24 Apr 2011

More glacial progress on the paneling. Got distracted by the side paneling that extend forward on each side of the shifter toward the footwell panel. That then led to thinking about how to make the storage section, which will live above the passenger’s feet and attaches to one of the panels. After staring at that a while, decided to go back and work on the next panel down on the center tunnel cover (the loose cardboard piece seen between the seats. Note how the driver’s seat is touching the cover – that’ll be “adjusted” once all the rest is done. This part of the car is a bit fussy but that’s what it takes to look okay and have access.

18 Apr 2011

We’re parents! Hummingbird mom had her babies hatch yesterday or today (taking 16-18 days to hatch.) The inside of the nest is about 1″ across; I wonder how they’re going to fit as they get bigger.

In other news, when I hurt myself it never seems to be in a normal way. Saturday I was leaning over the car, and as you know I have carpet on the floor to make it more comfortable to work on down low. During the paneling sessions there’s a lot of cardboard scraps laying around, one of which I happened to be standing on. Leaned over just enough and presto, my feet slid out from under me on that cardboard. This caused a surprised me to fall onto the front outboard corner of the windscreen frame before I could catch myself (my hands were full, probably with scissors and a marker.) I landed on that frame corner with most of my weight on what I think is my top-most left rib. Ouch. I suspect it might be cracked because it really lets me know when I sneeze or cough. I’m seeing the doctor in three weeks anyway so I’ll see how it is by then. Getting old sucks.

17 Apr 2011

Not much to show for working all weekend, but aluminum paneling, especially curved contours, takes a lot of time to get right. The two panels behind the seats may or may not be riveted in, haven’t decided. The center portion (of which three segments are in-place) will have at least one
more section added down toward the shifter, then it’ll all be welded together because it’s how I deal with not having an English Wheel. It’ll attach with rivnuts (learned my lesson on Kimini about designing myself into a corner and being unable to access parts of the car after it was done.) After that’s done another couple of panels will extend forward to protect the occupants from any broken coolant lines spewing hot water everywhere. It also keeps people from getting burns, as well as cleaning up the internal appearance. Not sure how a cover around the shifter will be handled but this sort of stuff seems to design itself.

This is the most difficult item remaining in the project. The reason for the drama is simply because it’ll be very visible and I want it to look nice, and be functional. As mentioned, the cowl will probably be redone, but it won’t be as tough as this is/was. Getting this panel done goes a fair way toward getting the car done, at least mentally, which counts for a lot.

10 Apr 2011

This is what happens when I lose my temper, in this case with a Harbor Freight sheet metal nibbler. It kept jamming and refusing to move through the metal even though it appeared to be working fine. With growing frustration, and after examining the tool several times to figure out was wrong, and after trying to push it through the ridiculously thin 0.050″ 3003 aluminum, I snapped, slamming it down on the floor. So now I get to buy a new one, and had to cut out the panels with snips. Why show this? Just to show that not everything always goes smoothly in Self-Builder Land.

It was hard to get a shot that showed the 3-D nature of the outer firewall panels. The remaining center panel that connects the two is going to be a bit tricky, and already several cardboard models have been discarded. Then there’s the question of whether or not to weld all three pieces together (but then it may be hard to get it in and out.) Or, flange the outside parts and have the center panel bolt to them.

Mentally, these three panels – for whatever reason – have been a real drag. I think once it’s dealt I’ll be over the hump, though there’s still the dash cover. It was made once before but it’s been decided that it can be done better, and since it’s right up there where I’ll be second-guessing it every time I drive the car, may as well deal with it sooner rather than later.

7 Apr 2011

Just weighed the seatbelts and it’s surprising how heavy they are, 11-lbs for both 6-pt sets – not that anything can be done about it. It’s just another reminder how the car weight sneaks its way higher.

6 Apr 2011

Decided to do the fuel filler on a whim. This little bastard took all day mostly due to the complex curve the outer ring had to form to. It isn’t a single-plane bend, but a decreasing radius bend toward the front. However, because the assembly is so visible it had to be “right”, so there was no hesitation to proceed. It’ll likely be painted red, along with the suspension arms (and no, this doesn’t mean I know what color the rest of the car will be, but I’m circling in 🙂 Or if the car is dark maybe it’ll be clear-coated.

Did a bit more on the center tunnel/firewall interface. It’s still designing itself but seems to be settling down.

As I was typing this I heard an odd-sounding helicopter, like the rotors were spinning 2-3 times normal speed. Went out and looked and it was a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft flying over. Pretty cool, as would be expected for around $67 million.

3 Apr 2011

With spring comes all sorts of interesting critters around here. During our morning walks lately we’ve been seeing quail and a couple of roadrunners. Then recently in our yard, Mother Hummingbird built a nest not five feet from our kitchen window (she’s right in the center of the first picture.) The closeup of the nest doesn’t do it justice, as it’s about 1.5″ across! Unfortunately putting the nest there means that every time we open the door she flies off. At night she seems to know to sit tight when I let out Midi, so that’s good.

Then, yesterday I was putting in an avocado tree and saw this little guy in the mulch I gathered. He’s either a skink or a salamander, pretty cool either way because they’re fairly rare due to SoCal being semi-arid.

Oh yeah, then there’s Midlana. Made a goofy-looking brace to hold the very stiff shifter cables where they need to be, to stay away from the firewall panel. Next was starting in on the firewall interface to the center tunnel, which might mean replacing the existing lower stainless firewall, but no biggy.

In other news, there’s a magazine sniffing around for an article… more news on that as it develops.