Sunday, October 25, 2015

Screwed to death!

Tonight I'm aching badly after having been screwing hard all afternoon. Indeed, I was still hard at work until the light expired on me at about 6-30pm. The evenings are definitely (or defiantly if Google autocorrect had its way) drawing in.

Achievements today - nothing especially notable. It was a continuation of yesterday, working on my battery compartment. I drilled a few new holes and installed more angle bracket and started on the lock nuts.

While I was there, I noticed what a rotten job the hillbillies had made of installing the cable compartment door. Did they just not notice that one end was a lot higher than the other? Perhaps (as I suspect) they just didn't care!

I looked at the compartment I am building and noted that the steel bracket is not a true 90° so its probably something the hillbillies got free or cheap. They'd built bedframes from this stuff and I can assure you that its pretty springy steel, having flexed it. It should be good for my battery compartment though.

Aside from installing more bolts - which was a case of drilling holes, putting the bolts in and tightening nuts - I installed lock nuts on 17 bolts. That took quite a while because I had to tighten the nuts by hand and do the lock nuts by hand too. The bolts are rather longer than any of the available 3/4 sockets so each nut had to be tightened using a spanner.

After tightening the nuts they were trimmed with my trusty and long suffering $15 Harbor Freight angle grinder. Would you believe of my original pack of 10 cutting disks I have but one left. That's how much use it has had!

I'm not worried about the springiness of the steel. When its all pulled into place and bolted, the springiness will be contained. What does concern me is attaching the cage to the bus. As I have already mentioned, welding is an interesting idea. Having thought about welding more thoroughly, its probably a better idea to get some steel rivets and to rivet the cage to the sub frame where its not possible to use bolts.

The things that factor into the riveting decision are:
1. I don't have a welder and the cheapest is $70.
2. I have never welded before and would have to learn how before I did anything on or for the bus.
3. I have no suitable face protection, no suitable gloves and no suitable smock.
4. As the steel is galvanized, I gather the fumes from welding galvanized steel are toxic.
5. Welders need a 20A power supply and I just don't have such a power supply at hand. I could install a 30A socket on the breaker box in the yard but that would probably take most of a day.
6. A new rivet gun and rivets are way cheaper than anything else at $30 for the rivet gun and maybe $20 for the rivets.
7. I am well used to riveting.
8. I'm unlikely to need to weld anything else.
9. A hand riveter does not need power.

So, it looks like I'll have to drop into Home Depot this coming week for the new riveter. My existing riveter does not work well with tougher aluminum rivets. Steel rivets are harder to use.

That's how springy the steel is! I can't wait to get this installed under the bus. I'll probably install some lighter steel bracket to hold the batteries in place. Holding them down can be done with a chain and a turnbuckle. I probably won't bother too much about water shielding as its unlikely water will splash upwards even on a wet day as the wheels are nowhere near the compartment.

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