Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 1 - The Work Begins

October 1, 2011.... It seems like took forever but we are finally underway with this project. As with any undertaking the beginning was underwhelming. Before the work could begin the new facility had to straightened up, cleaned and swept.

We went from this:

To this:

After getting everything arranged so I could work around each of the missile sections I began in earnest. The chief issue with any refinishing project is surface preparation. In this case these missiles have been painted many, many times and in addition the underlying structure is deteriorating. Here are a couple of examples:

Using the nastiest paint stripper I could get (designed for Aircraft) I began to delve into the  problem of getting at the fasteners to dis-assemble the various components.

It soon became apparant that this was going to be a genuine challenge. I was uncovering years of paint coatings of various types:

I was finally able to remove the Main Fin bolts:

And with them out was able to pry off one fin:

In the refinishing trade this is known as "visual progress". In point of fact having only one fin removed does not constitute much of a milestone in the project but it finally appears that something has happened. More important is the fact that the process of dis-assembly is beginning to take shape - the "How the hell do I get THAT off" procedure is unfolding.

The day completed with two distinct challenges. The first was the missile's rocket nozzle. It is attached with two rows of flat head phillips machine screws. Using the stripper to get down to the original zinc oxide primer, I thought that I would be able to use an impact screwdriver to loosen/remove them. They do NOT move <sigh>.

After fighting to get the fin off (the problem is the mechanism for moving the aileron is seized) I found that I had uncovered significant concealed deterioration. This will need to be addressed. Just how will depend on how much more I find after removing the other fins.

Until next time....

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