Friday, May 9, 2008

More progress: Skin mounts and more

Last Tuesday I drove down to hang out with fellow builder Kevin Helmig. We had talked about taking a day off and dedicate it to building. Our schedules finally matched and we did some work to my droid.

First off was eyeballing the T&J Frame and wondering how to best place the Skin Mounting Blocks that Daniel has offered for the newer JAG frames. I had debated whether or not to bolt the skins in the traditional spots, as they require the legs to be off to access them. After much thought, I figured it would be wise to mount them that way, then after the skins are complete, cut the rear panel into a door-type-access later on. Kevin being the master carpenter he is made quick work of it.

While he was doing that, I tackled some other tasks.

One of those was replacing the shoulder motors with ones that have the brakes still installed. A few years ago it was suggested that the motor brakes were not needed. Well, that proved to be false. One I had the old motors out, it was a matter of aligning them so as to not interfere with the third satellite motor, which does the 2-3-2 (Lambert system).

While I had the top ring off the frame, I decided it needed to look as good as the new frame does. I sanded the top ring much as I did my new frame, starting with 90 grit then going on to 120, 150, 180 then 220 grit. With all the aluminum branding removed, I put some Mother's polish on then used the orbital sander's buff pad to bring it out to a bright shine.

We then examined the old frame to see if anything else needed to be fixed. One thing that became very clear was the frame rods by the large vertical doors. Those would have to go if I intended to hinge the doors. Now the frame is a tad lighter with two large rods out!

The next task was to remove the top rail of the Utility Arm Carrier and match it up with a new one from the JAG v5 frame run. We wanted to align, measure and drill out the center hole so that Daniel's aluminum large data port could be bolted in. Kevin made quick work of that when we realized we didn't have any 10-32 screws to bolt it in. After a quick trip to the hardware store (not more than 5 minutes away), we had the parts we needed. A short 10-32 screw with a lockwasher and the LDP was in.

With the skin blocks mounted in, we had to change where the rockler bearing attaches. Another 10 minute job. After applying power to the dome drive, we had free and easy movement again.

The time really flew by so the one remaining thing we did before calling it a day was measure up the skin gap on the sides. Thanks to a tip from the guys on the Astromech Forums, I picked up some 5 " x 7" aluminum flashing material at the hardware store. This stuff is used to line a chimmey on the roof of a home. We trimmed up some pieces as 3M'd them together. The metal is very thin so we wanted it to be somewhat strong. Now I can easily drill and tap some holes into the frame and bolt this into the top then adhere it with epoxy at the bottom (its visible, otherwise I'd bolt that too).

At the end of the day, here's what it looked like...

Now that I have everything back home, I'm motivated to get more done.
Today was spent trying to round up some painting supplies. I have several cans of Rustoleum Satin White. I found a few more cans of Duplicolor Anodized Blue, half of the blue equation! So far Rustoleum Metallic Purple has eluded me but I am hunting a few last local sources before trying a special order. I also bought a can of Duplicolor Etching Primer for use on the metal parts.
I am debating whether to sand down the original skins or take some acetone to them and wipe everything out. I have several "globby" areas that are in the recessed/panel areas. I'm really not trying to be a perfectionist but I know I can paint that area better a second time around.
First on the list of paintjobs are the center feet. Both my new one and my old one.
My first "test" of the blue formula will be my old set of resin utility arms. If that goes well, then on to the detail pieces.
So that's my progress to date. HUGE thanks to Kevin for all the great fun we had.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment...due to problems in the past with spammers and other abuses, all comments have to be screened before being published.