Bonnet and boot.

August 23rd, 2015

Right, back onto the car again. My Bombe lived up to it’s name. I accidentally blew it up! That’s what happens when you accidentally  plug a 12 volt SLA into a 5 volt powered computer. So until new parts arrive that project is on hold.

And anyway, with the car, I have no excuses now. Ian is rushing ahead with his and even then he had time to finish sorting out my block for me by cutting seats for my bigger inlet values. He has also cleaned up one inlet tract so I have an example to copy to be able to do the other one myself.

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So this weekend I made bucks for the shape of the bonnet and boot lid which we will be making very soon. Not much to explain here, some bits of plywood cut to the shape the bonnet pieces need to be to fit the car.

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The boot lid was a little trickier as I needed to match the shape of the tail and there is no easy way to trace around it. I used my flexible drawing curve thing and bent that to the shape of the body around the boot opening and transferred the shape to some plywood.

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For the curve along the car I taped a bendy stick to the body, held up on suitably sized blocks, to make the right curve. This was traced onto another piece of plywood that forms the main cross support of the buck.

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I am hoping that is close enough to shape the aluminium to. We have to do the shaping in Joss’ garage and of course the car isn’t there!

Next time I do an order from RS I will get some 1m lengths of stainless rod which we will use as the hinge pins for the bonnet side panels. Now the engine and gearbox are out of the car again I can take the block off to the engineer to get the modification I need done to it.

Chummy wheels.

August 16th, 2015

I finally started on the cars again. The Turing Bombe is still ongoing but nearing the end! I keep getting distracted. I had some giant tress cut down here and am still splitting and stacking wood. I also got up on my roof to clean the guttering and took a few photos.

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The crane in the pictures is the entrance to the new motorway tunnel they are building in Auckland. The hill is Mt Albert, an extinct volcano.

Ian, as well as building his special body, has finished my block for me. He’s but bigger inlet valve seats (with a fancy gadget) and cleaned up some of the ports so I can see how it’s done and finish the rest off myself.


So he says I have no excuse for not finishing now! I started rebuilding the Chummy wheels so I can get that on the road again. The wheels were all blasted so now I have repaired any small holes (they weren’t too bad) with braze and I am checking the spokes and adjusting them to make the wheels run true. They are quite out it seems!

I am using the front hub on the car as it’s up on stands at the moment. I use a dial gauge, not to get accurate measurements, nut as a moveable pointer. I am just learning how you tweak the spokes to change the shape of the wheel to make it run true. I don’t know how true they need to be though. I guess the faster you go the truer they need to be!

Just getting consistent measurements is difficult. I am figuring as long as I can make them better than they were when they were on the car that’s good. I didn’t notice any issues with them before.


I have four I can tweak to get right and one I need to fully adjust on so I will make some kind of jig for that. I’ll do the four first, pick the best one and build the jig around that to do the fifth.

Jos also bought around some plywood for me today which I am going to use to make bucks so we can do the aluminium for the boot and bonnet. That is my job for after work this week.


The other thing I got a few weeks ago was this small grease gun. When cleaning my garage I found my large one had leaked everywhere. It was always a pain to use too so I got this small one. It works very well.

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So with the block done I can pull the crankcase out once I have made the bonnet buck and start looking at getting an engine built!

I just have to not get distracted by other new toys like this old microscope I got for a bargain price!



August 3rd, 2015

Just a post so people don’t think I am dead! I’ve been busy with other things. The problem is I have too many projects so I have been working on other things. Mainly building my own version of the Turing-Welchman-Keen Bombe.

But car stuff proceeds slowly. I need to start rebuilding the Chummy wheels. And since Joss is all set up for aluminium work at the moment (making Ian’s special body) I need to make a buck to match my bonnet shape so we can start working on that. Still need to make a seat and a fuel tank and so on and so forth.

I do keep meaning to get back onto the car but I want to get the Bombe machine done first!

Finally finished tidying….

July 19th, 2015

Well, mostly. I still have boxes of random screws and bolts and so on to sort out but I do have my shelves in and everything off the floor now. I bought some decent shelving (1.2m wide and about 2m tall) off TradeMe and assembled that. I bought extra shelves and will use wood of the top of them (I had enough wood to do one so far). That got all the bits and pieces off the floor and tidied away nicely.

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As recommended by Joss the shelves come half way along one side wall leaving a decent amount of space against one wall for sheets of plywood, aluminium, steel, etc. I took out all the light galvanised shelves I had and will see if the local VAR can use them in our spares shed.

I have also added some garage bling. Luckily a friend’s neighbour died (well, not for his widow I guess) and she was cleaning out his ‘junk’ so I got a bunch of locomotive pictures in frames, some railway jigsaw puzzles and some DVDs and books (and a couple of VHS tapes). The pictures look good on the walls and I appreciate the other stuff being something of a railway geek.

I also had a lucky win on TradeMe for this nice dash light. It was described as a blackout light. It has a rotating cover over the bulb. It’s a bit chunky for an Austin 7. Will have to think of something else to use it in. Hmmm, I wonder what?

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I also got all my wheels back from the blasters. Three rims are in good condition and just need the spokes checking. Several had bad rims but one I can repair with some brazing. One rim has narrow spokes and  good rim and hum. I can use that to replace the really bad rim and make a new wheel with thick spokes. That will give me a good set of five for the Chummy. I also bought a set of new inner tubes for them all to go with the new tyres. I can paint four of the rims and at least get the car on the road again then worry about rebuilding the spare later. Of course it’s the middle of winter here so good painting days are hard to find! I did start the poor Chummy today since it’s been so long. I’d like to say she fired right up but there was quite a period of groaning and other odd noises before she fired. Once running for a few minutes though everything seemed good.

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With the big garage clean I’ve been shuffling things back and forth to the small garage. That is also looking nice and tidy now too. The MG and the lawnmower live in there.

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So now I can finally get to the cars in the big garage I need to start thinking about finishing them. I am still distracted by other things though. Mainly finishing off my Bombe!

Bonnet hinge finished.

June 28th, 2015

I finally got around to finishing the bonnet hinge. I made the mounting block that holds it to the car from a srtip of the same metal the hinge pieces are made from. I just bent it around the hinge pin then made a block from steel that it was attached to. I filed the top of the steel block to make a groove for the hinge pin.

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The sheet metal was soft soldered to the steel. I used an 8mm bolt (same diameter as the brass rod) with some tin foil wrapped around it so the solder wouldn’t stick to it. A stainless steel bolt would have worked too but I couldn’t find one! Lots of flux and lots of heat and then I applied the solder from the top of the join.  The solder pulls itself into the joint through capillary action. I could tell when it had done so the by small drops of solder around the rod. When cool I pulled the bolts out and ran an 8mm drill though it to remove any remaining solder.

I drilled and tapped the bottom of the blot for a 1/4 BSF stud. That holds the hinge to the rail attached to the car. You can simply remove the single nut holding it on and remove the bonnet in one piece.

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Joss is getting set up for some aluminium work in a few weeks so we will make the bonnet then too. I do need to get some smaller diameter brass rod though for the side hinge pins.

I also did more garage tidy up and put things up on my new shelves I made last weekend. There is a shelf running along the back wall now where I can put things up out of the way. A lot of it is stuff that is of no use but too cool to throw out.

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I also cleared the corner where I will be putting up some proper shelving. The cheap $20 galvanised things are pretty useless really. I’ll get some decent shelves to the ceiling and then I will have a lot of space to store things.


The other interesting thing was an old chap who lives down the road popped in. People are always stopping to talk to me about the cars and what I am doing. I have chatted to him before. This time he bought me presents! First is a Lucas ignition and light switch. It’s never been used! He said he has had it in a drawer for over 40 years so was pleased to find someone who could use it. It’s exactly the same as the old one in the special so I can use this instead of the worn out one. The other thing was an interesting little spark tester. It’s called a Brolt Spark Gauge. It’s about the size of a lip stick and has a brass cam on one end and some kind of bulb in the middle. I haven’t tried it yet. I will have to test it on the Chummy at some point.

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Speaking of the Chummy the wheels are all out for blasting. I am having them media blasted then just phosphate coated so I can  adjust and replace any bad spokes. I am getting 6 wheels blasted so there should be enough rims, centres and spokes to make up a good set of 5. If I need to respoke a wheel I will need to make up some kind of jig to make sure everything is centred I guess. Once the wheels are done I can paint them and refit the tyres. I also ordered new tubes to use in them.

I also finally finished fixing the front of the MG. I repaired and repainted the front valance. Looks much better now although it’s the cleanest bit on the car, the rest of it badly needs a wash and wax!


I had just posted this then had an idea. I could test out the Brolt Spark Gauge with my plasma lamp I made years ago. It generates a high voltage, about 15kV at about 16kHz, and can make bulbs and fluorescent tubes light up from quite a distance away. So I fired it up and yes, it makes the spark gauge light up too. It lights up orange so I guess inside there is just a little neon bulb. So it should work fine on the Chummy.


You could probably make such a gauge using an ordinary neon pigtail lap I think.


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