Monday, February 16, 2009

rockin' the cold rolled steel

Well, the collet holder for my mill is (er, more or less) finished. I could install it now, and ten years ago, I would have. But lately I've gotten into finishing my projects, so it's got a coat of primer drying on it right now. I need to drop by the hardware store and pick up a can of sorta-Bridgeport-gray enamel to go over it. This is just for the metal frame. The phenolic-laminate panel will remain "au naturel". Must remember to also pick up a tin of PVC pipe cement thinner.

Now I can push harder on the steampunk / mad science light switch project. I need the aforementioned PVC cement so I can glue together some 2" disks I cut from 1/2" gray PVC. That will make a 2" diameter cylinder which I can then turn down on the lathe into an insulating bushing. I could have gone out and bought a chunk of 2" diameter PVC bar stock, but that shit is expensive, and I had a chunk of 1/2" sheet lying around. The turned bushing / adapter thing will A) allow the attachment of the clear acrylic Jacob's Ladder enclosure to the copper pipe elbow; B) provide something to mount the electrodes to; and C) provide extra insulation to prevent the terminals on the bottom from flashing over to the copper pipe. Of course the copper pipe and metal cabinet will be carefully grounded.

I'm getting pretty close to having everything ready to assemble. I still need to purchase a few electrical odds and ends (< $20 I think) that I don't have on hand, make the electrodes, make a top cap for the acrylic enclosure and figure out how to vent it. Oooh, I just had a brain drizzle. Okay, so the safety shield enclosure tube just got a little more complicated, but now dust won't be able to get in the top, and it will look even better. I'm getting carried away with this thing. I need to get it done so I can get the parts off my bench, they're taking up valuable real estate.

It would be nice if I could knock it out in time for the March Mad Scientists meet, but that might not be practical. Perhaps I can at least get it mocked up and on the wall. Crap, I need to make a bracket or shelf for the box to sit on too.

There's a small group of steampunk enthusiasts meeting occasionally at Netherworld (note to self: find out when the next meetup is) and it would be fun to take the finished article there to demonstrate. I'd have to unbolt the big knife switch from the wall where it's already mounted, but I had to do that anyway come to think of it. It needs a secret modification.

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