Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bender's antenna - part 1

The antenna at the top of Bender's head is essentially made of three main components; the ball at the top, the tapered shaft, and the dome at the bottom. The raw material for each of these components is shown in the photo below.

The components in the photo are (left to right); original gutted valve, cut down valve, lid from deodorant, tapered sleeve, and deodorant ball.

The valve was cut down with a hacksaw into a rough shape, before being placed in the Taig lathe and turned down to make the valve fit inside the cut down lid of a roll-on deodorant. I basically turned down the valve to make it round with a lip at the top for glue to key to. I then bored out a stepped bore for the shaft to seat on, and a sleeve nut to be engaged from the bottom. I flipped the valve in the lathe and turned away half of the threads from the original length so it did not take as many turns to install.

A old chair very similar to this one was being tossed out when I noticed the tapered legs. I quickly grabbed it and cut the legs off. Once the curved sections were cut out, the resulting pieces gave me 2 short narrow tapers, 2 short wider tapers, and 2 long tapers. These pieces are shown below...

Once the pieces were measured up, I was able to make the shaft for Bender's antenna from the 2 short narrow pieces once the curve was cut away. The rest has been chucked in the "useful junk" box/container/shed/yard (Maybe I have too much "useful junk"...)

To turn the lid from a roll-on deodorant into the dome for Bender's antenna was pretty simple. I determined that the dome was to be a proper hemisphere, so I measured the diameter of the lid, and then marked the radius as my cutting point. I placed a washer inside the edge of the lid (force fit) to stop the lid collapsing in the lathe chuck, and then drilled/ bored out a clearance hole for the tapered shaft. In the photo below you can see a drill being left in place to capture the lid top as I part it off the rest of the lid.

Yes, my lathe needs a clean - Parting off the top of the lid was fairly easy and did not require any further operations other than deburring with a pocket knife.

In the next part I'll discuss how the ball was secured, and how that then ties the entire assembly together.

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