It all begins June 1st. Less than two weeks away. I always figured May or June was going to be the start date, and now it's official. The blank slate, the Tiltmaster, will be back from the repair shop on Monday (A/C picked up a rock in the condenser), and then it will be all set for construction. I spoke with Mike yesterday at the CORE fundraiser, and he can definitely score some metal beams / ladder racks relatively inexpensively. So that will be the framework to start building with. I've decided to plan the construction out in greater detail here.
I estimate the truck will take approximately 600 person-hours of labor to build, and unless I'm laid off (increasingly unlikely), I won't be able to build it all by myself. At the same time, I hate being asked for help on some crazy project I have no interest in, and really believe in doing unto others as you would have done unto you. Some people don't mind and encourage asking for help, but that's not what I want to see come into the world. Let's face it, as a charity this does not have any direct benefit to improve the human condition like say, volunteering at a soup kitchen. I believe it is a "good" thing to build though, which means it's moral and valuable.
I am now actively inviting people to collaborate with me on the creation of this to solve the challenges in the most painless possible way. For example, one dilemma I was thinking about was how to operate this thing on playa. So far, it's just me and Shane that are 100% committed to it. That means we would both have to be sane and sober whenever taking it out, with one to drive and the other to man the entry ramp gate and stereo. I don't really want to drive it around; I want to interact with people on it and play music and generally look at it and ride it around and relax with some drinks. Since Burning Man was always better last year (right?), I decided it was time to step it up and contribute. The thing is, I don't want to contribute a taxi service. I want to contribute a taxi. So here's where synergy steps in: Burnagain Campers aren't taking an art car this year. I am. My former camp isn't going, because nobody but me got tickets. Voila! We can collaborate. If we join their camp, suddenly perhaps a crew can be found. Plus rumor has it, they enjoy driving art cars around. I want win-win situations for every dilemma! I know it's possible. Absolutely no one is obligated or coerced into doing anything, but if your project and/or desire aligns with mine let's collaborate.
So here's the basic framework for the build this summer. I will plan three major build sessions, approximately 3-4 weeks apart. This will allow me to prepare all the materials and plans and organize enough work to make everyone's time productive. It'll kind of be like an Amish barn raising --- everyone shows up, and boom, it's done. Since I know I'm always exhausted weeknights after work, weeknights will be for planning, part ordering, and designing. I'll work every other weekend for construction, with generally 4- 5 hour Saturday and Sunday afternoon sessions, and then ramping up through the months of July and August. By my effort alone, that will count for 11 weekends, or 110 hours. The 3 group assembly sessions will count for another 300-400 hours in 5-10 people help out. That leaves just about 200 hours of labor unaccounted for. Worst case, that work takes place on-playa when perhaps more willing helpers can be found. Or, the project is scaled back. So I'm going to keep the work scheduled to avoid the involved hinged ramp detail until the very end, when we can see how it's coming along. If construction is easier than planned, then we can get more elaborate.
Build Session 0 - Saturday 6/2. Cab-over framework. (weekend after Lightning in a Bottle)
Build Session 0.5 - Saturday 6/16 or Sunday 6/17. Hull facade framework. (weekend after EDC)
Build Session 1 - Saturday 6/30. Finish Hull and Cab Framework (weekend after Elesium)
Build Session 2 - Sunday 7/15. Build deck and pilot house Framework. Paint wood paneling.
Build Session 3 - Saturday 8/11. Wood paneling entire vehicle, make smokestack.
All the rest is detailing. The two additional projects could be: fold-down ramps along the sides, and giant back end of ship extension with curving hull, rudder, and propellers. I would love to do both of those, but just not sure how far the labor will go. I will render this up a bit further and put up pictures.