodised plate cheap so that's why it's black. The model at the back is a 1/35 Tamiya kit. The shot on the right shows how the turret looks in place - it's not actually fitted yet.
Here is a shot of the cooling vents that fit over the radiator cooling fans on the rear of the top of the hull - click for bigger image. These grills are cast on the original and the slots are at an angle, which makes the job harder. Most model kits do not have angled slots but the angle can be clearly seen here.

I'm machining as much as I can but the final shapes will need to be filed as each hole has a curved end.

March 2006
The hull is now starting to take shape. It's a lot quicker to make than the turret as it's mostly flat plate welded together. Here it is with the turret sitting on top of it. I used some of the same anodised plate I used for the top deck that's why it's black. It's sitting on top of a couple of filing cabinets so you can now get an idea of scale - it's big ! Once I have the front armour finished I'm going to try and start on the suspension arms and bearings - that should slow me down for a while.
September 2007

I've been a bit busy so progress has slowed down a bit. However I have managed to get the bearings for the swinging arms that the wheels fit on done. These are not as per the original tank as I have used a pair of roller bearings in each bearing block. From this image you can see both back and front side of the 16 blocks - one per axle.

These are CNC machined wheels. I'm casting my own aluminium billets (see below) and then machining the wheels from these. This is because buying enough material for the 48 wheels on the tank would be very expensive but scrap aluminium is much cheaper. It's also good practice for when I get to the tracks ! I'm not using sand for these as I only need a rough shape - I'm just melting it and pouring it straight into a steel mould.
Below is the plain cast billet and opposite are the stages that make the basic wheel. This is not the finished shape, it needs some more stages to get it correct to the real thing.

The grooves in the whel are there to locate the tyres and are not the correct shape for scale wheels. I'll change them if the tyres don't stay on. It's a few months work to do all the casting and machining of the 48 wheels.
OK so it's been a while since I've been able to do any work on the tank. Mainly because I was busy designing and installing the IT infrastructure of our new building. http://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/about-lmb/building-and-facilities/ However now that is finished (and all working). It took 8 years to plan and build. I've got a bit more time on my hands now and I'm not working in the evenings so back to the Tiger.
2014. Technology has moved on a bit since the project started and so I though I'd make use of that with the tracks. I have access to 3D CAD and 3D printing so why not print a few tracks to use to help design the wheels and axles.

They came out pretty good. So good infact that it might be worth printing a whole set. Casting them in aluminium is looking like a tough job. It needs a multipart mould if they want to look as accurate as possible, sand casting can't be done with this shape.

Jan 2015. Work starts on the drive sprocket for the tracks. These are designed in Solidworks and then taken into FeatureCam to be turned on CNC lathe and milling machine.

Shown here next to a 1/35 kit model for scale.

Now I have some tracks to play with I can start on getting the axles aligned. This is harder than it looks. The wheels have to fit into precise locations on the tracks and also have to mesh with each other and not touch. The wheels have roller bearings in them, they are used in model racing cars and are running on 8mm stainless steel axles. I've managed to hide the bearings inside the wheels and still get the front of the wheels to look correct. They are not finished to the scale look yet and still need tyres as well. Two down - sixteen axles to go !!

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