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.