Thursday, January 14, 2010

FT17 tank build part 2, May/June 2007 turret

I spent some time comming up with a practical way for me to build an all metal turret for the FT17. The real tank came with either a 1 piece cast round turret or a later octagon steel plate turret. I knew that the plate turret was the one I could recreate out of what I had available to me.

An actual FT17 turret.

I had already welded on the turret ring base to the body frame of the tank. I came up with a way to attach the turret frame to the lower ring with fabricated tube roller bearings. This would allow the turret to rotate but also keep it from lifting off as the tank drove accross uneven and bumpy terrain.

I simply cut up scap tubing into lengths that would fit together in the basic shape of an octagon base for the turret framework.
By welding tubing together in time I was able to come up with a strong frame that plating could then be bolted to. I had to check my work to see that there would be enough headroom for the driver.
Of course there would be some sort of cannon in the turret. Its a tank!
I welded a chain around the circumferance of the upper ring for installation of a turret rotation drive later.
After all the steel plating was cut out of the old truck dump bed, shaped, bolt holes drilled out, attached to the frame with carrage bolts, etc. I painted the turret to match the rest of the tank body.
Hoisting heavy turret into place.
Rolled it outside to get a better look at the results of alot of hard work.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

FT17 build part1 May 2007

I started building the FT17 in May 2007 after I got inspiration from Dave Mansons tank building videos on YouTube. It took a level of project dedication I hadnt given to anything since my hotrod days back after high school.

I started with various machine scraps and junk. The frame and tracks are from a 1950's Cletrac HG crawler. The engine is a salvaged Continental gasoline flathead inline 6 cylinder F227.

The axle and transmission assembly had to be rebuilt completely. I had help from my kids.

The framework for the steel armored body panels was a combination of angle iron and tubing welded and bolted together.

Notice the large cooling radiator for the engine. The turret ring was found ready made from scraps thrown out at my work.

As in the real tank I simulated riveted armor plating with the use of carrage bolts. The steel plates are cut from a scrapped out dumptrck dump bed. They are about 1/16 inch thick. I used a handheld electric cut off wheel to shape the plates

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

About my tank, how it began.

The first tank I built is a 3/4 scale recreation of an American manned WW1 FT17 Renault. The Americans entered the first world war with no tank of their own. They had tanks loaned to them by their British and French allies. From the Britsh they were to use the Mark 1 and from the French they got the smaller and quicker FT17.

I chose this tank for my focus because it has an interesting history as well as I could make a replica out of old parts I already had with me. I like its simple construction and that it had the first working turret of any tank.
I started back in 2007 with an old bulldozer frame and tracks from a Cletrac HG farm crawler dozer I had bought off of Ebay.

Hello to all

Some of you will have seen my other blog "makingbricks". This blog is a look back at my construction of a 1 man tank and my continued efforts to create more armored machines of war.
I am a non-violent citizen of the state of Indiana. These machines are for paintball, airsoft, and parade use. I do not promote anything violent or hatefull. It is my exploration into the technical side of the making of these great war machines. I am a member of the nonprofit online group SCALEDTANKS