Friday, April 18, 2008

Oh Snap!

Just after I painted the top copper piece with primer, I went to move it and the curly bit snapped off. Turns out my copper soldering job wasn't as pro-style as I had hoped. No surprise there, I guess.

I was pretty upset, seeing as how it took me so long to get that darn piece together. To have it fall apart so easily was a bit depressing.

But now that I think back to the event, there's a bit more of a story to tell.

After the epoxy had set, and the assembly was firmly in place, I got ready to primer it. However, when I took a closer look at it, I realized it was mounted incorrectly. The part towards the emitter was closer to the body than the back part. Basically, the top pipe was angled, when it should be parallell to the barrel. Big bummer. I thought maybe the epoxy hadn't quite set fully yet, so I gave a tug on the assembly, and that's when it popped off. I was distressed, so I stepped away from the project for a week. From my R2 experience, I've learned that calamaties come in bunches. So when one hits, your best bet is to just step away to avoid the next few that are coming down the pipes. So to speak.

So I come back a week later, armed with techniques not only for fixing the angled pipe, but also for attaching the curly bit.

First was fixing the pipe. I started by whittling away as much of the epoxy as I could get to on the front. Cleaned it out pretty good, but it was still stuck firmly in place. So I whacked it with the rubber mallet until it came loose. Then I grabbed the piece that goes through the barrel with a pair of pliers, and whacked the pliers with the mallet until the top pipe was parallell with the barrel. With that all sorted out, I slopped in some more epoxy, and called it a day.

Now it was time to reattach the curly bit

I decided to use coat hanger wire to reinforce the assembly, and basically just glue the whole thing together. I didn't want to try to re-solder the thing, as I'd probably end up melting the rifle in the process. I also didn't want to have to remove the entire copper assy just to resolder it. Especially considering how weak my first solder was in the first place. Oy.

So I first clipped four lenghts of coat hanger wire. Then I bent them to approximately match the curvature of the end bit. I didn't make it a perfect fit on purpose, as I wanted there to be some tension inside the tube, keeping the hangers in place.

I then slathered in the epoxy, and shoved all four hanger wires inside.

I then used some wire cutters to help me bend the coat hanger wires at a pretty sharp angle away from the curly piece. I had to clean out some excess epoxy, as I really did manage to goop it up pretty good.

All that was left was to shove the trailing wires into the main pipe, after they were liberally slobbed with epoxy.

Good news is, it worked like a charm. I spent some time with the files and some sand paper cleaning up the joint, and it actually came out looking better than it did BEFORE I snapped it off. Now there's turning a frown upside-down for ya.

This last picture shows the assembly right before I cleaned it up, but you can tell that the original shape of the assembly has been restored. Looking good.

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