Tuesday 29 May 2012

Project Doll's House: Wall Heights

The height of the side walls is of course determined by the height of the rooms. As discussed previously, a reasonable room height is 2.40 m or 20 cm. In order to make this easier, I decided to make the distance floor-to-floor 200 mm, and thus for my choice of 9-mm plywood, this leaves a room height of 191 mm or 2.29 m in real life, which is still very realistic. For two floors, this makes 400 mm wall height.

However, it would not be good to have the roof rest directly on the floor, and therefore I added 11 mm more height. The reason for my choice of 11 mm is that the 45° inclined roof will have an internal maximum height of 180 mm, and adding 11 mm will make this the same room height as in the lower floors: 191 mm. Due to the inclination of the roof, this is somewhat arbitrary, but it seemed logical at the time, and turned out to work well in the end. See the drawing for details (click for larger version).

After fixing these dimensions, also the height of the internal walls was fixed. They should slot into floor and ceiling, into grooves of 3 mm depth. Thus the height of the walls is 197 mm.

Photos and design: Thomas Ulich.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Project Doll's House: Roof Mechanism

Wouldn't it be fun to have a roof that opens and closes? — Because the roof panel is slightly wider than the house (822 mm) and, assuming a 45° slope, 295 mm wide, it will be somewhat heavy and will require sturdy hinges in order to survive frequent opening and closing. Since the roof material is thin (9 mm), one cannot easily use screws to attach hinges. One could use bolts, but these would show on the outside and look ugly. Therefore I designed an opening mechanism, which is based upon nothing but the shape of the walls and roof. Here's the plan (click for larger version).

The roof is sloped by 45°, i.e. for a 360 mm wide house, the roof will be 180 mm high in the middle. The roof elements need to be a little larger on both sides (here 20 mm on either side), and also "hang over" the edge to front and rear, i.e. 20 mm wider.

The side wall needs to have a square-shaped bit on the top, into which one can cut a circular hole for slotting in a part of the roof. All of this is designed in such a way that the front roof panel lies flat on the side wall when closed, and flat on the rear part of the roof when open. See the detail photo for what this looks like in practice.

Working out the exact measurements, and then triple-checking everything before cutting the wood, was probably the trickiest bit in the whole project.

Ok, now we know the shape of the roof, but how tall do the outer walls need to be, and where do the floors slot in? More on that in the next blog post...

Photos and design: Thomas Ulich.

Monday 14 May 2012

Project Doll's House: Measurements and Materials

The project of building a doll's house continued with the choice of materials, and then the definition of the room sizes and measurements, which are needed to cut the wood. For the outer walls I chose standard plywood of 12 mm thickness, and 9 mm plywood for the interior walls, the floors, and the roof.

Thus the 12-mm ground plane onto which the house is built, is 420 mm by 842 mm. Forty-two is for some reason always a welcome size. Centred on this there are the outer walls, of which the left and right walls are of 12-mm plywood and the rear wall is of 9-mm plywood. The outer dimension of the doll's house is 360 mm by 782 mm.

The room sizes were chosen such that the bigger room (living room) is 330 mm by 351 mm, which is equivalent to 3.96 m by 4.21 m. The staircase is 160 mm wide (1.92 m), and the smaller room is 250 mm (3.00 m) wide.

Note, that the lengths of the internal walls (staircase walls) is 3 mm longer than needed judging from the size of the rooms. The reason for this is that the rear wall has 3 mm deep grooves which the walls slot into for stability.

Note further, that also the 12 mm walls were grooved with a 5 mm deep and 9 mm wide groove, into which the rear wall fits. See the detail photograph to illustrate this.

Since the horizontal dimensions are fixed now, also the size of the two floors/ceilings is fixed. These should slot into the side walls and into the rear wall. The grooves are 3 mm deep, and therefore the floor material has to be cut to a size 6 mm wider in the long direction, and 3 mm wider in the narrow direction than the internal width of the doll's house, i.e. 764 mm by 354 mm.

Next step was to think about the exact shape of the roof and thus the wall underneath. This included the invention of a hingeless opening mechanism for the roof. More about this in the next blog post.

Photos and design: Thomas Ulich.

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Project Doll's House

So, your daughter would love to have a doll's house? No problem, a few clicks on the internet, and Santa is tipped off and knows what to bring. Easy. But then you realise, doll's houses, at least the nice ones, are expensive, and looking at your shed you think, "I can do that myself! How hard can it be?"

Now then, first the planning phase. How many floors? How wide? How tall? Should there be windows? What about a staircase? — Some brief investigation on the interweb, and one finds that a common scale for doll's houses is 1:12. This might come from the fact that there are 12 inches to the foot, or for the metric world, a doll's house featuring a floor-to-ceiling height of 20 cm is equivalent to a room height of 2.40 m in the real world, which is pretty much standard. Now that we know the scale, paper and pencil will do the rest. Here's the first draft (click for bigger version):

So the doll's house planned here will have two full floors and an accessible attic. The attic will be one large room, and the floors will each have one large room, one small room, and a staircase/corridor. The sizes of the rooms in this plan are not final yet, but they give the right direction. A room of 3 m by 3 m is rather small and does not fit large furniture well. Therefore planning for a living room of 4 m by 4 m or so makes sense. This means roughly 34 cm width. The staircase should be two metres wide, that's roughly 16 cm in the doll's world. The staircase is planned with half-way landings, and then folding back. The smaller room could be 3 m wide or so, which means 25 cm. Then one needs to account for the width of the walls, and the base plate should maybe be a couple of cm wider on all sides. Thus we easily end up with a house of something like 75 cm wide, 40 cm deep, and 60 cm high. Yes, that's big...

In the next blog post, I will discuss the exact measurements.

Photo and design: Thomas Ulich.

Sunday 6 May 2012

Winter's back!

On Wednesday, 2nd May 2012, I posted a photo over on the EISCAT_3D blog of snow falling in Sodankylä, and the title was "In the grip of winter." This message was premature. Today, 6th May 2012, winter is trying again, and this time properly: this morning we woke to 7.5 cm fresh snow! Everything is properly white again, and it's still snowing. Time to get the skis back out, and I feel sorry for all those, who already changed wheels on their cars.

Photo: Thomas Ulich.