Friday, July 13, 2012

Hover Sled Part V

Well the heat wave in New Jersey finally broke and I was able to work in my garage again without meltingor sweating myself into a pileof useless skin. Sometimes I am simply amazed at how much bitching and complaining I do about the heat seeing as how I lived for fourteen years in Florida. It’s a different heat I suppose. Up here in Jersey the air is chock full of pollutantsand cheese steak stink. It’s not the kind of foul heat I would wish upon any unfortunate soul. Oh well, moving on.
When last we left off I was pondering the best placement of foam noodle standoffs on the main disc. I had decided to place twice as many standoffs as close to the edge as I could get them. Being somewhat of a “wannabe perfectionist”, I felt it necessary to draw a circle on the disc to aid in the accurate placement of the standoffs. To accomplish this I pulled my trusty circle drawing stick from the trash that I had originally used to trace out a circle on the OSB sheet in the beginning of the project. I measured out a twenty inch radius and drilled a hole in the stick. This time around I used a yellow crayon for tracing. Ooooo pretty circle.

Next I roughly placed the standoffs along the yellow line. I had pondered making a small PVC tool that equally spaced all standoffs from one another but I figured that it was more trouble than it was worth and decided to just space the standoffs apart by eye. Now you know why I refer to myself as a “wannabe perfectionist”. 

I then mixed up a generous portion of epoxy glue and started in on the gluing. Because this was quick setting stuff, five minutes I believe, I only squirted out enough to provide epoxyfor two or three standoffs at a time. I would smear and glue, smear and glue, then mix more up. I did this about eight times until everything was glued on. The problem now was that I needed a way to apply pressure to all the standoffs to insure that they would not move at all and take hold. Luckily I still had the other half of the OSB sheet on hand. I placed this on top gently with the aid of my scoffing wife and then topped it off with a paving stone for added weight.

Twenty four hours later and everything appeared to be glued nicely. I was not able to remove any of the standoffs no matter how hard I twisted and turned them. I must admit that the picture below made me think that I was assembling a gigantic escarpment wheel. Hmm, a neat idea for a future project?

Up until now the construction has been pretty straight forward. I am not really tackling anything that I have never done before in the realm of simple building techniques. However, I am now at a point where I need to start working on the skirt and this is something that is pretty alien to me. I have never really worked with plastic before, much less shaping or cutting it. Sure, I was an injection molder like fifteen years ago but that was basically popping plastic parts out of a machine and trimming the excess plastic off of them. When you wonder how those headphones you are wearing were made, think of me sitting next to a gigantic machine half stoned out of my head on noxious plastic fumes and Xylene. America is sending our jobs overseas? They can have those jobs, I’ll stick with the IT industry myself. 
Anyway, to get back to the point, I have never played with cutting and shaping a plastic tarp, so this was a first for me. My apprehension stemmed mainly from me getting confounded easily over how to make a two dimensional cut on something that will be inflated into three dimensions. Rather than thinking about it too much, I just decided to divein. So far I’ve had decent luck with that.
The main issue I had to tackle was how to get a hole in the plastic that would be strong enough that it would not rip the plastic when tugged around by the forces of movement and inflation. I tried two things. I cut the plastic with a razor and I also melted a hole with a soldering iron. The melting seemed to produce a better more durable hole in the plastic so I settled with that. I further reinforced the hole with a piece of Gorilla Tape on each side of the hole. Below is a picture of my test piece. I pulled and tugged and attempted to rip the hole and was not able to. So I think I have my method.

 Finally, I laid out my 6x8 tarp and placed the disc on top of it. I then marked where my cuts and holes would go. I hope the cutting goes smoothly. I believe it will be a slow and grueling process. Once complete I can then mount everything on to the disc and take it for a little test flight. 

I hope this is my last entry before accomplishing all of that.

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