Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SPRING BREAK THRASH-O-RAMA Day 1 -Make it happen

Here I am on the first day of Spring Break, having a good time with all of my new found friends.......oh wait.....that's not me.  I'm working on this stupid travel trailer instead.  Well, these guys are cheering us on, I suppose.
I took this week off for 2 reasons, my daughter had surgery and we figured we could work on the Avalair after she was feeling better.

Summer is approaching rapidly and we have a major outing scheduled with all of our family.  If we don't make it,  we'll never hear the end of it.
We have tackled a lot of different projects, trying to "divide and conquer."  Mama Root started buffing all of the window frames, as we discussed previously, then she added new aluminum screen to all of the frames.  That was a time consuming job, but it made a huge difference.
One of the many screens we did.
One of the projects I needed to do badly, was to fabricate some sort of curtain rod hangers.  Mama Root has been sewing curtains and valances like a mad woman and my office is littered with all of it. This will get it out of the office and plus it will scratch about 6 different things off of my "To Do" list.
I cut out 14 flat patterns and sort of figured out what we needed.  I wanted lightweight, but sturdy.  I opted to use 2024 T3, .050" thick aluminum. This is way heavier than I need, but I don't like to do things more than once.
After laying out the flat pattern I de-burred all of the edges.  This handy little gizmo will save you hours of filing.  It is used primarily aircraft sheet metal shops.
Just run the V down the edge of the material.

  One of my favorite places to drop by when I am in Wichita, KS, is "The Yard."  They have tons of new/used aircraft sheet metal stuff for sale.  You can get anything I talk about, sheet metal tool wise, at the yard.
Another trick I like to use, which makes machinists cringe, is marking my hole patterns with a set of calipers. (These are cheap Harbor Freight, Chinese Charlie calipers, so they work great for this.)

  I just figure out first, where I am going to bend the metal to a 90, mark that first.  I decided on .750" or 3/4". By the way, I don't like fractions. Carpenters use fractions when you can fudge 1/8", we keep closer tolerances than that. 
Converting to decimals is way easier.  If you hate math, like I do, the easiest way to think of decimals is in terms of money.  A 1/4" is a quarter or .250", a 1/2" is half dollar or .500".  Get it?  There won't be a test.
So I find .750 on the calipers and lock them in place.  Then I just lay the edge of the caliper on the edge of the sheet metal and pull a line from top to bottom.  This scribes a straight line on the aluminum and makes it nice and straight.  Then I do the same thing with the hole spacing. 
 I like to use Uni-Bits on sheet metal, the make nice round holes.  I measured my curtain rods with my calipers and put a piece of tape on the bit to mark where to stop.  It's a cheap drill stop.
 To keep it simple, I used half of .750" which is .375".  I did the same thing on the edge distance from the ends.  I just scribed the other direction.  Now, all I have to do is drill where the lines intersect.  Easy, huh?

(Some of you may find this rudimentary, but a lot of folks work in offices and don't have a clue about hand tools.)
I plan on using a 3/16" pop rivet to attach these to the walls.  That equates to a #10 drill bit.
With that all done I need to bend this up.  I don't have a sheet metal break here, so I opted for the hillbilly method.....the vise.  I clamped it up and used a piece of wood the bend it over. I used duct tape to cover the jaws of the vise.  It's crude, but it worked. 
 Now, I need to remove all of the scratches etc. that has marred up the aluminum, I did this by polishing them up with a Roloc Scotchbrite pad. 
Now for paint.  I painted these with a satin finish, just to kinda make it blend.  The curtain rods will be painted the same color. I skipped all the paint pics.  You get the idea.

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