A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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20 August 2022

Ends and Beginnings.

I'm pleased to report that this week I have mastered the fundamentals of TIG welding aluminium, so ending several years of doubt that a) I had a welder sophisticated enough to achieve a decent result - I discover mine is a pulse machine - and, b) having done years of TIG welding, I knew more or less what I should be doing. I've successfully added extensions to box and channel section pieces that I managed to cut to the wrong lengths (don't ask).

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Before things went well enough to give me confidence, another chum popped into the workshop and spotted immediately that, despite knowing and checking beforehand, I had the polarity the wrong way round. After making a few adjustments to the dials, he then demonstrated a perfect weld on the ΒΌ" thick section that I was causing to look somewhat distressed.

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I had had my doubts about the capacity of the machine to penetrate properly, but this shot down one of the box sections showed that all was well, and I completed the twelve extension pieces without blowing holes in anything - the thickness of the material helps the amateur no end.

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In amongst all this I had to make up a new exhaust for Learned Counsel's Locost; he's at Silverstone this weekend and I hope it doesn't fall apart. I had only 0.9 steel sheet of dubious quality (lead and other contaminants) to work with that was impossible to TIG, so used the Mig, tacking as I went until all the gaps were filled.

Good news from Slovakia; the Hillman completed its first 60kms and its new owner is delighted. He probably drives it harder than I ever did.

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The Morris Six starter motor fandango proved to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. It's now complete and ready to install, but I wasn't able to apply the special glue to the centre barrel with any certainty. It was always going to be a very tight press-fit, so tight that the barrel pushed the glue out as it progressed through the rubber. Vulcanising is the only sensible way to do the job (and I have a book on the shelf detailing the process) but as a stopgap, I trickled very thin superglue around the edges which by capillary action, I hope will work well enough for a get-you-home spare. I've used this method before and it had some temporary success.

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After fitting a new exhaust pipe gasket to The Great Collector's MkVI Bentley, I had a whizz around the field in it. I'd never driven it before and found it extremely light, responsive, and comfortable. Perhaps parking might be heavier work, but I was impressed, and its colour scheme sets it off nicely.

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From the mid-70's to just recently, The Other Wright Brother has been involved in hand printing textiles and wallpaper. I've dipped in and out of the business over the years; printing, colour-matching and so forth, and helping design and build any amount of specialist machines when such things were needed. We've built several print tables (see 'With Cook to the Seaside' Oct 2013) and adapted equipment from other industries to fulfil specific needs.

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The Company has been bought by a French concern and they've scrapped most of the equipment we'd built over decades - it's theirs now and they'll do with it what they will - and commissioned three new textile tables (totalling 80 metres) to fill the space left by the exiting wallpaper equipment. Here we go again.

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next post Early Starts.


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