Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 31 - More shoulder spacers

(Originally posted on September 18th, 2013)

I decided to go with the M. Barnwell oil seal option.  Casting all the seals would be costly and time-consuming, and the electrical wire solution that I cited in a previous post looks to be expensive, as well.  A roll of that stuff is pricey (at least, according to what I found for sale at Lowe's).  So, if I'm going to spend a lot regardless, might as well go for the genuine article!  My wallet will soon be £87.00 lighter, all in the sake of ...AUTH-EN-TI-CI-TY!

So, I ordered my oil seals from them yesterday (shipped from Birmingham, UK), and they already freaking arrived today!  In Seattle, WA!  I can't believe that speed!  Wibbly-wobbly, indeed.

Otherwise, not a lot to report on work-wise, except that I started putting on the lower spacers.  I'll see if you can identify the mistake I made!  It's totally correctable, so I'm not bovvered.

Day 30 - Shoulder top ring spacers

(Originally posted on September 10th)

I knew these un-level sections would bite me in the butt.  I can't get the markings right for the next layer of bands for the shoulders.  I've been trying to think out of the box about this, but I'm not coming up with anything.  I belt sanded down some of the unevenness, but that's going to make the plywood too thin if I continue.

Today I figured I would correct for the unevenness of the top shoulder ring by placing a level piece of HDF on top of it and seeing where the gaps were.  Then, I measured and glued the spacers to where they touched the HDF (see the pic to make sense of what I'm talking about).

The spacers themselves are 8mm thick, and the HDF is 4mm, for a total thickness of 1.2cm, which is the exact thickness of the top shoulder ring.  I just cut some strips from a 1.2" plywood board, then measured each spacer to the lines I drew on the shoulders.

It didn't take too long to measure, cut and glue them them all to the shoulders.  I squeezed a glob of Liquid Nails onto a spare scrap of HDF and wiped the spacers into the goop to attach them.

Next task is to make some temp cardboard gunboxes to get their relative final position measured and marked for the lower spacer ring.

Day 29 - Neck cage assembly and glue bath

(Originally posted on September 7th, 2013)

Hello again everyone!  It's been awhile, but for good reason.  Last weekend was a 4-day video game expo here in Seattle called PAX (Penny Arcade Expo).  Every year, I catch some bug, and this year was no exception.  This time, in addition to the stomach illness that I obtained, I also fainted (I suffered a vasovagal syncope if you want to google it) and struck my head on the bathroom floor.  This resulted in a trip to the emergency room where I got six stitches to sew my eyebrow back together.  They're out now, and I'm pretty much recovered.  What a wonderful weekend!

Anyhoo!  I spent some time today bathing the skirt, shoulders, and neck rings with a PVA/water solution.  I mixed approximately one part Titebond III to four parts water in a pickle jar and applied it generously to the exterior and interior sides of the HDF panels and the MDF rings.

While allowing all of that to dry, I made a jig to keep the rings in alignment.  I've been very concerned about the positioning of everything, so I wanted to go a little bit overkill with it.  Each notch is measured to be as close to the inner diameter of each ring as possible.

Later, with the rings now dry, I placed them over the jig, test-aligned each of the notches with a strut, and clamped the temporary assembly together with the spacers.

While all of this was clamped together, I drilled a countersunk hole into the strut and into the ring behind it, following that up with a 1" wood screw.  I did this for the topmost ring first.  Then I did the same thing to the middle ring (this time only putting the crew in halfway; all the way and the bottom part of the strut separated too far away from its notch), then flipped the whole thing over and finished up with the bottom screws.

Time for a stack shot, methinks!  "Ex ... Exxxxxt ... Exxxxxtttteerrr ..."

Also!  I got some prezzies in the mail!  My black voile, aluminum grills, and gazing globes (not pictured) arrived!

In addition, I wanted to ask anyone who might know:  Are there .eps (vector-based) files of the gun box detail layers and the dome light cages available?  There's a place I've located in Seattle (Metrix Create Space) that can laser-cut various thicknesses of plastic sheets, but they need 2D .eps vector files.  I've searched and can only find the CAD file download and other downloads that pertain to 3D printers, and I'm quite potty when trying to create my own.

1 - Black voile window curtain drape panel 55" x 84": $13.95
8 - Farberware BBQ disposable grill toppers: $11.96
2 - 4" stainless steel gazing globes: $21.98

Sub-total: $47.89
Total-to-date: $597.05

Day 27 and 28 - Neck rings and struts

(Originally posted on August 25th, 2013)

Working on the neck rings now, got the bottom ring notches cut out, along with one notch each in the middle and upper ring.  This was to align a single strut; I intend to put another one directly across from it to make sure everything's aligned exactly.  I want to be really careful with my measurements on this one.

The struts are 28cm in length; I gave myself about 1cm of wiggle room before I attach the neck bin top, which I have yet to cut.

The next day, I got all 24 notches cut out for the three rings with the jigsaw.  I intentionally made the ring notches shallower than the struts (10mm x 20mm), because I want to file the extra millis into a slight angle for better alignment.

Before filing the notches down, I test-aligned them loosely with the struts.  Of course, at this point, there's the gap between the strut and the edge of the ring notch due to the angle.

I went and got a file at Lowe's that's the perfect width for the notches and began to file an angle onto them.  I marked a line that's a few more millis beyond my original measurement.  I've only managed to file down the eight notches on the top ring before my arm fell off.  I'll continue on with the other 16 notches later.

Once that's done, I'm trying to decide if I want to coat the rings with a watertight PVA solution before proceeding any further.  They'll probably be easier to sand down before assembling the fragile neck bin rather than afterward.

I'm also wanting to make the top circle of the neck bin, but I have no idea yet how wide of a diameter it should be, nor what the fancy inside cut dimensions are.  Here's the post on AdamSt's diary to which I'm referring.

His struts were 27cm along their length, on top of which he sat his neck bin top.  Mine are 28cm, but I'll trim them down to 27cm before I affix them.  Even so, the distance between each strut top to its counterpart on the opposite end of the bin is ~46cm.  The NDS plans for the bin, however show a disk at the top that's 40.5cm, and from mesh to mesh, a distance of 45cm—still short of my diameter (again, on too-long 28cm struts, so it'll be even wider when those are trimmed).

In other news, I got a quote from Barnwell in the UK for their small Dalek oil seals (£50.00, not shabby compared to the States), but shipping it to my neck of the woods is an additional £37.00, which, when converted into Yankee cash is $136.45.  Eeeeeep.

So, as authentic as I might wish to be, I may go in a different direction.

Day 26 - Finishing shoulder skin layer one

(Originally posted on August 19th, 2013)

Tonight, I took off the clamps and screwed in the front shoulder panel.  For the overlapping sides, I bought a wood-cutting blade for my Dremel and it worked very nicely.

Because I didn't want any glue to dry on the side strut while the front was overlapping it, I waited until this point to secure it with the Liquid Nails.  I pried the sides open as best I could, managed to get beads of glue along each side, and countersunk screwed everything into place.

Then, I took my jigsaw to the excess HDF on the top and bottom, and trimmed that as close to the plywood as I dared.  After this, I took the belt sander to it and flattened the panels flush with the plywood.  Finally, I took a trip round the whole thing with the orbital sander, getting rid of any additional fuzziness on the edges and from the countersunk screw holes.

While it's not complete (still have yet to fiberglass and Bondo it), it feels good to know that portion of the build is out of the way!  Making the outer bands shouldn't be too much trouble, since those are more slender and less bulky, likely easier to bend into shape.

For some reason, I can't for the life of me get things to be level.  My measurements are sickeningly accurate, and I measure a good three times before I cut.  However, when I placed the MDF neck rings on top of the shoulders for a stack shot, there's a noticeable gap on one side.  I'll fill it up somehow—otherwise I'll have a Leaning Tower of Dalek.  *sigh*

I was pleased to discover, however, that the width and depth of the shoulders doesn't exceed the skirt top!  I was a bit worried about that.  Overlapping the skirt is meant for the next couple of skin layers!

Anyway, now for the latest stack!  (Mind the gap.)

Day 24 and 25 - Shoulder panels redux

(Originally posted on August 18th, 2013)

Where did we leave off?  Oh yes.  I had just glued half of the back panel onto the shoulders.  Now, remember I said I was afraid of the panel launching right off when I removed the clamps?  Well, that didn't happen.  But to make sure, I removed one clamp at a time, drilled a countersunk hole into the HDF and plywood, and screwed in a wood screw.  When I was done, that puppy wasn't going anywhere.

I proceeded to glue the other half of the panel onto the frame.  Nothing too harrowing to report here; much the same thing as last time, except everything lined up a bit better.

Once that dried, I screwed it into place as well, but this time I took all the clamps off first, instead of one-at-a-time.

I marked a line on the sides where I wanted to trim the excess HDF to make room for the eventual overlap of the front panel.  When I went to cut it with my hacksaw, though, I found that the saw was a bit too small.  I decided to route it off instead with the Dremel tool and line-cutter attachment.  Well, it didn't quite work that well; the line guide kept catching on the board I was using, and the line wound up being pretty raggedy.

I tore off the excess (part of it was slightly glued, not intentionally, so I had to file that down a bit), and switched tactics for the other side.  This time, I just dragged a pair of scissors across the pencil-line over and over again until I could tear off the excess bit.  Can't find my box-cutter, and man, my arm got tired.

As I was trimming the excess HDF, I had the front panel taking a soak in the bathtub.  After about an hour, I took it downstairs and clamped it all into place.  One thing I hadn't accounted for, however, was that none of my clamps were wide enough for how I had cut the bottom shoulder hole.  I had to take a quick trip to Lowe's to get larger clamps, six of them (hey, they had a two-for-one sale, and I bought them out).

I let that dry overnight, and today I just finished gluing and clamping it all in place.  I had enough clamps this ti
me round to do the whole thing instead of just one half at a time.

One thing I noticed that I'm feeling a bit irked by, however, is that I don't think the sides of the shoulders have the same angle when looked at face-on.  The right side looks a little more slanted than the left. Before I glued the front panel on, I checked the front strut, and discovered that it wasn't exactly square with the shoulder bottom.  I hadn't glued it on the bottom (had forgotten), so I re-positioned the strut until it was square, since I want to use it to align the gunboxes.  Once it was in position, I glued and nailed it into its new place.  I'll need to take into consideration the amount I moved it (something like 5mm) when I make the gunboxes.

Day 23 - Shoulder back panel (half)

(Originally posted on August 15th, 2013)

When I got home from work, I drew a nice, warm bath.  Now, before you throw on the Barry White album, this was only to soak my HDF shoulder back panel.  I let it soak for about two episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (50 minutes or so).

It was still stiffer than I had imagined it would be, so I was paranoid about it splitting when I clamped it on, but the worries were unfounded.  It went on without very much fuss.

Then I went to a choir rehearsal, and came back about two hours later or more.  Everything was dry when I checked on it.  It was looking good!

Then, I switched from the one construction adhesive I was using to the Liquid Nails.  This stuff is a lot more putty-like, and it was hard to get a solid bead.  This made me decide to try gluing half of the panel at a time.

 I took half of the clamps off, and watched the now-free board spring out.  Again, I was a bit paranoid about splitting if I pushed on it too hard.  I managed to get a bead of adhesive on the top and bottom shoulder frame edges, and also along the side and back strut.  Then, one clamp at a time, I started to cinch up along the edges.

I discovered about halfway through that the top line of the HDF was starting to slip below the top line of the frame, so I had to re-apply some adhesive and re-clamp everything down.  Panic, panic, panic.

Eventually, I got that half of the panel glued and secured.  I wound up using all of my clamps, though, so I couldn't do the other half.  Tomorrow after work, after everything's cured well, I'll glue the other half.  If it keeps up like this, it will take me four days to get the skin on.  And I hope, hope, hope that the Liquid Nails will hold.  The back of the HDF seems so ... "particle-y" ... that I fear it will just tear off when I remove all the clamps.

I guess we'll see!

(Not pictured: a bit later, I put a 3/4" plywood board across the back-center and clamped it at the top and bottom, so that the HDF there would touch the glue on the back strut.  It initially looked like it was bowed away from it.  It still kinda is, but it's a bit more secured.)

Day 22 - Shoulder work

(Originally posted on August 15th, 2013)

The fender assembly is complete!  Just have to Bondo and sand it, and it will be ready for "prime" time.  One unfortunate thing, however, is that the skirt isn't level at all on the bottom.  It's a little worse than what the garage floor was leading me to believe.  What I think I'll do is add thin layers of HDF glued together and to the plywood skirt bottom to fill in the gap (unless someone has a better suggestion).  Then I'll sand it all down flush.

(I don't want the fix to be pure Bondo, because of the skirt and fender having to be detached/reattached repeatedly when transporting.)

The main bulk of work on Rainier today consisted of getting the shoulders ready for skin cladding.  I attached the proper angled slats, chamfering the ends of each slat by ~5°.  I also positioned the side slats wide side facing out, such that there will be plenty of room to attach both the front and back pieces of shoulder cladding (pro tip yet again gleaned from AdamSt's NDS build).

I used the card stock I bought at the Blick art store to make the template.  Even positioning these large sheets diagonally didn't quite give me complete coverage, but I was able to eyeball the missing bits when I traced it out onto the HDF board later.  I didn't get pictures of the jigsawed HDF, but I gave myself about 2cm of extra space all the way round in case I screw up with the positioning.  This might be a two-person job ...

Oh, I also finally got around to cutting holes on the shoulder top and bottom.  On the top, I used the router; on the bottom, I used the jigsaw.  The outline I followed was hand drawn onto template that roughly matches the "egg" shape of the bottom.  I'll also be using this template on the skirt top to match the hole when I line it all up.

I hope I'll get a chance to soak the HDF tomorrow and give the skinning a try!  I've been very much dreading looking forward to this part!

Day 21 - Starting on the shoulders

(Originally posted on August 12th, 2013)

I got a chance to get a bit more done on Rainier after work today.  I finished up the final three bottom fender panels and secured them in place to dry.  I'm impressed that my construction adhesive lasted all the way through the skirt and fender assemblies, but I think I'll need to swap it out to the Liquid Nails soon.

I got into a bit of a conundrum around how to properly center the shoulder top in relation to the shoulder bottom, but I found a way, though I didn't take any pics of what I did.

Essentially, I deduced that there are 12.3cm from the front of the bottom to the front of the top, marked that, and then traced a circle around the shoulder bottom using the circular shoulder top.  I bisected this circle into even quarters (front to back and side to side), and marked a line 4cm inside the circle at each of the four points.  This was where I intended to line up a 3/4" perpendicular plywood strut.

Then, noting the thickness of the bottom and top together (2.3cm), I subtracted that from the total height of the shoulders according to the plans.  This left me with a distance of 32.3cm.  I cut three struts at that length, and positioned them on the inset lines that I had drawn.  Then I drilled small holes through the bottom and top, placed the struts on those holes, drilled into the struts using the same holes, and put brads in to secure them.

The final result looks like this:

That's about all the time I had, but I wanted to get a temporary stack shot in before calling it quits for the night.  Here it is!

Tomorrow, I'll be at a friend's place for dinner, so there won't be any additional work done until probably Wednesday after work.  I'm going to have to eyeball the angled struts since I don't know the bevel angle for the top and bottom of the front, side, and back struts that the skin will be attached to.  I'll just experiment with the miter saw until I get the proper angle.  If anyone knows the approximate angles, please let me know!

Also, I took off the cost of most of the tools (ones that will definitely be used for future jobs around the house), and have a new total-to-date:

Deducted cost of re-usable tools: ($489.66)

Adjusted total-to-date: $549.16