Thursday, January 12, 2012

Equipment and Frustration

To put off remembering yesterday's frustration, I've decided to show you where I "work".  I'm a member of Techshop.  Techshop is a big workspace with everything from industrial sewing machines to a gigantic computer controlled waterjet that can put delicate patterns in 1/2' steel plate. 

I do my brazing at the grinding table.  You can see the pressurized rocket-bombs that I use to make bite sized bicycle chunks on the left.  Behind the blue curtain is the Tig welding area, to the right there's a big bank of grinders and super-sweet CNC machines for making all kinds of crazy stuff out of blocks of metal.  One of my favorite things about Techshop is that you're surrounded by all kinds of other folks doing other projects.  You get into a lot of conversations about what people got done today, and what they're going to do with that set of full plate armor or freshly painted moped chassis.

I really like how the ventilation system looks.  Those big creepy spider legs should be racing mining equipment around mars, not sucking flux-fumes.

Ok, onto frustration:

I did my second set of waterbottle bosses yesterday and MAN were they more of a pain that the first set.  First, one of the reinforcement plates shifted when I was trying to braze it in place.  Then, after quickly doing the other one, I came back to it, and used too much silver, totally obscuring it's line at one point.  When painted, it'd look like a vaguely star shaped blob.  I heated it up to redistribute it and ended up with too much silver in a bunch of places.

When I heated it again to try to flow the silver around and get rid of that one lump, I ended up with too much silver all of the way around.  Then I spent an hour or so filing to try to get rid of it the old fashioned way.

When it looked pretty ok, and I thought I was done, I noticed that there was a gap in the silver on the first finished plate.  Small, but worth fixing.   So, I heated things up, and couldn't resist one more shot at the over-silvered point.  It was a bit better this time, but still needed a lot more sanding and filing... as did the first plate after I "fixed" the gap.

So, there you have it, about four hours of sanding, reheating, filing, and sand blasting for two water bottle bolts.  Last ones took about 20 minutes.  I was careful, and I don't think I thinned out the tube too much, but I'm not super happy with the process.  Next time, way, way lighter on the silver.

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