Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More Paint removal

I tried a different paint stripper today and was quite pleased with the results. I used KleenStrip's aircraft remover. I found an aerosol at walmart, but I couldn't find it in the liquid form. I taped off the trunk that has already been sealed and went to work on the weatherstrip channel. It took 2 passes to get most of the paint off, then I switched over to a wire wheel in a drill to clean up the last bit of paint. I was much happier with the aircraft stripper than the bix I used before.

The aircraft stripper works really fast. It says 15 minutes on the can, but it was more like 5. I could actually feel the chemicals burning me through my blue rubber gloves. After everything was stripped I wiped everything down with mineral spirits.

I will be stripping the wheel wells next. I suspect I will work in small areas so I can stay on top of the work.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Plumbing the Air Compressor

The project went on a slight hold this weekend while I plumbed in my compressor. For the last 15 years I have just had a 50' hose connected to a water separator/regulator connected to a ball valve. Since I am going to start painting bigger pieces and parts I wanted to be sure if the air kicks on, I have a dry supply.

My firm has a 6 bay garage behind our main building. It used to house a car mechanic. I went out and poked around and found some old 1/2" galvanized piping that was used for supplying air to all the repair bays. I like to be as green as I can be at work and in life... I am also always on the lookout to save money if at all possible, so I asked if I could salvage the old pipe. My boss said I could have it if I was willing to do the work to remove it. In all I removed about 40' of piping and a handful of elbows, a "T" connector and a union.

I saw this diagram referenced on a few other websites http://www.tptools.com/StaticText/airline-piping-diagram.pdf and followed the concepts. I installed a 6" riser at the tool end and sloped the main pipe back toward the compressor. At the compressor, I upgraded the connection at the ball valve from a 1/4" nipple and adapter bushings to a larger 3/8" nipple. Then I ran a 3/8" lead-in hose line (from Harbor Freight) to a 1/2"-3/8" adapter bushing. I installed a union where the hose connects to the hard line so I can break everything apart from that point without having to mess with twisting up the hose. At the other end of the line I installed a 6" riser on a "T" connector out to the dryer/regulator. On the bottom of the "T" I installed a 6" nipple and a drain cock at the bottom. All of this added together should force the water in the line back toward the compressor, or at the least, it should drain into the 6" drain at the bottom of the "T" connector.

My father came over and helped me assemble the piping in the driveway, then we put a few mineracs on the wall and clipped the piping in place. After the piping was up, I connected the union and the lead-in hose from the tank.

I wound up purchasing just a few items: the drain cock, yellow (gas) tape, a bushing, 2 elbows and 4 nipples 5" long. I needed 1 piece of pipe cut and threaded. The man in the plumbing dept at Lowes was nice enough to do it for free since I had a handful of other plumbing supplies.

I tested the system out tonight with about 90 minutes of constant grinding. I saw some water about an hour and 20 minutes into the operation. The compressor ran almost the whole time. Once I drained out the dryer and drain cock the air was totally dry again. With my old setup the water would show up in about 20-30 minutes. I suspect if I drain the cocks every hour or so I should be dry all the time. I could also probably use a new dryer as mine is 15 years old and just a cheapo craftsman. A Sata or other paint-specific dryer would probably be much better.

The main drop
Tank side. Every slopes back to the tank. You can also see the union fitting
I test fit the headlight bucket to see how much grinding/bodywork I could do on the back side of the headlight area AFTER I get the bucket installed
I couldn't resist mocking up the headlight. Almost looks like it has a soul with the lens and chrome ring installed!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Filling Left Air Vent

I was able to work for just a short while on this long holiday weekend. I managed to weld in the DS air vent patches I made a month ago. I've been finding it very difficult to weld on the bulbously curved nose. Everytime I weld up a nicely fitted patch, the metal shrinks up and winds up flat. I have to spend 1/2 an hour hammering the patch back into shape. I was told awhile back to make my patches just a touch small so the metal wouldn't pucker if it was heated too much. The smaller patch (right side of the photos) fit extremely tight and had much less shrinking than the bigger (left side of the photo) section.

I was able to hammer most of the patch, but the area right next to the inner fender proved very difficult to fit a hammer into. I also tried using a screwdriver and very small pry bar. The inner fender was too flimsy to get any pressure. I am going to try to bend the chipping end of an old brick hammer so I can get into the acute angle and bang out the patch... If I can't hammer it, the filler will be about 1/8" to 1/4" thick... I'd like to avoid that and get closer to 1/16" of a gap between patch and my template.

First part of the patch tacked up
finish welded
second half welded in
panel 90% beat pack into shape and ground down

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Left Side Lower Front Inner Fender

I did a final fit and got my inner fender piece welded in tonight. This was probably the most difficult panel I have fabbed up to date. There were quite a few wrinkles and the flanged curve at the bottom gave me fits. As you can see the fit was about 95%, but again, the panel was difficult to reach. I would have liked to do this with the body off, but I don't plan to seperate the body for another month or two, so it was this way or come back to it.

I am still under the impression I am two weeks behind schedule. I have the other inner fender, some cleanup of the duct work, the fresh air grills and headlight buckets left to do. With the long weekend ahead, I am planning to get the left air grill complete along with the left headlight bucket. Then I'll hit the right side for the trifecta (inner fender, air vent and bucket) next week.
patch clamped up
Welded in