This week I’ve been occupied with (finally) putting away all the display mats I bought last year at the Anderson and Skyline matrix auctions. They have been cluttering up the shop since last summer with their variety of packaging. I finally took some time to make more dividers so I could file the mats in the storage boxes I use. Making the dividers involved some dreary repetitive work at the metal shear, then stacking the strips and cutting notches in them on the metal-cutting band saw. Most of these mats are now either in their boxes or in my own surplus section. Unfortunately when making the dividers I miscounted so I have to make a few more before I can finish, but at least now I have the procedure down pat.
The problem will then be reduced to finding a place to store all the boxes because the cabinet I was using does not have enough room. I might have to just make my own cabinet. Later on I can go through the boxes one at a time, cast everything and make proofs, and verify how my holdings match the font contents listed in the specimen books.
Also, preparatory to making some display matrix blanks, I’ve cleaned and lubricated my mill. I will also have to check some of its adjustments before I proceed, to ensure I get flat mats. Jim Rimmer used a Ludlow Supersurfacer to finish his mat blanks but that might have been a case of everything looking like a nail when all you have is a hammer.
Tonight I revisited the problem of my pneumatic solenoid valves. I need four valve units that work properly in Normally Closed (N/C) mode and give good airflow when energized. My valve collection turned out to have 12 Normally Open (N/O) valves of which 6 are electrically different (in what manner, I’m not sure yet) and 6 N/C valves. I determined that I could modify the internal springs to convert an N/O valve to an N/C one, and also that good or bad airflow seemed to be a property of the shutter in the valve. I was stalled on the problem of modifying the shutters to improve the air flow.
Tonight, though, I decided to avoid wasting time trying that. I only need 4 working valves. I have 6 valves that work in N/C mode so I don’t have to fool with springs; all I had to do was collect 32 shutters that gave good airflow and swap them around so they are all in 4 valve bodies. I tested all the shutters on the 6 N/O valves and noted which gave good airflow. I disassembled four of the N/C valves and the 6 donor valves and put the good shutters into the N/C valves. Swapping the shutters only took about half an hour (and would have taken less had I not jostled one of the disassembled valves and spilled all the shutters on the floor).
The result is four valves that give reasonable air flow in all eight ports. There are still noticeable differences in air flow so once I have a prototype assembled and connected to the caster I may find that some of the ports still need better air flow. There are still some donor valves available though, and I can raid those if necessary.