22 Apr 2017 11:33 pm

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

Pedal Box

The progress on the Midget continues, but pretty slowly. April has been quite cold and lots of showers/rain/freezing drizzle/snow – sometimes all in the same hour. This has stretched out the MG repairs by almost three weeks now. Well it’s not just the weather – there was some time spent shopping for new tools. The pedal box, clutch and brake pedals weren’t in very good shape, paint was shot and there was some rust. Since the shapes are complex I figured that wire brush and sandpaper was not going to work out too well. Clearly I needed to sand blast. And I don’t own a sand blaster.

First things first. Although “sand blasting” is the term most people know and use, the current term is “media blast”. Sand is not used much because it has health risks; you can get silicosis from breathing the dust from the shattered grains of sand. It also is less effective than a bunch of alternatives that are available, everything from baking soda to copper slag. I settled on an inexpensive siphon system rather than a blast cabinet. The cabinet would have been nice, but I don’t know how much sand blasting I’ll be doing and I really don’t have room in the garage anyway. My air compressor is also borderline for the required air flow and pressure. Blasting takes a lot of air. Even so, the inexpensive option still cost about $120 for the gun and container, gloves, particulate filter mask, eye protection and a 25kg bag of glass bead media.

The glass bead blasting, does do a pretty good job – for about 90 seconds, til the compressor tank pressure runs down and you have to give it time to catch up. Every minute of blasting needs about two minutes of compressor time, maybe more. And, the mess! I did the first tests just outside the garage in the alley. The breeze, though light, was an issue and I soon realized that a better approach would be needed. As it turned out, the answer was to set up the drill press with a wire wheel or cup and clean as much as possible on the parts. Then, the bead blasting was only needed to get the really tight, difficult areas. That allowed me to get the three parts all done with minimal effort. I also ran the air hose round to the sheltered area beside the garage (and kept the garage door closed) where I did the blasting in a big cardboard box. The mess was, more or less, contained that way.

Today, I was hoping to paint the parts. I picked up some primer, satin black and clear coat then spent some time cleaning, degreasing and masking. Unfortunately, the afternoon kept getting colder and then it started raining – not ideal for painting which needs some warmer temperatures and not too humid. The weather forecast for the next few days doesn’t look good, so I think this project will take a while longer yet.

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