The Clock Ship Tere

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Presented By:
Andy Tibbetts
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Tell us briefly about your project. Is it a work of art or does it serve another function?

The Clock Ship Tere is a kinetic art vehicle. We like to call it "engineered art". The idea was to expose the workings of a large piece of machinery. From a distance she looks like a land pirate ship, but as you get closer you begin to see the gears that make the ship come alive. She was designed by Andy Tibbetts in Portland, OR. As construction of the ship moved forward many people volunteered their time to work on the ship. This project functions not only as a work of interactive art, but also as a means to teach people new skills as well as allow those with engineering and construction talents to explore new ways to use them. The C.S. Tere ignites the imagination of everyone that interacts with her.

When did you start working on this project and how long did it take you to complete?

As an engineering student, I began design work for the Pirate Ship in late 2004, but it wasn’t until 2008 that the first parts were cut. The front wheel was fabricated in the winter and spring of 2009. The frame, engine, hydraulics and body were built in 2010. Fire effects and new rear wheels were made in the summer of 2011. Over 70 people worked on the ship. Some people worked for a single day and some people would show up for a few hours every day. It is hard to determine how many hours were put into the ship because a lot of time was spent teaching people to use new tools, fabrication techniques, and design theory. A reasonable guess would be 10-12,000 hours to build the ship.

What was your goal in building this project?

The goal was and continues to be using the project to become better artists, designers, and engineers and to inspire a next generation of makers. The vehicle is a means by which we can create and solve technical problems, learn about different fabrication techniques, provide a group activity, and learn to manage a project.

Does your project help to solve a problem? If so what problem?

A lot of artists wish they had more mechanical knowledge, and a lot of engineers would like more artistic freedom. A project like the pirate ship brings these groups of people together, affording everyone involved the opportunity to share their own knowledge as well as gain new skills and ideas.

What makes your idea unique?

Have you ever seen, never mind sailed on, a land-based mechanical ship with sails of fire?

In what capacity are you using bearings and what type of bearings?

The ship uses: - - (2) 2" pillow blocks to support the drive cog - - (4) 1 1/2" pillow blocks for the gravity-load guide rollers - - (14) 25mm roller bearings for the lateral guides on the front wheel - - (6) 1" pillow blocks to hold the gears on the steering column - - (4) 25mm roller bearings to support the rack on the steering column - - (12) bronze bushings on the control arm, slave cylinder and steering knuckles on the rear wheels - - (12) bronze bushings on the tilt rams and frame linkage used to simulate waves by rocking the ship - - (1) 1 1/2" tapered thrust bearing on the acme thread screw is used to raise and lower the yards - - (2) 1" pillow blocks to support the lantern gear that turns the acme screw on the yards - - (12) bronze bushings on the yard linkage - Miscellaneous ball bearings are reused as aesthetic features on the hand rails. At the top point of the mast welded next to the spike is the inner race from a 2” double taper thrust bearing (we liked the way it looked). In addition to those elements designed by the crew, there are many more bearings used in the (3) hydraulic motors, hydraulic pump, and 23hp gas engine.

What is the most important thing you want people to know about your project?

The C.S. Tere was created for everyone to enjoy and as a learning experience for those that participated in her creation. It is a creation that people can appreciate and interact with - if you are an engineer, its design and construction impress and fascinate; if you are an artist, the concept and its form has whimsical appeal. You can either enjoy her as a spectator or jump on and play. Her construction and maintenance are a means for people to share their expertise and teach others new skills.

How will you use the $5,000 prize?

In creating the ship, a new community of builders has been formed that is now organizing itself as a registered non-profit art collective called Artifex Group. We would like to expand on the educational side of the project by helping other artist and engineers to create kinetic artworks. We have already started new projects and continue to make improvements to the C.S. Tere - the group’s literal flagship. The money would be vital in supporting a number of aspects of Artifex Group’s mission, including taking the ship to various art festivals and gatherings such as Maker Faire. The money would also help support the general development of the group’s future projects by allowing us to purchase tools and equipment. Winning the Boca Bearings Innovation Competition would provide Artifex Group with the necessary resources to further our mission of building community through collaborative art creation and education.

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