Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Set the controls for the heart of the car

OK, so today I got a bunch done on the clutch and the steering. I started with these spacers for the clutch master cylinder. Being mild steel, they wanted some corrosion protection, and I am still not happy with my skills with a spraycan, so I decided to nickel plate them instead.

Before I could actually go to plating, I wire-wheeled them to remove surface gunk, put them in an acid metal etch, and gave them a rinse in regular old water.

Mmmmmm... forbidden Gatorade.

Actually, it's a nickel acetate solution I made. It's not hard or dangerous - it needs only some vinegar, nickel strips, salt, and low-voltage, low-amperage power - I literally used an old USB wall wart. 

Anyway, by hanging the steel parts into the solution, with voltage applied to the nickel strips at the edges and to the parts themselves, nickel gets applied to the steel.

Maybe it's a little underwhelming, but this is what the parts look like after a couple of hours in the plating tank. I decided these were all ready to go onto the car after they were fully dry.
And there they are, keeping space between the clutch master cylinder and the firewall! 
After that, I installed the steering column and the universal joint connecting it to the steering rack - so now the steering knuckles actually steer when the wheel is turned.

Next up is the accelerator pedal and cable - but that requires more parts needing corrosion protection. And, sadly, my current capacity of nickel plating is not large enough. I need to buy more vinegar, but I am not feeling the need to go to the grocery store on the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 23, 2020

The first controls are in!

Yep, the first controls are in the car now, which feels like a momentous occasion. I got the pedal box from the donor all bolted up, and the brake master cylinder hooked up to the brake pedal. Tomorrow is the clutch master cylinder. In order to do that, I have a couple of spacers that I am going to nickel plate on the bench rather than painting them.

 Also, big news on the parts front - the first chair has arrived, which gives the car the look of, well, a car. It's not mounted up yet, or anything - I need to do work on the fuel tank and the firewall before I can do that.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

New improved and expanded rivet fan

I posted a few days ago about my previous rivet fan being too small for some large pieces on aluminum I needed  to mark. The red one shown here is good for ten holes on 3" centers; the blue one is the new one I just finished building - it's good for sixteen holes at the same spacing. It's perfect for these large pieces, but it's also easy to expand, should more be needed down the road.

Here's the real improvement, though, underneath. The hardware on the red one is just threaded into the plastic, which works but is not terribly durable; the blue one has pockets designed into it for nuts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Rear firewall work

Well, I got the first piece of the aft firewall tweaked a little bit and aligned up today for fitting. The little green dealies you can see there are spacers to help me get the top edge of the panel centered on that horizontal tube. I did have to do a little trimming to get it to fit nicely, but it all looked nice.

 Then I realized that my homemade rivet fan is good for ten rivets on 3" centers, more or less - but the aluminum was more than forty-two inches wide.

So I have designed a new and improved (and larger) rivet fan. I planned it for fifteen rivets on 3" centers, which should be plenty. I think I will probably also print enough extra pieces to make a new and improved ten by 3" fan, because the fifteen-hole fan is likely to be unwieldy on all but the largest pieces.

Correcting an oversight

In my previous post, I mentioned that there was an oversight in the design of the kit, and that I was going to fabricate a rear firewall to separate the engine bay from the fuel tank area. Here, I am using the templates I made previously to draw out the pieces onto .063" aluminum sheet. I used a jigsaw with a 30TPI metal-cutting blade to cut things out.
So here's the first piece on the frame, just using a couple of clamps. I'm going to work on final alignment, then get it marked, drilled, and Clecoed up, so I can make new templates for all the pieces around it.
This piece was supposed to go immediately to the left of the piece shown above, but the alignment was terrible and I ended up calling it scrap. I have some ideas about making a better piece, and I am working on those ideas today.

Monday, November 2, 2020

An odd oversight

One strange thing about the 818 kit is that it doesn't include a firewall between the engine compartment and the fuel tank. The is  a firewall between the fuel tank and the passenger area, but in this picture, taken from the engine bay, you can see where the tank would sit, on that black steel floor. This seems like it would allow the ingress of water and dirt into that area, and possibly larger objects thrown up off the road.

In my uncle's build, he has added a firewall here, and I think I am going to as well. The first step is to make rough templates for the pieces that will make up the firewall.

I started by cutting a large piece of cardboard which fit against the frame of the back wall of the cabin, and tracing the outlines of the main tubes. I then cut this into six main pieces, and added and subtracted a few bits to fit them around various brackets and frame members.

 Here's what I came up with. It all assembles pretty well onto the car. It's just slightly rough in a few places, but this is a pretty good draft to work from. I need to buy some 0.060" aluminum and start cutting things out.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

My pressing affairs have been concluded!

Today, I got over being mad at myself for screwing up the rear bearings last time I tried this, and I went back down to my uncle's shop to press in the rear bearings and hubs (again).

Here, I'm just about to press in the actual hub for one of the knuckles, with the bearing and seals already installed. And this time, I actually remembered to install the brake plates first!

 And here's what the completed assemblies look like. I really could install these tomorrow, but I have a few other things I think I should do first. 

Among them is installing the adjustable rear lateral links I picked up my uncle - he bought some different ones, so I grabbed his unused ones.