Introduction: Space Chicken Spaceship Chicken Coop
(Opening song; Rocky Horror Picture Show, first stanza) (open this link in another tab and sing along!)
1Michael Rennie was ill the day the earth stood still
But he told us where we stand
And Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear
Claude Rains was the invisible man
Then something went wrong for Faye Wray and King Kong
They got caught in a celluloid jam
Then at a deadly pace they came from outer space
And this is how the story began:
Space Chickens in Space! 2
In the beginning three chickens accidently enroll in a diplomacy school where they had to face unthinkable challenges of technology, school and sibling relationships in outer space. All goes well for 26 episodes, and then things go from bad to worse when our intrepid Space Chickens pick up an intergalactic hitchhiker! Without considering the improper weight-and-balance distribution that their newest cast member would cause to their spaceship, they are forced to crash-land on planet Earth (in my backyard) and were subsequently dropped from syndication! But their problems didn’t end there.
Once they were exposed to our sun they did not become super beings (with strange and awesome powers), nor did they keep their intelligence; instead they reverted back to normal chickens [albeit extremely friendly ones at that]!
This is where I come in; I needed to get them back into thinking (and acting) like the Space Chickens they are, so I built them a new chicken coop to remind them of where they come from. But being the poor chicken farmer I am, I had to build it entirely broken, discarded, obsolete or used material. (I also needed to build a new chicken coop because the one that they are currently roosting in was built in a hurry and designed to be temporary at best.)
Disclaimer: I am a packrat for all defunct gadgets, broken appliances, knobs, covers, antenna and removable paraphernalia [from all things my wife wants me to pitch]. For me, this project was a no-brainer.
The following is a pictorial chronology of my efforts to return these wayward space travelers back from whence they came (or at least make them feel at home).
2. Animated television series created by José C. García de Letona and Rita Street
I didn't need to buy any of the components for this spaceship; I had most of this stuff stashed away in one bin or another. Some of them are just cool packaging trays, some are just extra stuff from things I bought, some I fished out of friend's garbage and others are actual defective/discarded hardware that I made in my previous professional life. I did have to buy a few things however...
Bill of new material used:
3 Piano hinges
3 Strap hinges
1 Box of screws; 100 count
2 Cans of grey spray paint
Step 1: Find the Right Fuselage.
I knew that I couldn’t build a standard coop and hope to fool the chickens (unless of course I fashioned a TARDIS) so I started looking for a suitable spaceship vestibule. A fellow farmer had a busted 3,000 liter water tank. (The foot had a nasty crack and would no longer hold water). It was a little bigger than I wanted (or needed) but beggars can’t be choosers so I took it off his hands. Besides, he was only too happy to see me cart it away!
I used a cordless circular saw and cut it half along the seem. It was too big to bring home in one piece so I had to bring it home one half at a time.
Step 2: Construct the Interior.
I had about a ½ dozen rough-cut 8’ 1x6’s left over from pouring concrete to make the interior framework from (since I had used them as forms they weren’t good for much else). Using about 3 of them I built a support frame [that nested in the bottom half of the tank] and another 4 of them to fashion a removable tray. I used a couple spare feet of chicken wire to line the bottom of the tray. Then I used a couple of metal framing brackets as temporary tabs to line up the top and bottom.
Step 3: Reassembly.
After I got the top back on the base I used a piano hinge to line up, and secure the top to the base. I then relocated the metal tabs from the inside to the outside. This would make it a rigid structure and easier to move around. I designed this coop so that it can be cleaned out on a daily basis from the side hatches but [if need be] a few time a year the metal straps can be removed, the fuselage can be tilted open and the tray can be taken completely out for a good cleaning.
Step 4: Access Hatches.
After I marked the outline of the access hatches [with a Sharpie] I cut the top line of the primary hatch with a cordless circular saw then secured it in place with a piano hinge. I then used the same saw to cut out the remaining outline. The cut out section becomes the new hatch. I used an old hand-towel rack as the hand hold/handle.
On the opposite side I wanted something with a little ventilation. For the Plasma Vent Covers [hatch] I found a perfect fit for two plastic side panels from a composting bin I dismantled earlier this year.
Step 5: Guidance Fins.
No spaceship is complete without proper fins, so I cut down some of the 1x6s, made a few frames from them and secured them to the fuselage. At first I thought about using some particle board for the fins but knew that they would disintegrate over time, so I grabbed a leftover sheet of polypropylene poster board (they kind used in high-school projects and campaign signs), fashioned a pattern for the aft end out of cardboard and cut up the three fins. I used a staple gun to fix them to the frames and then covered the staples with white duct tape.
Step 6: Main Entrance Hatch.
Every ship must have at least once entry hatch, and this one is no exception. And, since every bird that ever existed started from the ass-end of some other type of bird, my ‘bird’ would not be an exception. (Besides, you may have noticed the tray I designed in Step 2. had a loading ramp on one side, the back side.)
For the main entry/exit hatch I used the metal lid off an old [metal] water tank. I then used another piece of 1x6 for the ramp. For traction ridges on the ramp I stapled down some unused bamboo BBQ skewers.
(I’ll admit that I had to buy some new hinges; I had a few old ones lying around but they were not the right size or type).
To secure the hatch Open and Closed I used some rare-earth magnets I have in my tool boxes [to secure tools on the inside lid]. I used one magnet on the base of the vertical stabilizer to hold it open and another just below the access hole to secure it closed. I screwed an old metal backing plate [from a lock box] on the ramp in order to secure it to a different magnet on the base of the vertical stabilizer.
Step 7: Interior Climate Control.
I used an old light bulb receptacle (and threaded post) to hang a heat lamp on the inside. I set it up so that they occupants can get away from the lamp if need be. I hid the exterior wire in some electrical conduit (so it would look like a lifting eye), routed it back inside, then ran the wire along the inside and had the plug coming out the rear, under the loading ramp.
Step 8: Cockpit.
I cut an access panel through the plastic lid of the tank (to provide access for the pilot) and secured an old, plastic salad bowl to the top as its canopy. I then drilled a hole just behind it and stuck a stiff wire in it to act as an antenna.
Step 9: Windows Into the Bridge.
I took the large, rectangular piece of fuselage I removed for the Plasma Vent Covers, printed out four spaceship interiors and put a picture of the crewmembers in each window. The windows are covered in a piece of clear PVC I had used to make my solar oven covers from (see previous Instructable).
Step 10: Forward Antenna Array, Flight Instruments and Ion Cannon.
I needed to fill in some of the top side holes so I used a variety of used, extra and discarded plumbing components to assemble the Forward Antenna Array, flight instruments and Ion Cannon.
This concludes the necessary and important transformation of the used, broken water tank into a flight-worthy spaceship. I took the remaining components that I had stashed away to properly accessorize the spaceship. They are all identified on the photos included in this Instructable.
Bonus: look closely for the 2 actual pieces of space flight hardware (that I saved from my days as an aerospace composite engineer).
I am still lacking two primary 'components'; a good name for the ship and the pilot. While I have a friend supplying me a pilot, I have not however found a local source for lettering yet. As soon as get the pilot in I'll update the Instructable, and as soon as I get the lettering ion I'll name her. Until that time I am accepting any and all name suggestions, so if you happen to have a good name for her let me know it and tell me why it's the right name!
Thanks for reading another kick-ass Instructable from Disc Dog!
Step 11: Pilot!
I found a pilot! (I say 'found', but actually it was donated). Before I put him in, I fashioned a pair of goggles out of some large, rubber washers with clear PVC lenses glued on them.
I'm still waiting for a good name suggestion... :-)
Just got one in and made a logo/patch for it!
Step 12: Launch and Landing!
The crew took no time at all to jump in and look around once she landed in their run! However, I had to remove the old nesting coop before they spent the night in the new one, and even then they only gave me one egg the first night in the new coop. (They usually give me 3-4 eggs a day.) The next night I got 2 eggs, but this morning I came out to 4 eggs. All is well for the seasoned crew of the USS Cluck Bucket.
Grand Prize in the
Reclaimed Materials Contest