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RAA #433 Club Project

In December 2001 I was asked by my RAA chapter to give a presentation on the design process, the construction methods and entering the contest. At the end of the meeting it was suggested that we consider building the first proof of concept machine either as a club or with members participating.

When you have the help of a club or chapter you will be surprised as I was at how much help it can be. Not everyone of course will be able to help cut metal or pull rivets but when you have 30 guys that know you are looking for something, that’s 60 eyeballs out there instead of just two. In a way its like doing a group build along the lines of the Dawn patrol or the Noon Patrol. If you recognize those names you know they are groups of guys who are or have built multiple copies of the same design.

I was fortunate to have this happen. Suffering a bit of arthritis (I’m 41 btw) I sometimes walk with a cane, so my days of diving through the piles in a metal or scrap yard are long gone. However other members have kept an eye out for materials for me. One annoying thing to find was thin stainless sheet for the firewall. Stainless sheet is not hard to find at metal surplus or scrap dealers. Usually its pretty thick stuff and was used in commercial kitchens or food prep. What I needed and wanted was about 1/3 the thickness of that. Now I could have ordered the stainless in from a supplier about 200 miles away. The quote for the material I needed was about $45 plus shipping. That is a piece of stainless about 26 by 24 inches. One day one of the club members calls me up and tells me he’s spotted some at the local salvage yard. So calliper in hand I went with him to look at it. We wondered around and eventually found some. It was enough stainless to build about 5 firewalls and was nice and thin and light compared to the other stuff we had found. When I walked out of the yard I had more than enough stainless steel to do the firewall and had only paid $23. And if I can’t figure out what to use the rest of the sheet for I can sell it back to the yard and get most of my money back.

I’ll be putting build and construction pictures in here soon when I do the big upgrade to the web site. Until then, you just have to be patient.