Saturday, July 7, 2012

Redneck Bodywork

Here at the HerrBGone Homestead (V2.0) we make a point to use only the finest ACME* products for all our big projects.  (If they’re out of stock we’ll pop on down to Harbor Freight and substitute something from there…)  So when a big project comes along, like for instance, doing a redneck roof job on the flea van, we know just what to do.

After spending much of yesterday morning on removing the leaky vent and hammering the roof back into some kind of almost original shape (the hardware that held the vent on the roof had badly puckered the sheet metal around the holes) today was spent on actually patching the hole.

First up was figuring out how to form the 22ga. steel I bought for the job to match the roof with the tools I had on hand.  With a little practice on some scrap metal that proved to be no more difficult than I expected.  I’m actually very pleased with how closely my patch matches the shape of the roof.

Looking in through the hole in the roof you can see some of the utility shelving that came with the van.

For the two bends at the top of the stiffening rib I used my break in the conventional manor.  The two return bends were made using the break, um, more, um, creatively.  I clamped the work piece to the moveable part of the break with the breaks holder bar, only the bend was made manually over the near edge of the break.  There was simply no other way to clamp it up to make this kind of z-bend using the regular operation of the tool.  A box and pan break may have been able to do that but the one I have can’t.

Whatever works…

After taking that picture my next task was surface prep.  I laid the patch over the hole and traced around it with a ballpoint pen.  My air powered orbital sander made fairly short work of grinding off the paint and primer in the rectangle that was to be covered by the patch.  It also made short work of my arms!  I’m normally a cube dwelling computer pilot so I’m not used to all this Manuel labor!

The original plan was to seal the patch on with silicone and hold the plate on with pop rivets.  But I’ve been growing more concerned about the rivets leaking the more I’ve thought about it.  Then during one of my breaks I had a thunk: J-B Weld!  I’ve heard good things about this stuff.  Their website makes it sound like a miracle product.  We’ll see how it is in practice.  ACME wasn’t taking my calls and Harbor Freight was too far to drive and I don’t know if they have it anyway so I went to the auto parts store just down the road instead.  Looking at how small the tubes were I bought two sets.  I’m glad now that I did.  I ran a bead around the main hole and a second bead around the perimeter of the patch.  Mixed it right there on the roof and on the patch.  The bit that shows on the roof in the next photo gooshed out from under the patch when I pressed it into place.  I tried to sculpt it around the patch to blend it onto the roof a bit.  I’m not sure how well that went, actually.  They say you can grind J-B Weld once it hardens.  We’ll see.

So I wouldn’t have to stay there for the next couple of hours applying pressure to the wound I put some weights on the patch to hold it in good contact with the roof.  Yes, I did drink all that Moxie.  (Not all in one sitting…)  The ice tea jug was Mum’s.  That’s 9.7something liters of dihydrogen monoxide assisting me in my bodywork project.  I’m glad they haven’t banned the stuff yet!

I may reinstall the vent where it belongs on the flat that shows in this picture.  Or I may hold off in favor of a roof mounted air conditioner.  That depends on how long it takes me to find one for short money on Craigslist.

The other thing I finally got round to doing today was to reinstall the ZapMaster 5000 that can be seen hanging from the really big awning that’s not actually a carport since carports aren’t allowed in my neighborhood.  It’s out there zapping up a storm right at the moment.  Mwahaha!

* The first mention of ACME up there in the first paragraph was originally a link to a favorite cartoon.  Unfortunately the short-sighted Id10t that hosts the cartoons doesn't allow linking.  My link is was driving traffic to your site, dumbass.  It's called free advertising.  Too bad you are too stupid to recognize that.  Your loss.  No link for you.

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