Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lack of Blogging...

My wife had a shoulder repair operation yesterday at St. Luke's, and pretty much the whole day was spent with getting her checked in, surgery, post-op.  I probably should have brought my laptop, but I wasn't expecting the entire day to get consumed.  I will say that I am always very impressed with the medical and support staff at St. Luke's (and every other hospital here in the Boise area).  Friendly; courteous; concerned.

She is doing okay, but considering that they went in and removed bone spurs inside her shoulder, she is in a bit of pain.  I stayed home yesterday and today to take care of her; I just can't imagine what single people do in these situations.

The evenings have been lost in the great telescope rebuild.  I discovered that all the work I put into trimming the C-channel pieces down was a mistake; there was not enough clearance for attaching the steel straps without a lot more precision in cutting than I could easily do with a bandsaw, so I started over, and it was much faster.  When drilling the attachment holes in the steel straps, the straps are thin enough that they briefly went red-hot as I drilled them!  (More oil next time.)

The new versions were faster to make, in spite of breaking the 1/8" end mill that I was using to cut the slot.  I finished with a 1/4" end mill, which looks less elegant for an .030" thick piece of steel strap, but it isn't like you can find a 1/8" end mill in Horseshoe Bend.

The upper picture shows the static end of the strap; the lower picture shows the screw that tightens it down.  Unfortunately, the thumb screws I bought at Grainger just weren't long enough.  A 1" long screw thread sounds good enough, but once the captive nuts were on it, that was not enough travel to be useful, so it now has a conventional hex head bolt.  I may replace those when I can order a thumb screw with a longer thread.  They work well -- although it takes a while to crank them down enough.  Of course, that also makes it less likely that I will overcompress the tube with the straps, so I guess that's a positive.

The mirror cell has turned out to be a "I was too clever for my good" moment (as have several in the project).  It turns out that having the mounting brackets separate from the bottom plate was a great idea -- except that the bolts holding the brackets to the bottom plate can't get past the mirror once the brackets are mounted inside the tube.  So I guess I will do what I was trying to avoid -- tap the mounting brackets so that I can screw the threads in from the outside of the tube.  This is a blind operation, but at least I can see the brackets from the rear.  Some other mirror cells have you trying to find the threaded holes in a circular casting where there are no real clues as to location.  The slots in the mounting brackets were for 1/4"-20 bolts, so it is easy enough to tap these for 5/16"-18 bolts -- which, fortunately, I have some in black oxide finish that I can use for this.

But that will be tomorrow night, or maybe the night after.  I actually have ScopeRoller orders rolling in, and I need to get some of these filled.

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