Friday, May 7, 2010

Work in Progress: Glider!

I haven't been blogging much about works-in-progress.  I guess I prefer to wait until something is finished and then unveil it all at once.  This is not always true with my knitting projects, but tends to be the case with my furniture.

The current major WIP is just too exciting at this stage for me to keep to myself.  I'm making a glider.  Not the flying-through-the-air kind, but the sitting-with-a-cocktail kind.  (This description prompted @TreyPeden to ask, "What would it take to get the flying-through-the-air-whilst-sitting-with-a-cocktail kind?" on twitter the other day.  Kind of gave me something to think about there...)

Anyway, the glider got started the other week before my tooth got yanked, and has been on hold for a while.  Here is an early progress shot, on 4/16:

So, what you see above is a couple of arm rests propped up by some scraps, and the long pieces between are going to support the seat.  The plywood was to set in place and sit upon, to test out the height of the arms and angle of the seat.  Here it is with the test seat in place:

Then it sat for a few weeks while I chilled out with my swollen jaw.

Not happy!

Finally today was the day!  I got the seat frame all welded up:

And here it is with the seat and back set in place:

Those are temporary supports holding up the back.

Closeup of the arm:

Now I have to:

  • Weld up some more supporting steel for the back
  • Add a few more supports for the seat, perpendicular to the two long pieces that connect the arms
  • Make the under-carriage (chassis?)
  • Order some specialized parts which you will read about below
  • Connect it all together
  • Glide in comfort and style, bourbon in hand.
I have been studying gliders for a while.  Here are some photos I have taken of gliders I have come across over the past 18 months or so, to study the mechanism:

This one was at the Rose Bowl swap meet.

This one hangs out in back of the hardware store down the street from my house.

Closeups of the connections.

I think I am going to use these for the 'swing' connection, from McMaster-Carr:

This is a "Ball Joint Rod End"...

...and this is a "Threaded Connecting Rod"

Because the rod ends have a ball joint that can swivel a bit, instead of a rigid axial bearing, I won't have to worry so much if my bench and chassis aren't perfectly aligned.  This is good, because it's not like I'm West Coast Choppers over here with loads of specialized equipment for precise alignment of moving parts.  At some point here I'll give you all a tour of my workshop and you'll see what I mean.  (Part of being a good designer is knowing when to allow for margin of error in order to get your design to do what you want it to do.)

Hopefully tomorrow I will make good progress on the chassis, but I might not make much progress on it at all.  I have a basic idea in mind for how it will come together, but I am not entirely convinced of it, yet.  As painful as it sounds (because the glider is looking sooooooo exciting already!!!!!) the chassis might need to marinate in my brain for a little bit longer.  Maybe not.  We'll see.

Plus, I have a special guest in the shop tomorrow -- a friend who is about to move away -- so who knows what will come of the day's work.  It could be a madhouse of production, or it could just be relaxed and low-key.

Stay tuned for updates!

5/13/10 Update:  

We had a really fun day and got a lot done.   My special guest was none other than Justin Ketterer of Valuable Mechanisms.  He is a design engineer, and it was really great to be able to talk about the mechanics of the movement of the glider with someone who was pretty well versed in things mechanical.

After we talked through some of my design issues with the undercarriage and gliding part of it, I decided I needed some more steel in different shapes than I had on hand, which called for a trip to Industrial Metal Supply.  IMS is one of the better steel suppliers in the area, and they had exactly what I needed. 

Then we got back home and made burgers for lunch (with delicious ground beef from you know where, which we also sampled raw, btw, and it was delicious).  Then it was finally figuring out how the side supports would be configured, based on the new metal shapes. 

Finally I got to fire up the Lincoln and we were off and welding.  

Justin got to try out the welder too, and made a fine looking little, um, thing.

I didn't really get super far with the glider in terms of fabrication, but the ideas all got worked out, which is the hardest part.  Once the problem is solved, it's only a matter of implementation.
Here are some pictures of the I-shaped end part of the glider base:

Shown here with my trusty Lincon in the background.

All in all, it was a super fun day, and I am bummed that Justin is moving away.  If I could I would hire him in a heartbeat, and put him to work engineering some astounding, riveted(ing) titanium furniture.  Oh well.  Who knows what the future holds?   

Best of luck to JK in his big move!

No comments:

Post a Comment