Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nose - all that's left is tweaking

After a little look-over and fine sanding, the first thing I did today was add some TECHNIFILL to the low spots. Well, actually, the first thing I did was apply Metal Prep too all the bare places, because in just one week of rainy weather, surface rust had set it. In Hawaii you just can't leave steel unprotected for long.

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While waiting for the filler to set I removed the two grills from the hood. This was easier than expected because the screws go into plastic. For the car to look good these will need to be replaced. I wonder how other E9 owners deal with this.

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When the filler was set I did a lot of sanding, trying to blend the new stuff with the surrounding surface. I actually started using 100# paper. I added the radius at the top edge of the roundel mount using a spongy sanding block. I removed the jig and smoothed the filler even though it will be hidden, mostly to ensure good water drainage. When everything was good I shot it all with POR-15 Etching Primer. I used this instead of the 3M product because of the fiberglass patches applied with POR-15. As it turned out, two of those patches had pin holes. I tried smoothing the paint with a fingertip the fill the holes, but of course the surface ended up a mess.

The last thing I did was add some filler on the lower LH side and the upper RH side.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers Day Ride

I usually think of a ride as a group activity. The annual Toys for Tots motorcycle ride, or the HBL Honolulu Century Ride for bicycles. If I waited for such a ride to take out my Lotus I doubt it would ever move.

Today is a beautiful day, and I decided as soon as I got up to take the Lotus out for a spin. I had to clean it up a little, mostly the wheels and windshield, then we were off on a south shore loop. "We" being me and the car.

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I pulled over in Hawaii Kai to take some pictures. As soon as I got out of the car I was set upon by a delightful family; mom, dad, son and grandfather. Obviously out to celebrate Fathers Day. I said hi, and the questions began.

"What kind of car is that?"

"A Lotus? What year?"

"Is that the first model?"

"Why does it have two gas fillers?"

"What kind of engine does it have?"

"That must be the only one in Hawaii."

"What is it made of?"

I love it when that happens. Total strangers see my car and feel compelled to react. They wave. They honk. Or, like today, they overcome their deeply ingrained conditioning to mind their own business.

I sure hope that family will remember this Fathers Day as the time they saw that little yellow car.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Roundel mount looking good

There are few things more satisfying for a mechanic than the first time an engine starts. We had one of those today, a Subaru in for an engine swap, all shiny and tricked out. The happiness on that guy's face was unmistakable. Every long term project needs some milestones like that. Otherwise, it just turns into an endless grind. I know I'll celebrate the first time I shoot my E9 with primer, in the paint booth. Maybe I should not wait so long. Like, when the nose is finished.

Every Saturday I inch a little closer. Today was all about shaping the Epoxy Filler I applied last week. As expected, it was easy due to the filler being rough shaped when applied.

As the first round of roundel shaping progressed I could see where I had a few low spots. Being minor imperfections, and not wanting to wait another week, I applied some TECHNIFILL. I also applied a bit more along the top, above the roundel, where it seemed necessary to flow into the sheet metal on either side. While that set I worked on the top on the RH side, and along the bottom of the LH grill.

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When the TECHNIFILL was set I used my tool again to sand it smooth, and the long blocks to blend in the top surface. There is a bit more shaping to do, so I did not add any more filler. I took these pictures at the end of today's session. The first three are without flash, so that the shadows highlight the shape. The last three are with flash.

For comparison:

Before work began:

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After initial stripping:

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Seeing these photos all in one place really brings home how much work has gone into this.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Roundel mount shaping tool

For a long time I planned to shape the circular, recessed roundel mount with a self made tool. During that time the design changed several times. Today I made the tool, so it was time for all the alternative universes to collapse.

I knew I needed a tight grained wood ... plain old pine from a 2x4 just wouldn't. I ended up buying a piece of Popular from Home Depot. A bit expensive, more than what I usually spend on lunch, but a nice piece of wood and mostly left over for future projects.


I decided to use the wood on edge. After cutting out the piece of wood I needed I had to drill a hole for a 0.25 in. pin, which will keep the tool centered. My new Craftsmen drill was perfect for this (okay, a good drill press would have been better but I don't have one) because it has a spirit level in the handdle. Thank the bathroom renovation project for the new drill. I clamped the wood in the vise, clean length-wise edge up, leveled it, then drilled successively bigger holes which keeping the bubbled centered in its circle. I stopped one size short of 0.25 but the fit was so tight I was afraid I would split the wood, but after drilling out with a 0.25 bit the pin was not as tight as I wanted. Oh well.

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The block rotates around like the hand of a clock. I had to cut away most of the underside to clear the steel plate and bolts that go through the holes used to mount the roundel. The last step was to shape the working end to for the curve that will creat the radius at the edge of the recess. File and check, file and check. You can remove wodd, but you can't add more.


When at last it was done I used it so sand off the filler that already extended too far into the mount. More than half would need more. I sanded off the primer and was applying a new batch of POR Epoxy Putty when I was struck by an inspiration. I could use the tool to mold the fresh putty. Worked like a charm. There will still be some sanding, but I will be starting much closer to the end point.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Nose and Grill

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I examined the contours on the nose and found some slight undulations on the RH side. Sanded a lot with 40# on the long and short blocks down to bare metal on the high spots. Checked fit of bright work trim piece. Added more Technifill.

While filler was setting I worked on the roundel mount tool. Found a long 0.25 in. bolt. Cut off head, filed end flat and smooth. Looked around for some wood, nothing useful.

After another round of sanding there were a couple small low spots so I applied another small bit of filler.

Ended the morning working on the fit of thee grill. More to do there.

posted from Bloggeroid