April 3, 2004
Saturday afternoon Andres came by to help me take my table apart and cart the cinder blocks over to his house where we'll be using them as added weight while epoxying the hexcel to the steel sheets.
Earlier in the day I'd received the first shipment of Loctite E-20HP epoxy. I'd ordered a case and inside were six 400mL tubes.
We decided to start with the cut pieces because I wasn't positive how much epoxy was going to be needed. For these two sheets of hexel, we used three tubes (1200mL, 40oz) of epoxy.
April 4, 2004 12:00pm
April 4, 2004 6:00pm
This evening I started working on the new legs for my table. I took a page out of John Laux's book and purchased some concrete form tubing that I'll be filling with sand. This evening I cut the wood for the end caps and epoxied (using cheaper hardware-store brand epoxy) one of the forms to an end cap.
April 5, 2004
Andres and I got back together on Monday evening to check our work and continue spreading epoxy.
As it turned out, the gun for use with the Loctite tubes was going to cost $147. That's not much if the entire table was going to be epoxied with the 20HP but I'd since decided that the costs were going to be prohibitive. The epoxy alone would have cost over $1300.
Earlier in the day I'd taken some time to locate a distributor for JB-weld and found an auto parts store that could supply me with at least 24 units of industro weld. Based on our experiences Saturday and Sunday I initially calculated that we'd need 6 units to cover the next layer. It actually turned out that 8 worked better for giving us an even coverage of epoxy over 17.5 sq ft.
From start to finish it's taking about an hour and a half to do one layer of epoxy. At this rate the table top should be complete by next Sunday.
April 6, 2004
Another evening of sanding, cleaning, squishing, epoxy spreading and weight piling.
We started by setting up an interferometer and testing the panel while sitting on the floor (sorry, didn't pick up the camera) to see how it performed without any isolation. It was very good until we stomped our feet about 10' away. At that point the fringes jittered quite a lot but quickly settled down. We then lifted up (with great difficulty) the panel and slipped four inner tubes underneath and ran the test again. This time the fringes just shivered slightly and settled down almost immediately.
Things are looking good.
That's three layers of epoxy completed. Five to go.
April 7, 2004
Before heading to Andres's I did a bit of work in my office/lab. The old table is now completely taken apart down to the floor and I'm ready to start building it back up.
I then headed on over to Andres' so that we could do the epoxy tango again. Only one picture today since we were doing all the same things we'd done the last several days.
This panel is becoming quite heavy. At the moment it weighs around 160 pounds. It'll weight close to 200 by the time it's done, which is still half of what the old top weighed.
April 8, 2004
Before heading in to work I filled the legs with sand that I'd bought the day before. Now I just need to cap them off with 14" plates and cart them upstairs
We were out of epoxy (hopefully another 24 units will come in on Friday and no later than Monday) so Andres and I got together to test the table.
After setting up the interferometer we watched the fringes while the plate was sitting on the floor and are sure that the fringes were better behaved than they were a few days and one layer of hexcel ago. We also put the inner tubes back under the panel and again the fringes were well behaved. We were able to get them to move slightly while stomping our feet but they settled down very quickly.
April 9, 2004
April 10, 2004, 8am
Andres and I met back at his house, ready to spread the next to the last layer of epoxy. Earlier in the day we had attempted using a pasta machine to squeeze out the epoxy but the rollers are metal and 1/4 along the tube they just started slipping. We gave up at that point but Susan later suggested using the rubber grippy things we own (for helping when you need to open a stuck jar) and so I took the machine and grippy things back to Andres' for our evening epoxy session.
It worked like a charm (wish I'd remembered I had that pasta machine before Friday evening).
After clamping the machine to a cinder block, we wrapped each tube in the rubber and cranked the handle until the tube head reached the rollers.
At this stage we could simply squeeze the remainder out with our fingers. This method worked a little faster than our method of cutting off the bottom and finger-squeezing from the top down. The main thing it did for us was save some wear and tear on our fingers and made the whole process much less messy.
Tomorrow morning we're going to rent a small truck, cart the whole mess back to my house and set up the two panels in my office. This top is almost complete.
April 11, 2004
The final layer approaches.
April 13, 2004
The last couple of days I've been working out some imaging problems with the table. I've made several holograms that while they look like they should be bright, they're kind of dirty looking. Tomorrow morning I'm going to go through a whole series of tests to determine where the "dirt" is coming from.
Since I can't use the table saw in the morning (I get up at 4:30 or 5am) I started working on some jigs in the evening that will make it easier to make the new mounts that Andres and I have been using. Colin mentioned recently that you can cut aluminum with woodworking tools and that it's very much like working with Maple, only without the sap getting in your way.
Why make these jigs? To keep my fingers as far from the blade as possible and to cut the pieces in such a way that they won't bind against the fence.
April 29, 2004
Haven't had much time to update the blog (obviously) but things went very well at the first PCG Gathering. Immediately after, I had to go into a mini crunch at work and didn't have time to do many holograms.
All that changed about the 27th. Since then I've made nine copies of the PCG cat hologram and five of the Cheshire cat master I made back in December. I've only had one bad hologram out of the whole lot and that was only because I didn't alter my plateholder alignment when I changed masters and the film moved during the exposure.
I've been able to shorten my settling times as low as five minutes and each hologram has been extremely bright.
As soon as I get more time I'll post pictures.
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