Mr Pall’s Time Machine
A Progress Report
by François O. Beaulieu
Glenn Pall is yet another
fan of the 1960 adaptation of The Time Machine who saw the movie as
a youngster in the sixties and never could quite put it out of his mind...
Years went by, Glenn grew
up and eventually became a licensed airplane mechanic. In the intervening
years, he also worked with wood, making kitchen cabinets and countertops.
He now works for an aircraft parts manufacturer and is therefore experienced
making precisely fitting components. Little did Glenn know during those
years perfecting his craft that all that training and experience would
one day come to a most unusual use…
Glenn had never forgotten
the Time Machine in George Pal’s classic movie and, in the last few
years, he began to wonder whether he could build a miniature model of
it. But where to begin ? The Internet, of course ! So, one day in the
fall of 2000, Glenn got on the Net and started to surf for any information
he could find about it. Soon enough, he found himself on this very website
Once here, he was amazed
to see on the Enthusiasts Pages the efforts of many other fans who had
before him built various small models of the Machine. But what really
stunned Glenn was the discovery that some people actually built full-size
was in awe ! I couldn’t believe that anybody really would and could
do such a thing. I’m still amazed today ! There are a lot of very talented
people out there ! Then, I said to myself, “You could do that too, with
time and patience… a lot of time and a lot of patience !”
So, from the original idea
of building a miniature, Glenn now had set out to meet a most ambitious
challenge: He would build a full-size replica of the Time Machine.
“The idea of actually building
such a thing is so strange to me as it is such an incredible looking
Machine. I can’t explain it. You feel it when you look at it, just like
when you see it for the first time in the movie. There is the music
with the brass instruments, the vibrant colours of the components of
the Machine, the way the camera pans around it. It’s quite amazing to
see. You really get lost in the moment in that scene… and that
is the feeling I want to re-create.”
“ Most of the replica is
made of wood. Not having any dimensions was a problem at first. I had
heard the dish was about five feet in diameter; so, after I found some
small MGM blueprints of the Machine, I calculated the size of all the
other components based on the size of the dish. The first thing I did
when I started was make a full-size map of the base on cardboard. I
traced the position of all the components – the side rails, the chair,
the engine housing, etc."
“Right from the beginning,
I never intended to make a perfect replica - just one similar enough
to the original that it would be pleasing to behold. Sometimes I cheated
a bit. For instance, my console is 9½ inches wide to fit the glass caps
I purchased and installed. Actually, I made three consoles. The first
was made of rolled aluminium, but I didn’t like it. I then made two
more out of plastic pipe and ended up choosing the third. This final
one is made from fourteen inch PVC commercial drainpipe squeezed down
to 9½ inches. The date panel is veneered brass plate. The block that
holds the three lights on the console is wood."
“The chair is all oak with
the exception of the square sub-frame and legs. The base is made of
two layers of plywood and two widths of pine strips to reduce the weight.
They are all routed along the edge. The chair legs are laminated pine,
so are the lamp base and the vertical shaft. The horizontal counterweight
that holds the dish is made of oak."
“The engine housing is plywood
and bender board. The pod domes are thin milky white plastic that I
cut and rolled at work. The large and small dome rings are laminated
pine routed using a ¾ round-over bit. The end caps on the domes are
cut down white plastic lampshades from a craft store. "
“Currently I am looking to
purchase a tubing bender for the rails so I can make them fairly soon.
I use to bend hydraulic lines for aircraft, so I am looking forward
to making the two sled rails and surround rail. It should be fun. The
rails tie everything together. For the dish, I just got a lead from
a friend, out in Iowa. I have a real good gearbox system already developed
for the dish drive."
“With those remaining pieces
(the dish and all the rails), I will have all the main components of
the Machine at hand. Then begins the tedious, time-consuming work of
finishing all the parts. I have no real set date of completion. Oh,
by the way, just hunting for materials is one of the most fun parts
of this project. The surprising thing is you can actually build this
Machine basically with everyday products found in various stores.”
Mr. Pall will update us
as his project progresses. Stay tuned !