29 May, 2014

At the time using a giant, sparking machine from the 1960s

Just as the seasons slowly cycle around the calendar, so too does the school year that inevitably brings me back to summer.  The massive dichotomy of the stress and difficulty of school versus the casual, thoroughly enjoyable summer always gives me mixed emotions---I know that the wonderful freedom of break will allow me to get back in touch with myself and my true loves in life, but I also know that it will end sooner than I'd like.

It would be detrimental to sit and mope or dwell on the finite summer, since doing so guarantees that it will only pass quicker.  Instead, I choose to relax on my break by getting as exhausted as possible.  My mantra has always been to sleep when you have to, and in the meantime do everything you possibly can so that one will leave this summer tired (but in the best kind of "tired" possible).

That's why most nights at home I'm actually up later than when I'm at school, yet I continue to get up at the same time as during the academic year.  This is doable since I'm far more active than during med school, so the urge to nap always fails to creep up on me when I'm at home.

This year was awful, to put it simply.  But the purpose of this blog is not to waste your time reading about my troubles, it's to talk about cars and rust and history and racing.  What I will say is that I had several one-two punches throughout the semesters, for a while I grew quite resentful and disheartened with med school, and I have reassessed my desire to stay in this profession more than once.  I have also learned quite a bit about myself, I've grown as a person, and I've been attempting (but failing) to enjoy the single life for the first time in my adult existence.

This has also meant that my work in The Garage this summer is far more therapeutic than normal, and I'm excited for the progress that I hope to make in the ensuing weeks.  Some of that progress began just a few days ago.

Unfortunately, just as spring turns to summer, it seems that every winter The Garage's interior explodes in a mess of dust, clutter and disarray.  That usually translates to the first couple days of the summer being cleaning days, putting The Garage back together so I can use it regularly.

So after the initial sweeping, folding of scattered tarps, reorganizing of the work bench and getting stung by a wasp, I had to decide what I wanted to do first.

Magneto almost secured behind the engine.
Since the end of last summer, the Maxwell had been reassembled and tucked away quietly in the corner, buttoned up with its new body and freed transmission.  Today I brought the Splitdorf Model F magneto up and put it on the car, although through correspondence with a WWII vet out in California, I learned that it's missing a little piece that allows it to interface with the magneto gear (which runs off the engine spinning so that it can deliver spark in the correct order).  I'll either have to make one from my imagination or have him send me one of his so I can make a replica.  Either way that's probably doable, as I already have an idea of what the interface will look like.

Part of the reason I think this is doable is because of a random (and, for anyone else, probably unfulfilling) gift I received for Christmas:  A small welder.  Over the past few days I've been brushing up on my welding skills, although I admit they were never very developed in the first place.  Still, in the decade or more since my last welding experience---at the time using a giant, sparking machine from the 1960s---I imagine I've lost some of my touch for fusing metal together.

Here's my shoddy---but effective---setup.
So using very thin pieces of metal left over from when I made the lower body last year, I have been fiddling with the settings on the fun little welder.  Ideally this will prepare myself for when I join the body I made with the one that was made in the past.  I've burned through the material several times, but in the past two or three days I've gotten to where I can make pretty steady lines, and I've developed a much better feel for getting the arc going.  It doesn't help that the sticks I'm using are probably 30 years old and soggy, but once I get them hot they work just like they should.

Another project of mine has been running in the background of my garage work for the past couple of days.  After thinking about trying it with the '72 Honda's gas tank for a couple of years, I finally began to dabble in electrolytic rust removal.

And here's the "before" picture of the pick.
After seeing it the other day on Reddit, I set about to make my own setup in a five-gallon bucket.  I'll explain the full process in another post (this one's getting long), but it's been fascinating to see it work, both on a Maxwell part and on a pick head that I determined was over 100 years old.

Anywho, this summer is off to a good, productive start, and I hope to keep that up.  So stick with me as I get back into the swing of writing these blogs and working on the Maxwell (and my countless other projects).  In the meantime, take care and thanks, as always, for reading!

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