To spurn myself into making progress on the little Sherman, I pushed it back into the workshop and solemnly swore that the next time it left the room would be when I drove it out.
It turns out I know me pretty well and having this beast in my way was just the motivation I needed to get it done and moved. So far this week I've finished assembly on thirty-two of the fifty-eight track plates I need in order to build my second track.
Then I hoisted the turret up and out of the way so I could get to work on the drive train:
Sometime in the past two or three years, a shipmate in the naval reserve turned me on to Dave Manson's Youtube channel where he's been detailing all of his scaled tank projects down in Australia. He's made some amazing finished tanks, but the main thing he figured out that I was stuck on was the transmission:
The man is a genius! With a few minor adjustments, his transmission idea would be an exact fit for my own Sherman.
Not long after seeing the video, I ended up ordering almost all of the bits and pieces to make the transmission. On several occasions I've gone ahead and mocked up a housing to help me decide how it will all come together. Each time I ended up just jumbling all of the parts back into a box, setting it back inside the hull and letting it rust just a bit more. On Monday I caught my father in a welding mood and we spent a few minutes sticking the steel frame together:
Here's how it looks right now:
This whole assembly will fit under the driver's seat. Now all I need is to get all of the belts to connect the split shafts in front to the counter-rotating shafts in back, and an input pulley to attach one of the counter-rotating shafts to the engine. I'll be adding one more vertical post so I can put in one more pillow block bearing to steady the shaft that the engine input will be attached to.
I'm working out the exact shape of the engine mounting plate. When I've got it cut, I'll be bolting the 7hp Honda engine into the engine compartment. Then I can start plumbing in the exhaust and fuel systems.
Stay tuned for more progress. I'm hoping to have pictures of my niece driving this beast around during her Christmas visit. That, and I really want this thing out of the way so I can walk around in the workshop again. The list of new projects is getting longer again.