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Author Topic: Assemble column by "Rapping with the heel of the hand" - right  (Read 1234 times)
oldskoolpunk
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« on: January 23, 2013, 08:12:34 am »

For last year's Clockwork Alchemy convention, I built a street clock - a tall green post with a clock on top, which we put outside our Telegraph Office. The post was from a cast plaster floor lamp, which looked like a nice cast iron piece when painted green.  But it was just plaster, it had no core inside for support. So it broke when the truck went over a bump on the way back from the convention. 

So for this year, I ordered a fluted aluminum column to use as a new post.  It came as three aluminum extrusions, each a third of a circle. These are sheet metal parts used to make porch columns look fancy. The sections click together and lock, producing a column strong enough to hold up porch roofs and such.  The assembly instructions say "assemble the final interlock by rapping with the heel of the hand, starting at one end of the column."

This might work if you had the hands of The Hulk. Or three big guys. I spent most of an hour getting the thing together.  The three sections fall apart easily until they're fully locked. It's eight feet long, so it tends to come apart at the other end while you're trying to get one end closed and locked. I finally used several belts to hold it together while I struggled to get one end to latch. Then I tightened up the belt at that end, and worked along the column, forcing the edges to latch.

Finally the seam latched up with a loud clack. Suddenly, I had a nice fluted column eight feet long.  Once assembled, the seams are hidden.

It's a clever construction, but the assembly instructions are fantasy.

Pictures when I get the project done. Right now, my hands are still sore.
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 03:04:47 am »

I have hands that are thick enough to annoy my martial-arts classmates, but I still keep a few rubber and nylon mallets in my toolkit. Those directions sound crazy.
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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 06:47:36 pm »

I was rather annoyed when I wrote that.  In retrospect, if you had two people working on it, one to hold it together and one to force the joint closed, it wouldn't be so bad. It just takes more than two hands. With a tool that can apply a uniform squeeze to a cylinder without denting or scratching it, like a strap wrench, it would be easy. The only strap wrench I had was only for pipes up to 3" or so, so that didn't help.
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Wilhelm Smydle
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 08:10:34 pm »

If you have some shop rags to protect the surface you can make a turn buckle with some rope and a lever bar.
I have used ratchet straps for the same purpose, as well as assorted knots and rope to clamp pieces for assembly.
You would be amazed at the compression force you can get with 50' of rope.
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Kieranfoy
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 08:20:11 pm »

Yeah, I've read instructions like that. Alwats wanted to rap the writers firmly on the head with the heel of my hand.
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With push of Button fire the Engine
And spark Turbine into life...

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Sing Praise to the
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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 08:13:17 am »


Street clock in its natural habitat.

So here's the finished street clock, outside the coffee shop where we have our local steampunk meetup. It looks like it belongs there. So nobody notices.


Indoors, it looks huge. It's 10.5 feet high.

It's made from two of these clocks from Target,


one of these aluminum columns from Amazon,


and some lumber. It will be at the Nova Albion steampunk convention in April and the Clockwork Alchemy convention in May 2013, to add to the ambiance.
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von Corax
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Prof. Darwin Prætorius von Corax


« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 12:10:40 pm »


Street clock in its natural habitat.

So here's the finished street clock, outside the coffee shop where we have our local steampunk meetup. It looks like it belongs there. So nobody notices.

So the Chameleon Circuit is working properly, then?
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The shaking becomes a warning
By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
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