Monday, February 14, 2011

Back pedalling on the pedestal

This weekend I finally got to chat real time with a fellow sim builder (and blog follower), Gianluca. A great opportunity to compare notes (although I was doing most of the asking) and to swap ideas on design. Since his and my build are so similar in approach, we have a lot in common. In the conversation Gianluca offered up his opinion that I must be a perfectionist. I never thought so but then....

Spent any free time I had yesterday redoing the rails on the pedestal. I wasn't happy with the way the holes were lining up (see last post). Drilling bigger holes in the CPflight modules wouldn't have worked since the fake DZUS have very little wiggle room (almost none) in the face plates. My approach was to remove the rails and replace with fresh ones, mask off the units, place each on the rails in turn, drill through the face plates, tap and secure each one before moving onto the next. Given how fragile the paint is, I used a masking tape designed for such, so when you pull it off, it doesn't take the paint with it.
Then to the drill press where I very carefully drilled each hole, through the face plate of each unit. I drilled very slowly to minimize the swarf. Sometimes it can stuck on the drill bit and with it lashing around, it can strip off paint in an instant. Vigilance was key, as was the shop vac on standby to vacuum up any debris.

My plan was to shove the front units up against the MDF, get those seated then push the others up right behind. I quickly discovered though that the units still were not properly aligned! What is going on? Quick check with a set square revealed that the cabinet sides are not an accurate 90 degrees from the ends. Wouldn't normally be a big deal but with the tight tolerances of the metal work, you can see any misalignment. I wasn't about to rebuild the whole thing so I compromised with the next row of units. I set them at 90 degrees to the sides and left a small gap between them and the first row. I guess I'm not that much of a perfectionist..

Here's the finished result:

Good enough for me. Much better than it was. Although the sharp eyed of you will notice a little missing paint on the ADF. Even with masking tape for delicate jobs - beware.

I've received a couple of kind comments about the pedestal. I should acknowledge Rudy's design work, I took the idea and dimensions from here.

I should also acknowledge the comment from Rhydian about the qualities of MDF and that it can be dangerous to work with. According to this site the biggest threats are the formaldehyde leakage and the fine dust. I always wear a quality dust mask when working with the stuff and seal the finished article inside and out with primer as a minimum. Suggest you do likewise.

All for now. Will work on the metal trim and paint this week - honest I will.

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