By drjameshouse
#4790903
So this has been a long time coming, and I was on the fence about actually starting a build thread since there are so many already. In the end I decided why not, maybe I can get some pointers along the way.

I've collecting parts for over 2 years now. Life and other projects always seemed to get in the way of starting a build. Now I have finally gotten some time and almost all the parts needed to make it happen. Currently I don't have a particular pack that I will be imitating. That may change along the way, we'll see. I'll try to outline what/who's parts I'll be using, but if I miss some and you want to know, just ask I'll share the details.

First let's start out by showing the workspace:
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It's insulated heavily, and I put in an older furnace and A/C from my mother's house when she upgraded. So I shouldn't have any issues with weather stopping progress.

Next is my trusty assistant Bo:
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He isn't very good at actually performing any work, but he is really cheap labor.

And here is my collection of parts:
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It includes almost enough parts for 2 entire packs. Some items I have enough for at least 4 packs, so expect more builds in the future. I have also been able to collect about 10 alice frames (4 LC2's and 6 LC1's).

After unboxing one of my bigi330 shells casted by Vince himself, I gave it a nice long bath. Sorry no pictures of that, since it was WAY to personal and revealing to post on the internet :lol:

After drying it off I noticed that the shell didn't sit flat all the way around. Here are a issue areas:
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So I taped some sandpaper sheets down to the work table and sanded it as best I could making sure not to sand too much.
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This took care of most of the problem areas, but there was still one spot that needed to be built up. I also noticed a few spots that were a little too thin for my tastes. So I built up some areas with fiberglass and other areas with epoxy putty, and sanded where necessary.
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After that was finished I cut off the eda discs with a dremel and sanded the area flat.
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I cleaned up the metal eda discs I got from Vince's metal parts bundle and drilled the holes in the discs and eda. The rivets I was going to use weren't long enough as the fiberglass under the eda was pretty thick. I sanded/gound down the area (on the inside of the shell) so the rivets would work and then attached the metal eda discs.
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Since they are made up of 2 1/8" stacked discs I will probably use a little filler to the seam, and also the rivet head. Next up will be cutting the N-Filter off and replacing it with the metal one.......
Last edited by drjameshouse on June 4th, 2014, 8:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Kingpin liked this
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By thebigone2087
#4790913
Looking good. I think this is going to end up being pretty awesome. Are you going "hero" with aluminum attachments?
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By kurisu7885
#4790928
It's advisable to wash the shell with warm soapy water to remove the mold release that is used. If you don't, you stand a very good chance of your paint not sticking to the shell.
Ah, ok, so at least a wipe down is a good idea.
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By PssdffJay
#4790941
So you're the reason I can't find a decent LC-1. ;-)
I was going to comment on the number of frames you have. Somewhere there is an army surplus store with some empty shelves.
By drjameshouse
#4790947
Looking good. I think this is going to end up being pretty awesome. Are you going "hero" with aluminum attachments?
Yup. I'll be doing all aluminum including the thrower. More to come on that later....
So you're the reason I can't find a decent LC-1. ;-)
Only partially ;-) It took me a long while to piece them all together. Some from ebay and some from digging through surplus store that were 100+ miles away. In fact the only 100% complete one I found I paid way too much money for....but it is actually also the nicest. The LC2 frames (with correct padding) I found on craigslist. 4 of them for $20....not too bad.
What was the reason for soaking the pack shell?
As THEbryon said, it is to remove any residual mold release or grease to ensure texture/paint will stick.
By drjameshouse
#4791098
Bo is absolutely adorable. I love Collies.
He's actually an Australian Shepard. Same family as Collies ;-)

Ok, small update time. Yesterday I spent some time cleaning up the powercell window. Some of the cuts weren't square and the window needed to be lengthened a tad. Results of that:
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There is a small area on the outside that needs a bit of filler, but I'll get that after I'm done hacking things up and touch up the entire shell at once.


Also here is another area that I reinforced:
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Then came the daunting task of replacing the cast n-filter with this:
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And it's a good thing I'm doing it otherwise I might not have noticed this hole:
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After a bit of cutting and grinding I ended up like this:
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Setting the metal replacement in doesn't look TOO bad:
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After taking a small break to rescue my assistant Bo from all the fly's that were bothering him (what is it about Iowa that attracts so many damn fly's? Maybe it's the pigs...) I started to analyze how to attach the metal one. Obviously the real shells didn't have a giant hole where the n-filter was to go and I didn't feel comfortable just using epoxy putty where the edges of the shell met the filter. I just could envision a good wack into a door frame might knock it off. So after talking with a few friends off-site I decided if I was going to do something, I might as well over do it. So came building up an inner wall of fiberglass. I decided on this for two reasons. 1) It gave more surface area to epoxy glue it, and 2) It would allow me to easily use rivets or screws.

So I started off by cutting some card stock and taping it around the N-Filter, making sure that the filter was square:
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I then fiberglassed on the inside of the shell against the card stock. The end result looks something like this:
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I then took a look at the cyclotron holes. I analyzed some reference photos and came up with what I think is the thickness of the holes. I then made a jig or plug that is that height that I can put in each hole from the outside, and using an angle grinder with sanding disc, sand each to the appropriate thickness.
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It also came in handy when I accidentally sanded too much off while cleaning up my n-filter wall. I coated it with some petroleum jelly, put it in the hole, and filled the area back up with resin:
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If hoot see's that last bit I'm sure there this will turn 'R' rated really fast.

Well that's all the progress so far. I am currently looking at the appropriate uneven hole spacing of the n-filter and going to draw up a template that hopefully comes close to what can be seen on the minnesota pack. If someone has a template for the uneven hole spacing already and wants to save me the trouble feel free. Otherwise I'm off!!!
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By thebigone2087
#4791102
I love that idea for the n-filter!!! Are you then going to rivet it to the fiberglass ridge you made?
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By Kingpin
Moderator
#4791132
I decided if I was going to do something, I might as well over do it.
I am definitely a supporter of over-engineering. It didn't hurt the Victorians, so it shouldn't hurt us. :)

Nice work on the N-Filter replacement.
By drjameshouse
#4793408
Update Time!!! Well I have been working on it since the last update, but I really didn't feel like much got done so I hadn't updated the thread. Now that I look at all the pictures I guess I did get more done that I thought! So let's just get started!

First I continued on with the N-Filter. I spent an entire day in Photoshop and Solidworks looking at reference pictures figuring out the uneven spacing of the holes. I started with the Murray Pack shoot photos and using weld patterns and weathering found the degrees between each hole if you were looking at the top of it. Think pie graph. Then I started over with the Sony Lobby Hero pack they both actually came out the same (or pretty damn close). Then using maths I found the distance between center holes and altered Namssorg's evenly spaced template (with permission). I had a hell of a time since I had never used illustrator but I got it good enough for my purpose. By the way, I am working with Matt to update his template and we will be making it public, so if anyone wants to take advantage of my hours and hours of research for uneven hole placement they can. Anyways, I cut the template out and taped it on so the holes would be 1/2" below the weld line.
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Then I figured I needed a jig/holder for the N-Filter for when I drill the holes so using a hole saw and a 2x4 I came up with this
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I took it to the drill press, and using a step drill bit drilled out all the holes.
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Next, since I didn't like the gaps between the N-Filter and shell I started building up the edges with epoxy putty and filler. I ended up doing this several times as I would end up sanding too much off in a particular area and wouldn't bee happy with the fit. It would have been really easy just to do a fake weld, but it's not accurate and I don't really like that look. I also thought it would be easier to get as tight of fit with the N-Filter removable than to glue the sucker in place and then fill in since sanding in a corner is a nightmare. Anyways it ended up looking like this:
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I also filled in the bottom edge that hung over with epoxy putty:
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And sitting in the shell:
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Now I turned my attention to the bumper. I have both a Venky bumper and a Bigi bumper. After placing both on the shell I decided to use the Bigi as it just fits so nicely to it's shell. The Venky is a little wider and even when pinched together just didn't sit as nice on the shell. I also decided to take the seam off since most of the actual screen shots in GB1 I was looking at didn't have the seam. I'm not sure if it just didn't show up on screen or if the seam was more prominent on certain packs. I also filled in some of the air bubbles in with filler and just sanded it smooth.
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Next I hung it up for painting, and shot it with primer.
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And that's all I'll update with tonight since it's getting late I have to work early tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll update with the rest of the work I've done up to now!
alphabeta001 liked this
By drjameshouse
#4793513
Fantastic build so far!! You sir have talent!
Thanks Nick! That means a lot coming from someone as talented as you!

And since Nick commented I'll start off with the Legris Replica's I bought from him. I have gen 2's and I have a gen 1 1/8" legris elbows, but the threads on those are smaller than the pre-drilled holes on my HGA. So this is what I started with:
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I cut the excess off of them, and sanded down the casting line. Then using the dremel and a small engraving bit ground out holes for the inserts. Here is the bit I used:
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As a side note, if people have never seen or used the flexible attachment for a dremel I highly recommend it. It's easier to handle and get into tight places:
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Here's what the elbows looked like making the holes, sanding, and a little putty:
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I then painted them. For those who are not aware, Krylon Gray Primer is a really good match. The only kind I could find was flat gray, so I followed them up with a satin clear coat. Here they are all painted:
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After painting I was able to just press fit the insert where the hose pushes in, and I used some epoxy putty to put the insert with the hose barb and threads. Here's a shot of one installed after drilling and tapping the shell:
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I then started mounting the beam, filler, and vacuum tubes, along with the HGA, Injectors, and Clippard. Pretty straight forward, just made a paper template of the base of each, marked where the mounting screw goes on the shell, drilled it out and mounted them using 1/4"-20 socket cap screws from inside the shell. Here's a shot of them installed:
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I also drilled and tapped for the legris straights. You can see them installed in the above picture, but here's a closeup:
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The PPD was just sitting there in that shot, so I decided to take care of that next. I looked at reference images to get the angle and height placement, and then taped the sucker down. Then I carefully drilled holes from the inside, and tapped them. The holes on the shell I drilled out bigger so that I had a little bit of adjustment.
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Next I decided I should take care of the power cell opening thickness. Just like the cyclotron holes I wanted to make sure I got the opening thickness even all the way around. So I made yet another jig. Similar concept as the cyclotron:
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And finished:
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Kingpin liked this
By drjameshouse
#4793525
While all the above work was going on my assistant Bo was a little in the dumps since the last 2 weeks in Iowa have been near non-stop rain looking similar to this:
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(The fence is to keep him from going in the more muddier part of the yard where I am attempting to regrow grass)


At this point I decided to tackle the Booster Tube and Ion Arm. I first set the Ion Arm on and right away noticed the dip in the shell:
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As you can see the bottom corner has quite a gap. I took out my straight edge to analyze how bad the dip was:
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So my first attempt to remedy it was to take a very strong blow dryer and heat the fiberglass up and attempt to push the dip back out. This helped a little but there was still more work to do. So I got out the body filler and coated the entire area:
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Then sanded, and coated some more:
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Then sanded again and got it pretty darn good. Then I marked where the holes in the shell for the booster should be and drilled the shell:
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I made those holes a little oversize as well just so I had some adjustment later. Then taped the crap out of the booster (like I did with the ppd) and drilled holes in the booster from inside the shell. Sorry I didn't take any pictures of that, but it's pretty straight forward. I then took the template for the Ion Arm Vince provided and drilled holes for the ion arm and mounted that as well. When I tightened the Booster tub down it had a tendency to want to pull ever so slightly away from the angled EDA. This didn't make me very happy, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Some packs have a fake weld line there and others didn't. I didn't want one so I decided that I needed a plate at the end of the booster tube that I could drill and tap for a screw that would suck the tube into the EDA.

Now I own a TIG welder, but I had never actually welded aluminum before. So I went down the a welding fabrication shop that also sells metal and rummaged through their aluminum scrap bin to find some 1/8" aluminum. I asked they guy how much and he laughed and told me bring whatever I didn't mangle back to throw back in the pile. So I came back home, and last weekend I spent both Saturday and Sunday practicing laying beads down. Then welding crap pieces together. Most of it wasn't real pretty at first, but with the aid of YouTube and persistence I started getting the hang of it. With some of the left over scrap I hadn't used yet for practice I cut a piece that fit in the inside of the tube. Then I took the plunge and welded the sucker in. CAUTION: For those who don't like ugly welds AVERT YOUR EYES NOW! It didn't turn out very pretty as I hadn't practiced welding recessed pieces inside tubes and it proved to be a little bit more challenging than lap and tee joints.
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Is it pretty? No. Did it do the job? Yes. I drilled and tapped it and mounted it back on the shell and now the Booster Tube is tight against the EDA. So after lots of practice welding, and one ugly welded piece down, I decided the next logical thing to do was join the Booster Tube to the Ion Arm. We all know there is a rod that is welded there, and it looked like 1/2" to me, so I went to the hardware store and paid WAY too much for it. I really didn't feel like driving the 40 miles back to the fabrication shop, so I felt justified in paying a little more than I could have. Anyways I cut a piece off, laid it in between the Booster and Ion Arm and then tacked the rod to both the Booster and Ion Arm while mounted to the shell. I was really afraid that it might get too hot and cause damage to the shell, so I was extremely cautious and let the aluminum cool between each tack. After they were tacked and wouldn't come apart, I unmounted the pieces from the shell and completed the welds on the rod. And the results..................................................................................
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SUCCESS!!!!!!!

Here's a closer shot of the weld after I remounted the pieces to the shell:
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I thought I did a pretty good job for only welding aluminum for less than a week!

After that I figured I should mount the Booster Plug. I made a mark on the plug of about where I wanted it to stick out....then removed the top Booster Tube mounting bolt, stuck the plug inside the Booster (after sanding the disk to fit inside the Booster Tube) and marked the bracket through the hole. Then I drilled and tapped the bracket of the plug and installed it on the shell:
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And for anyone interested, here is an inside shot of the shell showing the 3 bolts holding the Booster Tube (and plug) onto the shell, along with the 4 bolts mounting the Ion Arm.
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And now ladies and gentlemen you have been caught up with my progress so far. Tomorrow I plan on drilling the remaining holes for the crank knob and hoses, mounting the shell to the motherboard and then alice frame, and hopefully by the end of the day I will be spraying texture. So the big question of the night: What do you guys think? Anything I missed or should fix/do differently? I would love to hear everyone's thoughts!

Cory
User avatar
By Kingpin
Moderator
#4793559
There's a hell of a lot of great lessons to take away from this build... I'm especially thankful for you having covered Nick's Legris elbow replicas, as I hadn't seen anybody show WIP photos of them before. I have a set and have been thinking about putting them on my next pack (I'm not 100% decided, as they don't screw quite so closely to the shell as some unmodified SMC elbows I own).

Great work James. :)
nick-a-tron liked this
By drjameshouse
#4793575
Thanks kinpin. I really like Nicks' replicas. I think they are the best one's out there short of real elbows, and I've had just about every replica that's been available in the last 4-5 years. It is true the threads on the replicas don't go as far up as the SMC's, however I do own some 1st gen 1/8" Legris and can say that Nick's threads/hose barb that he supplies is accurate to the Legris's I have. Also note I didn't crank the elbow all the way down in the photo I took. Also I used the dremel instead of drilling out the holes on the bodies because I wanted a little more control. I figured a drill bit if not drilled just right could catch and crack the body, or if not straight might come through the side. I really think using the bit I did worked well.
By drjameshouse
#4795911
So it's been a while since I updated the build. Mainly due to other projects, helping family members, and working on my "other" girl
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I do have a few updates so I'll share those and hopefully I'll get back to working on this. When I last left off I was just mounting all different pieces. Basically I wanted to get all holes and modifications made before painting. So continuing with that I drilled the hole for the ribbon cable:
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Drilled a hole for the pot that holds the crank knob on, and then mounted both:
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Then I was trying to figure out how I wanted to mount the split loom to the crank box. First I was thinking of drilling a hole large enough to insert the loom but I thought I might have issues with the fiberglass and I wasn't sure how thick the resulting fiberglass would be. So instead I thought I would mount a wooden dowel to act as a peg, and the split loom will slide over the top of it. This way I can just put epoxy glue and there will be a lot of surface area to hold the loom on. So keeping with the "everything can be unscrewed/removed if needed" theme I planned to drill a hole and just tap it. That didn't work so well because there wasn't enough fiberglass on the bottom side for threads to hold. Instead I just drilled a through hole (no threads):
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And opened up an area on the inside so I could add a nut and epoxy the nut in place:
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I then cut a dowel down and drilled a hole in the center for the bolt, and then countersunk the head of the bolt and mounted it:
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Next I started drilling holes for the tubing that goes between the shell and the injectors. That's when a catastrophe occurred. Near as I can figure there was a bunch of air pockets in that section and as I drilled holes into the area it weakened and exploded:
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Only thing to do was to glue and resin it back into place. Took about 30 minutes:
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While I waited for that to dry I sanded the ribbon cable clamp to fit the shell a little nicer and mounted that:
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Then I got excited thinking everything was drilled and ready for texturing and painting. I followed the texturing tutorial here:
http://www.gbfans.com/community/viewtop ... 42&t=27710

First I taped the areas I didn't want texture and then applied a layer of wall texturing:
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And then applied primer:
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While I waited for that to dry I cleaned up the booster frame and sanded the backside to the booster tube. I also found a bunch of air bubbles on the back side. So I went ahead and filled them will filler:
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Once the shell dried of the primer I realized I hadn't mounted the shell yet. Minor oversight :D So I went about my "common sense" approach to mounting it which is essentially the same as this tutorial: http://www.gbfans.com/community/viewtop ... 42&t=11972
Basically just set the shell on the motherboard and centered where I thought it should go. Then marked on the motherboard where the outside and inside (where I could) of the shell sat. The hole where the n-filter goes came in handy for marking the inside of the shell. Then cut my brackets from angle aluminum on my horizontal bandsaw. Taped them to the motherboard where I thought they should fit. Put the shell back on and verified any adjustments needed. Then I drilled the holes through the angle brackets and motherboard. And used rivets to attach them to the motherboard. Next I looked at reference pictures to figure out how far up the holes on the shell should go. Marked and drilled those holes with the tap drill bit. Removed the shell and tapped the brackets. Then drilled the holes on the shell with a larger drill bit so the screws/bolts would go through and had a little room for play/adjustment. Then finally bolted the shell on. I didn't really take step by step photos simply because there is already a tutorial. If anyone needs clarification please feel free to ask and I'll be glad to step them through the process. Here are the photos I did take:
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Now that I mounted the shell I went ahead and sprayed a couple coats of Krylon Satin Black paint on the shell:
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After the shell dried I'm not sure I 100% love my texture job. When the shell was in a duller primer I really liked it. After the black was on which has a shine, it almost looks over textured to me. What do you guys think? If any of the experienced people could chime in and tell me if it looks OK, or if I put too much on, or if the spray was not fine enough? I had done a practice run on a foam board to see what it would look like, and I felt the very fine pattern would look good on the upper part of the shell, but I felt a little heavier pattern would look better on the cyclotron. Now I'm not so sure. Some areas actually got sprayed more than I wanted just because they became overspray of another area. I think I'll leave it for now and see how it sits with me when everything is put back together. If I still hate it when everything is finished I'll strip it down and re-texture. Any opinions (good or bad) would be appreciated.

Then I hung all the bolt on parts so I could spray those:
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I had wiped all of them down with some acetone, blew them off with the air compressor, and waited for any residual acetone to dry before I started to spray the black. Unfortunately the first couple of parts I sprayed had a chemical reaction from something and either lifted or became extremely blotchy. Luckily I noticed on the first 2 parts and stopped before spraying everything. I decided to strip the paint I sprayed, cleaned them again, and then sprayed primer before the black. Spraying the primer first resulted in no problems at all. I'm not sure if this black has issues, or if there was still something on the parts I didn't get off the first time. Either way I figure having everything with primer and color won't hurt anything. The only reason I wasn't going to spray primer on the aluminum parts was for weathering and when the paint chips off there would be 1 less layer of paint before the aluminum. However I figure when they get chipped, they probably will go through both layers anyways so I'm not too heartbroken about having to spray everything with primer first.

So now I'll get on my soapbox and preach.
drjameshouse's tips for painting:
  • Slow down and take your time. I know it's exciting getting to put color on the parts but your really need to slow down and make sure your prep is done well. I think this was partly the reason my black lifted. I wasn't rushing, but I certainly wasn't taking it slow, since I wanted to get color on so the parts would be dry the next day
  • Spray several light coats and not heavy coats. If the first coat doesn't cover everywhere, it's okay. There were a few places that I accidentally got too heavy and in those places the paint either ran or got blotchy or funny. Just spray some nice light coats and the finish will turn out great. Too many new painters think the first coat has to cover completely or they just want to rush and spray 1 coat instead of several. Don't. You'll thank me later.
  • Read the directions of the paint and make sure to recoat within the time frame specified. I've had issues in the past not following the time frames specified. Most people don't realize that a lot of paint needs to be recoated within 1 hour or they will have to wait 24 hours. Just trust me and follow the directions.
  • Finally, paint in a well ventilated area. For obvious reasons, safety is important.
By drjameshouse
#4797137
So I was going to attach the cyclotron and powercell lenses tonight but I couldn't decide on what type of glue to use. Initially I was thinking epoxy, but it's hard to control since you have to mix it first and I REALLY don't want to end up with glue on the face of it. Then I was thinking just Hot Glue, but burkit says he's had issues with the glue giving away when it's in the back of the car in the hot sun.

SO....what's everyone been using to glue in the lenses?
User avatar
By julz
#4797140
Hot glue

You never know when you might need to do repairs... and hot glue is still the way to go in my mind and it's easy to remove.
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By seekandannoy
#4797254
After the shell dried I'm not sure I 100% love my texture job. When the shell was in a duller primer I really liked it. After the black was on which has a shine, it almost looks over textured to me. What do you guys think?
I had the same issue when I built my last pack. Before completely stripping it and starting over, I'd just go over the whole thing with some medium grit sand paper. You don't have to be too rough with it, just even everything out. It'll flatten down the chunkier areas and make it look a bit more subtle. I ended up really liking how it turned out. If you don't dig the end result after that, you can always strip it and start over, but try that first to potentially save yourself some time.
User avatar
By pyhasanon
#4797264
Hot glue

You never know when you might need to do repairs... and hot glue is still the way to go in my mind and it's easy to remove.
But with it being easy to remove, isn't it pretty easy to just fall off on it's own? Is there a way to ensure that it just doesn't fall off in humid/hot environments, or just vibrating from even the speaker?

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