The Big Think

May 6, 2015

To Everything, Turn, Turn, Turn

Filed under: The R2 Project — jasony @ 8:54 pm

Whew, what a day. I went to TechShop this morning at 11:30 and stood at the metal lathe for almost 8 hours. In that time I managed to complete 8 of the 16 vertical support rods from the R2 frame. Each rod has a tapped hole at both ends, so 16 holes.

It took about an hour to get everything adjusted correctly, find all my tools, get advice, and carefully test out a piece. Once I felt good I just stood there for hour after hour carefully working on each piece. Here are the steps:

1. 45 degree chamfer and detail lines .33″ apart
2. center drill end of rod with a center bit (basically a short stubby bit that makes a pilot hole for the main drill bit
3. Drill a 1″ deep hole with a #7 tapping bit
4. Tap threads with tap (by hand…. no power)

It doesn’t look like much but the first hole took over 30 minutes. I got to where I was doing one rod (twice through these steps) about every 40 minutes. I forgot to eat breakfast before I went and skipped lunch (except for an apple) so by the time I finished at 7pm tonight I was starving. Luckily, Erin has a nice steak cooking when I got home.

Just before leaving I took one of the rods and hit it with a high rpm grinding wheel (a soft wheel) and removed the oxidation. I then did a polishing pass with a polishing wheel just to see what it looked like. Verdict? Amazement. It looks so much better than I thought. What was a simple oxidized rod of aluminum now actually looks like a for-real metal part to something. This is going to be pretty spectacular, I think.

I’ll probably go back up to TechShop tomorrow but I don’t know if my feet can handle another 7 hours at the lathe. I’m halfway through with the 16 rods but I think I need a break.

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