Saturday, July 02, 2011

Car Dent Removal & Plugged Center Ankle Bolt Hole at Mike's

Sometime this past January, I managed to back my car's trunk into a metal staircase banister, as seen in this picture snagged from Google Street View. Click here for a full-sized picture.

In fairness to myself, while it looks like the metal banister is very far away from where the cars are parked in front of it on the right side of the picture, there was a very large and wide truck parked along the curb to the right of the car in the center that is driving away. I was parked where the black car with the large red tail lights is parked on the right. I was not able to even begin turning as I was backing out until my car was about as far back as the car that is driving away. Anyway, I managed to bump the rail, and put this dent in the trunk.


Mike thought he might be able to literally take a whack at pounding it out, so today I went by to see what he could do. The job was accomplished with MDF and a hammer.

Many taps later, and the dent is 97% gone. Senna Auto Repair is in business!

Next up, the WALL•E report. Mike has finished painting the bodies, and they look amazing!

Finally, I showed Mike the problem I'm having with the center ankle/foot combination not being able to tilt a full 18 degrees from the vertical. I showed this earlier, but here it is again. (With the foot shell on, it's even worse.)

We discussed several options, including shaving some of the curved area of the ankle just above the wooden foot, and relocating the ankle bolt holes on both the ankle and wooden foot.

In the end, we decided it would be worth taking a shot at moving the hole on the ankle a little lower. Moving the hole up on the wooden foot presents other challenges, such as not being able to slide the bolt in under the top of the foot shell door frame. For those who pay an insane amount of attention to this blog, you may recall I went through this on droid #1 as well.

From a blueprint perspective, the hole is definitely not too high. In fact, per request, Matthew Henricks' CNC legs locate the ankle bolt holes at 1/2" from the tips of the ankles, which is actually a little closer to the tips than the blueprints call out. But in this case, I think I need the hole to be even slightly closer to the end, perhaps more like 3/8" from the tip.

The first step is to remove the bronze bushing. I cut a 1" segment of 1/2" steel tubing to help force the bushing in the ankle out.

I cut a small piece of scrap MDF, and drilled a 1/2" hole in it. Then, I used a C-clamp to push the steel tube segment into the bronze bushing, which caused the bushing to move up into the hole in the MDF.

After a few twists on the clamp, I was able to pull out the bushing.

The ankle tip is 1" wide, so I cut a pair of 1/2" thick x 1/2" diameter plugs from some scrap Baltic birch plywood, using my trusty plug cutter.

Mike had some Gorilla Glue handy, so he swabbed some on the inside perimeter of the ankle bolt hole, and on the wooden plugs.

In they go.

I plan to return to Mike's tomorrow to redrill the hole. If all goes well, the 18 degree tilt problem will be solved. If not, I suppose we'll start considering Plan B (give up?).

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