Mounting New Speakers

I got my new 4″ speakers mounted in the frame today. I made some simple brackets that bolt onto the side of the supports for the front vents.

I started off with a long length of 1-1/2″ x 1/8″ L shaped extruded aluminum. I cut off two 8″ lengths that would become the side brackets.

The brackets will wrap around the side of the front vent supports, with the speakers bolted to the back.

I drilled 4 holes in each, two larger one’s to allow me access to the screws holding the vents in place, then two more to bolt the new support on.

I then cut away a fair amount of the aluminum to allow the speaker to poke through.

Next I had to tap a bunch of holes to attach the speakers – I hate tapping holes

I tend to do things in small step, for example I fitted the first speaker, tested everything then went back and drilled, taped and fitted the second. All to often I fail if I try do too much at the same time to cut corners.

Here’s the two speakers installed and the top vent surround in place. I’m hoping to use some rare earth magnets to secure the blue surround to the frame.

I’m still concerned that the front vents will block too much sound, so I’m tempted to move one of the speakers into the skirt to bounce sound of the floor.

Posted by Chris on December 23rd, 2007 in Body, Electronics | Comments Off on Mounting New Speakers

Tags: , , ,

Skin Update

Three big milestones the last few nights. One, I finished gluing the skins together, two, I mounted the skins to the frame, and finally – I’ve almost finished painting the white parts including the skins. I can’t believe it!

Front skins were a little more tricky than the rear as I needed a lot more clips. I also had to go buy more of them as the rear skins were still drying.

Do yourself a favor and go to a 99c store and pick up 20 packs of these before you start anything. I estimate that I used around 60 clamps for skins in total. You maybe need a few bigger/stronger clamps just in case you get some spots that want to pull part, and a box or two of those black binder clips just in case.

These little clamps are probably useless for anything else you’ll work on in your life, but they’re perfect for the skins and very cheap. You could easily blow much more by going to a regular hardware store and stocking up on name brand clamps.

I’d noticed that very few builders have photos of how they glue the skins together. There’s plenty of before and after shots, but nothing during. Now I know why. It’s incredible messy and you’re in such a hurry in case the glue sets!

Once again I used the cheap 60 minute epoxy. I turns out that one pack was enough to do all of the skins and panels.

Before I applied the epoxy I cleaned the surfaces with Acetone, and double checked any tabs that I may have missed. It’s worth checking as once the skins are stuck together it’ll be really hard to get in to file them down.

Okay, here’s the obligatory after photo

I used Acetone again to clean up the excess epoxy that oozes out everywhere. I went back around again after an hour to clean up even more that came out. I pulled off each clamp one by one so I could get underneath.

It’s probably worth checking all the seems around the whole outside of the skins as I had some spots that small clamps wouldn’t hold together. In fact I missed a few places and now I have to live with it. Also, don’t forget to keep the skins in the same half circle as the frame. They will most likely de-laminate if you don’t keep them curved correctly.

Here’s a quick shot of the rear door outer skin with the epoxy on before I stuck the pieces together

By the time I’d got to the door I’d cut way back the amount of epoxy I was lathering on. It still set up fine and cleanup was a lot easier.

You’ll also notice that I cut out all of the the large panels at the last minute. I’d hoped to keep them in place but it was virtually impossible to get the skins to bond together without gaps otherwise.

While the skins were drying I tackled turning this box of bits into assembled skin panels

Clean up of the edges and tabs was pretty easy, but I had some trouble getting the door frame surrounds to stick to the inner/back panels. A few days ago I’d tried silicon, but some of them kept de-laminating.I know Victor and many others swear by silicon, and I’m sure I was doing something wrong.

I tried one door three times but the silicon would just not hold it together, three others I did at the same time worked great. Go figure. Cleaning up the silicon after it had dried was also slow going for me. And with the success and relatively easy cleanup of epoxy on the skins I opted to use it instead on the panels. It was messy but I could quickly remove the excess epoxy while it was still wet. Again I used my trusted friend “Acetone”.

Once the skins dried overnight I was able to clean up the remaining dried epoxy and get to attaching them to the frame. Test fit without any mounting blocks seemed okay, but where I’d cut out the rear door on the skin it wouldn’t sit flush to the frame, it flared out a lot. It looked like I may have to add some blocks or mount pointer on the lower half of the frame.

Fitting the skins to the frame took a little longer than I thought it would. I’m using Daniel’s mounting blocks and it look a while to figure out how I was going to measure and mark up where to drill the holes in the skins. The blocks are designed to fit the JAG frame and screw to three of the frame rings.

At first I thought I needed to attach the block to the frame first but I quickly realized that it would be hard to center, so I opted to mark a line on the inside of the skin where the ring was and attach the blocks to the skins first.

In the end I worked out the math and a little system and I only screwed up on one hole. I was amazed I didn’t get them all wrong.

Now I have one elongated hole and I’m not sure if I’m going to try and fix it or not. I’ll probably leave it and see how it looks painted up.

I then tried to drill holes in the frame rings to attach the blocks to, but the skins are so tight once the blocks are in place I only really needed to attach the lower one’s. They also pulled in the rear skins snug to the frame So I don’t think I need to add extra mounting blocks there as first though. Here’s a shot of the skins without the blocks attached to the frame and you can just about see in the bottom right of the photo where the skins don’t quite meet the frame

The next day when the epoxy was set on panels I set myself up to prep everything for painting. I went over the surfaces again to make sure there wasn’t any epoxy. I also taped off the panel surround on the skin so that the aluminum would not get painted. I really like the look of Victor’s R2.

I hope that by doing this doesn’t cause me a headache down the road.

I didn’t realize it until I was done, but it took me 4 hours last night to mask everything off.

Here’s the majority of the skins and panels layed out ready for painting.

And here they are with the first coat of self etching primer

and the gray rustoleum primer on top of that

Next up was the Rustoleum Satin White (#7791). The instructions say that you can add additional coats within 60 minutes, so I did. I must have put on at least 4 coats by the time I was done. The only catch was I could see little dust and hair particles in the paint. I was in two minds to just stop and wait the 24-48 hours for it to try and then wet sand and start again. But I decided to continue as I know that the my paint job will never be perfect and besides I’m gonna weather him eventually anyway.

Rustoleum Satin White 7791

I also went back and tried to add a few coats to some other parts. It was early evening and it was starting to get really cold. The paint came out really strange and it orange peeled instantly. I’m not sure if it was the cold that did it or just a bad can, but I’m glad it wasn’t on the skins. The horse shoe can easily be sanded down and re-painted later – much easier than the skins.

I tried to capture the orange peel look in this photo but it’s hard to capture. Click through for the larger version and you’ll probably see it better.

My wife is also sick of the paint smell in the house. Even though I paint outside I bring stuff in to dry to avoid dust. I tried to fix the fumes problem last night by duct taping the door between the laundry room and garage, and it worked. She didn’t complain once after.

Tomorrow I have to decide if I’m going to continue painting the skins or call it done and wait for them to dry properly.

I also have a possible event on Saturday, but I dont think the paint will have dried enough and give myself time to re-assemble everything. I know if I push it I’ll screw something up and I’ll need to start over on the paint.

Posted by Chris on November 29th, 2007 in Body, Finish/Paint | Comments Off on Skin Update

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Dome Internal Mounting Plates

Lots more dome work in the last few days. Focus was to get all the internal stuff mounted – Holo Projectors, PSI and Front and Rear Logics.

I wasn’t very happy with my previous attempt of drilling holes through the inner dome and using counter sunk screws. By the time I’d counter sunk them enough the holes had gotten so big that the screws could pull through easily. Attempts to JB Weld the screws on the inside of the dome didn’t work so well either.

Here’s what my old mounting system looked like

Didn't work so well

It really looked like I may have to do what most other builders do and that’s goop the crap out of each part – Locking them in place for good.

But a quick visit to see my friend Richard resulted in a cool solution that I’d not seen done before. He came up with the idea of having a single mounting plate for each side of the dome which would hold everything and be easily removed if need be.

After a bunch of prototypes this is what we came up with. Just 3 screws holds everything in place. I can’t believe how simple the design is.

New Dome Mounting Plate

The PSI’s are inserted into a cut down pipe fitting secured with a screw, the HP’s just press fit to the dome by the plate and the logics are held on using the bracket/box.


We still needed to secure the plate in place, and the only good way to do it was to bolt it to the inner dome – which hadn’t worked too well previously. We tried JB Welding the screws to the surface of the dome but they came off easy.

Richard remember the trick of pulling aluminum into a cone/dimple like on the side of a home made Luke Graflex lightsaber – the tool used to be called a “Shoulder Puller” back in the day when people still made their own Graflex’s. Here’s what Richard used.

Dome Hole Puller

Simply drill a hole in the dome and insert the screw and tighten down on the collar which is on the inside of the dome. I think we started it off with a thinner screw then switched to the final size. I should name it the Dome Hole Puller.

In the end we used 1/2″ 10-32 screws which are much bigger than what was originally holding things in place a few months ago. No chance of things pulling through now.

Plate is somewhat flexible, so if someone pushes on things then it’ll give a bit rather than failing or things popping out of place.

I also decided to switch back to the old style logic surrounds. Not having the front outer plate on the new version was bugging me. I’m hoping to get the panels cleanup and painted tomorrow.

A couple of screw ups/lessons learned along the way. JB Weld didn’t want to hold the screws in place, even when going through the dome. So in the end I notched the underside of each screw a bunch of times and scored the hole with a dremel. As of right now things seem very solid and once the outer dome goes on there’s no way for things to move…hopefully.

Screw all JB Welded and sanded down

A big notch was also cut in the dome ring by mistake while making room for a PSI. I’ve tried to fill it with a piece of aluminum and JB Weld and I’m hoping it will not be noticeable once the outer dome goes on.

Patched Dome Ring

The marks in the top band will be covered by the blue paint, but behind that is the patch which is visible. It wouldn’t be so bad if the dome touched the dome ring at the bottom, but there needs to be a slight gap.

I also had one hole from my previous attempt of mounting things that needed fixing. It fell on a panel seam line and I ended up plugging it with a aluminum rivet I filed down. You can hardly notice it with the outer dome on.

Hole filled by rivet

And tonight I finally got all the pie panels cut out, so I’m very close to being able to glue the two domes together.

Pie Panels Cut Out

Posted by Chris on May 15th, 2007 in Dome | 2 Comments

Tags: , , ,