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usaeatt2

E11 Power Cylinder Build

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Hi troops,

 

This is my first "build thread", so go easy on me...  I'm new here, waiting on AP armor and feeling inspired by some of the incredible builds I've been following (like the Dark CMF and gazmosis E11 builds).  Work is in progress for my all steel E-11 build and I'm collecting pictures for a future build thread.  Today, I decided to try my hand at making my own version of the power cylinders.  If you haven't done so already, you should read PlayfulWolfCub's threads about the power cyclinders!  The research is interesting and amazing.  Andy's power cylinders take "screen accurate" to a whole new level.  The resulting product is mind-blowing, but expensive.  Resin copies may be available someday and I think DoopyDoos also offers a resin version.  I thought I'd try something in between.  My cylinders will be metal and make a reasonable attempt at looking accurate using without going into zinc plating, etc.  I'll also try to use readily available materials which anyone should be able to find at a hardware store.  I like to think of them as "blue collar" power cylinders.  So, here we go:

 

Materials:

I started with the cylinders, since I figured that would be the most difficult part to make.  In future posts, I'll move on to the capacitors, resistors, wires, etc.  I already had most of this in my shop, but you should be able to find most of it at any hardware store.  3/8" steel bar stock (6"), 3/8" steel cap nuts (4), 2-56 nuts (4) and 1/4" 2-56 screws (4).  I bought a few extra nuts and screws just in case one gets lost or dropped (these things are impossibly SMALL!)  I included a nickel and a Euro (for the European peeps) in the photo as a size reference.

7FF618D7-AEBF-40A0-8BFE-87630351FAA9_zps

 

First step is too tap a cap nut onto the bar stock

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Chuck the bar into a vise with the cap at the top.  Mark and center punch the center of the cap.  I "eyeballed it" because trying to mark and measure centerlines at this scale is tough.  Just make a dot with a fine tip Sharpie.  If I ever make more of these, I'll likely invest in a jeweler's loupe - kind of like goggles with magnifier lenses.  I think that's what they're called...

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Drill a hole in the center of the cap.  I used a 5/64" bit to give me a little adjustment in case my hole is slightly off center.  The center punch is critical, otherwise your drill bit will likely "wander" all over before "biting" and your hole will likely end up way off center.  Andy told me the hardest part about power cylinders is there's almost NO ROOM for error at this size.  He's right!  I gave myself a 1/64" margin for error.  The nut will still cover that margin.

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Next step is to remove the shoulder off the cap nut.  The cap nut looks like a little top hat - we're removing the brim and leaving the top.  There are little "teeth" on the cap.  When you get close to removing the entire shoulder, those little teeth will fall off and leave sharp edges.  I did mine on a belt sander, but with some determination, you could probably do this with a Dremel.

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So, now it's starting to look like the cap on an E11 power cylinder, but it's still too deep.  PlayfulWolfCub posted measurements years ago.  Those measurements say the cap is 4.76mm deep.  I'm shooting for something between 4-5mm.  Remove the cap from the steel bar.  I placed the edges of the cap on the jaws of the vise (not tight) and tapped a finishing nail through the hole.  Careful the bar doesn't fall on your foot when it drops out - you are wearing steel toe boots in the shop, right?  Now, HOW am I going to reduce the depth on these tiny pieces without sanding off my fingerprints and/or shooting them across the garage floor, never to find them again?

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I found a really small wood screw and mounted the cap "backwards" on a scrap of wood.  Actually, I use this particular scrap along with a twin when clamping small items in my vise.  It's been used on lots of other projects, which is why there are other holes drilled in it.

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Back to the belt sander.  Go EASY with these.  Very little pressure.  Let the sandpaper do the work.  They'll get hot FAST because they're so small, there simply isn't enough material to act as a heat sink.

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Cap depth reduced to about 4.5mm. 

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Rinse and repeat.  Two caps done.

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Moving on to prepping the bar stock... In trying to maintain some semblance of accuracy, I decided to cut a slot in each end of the bar.  Later, I'll add a small colored chip of clay or plastic to replicate the ceramic insert of the originals.  Again with the centerline - I eyeballed the center and marked the line with a Sharpie.  According to the measurements, I needed to make these slots about 8mm deep.  I measured 8mm from the end, scored a very small line with an ice pick, then wrapped a piece of masking tape around the bar at the line.  I'll then cut the slot down to the tape and no further.  I used a Dremel cut-off wheel to cut the slot, but a hack saw would probably work too.  You're wearing your safety glasses, right? 

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Cut the bar to length.  Measurements say the power cylinders are 48.5mm long (INCLUDING CAPS).  Each cap is about 1mm thick.  So, I did some quick math - I'll make my cylinders 49mm long (who could spot 0.5mm difference besides Andy?).  49mm - 2mm (for 2 caps) = 47mm.

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The screws in each cap need a little space.  I suppose you could just glue the nuts onto the cap, but I'm a big fan of mechanical attachments.  I hate depending on glue alone (yeah, just wait till you start building armor...)  I dremeled out a little hole with a small stone bit.

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I just kept working the hole until the screw head dropped below the edge of the bar (that sounds like a bad date!)

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Assembling parts!!!

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One cylinder complete, rinse and repeat.  Trim the screws to your liking.

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I thought about this for a few days before attempting to build anything...here's a side-by-side picture of other ideas I had.  Spare your self time and money by NOT thinking any of these other ideas might work...you saw it right here - MAJOR DIFFERENCE!

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I should be able to crank out another cylinder pretty quickly...working out how to do things and the order of operations takes the most time.  Now that I have a procedure, it shouldn't take long to duplicate.  Next post, I'll cut the base plate.  Hope you enjoyed my very first build post!  Please comment!

 

Till next time,

Aaron

Edited by usaeatt2
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You look very talented and it looks like a very good start :). However there's a notch only at the end of the cylinder:

img_0010.jpg

 

And also, you do not see-through, there's a smaller tube inside

Edited by The5thHorseman

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You look very talented and it looks like a very good start :). However there's a notch only at the end of the cylinder:

 

And also, you do not see-through, there's a smaller tube inside

Thanks Germain!   And you certainly have an eye for detail (I think you're the one who caught Dark CMF's bayonet lug backwards)  Looks like I'll be making 2 more of these today...that's what I get for not having a reference picture while building!  I got carried away with all the fun of this!  The "slot" will be filled with something to simulate the inner "tube" or ceramic insulator.  Thanks again!

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I just hate when people with a lot of talent make small mistakes because of a little lake of attention ;)

 

That's why FISD is for: Helping troopers !

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Beautiful stuff, Aaron! Making me regret gluing mine in place now. LoL.

 

You are correct... Germain has an awesome eye for details. ;)

Edited by Dark CMF

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Update #2:  "Vent Hole Removal"

 

Well, I really can't remove a hole...I could TIG weld the ends and blend the weld back down to the correct shape, but that's a lot of work for what it's worth...  AND, I thought I could make these look much better.  I'll consider my first post a "test pass".

 

So, good and bad luck this weekend - my WELL stocked local hobby shop announced they will be going out of business.  The owners are in their 70's and ready to retire.  Their business is THRIVING, but due to the economy, banks won't give anyone a loan to take over the business - at least a dozen people have tried already.  Apparently, the $250,000 worth of inventory doesn't count as collateral.  The owners have never posted a help wanted ad...EVERY employee is a veteran at their hobby and has been working at this store for as long as I can remember.  They were long time customers and got hired through friendships with the owners.  Really sad.  On the plus side, the store is liquidating everything - I bought ALL the Humbrol Dark Admiral Grey, French Blue and Midnight Blue that was left on the display - 9 little cans of paint for $1 each.  I also stocked up on supplies at a great price.  They even had someone's VINTAGE Star Wars toys for sale.  Mint toys in perfect original boxes - that brought back some memories.  Hope they have a happy retirement.

 

Anyway, although it looked OK, the solid bar stock was heavier than I wanted.  During my hobby store shopping spree, I found the correct size aluminum tubing.  This would be lighter and easier to work and finish.  I wrapped the tubing with masking tape to prevent scratches while working.

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Thought I'd make an extra set since I'm doing all the tool setups, plus it gives me "spares", just in case.  Four tubes cut to length and deburred.

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Cutting the slot, then shaping the flat bottom with a very small file.

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Germain - this one's for you!  I cut a slot on ONE END ONLY.  Duh...but a fine excuse to make it better!  Also, a few bits I gathered from around my shop for the internals.  I believe Andy's research showed there was a ceramic insulator inside the tubes...  I clipped the end off an electrical crimp terminal.  I think the red plastic looks cool and it should POP against satin black.  As an unintended bonus, the aluminum tip is still left inside the crimp termial, so if you're looking really close, it LOOKS electrical.  Epoxy will hold everything together, but on the slight chance the little red plastic tips get knocked loose during combat, I clipped a piece of Scotchbrite pad and compressed it into the tube.  That will keep the tips in place and prevent them from rattling around - THAT would annoy me.  I'll mask the slots before painting.

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First one assembled.

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Two assembled with better lighting.  I still need to trim the screws, but I left them long for now, so I can chuck them up in my drill to help with "finishing".

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I like my plastic tips!  While getting ready for bed and thinking about my next steps, I realized I'd made a TRAGIC error.  How am I going to push these through the holes in the bracket with the end caps epoxied in place???  Ahhhhhh!!!  Plus, the cylinders are tiny and fairly fragile - no way I could chuck them up in the vise and use brute force to knock the caps off.  Heating with a torch would loosen up the epoxy, but they're so small, they'd end up burnt to a crisp and all the internals would melt.  Needless to say, I didn't sleep well.

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When I got home from work, I wrapped the cylinders LIBERALLY with electrical tape - like 10 layers.  I chucked the cylinders in the vise tight enough to hold firm, but not enough to crush the aluminum tube.  Using a jeweler's screw driver as a tiny punch, I gently tapped with a small hammer, working my way around the lip of the cap.  The epoxy broke and I was able to slowly work the cap off.  Disaster avoided -whew!  I like these cylinders A LOT more than the first pair!  Next installment will be bracket fabrication and "capacitor shaping" using aluminum spacers and little plastic discs.

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Thanks for watching!

Aaron

Edited by usaeatt2

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I'm not positive, but I believe that M2 nuts and bolts will get you the approximate size you need.

 

Andy (PlayfulWolfCub) said (In Gazmosis' current build) that the nuts are 3mm from flat side to flat side, and 3.3mm from corner to corner.

 

They aren't anything that can be described as large, not by any means. ;)

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I'm using 2-56 nuts and screws.  I think they also have 1.5mm and 2mm.  The guy at the hardware store said lots of guys come in looking for these tiny nuts and screws to repair fishing reels.  Huh...wouldn't have thought of that.  I'll try to swing by the hardware store tomorrow on my way home from work!  Thanks for helping make these power cylinders even better! 

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I went to Steve's thread, and pulled a quote from Andy, to make sure that I didn't screw it up going from memory.  Here is what he had to say about them:

"According to my research, the original screws & nuts were 10BAs. It's an old British size which is quite rare these days.

The nuts are 3mm across the flats, 3.3mm across the points. The original nuts varied slightly in depth (depending on which Cylinder rack you look at) but the 10BA nuts I use are 1.5mm deep. The bolt diameter is 1.6mm"

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Thanks, Tim.  I thought I could "get away with" the 2-56 size, but at this scale, even the slightest difference is obvious.  I've been talking to Andy offline and ordered the correct 10BA nuts and screws.  I've been working close to 70 hour weeks at my job, but hopefully, I'll have time to build more on my cylinders this weekend...  And there was a "big brown box" on my porch when I arrived home tonight!  I've got a lot to do, but that box is going to have to wait a few weeks...

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So awesome!  On each count.  Accurate sized accessories, AND a big brown box!

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Sooooo busy at work....  no.  time.  to.  post...

 

Just thought I'd jump in here and post a picture or two.

Found a new source for better parts at the auto parts store this weekend...more to come.

 

You really CANNOT appreciate how SMALL this whole assembly is until you try to build one from scratch...

This is how I relax after a long day...I MUST be going insane.

 

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Hi Germain, 

 

Yes, I like shape A from Andy's research.  The wings are already on the base plate - I just had not cut them out yet when I mocked it up for the photo.  You can see the scribe lines in the Dykem blue.  They're cut out and bent now.  Next step is soldering the pieces together.  Stay tuned!

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More coming soon, I promise!  On Saturday, I took an unplanned 4 hour drive to pick up a 392 hemi crankshaft for another project and I got called into work this morning.  Not sure how long I'll be at work today...

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