Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Captain America Ball Chair Project Part Nine

This week I have been continuing my work on the construction of the Captain America ball chair project that I've posted about over the previous weeks.  I did not see any point in posting about all the sanding and prep work that I have managed to accomplish so far on various parts as this is pretty boring to post about week after week.  So with this post I wanted to show you the parts I have designed and have been 3D printing for the mounts that will be needed for the interior wedge pieces for the chair.

 This is a good image that I created showing the interior of the ball chair.  There are six wedge shaped pieces that will make up the interior of the chair and they will all be mounted in exactly the same way so it makes it a little simpler in some ways to get this part of the build accomplished.

Here is a good computer image of one of the wedge shaped inner pieces for the chair.  The wedges will be made from a mold that I am still constructing and will be made of fiberglass.  The spool shaped part just above the wedge in the image is one of the mounting assemblies that will be used in each corner of the interior wedge pieces.

Above is a breakdown of all the components that make up the corner mounts. The lower (red) piece is the base of the mount that will be bonded to the inner face of the ball chair.  The next part up from that is a threaded rod connector.  It is 1/4-20 in size and 7/8ths of an inch long which is a standard part that can be found at most hardware stores.  The (blue) top part of the assembly has an opening in the center cylindrical section of the part that the connector slides into.  When this is done the top and bottom parts are bonded together to encase the connector into the assembly.  The button head cap screw is then used to mount the wedge part to the mount to hold it in place within the chair at the corners.  The blue and red parts are designed so that I can 3D print them for each assembly.

 Here is a good image of the mounting assembly once it has been completely assembled.  The connector for the assembly is shown in the image above in light blue at the center of the assembly.

Once all of the connectors have been 3D printed three mounts will be assembled and mounted to the back sides of each of the six wedge sections.  This will make a strong simple mounting system that will be easy enough to 3D print.  The only downside to the design which cannot be improved upon is that it takes 100 minutes to print each mounting assembly.  For the chair I will need 18 mounting assemblies in total.  That adds up to 30 hours of 3D printing time. So I will be in my workroom for the next week or so just making these parts up so that they will be ready when the time comes to do the final assembly of the chair.  

Here's what the mounting assembly looks like taken apart and put together.  Assembled it is 2" tall and 1 1/2" in diameter.  Looks like a spool for a sewing machine but just larger.  It is very strong and should do the job nicely once I get all of the assemblies printed for the chair. 
  So that's about it for this week.  Just a bit more interesting than showing you pictures of me sanding parts for hours and hours and hours.  I'll keep you up to date on my progress and anything else new that I can show you that I've been working on here at the shop. Have a good one!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Captain America Ball Chair Project Part Eight

While waiting for supplies to continue this project I thought I might as well post this latest update while I have the free time.  With what looks to be a lot of work ahead of me I wanted to show you what I have managed to get done so for with a few of the parts for the chair along with the test mold that I have been assembling.

I had to take this photo simple because it is a good view of the first two sections of the chair that I have managed to get fiberglassed so far.  The dome section of the chair has been coated with a fiberglass resin and micro-balloon mixture to fill the weave of the fiberglass cloth.  This is the reason for the color of the dome now being white instead of blue like the lower part.  This photo also lets me see how the seam of the parts will look once the chair has been assembled.  I am very pleased at this point with how things are looking so far. It will look good once I am able to paint the sections.  Since each section of the chair will be painted different colors it will also be a simple task to do so before assembly. 

Here you can see the interior of the second section of the chair and the dome section.  The ribs in the second section of the chair will be removed so that further fiberglass can be added to give more strength to the assembly, allow space for the electrical wiring, as well as  the sound system that is planned.  The two other ring sections of the chair will also be set up the same way.  The rims of each sections will be beefed up with the needed fiberglass to make the sections strong enough to bolt each section together when the chair is assembled.  So I am getting there step by step with lots of glassing and prep work still needing to be done.

Here is the test mold that I put together and talked about in my last post.  It's a simple mold that will help me learn how best to set up the larger mold for the six inner wedge pieces that are needed for chair.

 Here the simple mold has been fiber glassed and coated with the fiberglass resin mixture just like I did with the dome section of the chair.  I had to lay down several coats of the resin mixture a section at a time to get it all coated the way I need for the test part. I will sand the mold down as smooth as possible and then spray on several coats of primer to start the wet sanding needed to get it even smoother.  This process is not difficult but takes a bunch of time to get right.

In this last photo of the test mold I finished fiberglassing the outer surface of the mold.  You can see the rounded edges of the mold that needed to be done to lay the fiberglass cloth into place easily.  I know that this looks like a lot of unnecessary work for the mold but if I spay primer on the mold and the Styrofoam is not glassed it will be melted away by either the primer or paint that I will spray into the mold.  I didn't want to take any chance that the mold would be destroyed by a simple thing like paint.
So this gives you a good idea of why this looks like not much is done at this point from the last post to this one.  The time on the project has risen to 100 hours so far with a long ways to go yet to finish. But with every little step you see here is hours and hours of boring labor.  Sanding, sanding and more sanding followed by primer coats and more sanding afterward.  It will all pay off when I want to get the paint to look as perfect as I can get it.  I'll keep you up to date when I get farther along and more progress will be easily seen.  Have a good day in your shop and with your projects.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Captain America Ball Chair Project Part Seven

Today I wanted to share with you the next couple of steps that I've managed to complete with my Captain America ball chair project.  In my last post I showed you the mold that I had to put together for the six inner wedge parts that need to be made.  This is a crucial step in the project and I would rather not mess it up right out of the gate with my first attempt at making a fiberglass mold.  So with that in mind I've been working on something much simpler to test this process on.

I put together this simple little mold so that I could use it to make a simple part from it.  Call it two snow balls in a box or two buns or whatever but it should serve my purpose well enough.  The half spheres I found at my local Walmart in the craft department and are only 4 inches in diameter.  I hot glued these to a Styrofoam base and then added a three inch high perimeter around the spheres that are tapered so that parts can be pulled from the mold once I have it all prepped for that purpose.
Here I have the interior of the little test mold already fiberglassed and waiting to cure over night.  Once this is done then I will go through the process of putting on a coat of fiberglass resin and micro-balloon mixture to fill the fiberglass cloth weave.  After that a lot of sanding is in store to make the interior of the mold smooth and ready for use.  The mold is only 10" x 12" x 2.5" in size so it should not take a terrible long time to get it into shape so I can try it out.  If making parts in this mold fail at least I will not ruin my big mold for the ball chair and will learn from the process if I do make a mistake.  But from what I have been learning online about making molds I think I will have a good shot at having the process fall into place so I am hopeful that this part of the project will be of some use and I will have another skill set added to my bag of tricks in the workshop.  I have the mold release wax and PVA mold release liquid ordered so I will be ready when it arrives in the shop in about a week so and  I can proceed further.
Along with the little mold test part I have been proceeding further with the fiber glassing of the larger parts for the ball chair.  This is one of the four assemblies that make up the chair.  The inner portion of the ring had already been fiberglassed so I was able to sand the outer surface of this ring to prep it for additional fiberglass applications.  The inner portion of this piece like all the ring assemblies need to be fiberglassed from the inside first to give the structure the strength that is needed so that I can sand it easily to get a nice smooth surface on the outside for fiberglassing.  Sounds kind of backwards but it works very well and since the inside of the ring will never be seen once the chair is completed no further finishing work will need to be done. 
Here you can see  what this ring looks like once it has been fiberglassed on the outside.  It looks a little darker is all but once it has cured properly the outer surface is quite strong and will take very little effort to prep it for a good finishing surface ready for paint.  I'll let this ring sit over night to let it cure and then finish up the outside my turning the ring over so that I can glass the edge and outer face of the ring where I had not glassed today.  You can see that the bottom portion of the ring is a lighter color where fiberglass has not yet been applied to the assembly. This makes it easier to do it this way otherwise the ring is wet on all surfaces and handling it gets to be a real pain to not mess up the work that is already complete.  Simpler to do this in a couple of steps and get it right.
Once I get the ring completely glassed on the outside I can go back to work on the inside and remove the unneeded Styrofoam that makes up the structure at this point.  The new fiberglass will  retain the shape that is needed for the ball chair and more fiberglass will be added for additional strength so that each ring of the chair can be bolted together.
I was looking at this ring as I worked on it on my work table today and thought it would be pretty cool if I could make a huge quad-copter using this ring.  It would be great to see but it would need a mess of power to make it fly.  Another idea for another project for another day.  Anyway I'll keep you posted on my progress as I keep going along with this project.  Enjoy the photos and your weekend.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Captain America Ball Chair Project Part Six

In this installment of my Captain America ball chair project I have been working on the construction of the mold that will be needed for the six inner curved triangular pieces that will make up the interior of the chair. 

The images above are what I hope to succeed at making with the mold.  This will be a first for me as I have never made a mold before in fiberglass.  Hard to believe with all of the projects that I have created over the years but with the construction I have done in fiberglass it has all been composite mold-less in nature.  A much simpler way to make things and if I don't get this mold to work right I will have to go back to what I know and try again.  So this is the process for now.

I had to do a lot of calculations and checking of my design in my CAD software to work out the mold I need for the six inner wedge pieces for the chair.  All of the wedges need to be exactly the same so what better way to do this than with a mold.  I started with five inner curved pieces to give me the shape I will need for the inner ball wedge surfaces. These curved pieces were joined together with a horizontal curved piece and then evenly space at 15 degrees each to get the right shape that I wanted.
These five curved pieces were then mated to an upper foam piece to get a connection point that would tie all of them together.  I had to join a two inch pink piece of foam with a one inch piece to make up the three inch joint to match up to the width of the curved pieces.  All of the parts at this point were simply hot glued together to hold them all in place for the mold.  I did not bother fiberglassing any of the parts before I assembled them as the structure did not need to be terribly strong to make the mold.
Additional foam pieces were added at this point to the outer perimeter of the wedge mold to help make the lip of the part that will be molded.  This will make more sense in the next few photos.
Here's a good shot of the upper joints of the mold.  You can easily see the joints that were made for the curved pieces of the mold and how they mate up at the tip.  Wrapped around this tip is the outer form to help create the lips that will run around the outer perimeter of the wedge parts that I need to make. The outer pieces are three inches taller than the curved ribs and the lip for the parts being made will only be two inches tall.  So it gives me a good surface to easily make this portion of the parts.  Once the parts have been removed from the mold they will be trimmed to the size I need.  
Next I stared gluing in the Styrofoam strips that will create the compound curved surface of the wedges in the mold. Each of these strips needed to be hot glued into place after carefully measuring and trial fitting each of them first. A long and slow process but interesting to work on just the same.
Here all of the foam strips have been added to the mold.  It took me roughly nine hours just to complete this portion of the construction.  As I said a slow process to be sure.
Once I had all of the foam strips in place to my liking I turned the assembly over and fiberglassed  the spaces between the curved ribs of the mold with eight ounce fiberglass cloth.  I let this cure overnight so that it would be good and strong for the following steps in the assembly.
I then sanded the inner surface of the mold to get a nice uniform curved surface.  The fiberglassing that I had installed on the back surface of the mold gave me a strong surface to easily perform this part of the build. I next cut a large piece of eight ounce fiberglass cloth so that I could glass the interior of the mold all in one seamless piece.  Being that the mold is triangular in shape it was just simpler to cut a rectangular pieces of cloth and lay it in the mold so that it would fit correctly first time out.  I had filleted all inner edges with fiberglass epoxy and micro-balloon mixture to get a good edge before I wetted out the cloth. 
Here is what the mold looked like after the glassing had been completed.  The cloth turns transparent when enough resin is applied to the cloth.  It makes it easy to see what is enough or not enough resin when doing this part of the job.  I had also trimmed off the excess fiberglass cloth that was hanging over the outer edges of the mold as it made things easier to get the inner cloth to stay where I needed it at this point in the construction.

Here the mold is completed.  You can see the white of the inner fillets that were applied to the mold before I laid the glass into place. I had also fiberglassed the outer surfaces of the mold as well so that it had a nice strong structure now.  You can see another white strip of putty mixture that I had built into the upper lips of the mold so that the outer fiberglass cloth could be attached securely to the assembly and give me a good 90 degree edge at the same time.  The next step in the process to complete the mold is to use additional fiber glass resin putty to fill the weave of the fiberglass cloth on the inner surfaces of the mold.  Once this has cured it will be sanded smooth and prepped to make the parts for the chair.  If all goes will I will end up with six identical parts for the interior of the chair that will match the first images in this post. 
I will need to keep my fingers crossed at this point and hope that I have my calculations right for the design and that I can get the parts out of the mold without any problems.  As I said this is another learning process that I hope will work out for me.  Just will have to see when I get that far with this portion of the build.   Wish me luck.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Captain America Ball Chair Project Part Five

Yesterday was a big day in the workshop with continuing progress being made on the Captain America ball chair project.  I wanted to get this post out before the weekend so that I could do a little traveling to see my son and his wife who live some distance from me.  So this will be good for you as well as for me this weekend.

In my last posting I had just completed the process of removing the dish shaped part for the upper base assembly from the dome for the ball section of the chair.  In this photo is the completed dish after it had been clean of any miscellaneous tape from the first part of the build and an additional layer of eight ounce cloth was then added to the top surface.  Once this had cured I trimmed off the excess to the correct size that is needed for the base upper assembly.
Here is a good look at the base upper assembly that the dish will be added to.  Once this done it will have a total of ten combined parts that will all be fiberglassed together to make up the mounting for the ball section of the chair.
I took the dish part and laid it upside down on my work table so that addition fiberglass could be applied to both sides of the slot that I had cut into the part.  Cutting this slot worked out much easier than I had hoped. I was originally going to use a carbon fiber disk in my Dremel tool to cut the slot but when I did the disk exploded into a lot of little pieces.  I suspect that the disk was old and worn out that was the cause of the failure. 
I then picked up another tool that I have here in the shop called a Sonicrafter from the Rockwell company.  This is a tool that has a wide variety of blades that vibrate when they cut.  You can touch the blade to your hand and it won't cut you but when you touch it to a part it will.  It cut through this fiberglass part like a hot knife through butter.  Worked great!  I marked the slot first with a Sharpie and then drilled a couple of holes to get the ends of the slot looking good.  Then it was just a matter of a couple of minutes to cut the slot out using the Sonicrafter.
I then took the dish and laid it upside done on my work table again so that I could  epoxy it to the upper base mount assembly. Using fiberglass resin and a micro-balloon mixture to bond these part together.  I placed several pieces of wood, foam, and a bucket of plaster on top of the assembly to weight it down until it had cured over night.

Here is what the finished assembly now looks like after it had dried. I've always said that you have to make something look ugly before it can become pretty in the shop.  This is no exception with this assembly.  Actually though I am very pleased with how this part turned out.  It is fully fiberglassed now and only need the finishing work and a little paint to make it look pretty.  Even with saying that very little needs to be done with the part as most of this assembly will be hidden once the ball chair is completed and assembled to the base.  So I don't have a lot to do yet to finish this part of the project.
The next step in the project was to continue the assembly of the lower base unit.   I had finished fiberglassing the blue part that is shown in the photo above and bonded the two pink rings to the assembly using fiberglass resin and micro-balloons once again.  This portion of the build then needed to be fiberglassed on the inside of the rings to seal it completely.
Next I took the leg support parts along with additional spacers and hot glued them into place on the under side of the base unit.  This went very quickly and will give the base for the chair a very solid platform to hold the upper base assembly and the ball section of the chair when it is completed.
Here I started to apply the 1/4 inch foam strips to the outside of the now upright base assembly.  I had completed puttying the joints of the leg supports both above and below the now center blue disk that you see in the photo above.  This added much more strength to the assembly.  The foam strips like the ball section of the chair were applied using a hot glue gun.  It's time consuming but not difficult work to get a good shape for  the fiberglassing that will be done later on.
Here all of the strips for the lower base section of the chair have been applied to the framework.  It already has a very nice shape and very little has to be done to get a nice smooth surface ready for fiberglass.
I took the lower base assembly this morning and laid it on it's side so that more fiber glass resin putty could be applied to the joints that mate up to the new outer skin.  Once this has cured I will fiberglass the inside of this cavity wherever it is needed before finally sanding of the outside foam to prep it for several layers of fiberglass.
The last thing I did was set up this pink part at the foot of the lower base assembly.  The blue foam will be cut out of the assembly at the archway shaped section of the pink part so that and opening will be built to allow electrical power to be fed into the chair for the lights and sound system that I have planned. 
All in all I managed to get a lot done in the last seven or eight hours with the project so I will be more than happy to leave it sit for another couple of days while I am on the road visiting my son.  With this portion of the build nearing completion the lower base assemblies look to be just what is needed for the ball chair project.  Coming right along just as I had planned so it makes it another good day in the workshop.  Total hours on the build now stand at 65.5 hours. Enjoy the photos and the weekend.