Build #3 Update, Housing Delivery Countdown, Oct 21, 2012

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OK, I thought it might be fun to make a blog post where all I do is keep track of the status of the housings as they prepare to take their trek across the country from Santa Barbara, CA to Huntsville, AL.

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The last update I got (last week) was that the main housings and all the taillight lids were completely cut and the extender bars were 50% done. Bead blasting was also roughly 50% done. The hope was to be finished by this past weekend (22nd - 23rd). However, I just found out today that we ran short on the plate stock for the headlight lids by 3 lids... (missed it by THAT much, in my best Maxwell Smart voice) and that the additional material was received today. That's all I know at this point.

Incidentally, that bead blast process is kind of tedious. The lids have to be put in place and a protective baffle goes over the front face so as to maintain the surface smoothness in those areas for good o-ring sealing. Just for fun, I installed an o-ring and lens cover on my prototype housing with ZERO silicon grease on the o-ring and put it in a bowl of water for a week. Although a bit slimy on the outside (maybe I should have put it in the fishtank ) it was dry as a bone on the inside. Now that's some nice machining! Still, when I build the lights, I'm going to use a light layer of grease just for extra measure.

So, when all is said and done, we should have exactly 39 Headlights, and 104 taillights. The attached pic is a shot from the machinist's web cam several weeks ago. The status on the color filter lenses is unknown at the moment. More updates as they roll in...

UPDATE: 10-1-2012
ARrrrggg... OK, so on the positive side, things could be much worse, it's just not the update I had hoped for. Kind of messes up the whole build schedule... According to Robert, last week was a bust due to his crazy work schedule and other folks at his shop being out sick. He did give me a nice tally though on what has been done vs. what remains to be done. I've re-printed that part of his email here:

104 tail light cases - Finished, in the bags, ready to be boxed up
106 tail light lids - Finished, in the bags, ready to be boxed up
108 tail light extenders - need tapping and bead blasting. Roughly 3 hours left.
36 headlight cases - Need a bit of touch-up work. I tried to have another guy at work bead blast those, and it didn't turn out well. Roughly an hour left.
33 headlight lids - Finished, in the bags, ready to be boxed up
40 headlight extenders - need tapping and bead blasting. Roughly 2 hours left.
material for 16 more headlight lids - no work done at all. Tough setup, so I expect at least 4 to be scrapped. Roughly one day.
Hopefully things will go better this week!

UPDATE 10-8-2012
Heard back from Robert today. Turns out that his co-worker who's been out sick (and who he's been covering for), was much more than just sick and was just diagnosed with MS. Very sad to hear, and I sincerely hope that he'll be able to receive good treatment and get some relief. Definitely puts things in perspective.

On a much less significant note, Robert did say that he's having to "lay down the law" now, so he can get his weekends back, starting this coming weekend. I myself will be out the week of Oct 14 - 21, so I'm hoping that he can pull off all the finishing touches and have all the metal shipped out by Saturday the 20th. Haven't heard back yet, whether he thinks he can pull it off in that time frame, but it sounds like it should be close. Until the next update...

UPDATE 10-17-2012
Out enjoying the sun and surf with the family this week! BUT... also got some very good news from Robert that he's finished up all the metal cutting and only has a bit of bead blasting remaining. It's looking hopeful that I'll be able to get started on the build next week! I may try to post a beam shot of the DS-1300 out on the white sands of Fort Walton Beach, just for kicks. Also flashed the pier in EMS mode (about 2 miles away) and was getting strong reflected light off of some of their reflective safety warning signs...just crazy.

Finally had a chance to take a few beam shots at the beach... 1st shot: control. 2nd shot: Light at level 5, camera at ISO 100, 4.0 aperture, 6 second exposure, daylight white balance, ME at 250 ft, bottom edge of shot is roughly 20-25 ft in front of light. My regular 35mm lens got damaged, so I was having to use the zoom lens for this shot, unfortunately.
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UPDATE 10-21-2012
Just got back from the beach (sniff, sniff). If you ever have the chance to visit the Florida gulf coast in October... do it!
The good news from Robert is that.... HE'S DONE! So it looks like the metal will be shipping out this week. He's going to be working on the color filters for the headlights this coming weekend, but with a little luck, they'll also be ready by the time I start shipping lights. I'll make one more update to this thread when the housings arrive.
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