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I just got through straightening out another chunk of my trusty Chevy coil spring.  It took about thirty minutes at the forge to thump out the two rectangular strips seen below.

Tomorrow I will form them into a pair of leaf springs to power the wrench pawls into the sprocket teeth.  After that there will be a few pins and packing washers to install.   Finally,  I will  splice two eyes on the ends of the winch rope, and we should be ready to start cranking.

I stand accused of having a “ballista brain”.   The originator of this alliterative assertion is my neighbor to the North, and professional nice person,  Mrs. Bonnie Rough.   I believe it  means something like a singular and analytical state of consciousness that appears maniacal to all outsiders.

Because I respect her opinion in all matters psychological, it would probably behoove me to ponder this a bit.

Initiating pondering sequence.

…- – -…     …- – -…     …- – -…     …- – -…     …- – -…     …- – -…     …- – -…     …- – -…     …- – -…     …- – -…     …- – -…     …- – -…     …- – -…   etc. etc.

Pondering complete.

Disposition:  Guilty as charged.  Sentenced to six months confinement in a machine shop.

Why! Thank you  Bonnie!

The dog days of Winter are upon us now.

As our saga continues:  yesterday’s pine mock-up becomes today’s wrench made from ASTM A514 steel plate with a 100,000 PSI tensile strength.  Also known as T-1 to all the welders and fabricators that use it in the mining industry to make high strength abrasion resistant surfaces on all sorts of digging equipment.

…… pretty  fancy, eh?

The pawl seen here will be thinned down considerably on the handle end.  Maybe a round knob will be added to jazz it up bit.  The last thing we would want is a boring winch wrench.

I have ordered up a pair of Ash peavey handles.    They are 54″ long and when socketed onto these wrenches  should make levers about 6  1/2 feet long.  If that ain’t enough to cock her smoothly,  I expect I shall need to hit the gym.  Or acquire a feisty young Roman or two.   Note to self:  Definite on this last.  Extras will be needed to complete the master plan.

The chalk wrench from the other day has graduated to pine.  Click for video:   20110307130010

It has  become clear that some kind of casual locking arrangement is needed to prevent the wrench walking outboard off the axle as the winch is operated.  So many designs, so many hairs on my thinking cap.  Something will connect before long.

I wonder if the Romans used thinking caps.  Thinking helmets maybe?  That would  obviate the need for any tin foil.

If the ends justify the means, any absurdity will do in a pinch.

Sometimes  the best way for me to visual the relative strength of a design is to chalk it out on the piece of material I plan on using.  This first take on a winch wrench and spring assisted pawl will no doubt be redrawn any number of times before I am satisfied that it has sufficient mass without being overbuilt to the point of unwieldiness.

The final form of a new,  lighter set of limbs has had me stumped for awhile now.   Because designing on a computer can be limiting in a whole host of ways,  I have ordered up twenty pounds of modeling clay to make a full size model of the new limb concept.   If I build a model of the new limb right next to the ones currently installed on Firefly, I should be able to eyeball up what is most appropriate.  Using the correct design medium can overturn stones we would never get to look under otherwise.  I suspect clay models will be invaluable to help the new limbs be all they can be.


“….be all they can be.”    Did I really say that?

Yes you did.  Commenting on it hardly helps.


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