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I think we're all behind you on this one, waiting to see the finished product with bated breath. It will be fantastic for you to see the kids (big & small) enjoying the sleigh. Everything is crossed in the hope it is smooth sailing (or should I say "sleighing") from here on in for you.
Pretty sure there's been more oopsies than progress.
This all started back in January when I saw AussiePhil's (I think) sleigh photos and decided it would be cool. Then I decided to take it one step further and make it more interactive because I saw how much kids liked interactive stuff like making snow angels in the front yard with the snow machine, dance parties in the driveway to the music and so on. I figured that if you have a sleigh, kids should be able to pretend to drive it. I want to encourage the imagination of the kids and their parents.
We should have started the build earlier than September and certainly should have ordered all the switches and buttons from eBay much sooner than the end of September. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. In reality, if everything had arrived on time, we would have had much more time up our sleeves to identify and solve problems. There was also a lot of ignorance on my part. Who knew that a 21 amp power supply would melt 3.5 amp wire? I certainly didn't. I didn't even know to check it. I didn't know that having the sleigh professionally spray painted would turn my garage and literally everything in it pink.
It has been a steep and expensive learning curve. I'm not game to add it up, but my best guess is that the total cost will end up close to $1500. But it has been built to last and should be a feature for years to come. I'm just hoping that the first time I see a kids eyes light up when they climb on board will make it all worthwhile.
When do you plan to put your sleigh away. I will be visiting friends in rochedale between Christmas and new year and would be keen to check it out in person. After all I think the people on here are the biggest of kids.
I generally lose interest on the evening of December 25, but my wife usually insists on continuing until New Year. It's unlikely I'll pack it away before then. If I know you're coming, I'll be sure to leave it up.
The same goes for anyone here. If you want to come and check it out, just let me know and I'll PM you the address. I'll also post here the dates when Santa, Mrs Claus and the elves will be visiting. Just make sure you bring your imagination with you because that's what the sleigh runs on.
Well, at least the reins work. Wife sewed a dozen small bells on and it sounds just like a sleigh when you shake the reins.
Another frustrating night on the dash. Late last night, unable to sleep, I did some googling and believe I've found the problem. We were overthinking the buttons instead of treating them as a simple circuit. Current setup is shorting out entire dash when any button is pressed. Auto electrician is coming over this afternoon.
Yay for midnight googling! All but one of the buttons are now working and it's probably just faulty (or we blew it up in our testing). At least I have plenty of spares now.
The sticker arrived from the printer and it looks great...except for the fact that it's been printed with a white background instead of clear. I've sent him an e-mail. At least I can use this one for drilling and marking. If he can't supply another one, I might just have to go with it as is. I'll attach it to the sheet and frame and post a photo to see what you guys think.
Auto electrician came over today just after all the rewiring had been finished. She said it looked good. Only one button not working but it was going to be swapped out anyway.
The thing is, she bought her three and a half year old daughter with her. She wasn't keen on the sleigh at all and didn't want to go in until her mum lifted her into it. 90 minutes later, we had to drag her out. She was absolutely mesmerised. She used the map to travel to Brazil, PNG, Russia (twice) and Africa where she found a baby cheetah tiger which went for a ride on the sleigh.
She had a ball and had a smile from ear to ear the whole time. She talked about it all the way home and wants to come back tomorrow. I feel vindicated and all my efforts have been worthwhile. I'll post a few pics tomorrow.
There is one faulty red LED which has to be replaced, but everything else is in place and working. I still need to drill a couple of small holes in the frame on the side to 'plug' the microphone in, but that will only take a few minutes. I haven't taken any photos with it lit up because it's so damn bright, I doubt the camera in my phone will cope. I'll drag out my DSLR and take some shots soon.
You can see in the photos that the microphone hangs on a picture hanger on the left and the reins are on the right. My wife did an excellent job attaching the bells. It sounds like something straight out of a Christmas carol when you shake the reins.
So glad that's all over and we can focus on getting the rest of the lights on the house and in the yard on Saturday for the big launch at 7pm on Sunday night. If anyone in Brisbane isn't doing anything on Saturday afternoon, you're welcome to come over and help move the sleigh out of the garage and into position. Not looking forward to that bit.
I won't be able to give you a hand moving but I'll offer some advice. I had to move a outdoor spa by myself. I cut a couple of 2.5m lengths of 40mm PVC pipe and put them under the spa. It rolled without much effort and no damage. Rolled across dirt and concrete.