Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mo' Hinges, Mo' Problems

Tonight was not as successful as previous nights, though I did learn a lot about the kit. Not much about myself, but that's another story.

Things started out really great. The primer I laid down last night had time to dry, and the upper body was looking really great. No seam lines to be found.

I did a little tiny bit of sanding on one corner, but I consider the upper body done and ready to go.

Now it was time to put the hinges in place. I started by cutting to size the styrene shim I had cut previously. I just used a pencil to outline the general shape, then cut it with scissors. Precision is not important for this piece.

I then taped the two halves of the tricorder together using really low tack painters tape. Great stuff. Doesn't take any of the paint with it when you remove it.

Here's how the hinge holes looked, all lined up perfectly and ready for hinges

The instructions say that you're supposed to drill out holes, and then just screw the hinges in place. This seemed like a bad idea to me. If you drill the holes wrong, the hinges will not be seated properly, and the thing might not open smoothly, or properly. So I devised the idea of using epoxy first to hold the hinges in place. Once I got them all lined up, I could then go back in and crill out the screw holes and go from there.

I'm VERY happy that I did it this way, as I discovered a flaw in the kit a short time after finishing the hinge installation.

Here's a quick tip for ya. Whenever I'm applying epoxy to small areas, I always like to have a tool to do it. If I had toothpicks handy, I would use those, but I don't. Instead, I just twist apart a popsicle stick! This provides me with a nice pointed tool.

But back to the hinges. The first one went in easily, and with no problems. It lined up perfectly along the center seam.

After a little bit of work with the dremel tool, I got the other two hinges in. It all looked good.

Things fell apart when I tried to open the tricorder up. It looks like the wells that the hinges sit in are not of equal depth. The one on the right hand side (if you're looking down at the face of the open tricorde) is about 50% deeper than the others. This means that the hinges don't quite sit level on that axis.

The good news is that the epoxy bond isn't as strong as other adhesives, so I was able to pull the whole thing apart without causing any damage.

Next time, I'm going to repair the hinge wells, and make sure they are all the same depth. I've been kicking around ideas on how to do it, and I think I've come up with a doozy. We shall see if it works tomorrow!!!

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