Monday, April 7, 2008

Bendy Copper

This post focuses on the copper tubing assembly that gets attached to the stock end of the rifle. I managed to get that all finished up this weekend.

Which reminds me that I'm finally making headway on this project. I beleive the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter. But the journey has not been free of peril.

I have to say that I was TERRIFIED at the prospect of using a butane torch to solder the copper tubes together. I've logged many miles with a soldering iron, but never a butane torch. Knowing how I am when I'm in my shop, and how I tend to always be knocking things over, bumping into things, and dropping things, I had my worries about the thought of deploying a tool that shoots a blue flame out of it. Know what I mean??

I'll flash forward and let you, dear reader, continue in comfort with the full knowledge that no Munsons or animals were harmed in the making of the copper tubing assemblies. It all went well.

In fact, from this first picture, you can see that I've already formed the first joint.

It's hard enough getting the copper to bend the way you want it to. It's actually quite tricky, especially at this thickness. You'd think it would be easy, but there's a lot of subtle work to it. Took me a while to get it right, and even then, I wouldn't say it's perfect. It's good enough for me though. But things get even more complicated when you start trying to join pieces together. Though I did my best to make sure all the tube sections were straight, lining them up on a flat surface always revealed little problems. Trying to fix those little problems usually created more. So it got to a point where it was really all just about compromise. I just wanted to get it "good enough", so that I could move on.

I would lay the pieces down on the concrete, and then tape them into place so that they wouldn't slip during the soldering process. That process is also something that is very trial and error. It wasn't until about my third joint that I finally got a feel for it. (and yes, I'm referring to the points where the copper tubes meet, not an illegal substance you smoke)

Here's the curly assembly all finished and ready to attach to the rifle.

Next, I drilled holes in the back side of the rifle where the copper pieces would go. Not a big deal really. The good news is that there was a drill bit with the exact same diameter as the copper I'm using. Snug fit!

I used some five minute epoxy in the holes to get the thing into place. Worked out pretty well. I'm happy with it.

Once it was in, I blasted it with some primer.

and then finished it off with some krylon. Looks great!

Like many of my projects, I did this in the wrong order. I probably should have drilled ALL the holes before attaching the tubing, as I'm now in a position where I not only need to be really careful when moving the rifle around to drill the other holes, but I also need to be delicate with it in general. Oh well. This is nothing new to me though. I'm a big believer in sacrificing long term benefits for short term results, when it comes to my projects. Of course.

Still, I don't really think it will pose a serious problem. Onward and upward!

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