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October 15, 2011

NUT, HX HD 2-56

We build the machine one nut, one bolt at a time.  This is done in the computer aided design or CAD software.  Alibre is a 3D tool which begins with a 2D sketch of a shape in one plane.

Now we can extrude the shape in the third direction to create a solid shape.

Another sketch creates two triangles to shape a chamfer on the top and bottom of the nut.

Now we can exit the sketch and rotate the sketch as a cutting tool to chamfer the nut.  Then another sketch is placed on the top surface to create a hole.

Another extrusion is cut into the part to create the hole.  Now we can edit the file properties to assign the material density.  This tells the system how much the part will weigh according to the material selected.  Steel is heavier than plastic foam or balsa wood.

Now a tool can calculate the volume of the part and its weight.  It also calculates the center of gravity and other data.  Later this will tell us where the center of gravity of the airplane and all of its assemblies is located.

Great; now we have a nut in the CAD data base to use on our design.  But the data must be recorded on our spreadsheet to double check the math and record the progress of each part being designed.  All are color coded to track progress.

Another tab on the spreadsheet records the total parts list, and another lists the parts being purchased.  Each part has to be ordered and delivered prior to assembly.  Other services such as laser cutting and patent lawyers must be recorded.

Now we have to record our time on the time clock tab of the spreadsheet.  Being a one man crew, I have a cheapskate boss.  I should have some idea what I have invested in labor, and hope to credit contributors when we hit the market target.


Now we can add the part to the assembly file and mate its surfaces to the mating parts.  You may remember that I moved the elevon controls inside the aircraft, so here it is now.

It is between the rocket and jet engines in a tunnel that has to go thru the bulkheads and the foam panels.  It’s a tight fit!

If we remove the foam panels we can see the linkage a little better in this view.

If the aircraft is big and expensive one might do analysis of all the structural parts for strength, or stress analysis.  Then we can cut weight off everywhere that does not need the strength.  Every screw and servo has to be acounted and listed by part number.  There has to be room for tools to tighten the bolts and a way to dissasemble and replace parts.

This has already demonstrated work for legal, accounting, engineering, manufacturing, and a personnell department.  I also have to run the company cafeteria.  Perhaps we can have a marketing department one day too!

I hope you are not in a hurry.  I have made hundreds or possibly thousands of parts on this journey already.  If anyone wants to bring talent into the project I don’t turn away volunteers.  Pay may come along after the marketing venture gets under way.

My dad is a retired engineer.  He looked at my project and suggested that I get professional help.  I welcome help, but I am not sure what kind he meant.  In any case a company could be a big asset.

We do need to remember that company is the group that you spend time with.  It is not buildings, machines, or people that you rent.  We should try to join a winning team and keep that team happy on the journey because it could be a long road ahead.  Imagine how long it will take to get this blueprint built…

Remember; Enterprise is more than a star ship…it is a fellowship.  (of nuts?)





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