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Scratch Build – In Progress Lockdown Dieselpunk

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by mADlythick, 27 Apr 2021.

  1. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    There is some truly amazing work on the forum, I hope my small contribution might give ideas and start a conversation...

    This is a little different from most of the well engineered, shiny builds here - no CAD, no CAM, zero budget and (mostly) using what I've got laying around.

    Sadly don't have a big workshop stacked with tools & machinery but I'll do the best with what I've got. There's going to be plenty of mistakes and changes in design as it evolves, but that's the fun of it. :happy:

    Background

    Like many people I found myself at home in 2020 with lots of free time and not being allowed to go out and do anything, so a distracting project was needed!

    Clearing my Grandfathers garage I had saved some interesting bits&pieces including a vintage car / bus cabin heater that looked really cool.

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    I know the early days of PC water cooling was mostly car parts, but I've never seen a build using a vintage heater like this as the radiator before - probably for good reason!
    Turns out I'm just daft enough to give it a go :grin:

    There's a powerful radial fan drawing air in at the front and the cylindrical core is ~3Kg copper / brass (so plenty of thermal mass!), I have no idea of the flow rate or cooling performance :oldconfused:

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    I thought about modding an existing case, but fancied the challenge of building one from scratch instead.

    I like the design and patina (rust!) on the heater so that set the theme: - Dieselpunk / Art Deco / dystopian / Rocketman / apocalypse.
    Which is handy as it reflects my limited skill level :grin:

    Beginnings

    The aim is to use material / parts I already have, so I grabbed my pile of scrap metal...

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    and started jotting some ideas on paper (I must learn CAD someday.....)

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    So I had a rough idea of what I wanted, the shape of the bath support legs looked interesting, I clamped them up and dropped the radiator shell on top to get an idea of size.

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    Mmmm, with a little bit of cutting and welding it looked more as I imagined.

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    It's a fairly conventional square box so the internal design should be straightforward, a quick check with an old PSU and ATX motherboard tray made sure there's enough space - it should be fine.

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    With the dimensions of the case decided the bottom of the legs were bolted to a simple base made of thicker steel sheet with folded up edges to give it some stiffness.
    No pics of making it - just angle-iron a hammer + swearing :happy:

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    The frame needs to be strong enough to support the considerable weight of the radiator so for the top supports some thicker sheet steel was cut with an angle grinder and filed to follow the curve of the shell then welded to some plates which bolt onto the bottom of the frame.

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    (The shape looks a bit weird in the picture but it's fine.)
    It's pretty rigid and supports the heater securely in about the spot I was looking for - sticking out the front with a bit of space on the sides.
    It's probably over built and a bit heavy, but it's a start.:happy:

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    To fit the theme, I cleaned some of the welds a little but I'm not painting anything; it's all patina, all the way :grin:

    More updates to come....
     
  2. Defyant Mods

    Defyant Mods Multimodder

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    This has a "Cheaps" feel to it :thumb: i know im ganna lov it :rock:
     
  3. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    You called?
    NEAT! If you can keep that hump/curves in the outer shape, It should look cool. :D
    Do try to keep that heater as intact as possible. The design implies it's REALLY old. It may turn out to be the last part of some insanely rare antique someone has been restoring.
    I would switch out the fan motor for a different fan, though. I suspect electrical shielding wasn't a thing when it was built. Also, the insulation on the windings may be shot.

    -Cool first post. Welcome to Bit!
     
  4. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks :grin: progress is a bit slow but I have many cool ideas to incorporate ...

    No heaters were hurt in the construction of this case :happy: I've kept it completely intact, it's way too cool to mangle.
    I think it's 1930's or 40's? Maybe in years to come I can reassemble it and flog it to some collector and retire :lol:

    I did clean up, paint & lubricate the motor and then test it..... it knocked out the FM radio reception the other side of the room and was incredibly loud, so yeah. It's getting a new motor!
     
  5. kim

    kim hardware addict

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    Vintage and original :thumb: following that too :rock:
     
  6. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    This is awesome, love the vintage feel.
    Make sure to give that radiator a good flush, and then another one and a few more:lol: Wouldn't want to get anything coming off clogging up your blocks.
     
  7. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    Time to make some feet as it didn't sit very well on the table and the rusty metal will scratch everything.
    So rubber for noise isolation? Shiny aluminium? Plastic? Cork? Cast iron ornate claws? Mmmmm...

    I had an old piece of hardwood - what about skids?
    Easy, simple, quick.... It would spread the weight over the whole floor, and I'm not good at woodworking :blah:

    I cut & angled the ends, drilled holes for recessed nuts, drilled holes in the floor (some were in the right place - remember kids, measure twice & cut once :duh: ) and bolted them on.

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    Rustic & crude - perfect. It now sits flat and level, I might need to add felt or something later on....

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    I'd started thinking about the front panel, I wanted some kind of big slow spinning fan behind a grille, like on a car/train or industrial extractor fan.

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    Too big? :grin:

    From the garage clear out there were a couple of cast alloy/mazak grilles, from an Austin I think, and one was broken so that seemed the ideal choice.
    The chrome plated surface had dulled, pitted and corroded nicely.
    Mocked up to see how it would look....

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    I cut the sides off then drilled holes in the slats and used copper brake pipe cut into small sections and lengths of steel rod to stack up the grill. Then added a simple bracket top and bottom.

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    The curve shape looks good and it fills up the front nicely.

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    It's not very rigid and the edges are rough but it will be held in position and the ends hidden later.

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    I had a ~200mm alloy fan which should be about right.

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    A little ferric PCB etchant takes the shine off the aluminium really well :happy: (you only need a little & be quick as it's a violent reaction. A bucket of water is essential!!)

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    An old Meccano wheel proved perfect to mount the fan to the motor :happy:

    I found a broken boombox in the junkpile which had a capstan motor which is super smooth and quiet but low voltage. I'll solve the speed control problems later :worried:

    Now to build a mount, I welded a penny washer to some welding rods and bent the four legs to clear the blades.
    To isolate vibrations I used four soft silicon suspension things from a CDROM drive - holes drilled in the base hold the lower two against washers tacked on the legs and small plates hold the top ones with crush tubes.

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    The copper coating on the welding rod was stripped off and it was left outside for a couple of days to rust.
    Then reassembled and wires were threaded into a bit of shielding braid and attached along one leg.

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    It's a tight fit but it's fine :happy:

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    And yes I realise the frame overlapping the blades might cause turbulence/noise, but I don't intend it to be spinning very fast :lol:
    I also soldered up a copper sheet cover for the motor.

    Assembled and in position it looks as I hoped, the fan spins freely and the patina is spot on.

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    The motor starts spinning at about 1.3v and anything over 7.5v is scary, I might add a hall effect sensor to get feedback as well?

    The front radiator bracket looked a little odd so was trimmed to be the same shape as the rear one.
    The U section frame does make a nice cable run/tidy :happy:

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    Perforated mesh off-cuts were welded on the bottom edges to tidy them up...

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    And a translucent piece of thin plastic was cut and laid in each then a length of led strip stuck to a piece of aluminium. The wires run along the frame to the back.
    It looks neater now and really cool lit up...

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    Not sure on the purple, maybe I'll replace them with an RGB strip in the future?
     
    Karrek, Cheapskate and No X like this.
  8. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks, I did give the core a damn good forward and reverse flush with the hose pipe and the rubbish that came out! :jawdrop:

    Does anyone have any good suggestions for chemical cleaning the rad? I guess most chemicals would attack the copper & brass before the rust & sediment....

    Edit: and I just did a search on the forum and found some good info - looks like vinegar or lemon juice is the way to go :happy:
     
    Last edited: 30 Apr 2021
  9. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    Your garage is a goldmine! So awesome and refreshing to see what can be done without the always same fancy new components.
     
  10. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    UV is good. You can slap some reactive paint on random components.
     

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