Archive for September 4th, 2010

Third Eye Hardshell Mirror Repair

Alas, the mirror I installed this spring didn’t survive our bicycling vacation; it succumbed to the second of three stuff-all-the-bikes-in-a-truck schleps arranged by the tour organizers. Being that sort of bear, I had a spare mirror, duct-taped it in place, lashed it down with some cable ties, and we completed the mission.

So.

Back to the Basement Laboratory Plastic Repair Wing.

The strut broke just behind the ball at the mirror, which implies the mirror plate got stuffed against something, rather bending the strut. The ball joint still worked, so I maneuvered the stub perpendicular to the mirror.

Drilling the strut

Drilling the strut

Normally I’d try to re-glue the joint as-is to get the best fit, but past experience shows that if it breaks once, it’ll break there again. I wanted to put some reinforcement into the strut, not just depend on a solvent glue joint. Some rummaging in the brass tubing stock produced a 1/16-inch diameter aluminum (!) tube about 18 mm long: just what’s needed.

So I filed the deformed plastic flat & perpendicular to the stubs, mounted the strut in the 3-jaw chuck on the Sherline’s table, lined the spindle up with the axis, and poked a 1/16-inch hole into the strut. The alignment looks decidedly off in the picture, but it’s actually spot on: what you’re seeing is some swarf clinging to the far edge. Honest!

Then I grabbed the mirror plate in the 3-jaw, lined up on the stub, and drilled maybe 4 mm down, which was roughly to the middle of the ball. The tubing was a firm push-fit in the hole and I hope it won’t over-stress the plastic into cracking.

Gluing the mirror strut

Gluing the mirror strut

Run the spindle up, remove the drill, grab the strut in the chuck (actually, I had to swap in the larger chuck first), dab some Plastruct solvent glue on both ends, align the strut with the stub (they’re actually square in that section), run the spindle down to ram the tubing into the strut, then a bit more to apply pressure to the joint. I made the total hole depth about 2 mm longer than the tubing, so as to avoid the embarrassment of having the ends not quite meet in the middle.

No CNC; pure manual Joggy Thing action.

Let it cure overnight.

It’s now back on Mary’s helmet, with a pair of black cable ties ensuring that it won’t pop off, and seems to be working fine. I’m sure the ball joint will fail later this year, although that won’t be due to this repair.

Mirror on helmet again

Mirror on helmet again

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