Sunday, 5 January 2020

Sandy Shores - Layout Box Construction (5)

The layout box is now pretty much complete (excluding something to help keep the layout in place, and maybe some sort of latch to ensure the lid doesn't lift unintentionally). Let's jump straight to it...

Above: The final bit of painting was completed yesterday; all exterior faces had their 2nd coat of paint on (1), which enabled me to start gluing it all together. Unfortunately, things didn't out to be so simple, and as photo (2) shows, my Dad kindly planed 6mm of paint off of the edges; as the paint added enough thickness to stop the components sitting in their rebates. Eventually, the main shell and shelf was glued in place, and clamped up overnight (3). We initially had a little trouble lining up the rebates for the shelf to sit into; however, once the rear was clamped, it pulled everything into place nicely.

Above: This mornings first job was to glue and screw the castor wheels and associated blocks onto the bottom. Photo (1) shows as I line up the castors so that they lie flush on one edge. Holes were then drilled, 4 of which were also countersunk so that the screws don't interfere with the castor wheel base (2). It was then glued in place (3)...

...before being screwed as well (1). The castor wheels could then be screwed on; due to the screws being thin enough to fit entirely through the holes, washers were used to enable it to be screwed in place (2).

Above: Attention then turned to the sliding handle. In order to keep it relatively smooth in operation, I decided to fabricate some simple spacers (1) (just plasticard with holes drilled in them) to fit under the crossbars (2).

Above: The handle itself could then be assembled (I can't remember if I showed it, but the sides have circular rebates, into which the handle (part of an old outdoor chair saved from the offcut bin!) sits), and the handle itself was glued and also screwed in place (1). Note that the screw has been countersunk so that it doesn't stick out and catch on the sides. The other end of the handle had its PSE bar also glued and screwed in (again countersunk) (2).

Above: The three crossbars were then screwed in place. I actually diverted from my original design where the handle was pegged into its two positions. Instead, I've simplified it by locating the crossbars in specific places, which automatically lock the handle in its two positions. Hard to explain, easy to look at how it's done in the photo! The two crossbars screwed to the main box act as the limits of travel for the centre crossbar, which is screwed to the handle.

Above: All that was left to do was to secure the life-up lid in place. Here's a before (1), and an after (2). Nothing complicated, just two standard hinges screwed in place. In hindsight, it might be better to have two strips of wood to locate the hinges on top of, as I had to use some really short screws; so the strength may not be up to required standards...

Above: Which leaves us with just one more thing to do; test it out! To do that, it was time to fit the 4 mini castors onto the bottom of the layout, and put the box to use. As you can see, both parts fit in with millimetres to spare - perfect! All that's left is to find something to secure the layout to.

The box weighs a staggering 34.9kg, and with the layout and trolley etc in, it probably is approaching 60kg (a few kg more than my weight!). As such, the MDF obviously wasn't the right choice here, but it is what it is, and I have a very cunning plan of how to get the box in the car... more on that in the next blog entry!

Friday, 3 January 2020

Sandy Shores - Layout Box Construction (4)

After a helpful suggestion on NGRM by Michael Campbell, todays first task was to cut out some of the shelf, to help keep what will be a rather heavy box a little bit lighter! I suspect most people would expect me to have cut out a large number of circles, but now that I have the router bug, I figured it would be quicker and more effective to cut out large rectangular holes. I was a little worried whether I had taken off too much, but it still seems to have maintained structural integrity.

The outer holes are 150mm in from the end, and each hole is 100mm wide (excluding the centre one which is only 30mm wide). They are mostly spaced 100mm apart, aside from the centre one, but are all 300mm long. If I made them any longer, the castor wheels on the narrow end of the trolley (that will slide in on top) would fall in the holes!

Above: The method or cutting them out was simple. Photo (1) shows each long side of the holes having been routered out (using the yellow spirit level as a guide for the router). Photos (2) and (3) show that I clamped a long spirit level so that I could do all the short ends in one go. This bit was done in a matter of about 5 mins or less. Photo (4) obviously shows the end result.

Amazingly, the weather stayed dry all day, which meant I could crack on with painting the MDF box components in primer... and crack on I did! I actually managed to get almost all of it done; two coats on one side of every component, and one coat on the other. Some edges also had two coats on, and the rest had one. This means that theoretically I could finish the whole thing by the end of tomorrow.

Above: Believe it or not, I had never used a paint roller before; quite sad given that I'm in my mid 20s! Still, it was very easy, and ideal for these large components; I certainly wouldn't want to do all this with just a brush - I did that with the trolley and that took 8 hours!

Above: By 7pm (after an hour break for dinner), I had got about as far as I possibly could; the holes in the shelf will need another layer of primer, but as mentioned earlier, the vast majority of the painting is now done.

I did plan on building the handle assembly, but I didn't quite get around to it; that's what happens when you more or less spend from midday to 7pm painting!

And there we have it, ready for some more painting, and hopefully final assembly tomorrow!

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Sandy Shores - Layout Box Construction (3)

Just a short one for today; as due to the inclement weather, I was unable to make a start on priming the MDF. That said, I did make some progress, including some minor adjustments to the box for Sandy Shores. The first thing to do today was a dry-run of the box assembly:

Above: To my surprise, almost everything fit as it should; the two exceptions being the bottom, and the shelf as shown here. The former was 4mm too long (it's actually made of two parts to save cutting into a 3rd full sheet; the second bit can be seen in the foreground), and the shelf was only 2mm out. Both were attacked with the Skilsaw, and their edges trimmed to size.

Above: The test fit of the lift-up lid shows that it fits perfectly; all 4 parts interlock as they should, and they sit squarely in the rebate on the side panel.

Above: After a brief discussion with my Dad, we came to the conclusion that it would make more sense to assemble the lid, and a few other parts, before priming. Here, the lid is being glued, and clamps are being put on. It was important to make sure it clamped square, so every joint was checked.

Above: I also glued the handle supports onto the side panels, and clamped them up to cure.

: You may remember that the original design had the castor wheels attached to an angled cut of two PSE softwood lengths. I decided to simplify this by instead cutting out four MDF risers for them to be screwed to instead. These were glued, and have also been left to cure overnight.

I did start late today, so I didn't get much else done, but I did cut out some other components; I decided that the handle would need additional supports and crossmembers, so these were cut out of PSE/6mm plywood. This means the handle assembly can be glued/screwed tomorrow (once I've checked I've got all the dimensions right).

I'm planning to prime all the interior faces first, then glue the main shell together, before priming the outside faces after the whole lot has been assembled. Whilst the paint is quick dry, and the weather looks decent(ish) tomorrow, I don't know if I'll get it all done in one day... we'll see!