Resuming Operations!

I has been a long time since I had time to work on the LM but finally I’m back on the ole horse!

Last time iI posted I had just started adding panels to the ascent module. It is a very timeconsuming and somewhat repetitive task of cutting the panels to size, adding details and making the thin frame around each panel.

I use a small nail to create rivets on the panels by carefully pressing it against the backside of each panel making small dimples that protrude on the front. for the frame around the panels i use a aluminum takeaway boxes that i cut strips out of and detail by carefully cutting all these little nobs and shapes. It takes forever, on a good evening i might get two or three panels done.

I have a lot of pictures showing the progress but I’m lo lazy to put them up today so for now you will have to do with these:

 

Ascent Stage Panels

To make the chromic acid anodized panels for the ascent stage I went through a bit of experimenting. First I tried painting aluminum foil with humbrol paints but I could not get it to the color I wanted and I had a bit of trouble making the paint uniform over the surface. Then I had a print shop print me papers with the right colors. Looked almost right. But there was this very fine raster in the prints and also the prints where lacking a bit of the gloss I wanted. Then I tested printing on photo paper with my inkjet. Perfect glossiness but still the raster. So finally I had a professional photo lab print the colors onto real photo paper using a Durst Lambda printer. Good enough I think.

(I had entertained the idea of actually having someone anodize some aluminum 5056 foil for me but I just have a feeling that it would be a little too expensive so photo paper will do.)

For The panel edges I found some adhesive aluminum film that Is apparently used to make decals for rc cars and aeroplanes. It is very easy to cut and apply to the photo paper.

Did the back of the ascent stage, think it came out ok.

The Ladder

The ladder was a lot of work to get done.

the ladder rungs are made out of pianowire that i have tapered in both ends. That would have been easy if i had a lathe machine. but i don’t so it was not…

After a bit of trial and a lot of error I had worked out similar but more ad hoc technique; I put the pianowire in the chuck of a drillingmachine and let it spin on a relatively low speed. Then I used my dremel to grind away material until I had a nice shape. it was really tricky to get all 9 rungs looking the same. To add insult to injury i also managed to drop one finished one between the boards of the deck of the house. lost in the sand…

The ladder legs where also really hard to do.

I did not have any metal lists of the dimensions needed so i had to fabricate them from scratch. I found some nice springy metal and cut strips from it using the dremel again. took ages because the metal was so hard. I then cut the two legs to length and bent and polished them. Only then did I notice that it was completely impossible to drill trough with my 0.5 mm drill bits. I destroyed two before giving up without even scratching the surface. so i had to find a softer metal and start over. Not fun.

I then built a styrene  support structure for the ladder to hold everything in place while gluing it together with epoxy.

Its a good thing that there is only one ladder :)

Primary struts Re-Coating

The ladder-less primary struts have their coating almost finished now. Some tape to go and some details I need sorting out. I also redid the old one i had already done because it had some issues i did not like. I removed the aluminum foil and used kapton-foil with the aluminum side out instead. it drapes better.

Project Overview

Just a few pictures showing the overall progress of  LM5

Progress Fail

Today was just one of those days…

I was drilling a hole in a secondary strut when the drill broke and got stuck in the hole. Undeterred I continued on another strut and the same thing happended. there was no way to recover the piece of the drill stuck in the hole so I had to scrap both struts and cast a new pair. a good hour and a half wasted. I should have called it a day but no…

Instead I went ahead to build footpad #2. But first I managed to have a small tube of CA glue completly puke all over my hand. So that was another hour of trying to recondition my hand… I had to use sandpaper and the exacto knife to remove the glue…   …Great fun…

No pictures this time…