Tuesday, November 17, 2009

3...2...1...Blast Off

For months I have been looking for a local company that does soda blasting, but have had little luck. The lone prospect wanted $100 per hour, $50 a bag of blasting soda, and $0.58 cents a mile to my house for gas. I was born at night, but not last night!

So last Friday I was perusing the website of everybody's favorite place to hate on. The place where cheap and poorly made Chinese tools live...Harbor Freight. They had a portable soda blaster that held 10 pounds of media on sale for $79.00. I figured at this price it was worth it even if I had to bring the tool back. I picked up the blaster, set of funnels, and a 50 pound bag of blasting soda for $145.00.
Harbor Freight's 10 lb soda blasting rig

Assembly at home took 10 minutes, and was pretty straight forward. I took it outside and set my sights on cleaning off my front and rear trim caps. The caps were covered in paint and bondo from a previous panel accident. It took a few minutes to get the adjustments right, but the blaster worked incredibly well. Last week I had applied paint stripper and took several coats of paint off, but most of it wouldn't budge. The results of soda blasting are quite amazing.

56 years of paint and bondo

After a couple minutes of blasting with medium grit blast media

Clean with minimal effort

Soda blasting causes no damage to the metal surface

Completely done stripping the paint and bondo.

With the trim cap completely stripped, we installed it using round headed stainless steel screws. The cap doesn't fit perfectly, and I suppose it never fit perfectly on the original skin either. Strategically placed sealant will clean the edge up where the cap doesn't fully mesh against the front panel.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Vintage Eyes

Well...I had a nice long posting all drawn out, and then my computer decided to go into shutdown mode, and the draft I saved is NOWHERE to be found. In short, Bob and I were able to use our 4 hour half day to good use, and got the front window reinstalled into the trailer. Rebuilding this window took a very long time, and there are a great number of parts to it even though it may not look like it.

We started by finishing the reassembly of the windw since I had missed a few rivets while I was last working on it months ago. I popped them into place, and slid in the newly rebuilt sash. I didn't have my camera, so sorry for no pics.

Next we dry fit the window into place. These old 50's windows sandwiches in between the top of the front curved panel, and a bracing panel that is inside the front endcap. This was done to assist in shedding water and help with rigidity. The holes lined up perfectly, but we had a couple of holes that would not hold tight with a 5/32 cleco fastener.

Window in place with clecos

After the dry fit, we removed the window and I applied a hefty bead of vulkem on three sides of the window opening where the windo would overlap the skin. The top would be vulkemed later once the window was installed.

Be liberal with sealant, and clean it up later before it is completely cured.
We placed the window back in the opening and seated it against the bead of vulkem. We then clecoed through the holes and proceeded to buck rivet the window into place. Each rivet squeezed a little more vulkem out the sides of the window ensuring me a water tight fit. A few holes that were too wide for a 5/32 solid rivet were replaced with olympic rivets. These worked like a charm. After the riveting, I proceeded to wipe off the excess vulkem with a laquer thinner soaked rag. I shaved the few olympics that we had to install with Bob's shaver tool, and we were done.

Get the mess off now or be sorry later.

We were running out of daylight quickly, and the sun had already gone over the horizon. We were working off the streetlight, and decided that we couldn't get much more done. I decided last minute to install the drip cap over the window to have a complete front window ensemble. I applied a liberal bead of sealant to the back of the drip cap, and used olympics in the installation. The originals were buck rivets, but I wanted the ease of olympics in the little light we had. I shaved the mandrels off, wiped the sealant residue, and called it a night.

Rebuilt window fully riveted and sealed

The Cylon

More work tomorrow with hopes of getting a couple more windows installed and the front panel completely fastened.