Finally, a real update.

Well, I said I would do it and now I have. Want to hear my excuses this time? No? Yeah, me either. So, on with the show.

Way back in December of 2013, I decided that I had the rust cleared out and the patch panels welded in well enough to reinstall the shock tower. When I did, though, something didn’t look quite right…

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Yikes! That’s a lot of light coming through there.

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Yup, I bent the snot out of the tower when I pried it out of there. It took me awhile to figure out how I was going to remedy that situation but we’ll get to that later.

In the mean-time, one of the things I have wanted to do is figure out how to get a model of the important areas of the car into a CAD program so I could tinker with it and see how things might fit together. After scouring the web (google and a couple hours time, really), I came across a program called ReconstructMe (http://reconstructme.net) that uses a Kinect sensor and a PC to do 3D scanning. It works pretty well but the evaluation version of the software leaves a bunch of giant globes hanging around that have to be dealt with. I used Meshlab to do that with somewhat mediocre results. I found a different scanning program earlier this year but I can’t remember the name of it, and it doesn’t look like I downloaded it. I have some more physical stuff to do on the car before I worry about that again, though.

The scanner bed I used is actually an RC car chassis that I had laying around. It worked a lot better than trying to keep everything steady scanning by hand.

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It catches quite a bit of detail as you can see below but it still leaves a bunch of holes. I think that has as much to do with technique as it does the capabilities of the equipment.

Raw output from the scanning program in Meshlab.

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Edited meshes from underneath and from above in the trunk area.

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The gaping hole in the spare tire well is due to me not setting the distance threshold correctly. The hole at the top right is the missing shock tower, and the one at the bottom right is the pocket where the rear washer fluid tank sits. And again, not scanning far enough to the side.

I’ve been trying to get them into DesignCAD 3D, but I’m having a struggle teaching myself the program. I will get back to it and muddle my way through, probably when the days get short again.

By February of this year, I had decided what I was going to do to get the shock tower back in place. With that in mind, I sprayed the area under the tower and the backside of the tower with weld-through primer. I decided to use SEM 39783, but this isn’t really an endorsement, it’s just what I picked off the shelf at the auto body store. It works and doesn’t seem to impede the welding in any significant manner.

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Doesn’t look too bad like that, does it? It hides all the ugly welds and grinder marks.

After that, I bolted the tower back into place using the holes I drilled throughout the tower. It looks a bit like a porcupine in this shot. This is when I got it all bolted up.

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This is as far as I had gotten by April.

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After working on it off and on since then, here it is now. I even have that missing piece from the front edge welded back on. I hammered the curve into this piece so I didn’t have to do anything more than clamp it in place to weld it. Just a couple more holes and it’s done. Then I’ll go get some goop and cover up all the seams and paint that whole area. After that, I’ll decide if I want to tackle the other side right away or move on to the drive-train for awhile.

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With the end of this side in sight and with the garage being a little hot for welding (no seriously, it was like 85F in there), I did a little cleaning out of the engine bay.

This is what it looked like when I got the car.

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This is what it looks like now.

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Now I have another pile of stuff I need to get rid of, including the block when I get it out of there. This is just the new pile, I don’t have a picture of the intake and some of the other stuff that I pulled out earlier.

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That’s all there is on the car.

Random picture of the post:

I was doing some work on the Durango and needed a place to put the spare tire. I told my wife maybe I should put a lift kit under the Supra. She didn’t seem at all amused even though my brother thought it looked pretty cool.

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Here’s another side project I did last year and updated this spring. I made this device for a friend I play softball with. It screws into the end of his prosthetic right arm and gives him a lot more stability when he’s batting. He is a natural right-hander and still bats that way. He’s gone from batting around .100 to at least .750 and he hit a few doubles and a triple in our last few games this year. He is very happy with it and I’m glad he likes it. The bolt, nut and screws are steel and the rest is aluminum. I tried plastic for the clip at first but that didn’t last very long, too much shock. I don’t have a picture of it, but I also lined the clip with a couple strips of bicycle inner-tube.

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I think that’s pretty much everything I’ve got to say today. Now I need to give the keyboard a break. My fingers, too.

I’ll be back with more before Halloween, maybe even before Labor Day.

Thanks for wasting some time with me.

Bill

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