Boot lid.

October 23rd, 2017

Well, been a while since I updated things. I have been busy (as usual) and things are up in the air again. Lets see, since my last post I have left Weta which means no more easy access to tools and equipment and scraps and so on. Work ran out and even when there was work it wasn’t a place that recognised or rewarded good, smart work. Plus financially it was a disaster! My hourly rate was just over half that of the company electrician and I was doing high tech stuff not anyone could do – animatronics. Financially I went backwards in the time I was there so that wasn’t going to last. I don’t regret doing it, got my name on a major film credit and did some very cool stuff. Not many people can say they were inside a giant animatronic Tiger, live on stage at WOW (with two very fit and lovely young female performers) while trying to debug some curly issue (that turned out to be wiring done by someone else)!

So I moved on and have gone back to I.T. work. Pays FAR more! I am currently contracting with a startup but am looking at going to a permanent job again. Am just in the process of doing interviews now and this takes up much time and energy. But, as this was a long weekend, I actually managed to progress on the car (very slightly).

Before I left Weta I had drinks at home here for my colleagues and they came and saw the cars and other projects. I think they liked them! As I had many ‘helpers’ I got them to help me hold the plastic over the boot hole so I could trace around the opening. Today I finally got onto the next part.

I added 5mm all around as I want to ensure the lid will fit over the lip of the opening and want to err on the side of too big rather than too small (and have it not fit at all). I then added 16mm which is what I worked out I needed to wrap around the wire on the edge. I then cut that out as a template to transfer the shape onto the aluminium.

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Next I cut it out using a new toy, some electric shears. Weta had some I was able to borrow from time to time and they work so well I had to buy my own when I left. They aren’t cheap but are just so much easier to use than trying to cut things by hand. Well worth the cost I think. Especially when I get onto making the Riley body.

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The cool thing is having a ‘real’ job again I can afford toys once more. I then tested the cut out panel against the car and tweaked the shape slightly using the slip rollers. The rollers were very loose, I just used them as something to bend the panel around. I wasn’t actually rolling anything.


With the curves correct I marked and annealed the edge. I use a acetylene only flame to soot the panel then using an oxy-acetylene flame I heat up the panel edge until the soot burns off. I am out of practice with the torch and almost melted the edge in one place! It won’t be noticeable once the edge is wired.

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I then made a little tool to fold the edge up to 90 degrees. This is a piece of steel bar (I used a steel shaft from a dead printer) with a slot cut in one end to the depth of the fold.


First time I have used an angle grinder in ages and it felt good! I then tried a few tests with the tool and the wire I am using and I found 16mm was too much. So I ground down the end of the tool by about 1.5mm and that worked out to be about right.


Then I ran out of time! So the next job will be bend up the edge to 90 degrees ready for wrapping it around the wire.

I have done another few things recently. I bought this horn on TradeMe. It’s a Bosch 6 volt and it is bloody loud! Not 100% correct but better than no horn. Not sure it will be used on the Austin or the Riley eventually.


I also bought a sandblasting cabinet. It was one thing I found really useful at Weta and it is definitely useful to have. They had them on special so I got one. The gun that came with it didn’t work very well so I substituted a cheap gun I have had for ages and modified to be gravity fed. This works very well indeed. Better than the props department one at Weta in fact. I also added some rubber pads under my air compressor wheels and feet which really helped with the noise and I also made an adaptor so I can attach my shop vac to the cabinet.

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I attached a baffle plate over the vac outlet with magnets to stop all the sand being sucked straight out of the machine through the hole. Before attaching the shop vac sand and dust leaked from every seam on the machine (I may still tape over them). With the shop vac attached air gets pulled in every seam so no more leaks. In fact it creates so much suction when you turn it on the gloves inside inflate with a satisfying “PLOOOOMPFFF”. Might need some tweaking there to reduce the suction. Either way the blaster itself works very well. I still have a bunch of Riley parts to clean up.

I also recently discovered a car around the corner only 300m away. It’s in the direction I used to walk when I was at Weta but now I work in town I turn the other direction so I haven’t been up that way for a while. It’s an Austin 12/4. It’s in pretty rough condition. I was looking at it and just then a local walking past said it belonged to someone who rented a warehouse across the road and they had a bunch of other ‘old’ cars in there. I haven’t even seen the warehouse open but I keep an eye out now in to see if anyone is about so I can ask them about the car. It seems it lives outside which is a shame.


4 Responses to “Boot lid.”

  1. Nigel Says:

    About time!

  2. admin Says:

    I keep an eye on your blog too. Your car progress is about as good as mine lately although I am enjoying your museum/gallery tour of Scandinavia!

    I am hoping a normal, steady (well paying!) job again means I can finally settle and get back into things car wise. I haven’t been totally useless though. I am getting pretty far through 3D printing my own Enigma machine (

  3. Renaud in Brittany Says:

    Hi Simon & Nigel,
    “About time!”
    Ha ha!
    “Your car progress is about as good as mine lately ” Ha ha!
    I subscribe to both!
    MY car 5Lotus 7 S3) progress is good but I don’t publish it because I’m lazy, you just have to believe me…
    Congratulations Simon about your new job. Moving is always good. I will look at your polish enigma machine but I certainly do not in any case be brought to 3D printing. This is much too tempting!
    All the best,
    (Btw there’s a little glitch in the website because before you added your comment Simon I was able to see Nigel’s email despite the (will not be published) mention!)

  4. admin Says:

    I think certain regular commenters get approved automatically once they have been ‘OKed’ a few times.

    No car progress last night, I was out photographing buses. Wellington is getting rid of their electric trolley buses so I am trying to get pictures before they all vanish in a week or so.

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