1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Scratch Build – In Progress Project Hephaestus, 4 Mar

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by aglaser, 30 Apr 2010.

  1. aglaser

    aglaser New Member

    Joined:
    19 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is my first attempt at building a case, or really modding at all. The case itself is for a school project -- I have to complete a 120 hour project to graduate from my high school. It's coming down to the wire... but I've already logged 130+ hours simply creating the sketchup model. The next couple weeks are going to be a whirlwind of cutting, drilling, tapping, and smacking my face on the desk when I make mistakes. Without further ado:
     
    Last edited: 5 May 2010
  2. aglaser

    aglaser New Member

    Joined:
    19 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here are four isometric views of the current iteration of my design. I don't expect it to be changing much, except for details like hole placement. It's pretty standard fare... my main criteria for this (just the interior) are functionality and ease of building -- the design here can be built out of nought but aluminum angle and sheet metal, with relatively simple tools. I do plan to put the radiator in a separate duct along the right side to help with airflow.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These are the results of my first and second trips to the hardware store, respectively. The sheet metal is currently shipping, but I've got basically everything else I need, save some angle brackets that I need to pick up at a later date. The centerpiece of the collection is the carbide blade for our chop saw. It's expensive, but man can it cut!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My father providing some brute force to get the old blade loose from our saw.

    [​IMG]

    The first piece of aluminum jumps for freedom!

    [​IMG]

    Second cut in progress...

    [​IMG]

    Three cheers for my pimply mug, fiercely concentrating as I confuse 64ths of an inch with 32nds. I should really convert to the metric system, but here in 'Merica, that is frustratingly hard to do. :grr:

    [​IMG]

    The fruits of my labor! I messed up 2 out of the 6 pieces... in my book, a 66% success rate is fairly decent ;)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And that's it for today. Hopefully, I should be able to fix my mistakes (one minor, one requiring the scrapping of a piece) tomorrow, and finish cutting the 18 pieces of angle iron this is going to take. I'll pay more attention to the mitering next time...
     
    Last edited: 30 Apr 2010
  3. shomann

    shomann New Member

    Joined:
    5 Sep 2003
    Posts:
    402
    Likes Received:
    4
    Nice. I will be watching this as I also didn't have any metal working experience before my first scratch build either. Scary and exciting at the same time, isn't it? Looks like we are using some of the same tools and materials as well.

    Its interesting you bring up the metric system, as I use it exclusively. The only confusion I have had has been with the place where I got my metal from in the first place, as they "think" in SAE.

    Go snag a cheap metric rular at Harbor Freight and be happier because of it. ;)

    Good luck!
     
  4. Javerh

    Javerh Topiary Golem

    Joined:
    5 Sep 2006
    Posts:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    26
    Ahh! Nothing screams safety like a hefty saw on a flimsy table.

    Here in 'Ropa a big portion of materials and plans come from US. It's easier to use digital calipers with conversion or just multiply everything with 25.4. Anyway, I'm liking your alu angle work. That is the way to go with a scratch build. I'll be watching.
     
  5. aglaser

    aglaser New Member

    Joined:
    19 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Small update -- more of the same

    First of all, I'd like to thank those who posted for their comments -- I wasn't expecting much interest, much less this early in the game. Thanks guys!

    @shomann: It is a heady feeling. I've been planning this mod for a long time -- over a year -- and so finally getting started is almost surreal... I get a distinct sense of deja vu.

    I'd like to take your advice and pick up a metric ruler, but a lot of my parts come in standard American sizes... for this build, I may stick with the devil's units. ;)

    @Javerh: The table is sturdier than it looks, but I figured I'd break out the big work bench all the same. Safety first, right?

    Without further ado:

    I woke up this morning feeling like I might just crawl back into bed... but I got a jolt when I saw the big package that had come -- the sheet aluminum I had ordered came!

    [​IMG]

    In my excitement, I spent about half an hour dressing it up in pretty blue tape

    [​IMG]

    For now, there's not much that I'm going to do with it, and I need to get the mitered pieces all cut and sanded by Monday -- a friend of mine is letting me us his TiG welder to make the basic frame. I hope he'll help me out, because I've only had experience with wire feeders thus far. Anyway, in a nod to Javerh, I broke out the big work bench that was hidden in the corner, covered with planting stuff. And, in a fetish of safety mongering, I even went so far as digging out the clamps! :lol:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I managed to get the mitered pieces cut more quickly than I thought -- I may be able to finish all the pieces this weekend. Either way, I do have some sanding to do tomorrow, though the new carbide blade makes pretty awesomely smooth cuts. Mm... *swoons* I think I may be in love.

    [​IMG]

    And finally, I found this neat little offcut piece from my aluminum, where I was changing the miter angle on the end. I like the simple geometricality (is that a word? I think that's a word...) of it... I may make a necklace charm, or just save it and try to emulate the form elsewhere.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Javerh

    Javerh Topiary Golem

    Joined:
    5 Sep 2006
    Posts:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    26
    That's the way to go! Those carbide blades sure eat aluminum like butter. I'll have to start saving on a saw and some blades.
     
  7. aglaser

    aglaser New Member

    Joined:
    19 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    A lot of work over the past couple of days, and a lot of lessons learned. I'll enumerate them here for you, so that you can either avoid the mistakes I made or laugh at me :p

    1. When drilling aluminum, centerpunch it a couple of times so the centerpunch can actually do its job of keeping the drill bit from slipping around. :wallbash:

    2. When centerpunching multiple times, make sure it is in the same place, so you don't completely defeat the purpose. :wallbash: :wallbash:

    3. When drilling, make sure you actually drill in the place you centerpunched. :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash:

    4. Even if you're drilling in the right place, it doesn't work right if your drill bit isn't perpendicular to the material. :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash:

    5. Even if you do 1-4 correctly, you can ruin a good hole with a bad tapping job. :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash:

    6. Aligning multiple holes so that bolts go through them is harder than you'd think, even if 1-5 are ALL done correctly. :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash:

    Today was one of those days where I made many mistakes, but actually accomplished quite a lot. I also purposefully chose a pair of pieces to do first where alignment wasn't critical, because I anticipated that I would have to learn before I could get everything right. The second two pieces that I did, where alignment was considerably more important, actually went fairly quickly, and turned out better than I could have expected. :clap:

    Without further ado: pictures!

    Fierce concentration allows me to catch approximately 10% of the mistakes I make.

    [​IMG]

    My tools. I absolutely adore that old drill -- it is so incredibly solidly built.

    [​IMG]

    Yay for centerpunching!

    [​IMG]

    Boo for centerpunches slipping...

    [​IMG]

    Closeup...

    [​IMG]

    Drilling!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Roof cat is watching you mod(sturbate)

    [​IMG]

    Tapping is more satisfying than I would have ever imagined...

    [​IMG]

    The fruits of my two days labor. I would have gotten more done today, but I got rained out. :waah:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Closeup of my two corners. The miter is a little wonky, but those were my practice sides. The other two pieces of angle are gonna have sheet metal attached to them, so they have to be somewhat more accurately placed (and they are!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And finally, my kitty admonishes me for being a lazy bum, staying home all day modding in my pajamas.

    [​IMG]

    That's it! Adieu, until next time...
     
  8. Javerh

    Javerh Topiary Golem

    Joined:
    5 Sep 2006
    Posts:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    26
    ^^ That is why I would have made those holes a bit larger and just used nuts on the inside. Good job on getting it to work out eventually.
     
  9. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

    Joined:
    13 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,201
    Likes Received:
    1,157
    It's an excellent start.
    -Also you have:
    ...Obligatory cat pic.:thumb:
    ...Obligatory foot in pic.:thumb:
    ...Obligatory pajama modding reference.:thumb:
    ...OOOOld tools.:thumb:
    ...And a new one on me - wearing safety glasses to surf.:hehe:


    The crooked bits is where a mountain of clamps would come in handy. You clamp the parts in the way you want them together, and drill through both in one shot.
     
  10. shomann

    shomann New Member

    Joined:
    5 Sep 2003
    Posts:
    402
    Likes Received:
    4
    I know that "heady" feeling. It goes away after your first big oops ;) (btw I made three myself)

    Nice choice of notebooks ;)


    Think you have enough bolts? :) Teasing, you can never overbuild something. Never.
     
  11. DeltaFX

    DeltaFX New Member

    Joined:
    4 Aug 2006
    Posts:
    163
    Likes Received:
    2
  12. aglaser

    aglaser New Member

    Joined:
    19 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    my little "oops"s have been adding up -- although I figured out a good technique for lining up holes (like cheaps said... drill them both in one shot). I do need some more clamps though... I ended up piling a sack of flour and every can of food I could find in my house on my metal to keep it from moving while I used the clamps to hold two pieces of alu together. (Picture coming this evening, when I get home and can upload them)

    I love my MBP... christmas/graduation present from my aunt and uncle.

    I do have a lot of bolts, but it may not be _as_ overbuilt as it seems -- 10-32 screws in 1/8 in aluminum = 4 threads per hole, and aluminum isn't known for its shear strength. Regardless, I probably have more than I need, which is fine with me!

    Regarding that ultimate centerpunch, wow! I wish I had one of those... problem is, I don't currently have $50 laying around that I can use to replace my current $5 centerpunch :p

    Update w/ pics tonight! I'll be welding some things, so stay tuned for masses of blue faces hitting brick walls when I make a major mistake ;)
     
  13. Javerh

    Javerh Topiary Golem

    Joined:
    5 Sep 2006
    Posts:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    26
    The rule of thumb is to use at least 7 threads to hold a bolt if is under any stress. And that is for steel. If you can't fulfill this suggestion, use plenty of bolts to compensate.
     
  14. aglaser

    aglaser New Member

    Joined:
    19 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, the welding bit fell through... my friend said he tried mis MIG welder on some 3/4" x 1/8" aluminum angle, and kept getting burn throughs... and really, welding's probably overkill for this project. He did pitch me some mysterious rods that apparently act like solder but for aluminum... I think I might have to get some scrap pieces and experiment with that, but until further notice plans for the structural corners remain angle brackets.

    Work has been generally slowing down on the project, as other responsibilities are starting rear their ugly heads. Stupid graduating from high school getting in my way...

    Anyway, here's my work for the past couple days. I attached one of the main structural supports yesterday, using the method cheaps suggested with a slight variation that involves food products...

    [​IMG]

    If you look closely, you can see that I stacked the bigger, heavier cans on the back of the sheet to give more leverage, and therefore hold it in place better. I don't know if that made any difference, but it made me feel smart...

    I ended up pulling out the threads in one of the holes I drilled, where my (3/8") bolt had to pass through three pieces of 1/8" inch sheet. I was able to salvage the threads by running a tap back through them, but I ran to the store and grabbed some 1/2" bolts for the three places where this happens, and that worked a charm.

    [​IMG]

    My slightly more sane clamping setup for attaching to the other arm of my angle:

    [​IMG]

    And the end result! Cheaps' technique works a charm (although in all fairness I discovered it before I read the comment on my log ;) )

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The underside

    [​IMG]

    Playing with depth of field

    [​IMG]

    I did something stupid though... the aluminum that I bought has two sides, one (semi) polished and nice, the other with nasty writing all over it. I marked which side was which on the blue tape before I covered it, but forgot about it when I was mounting the outside piece, and put it so the ugly side is out... oh well, I'm going to need to finish it anyways, just miffed at myself for not paying attention.
     

Share This Page