Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Installing Windvane Self Steering Gear Part 8 - 216

Note: If you have been referred here by another site, this is only part of a multipart series.  To see the rest of the story click here and start from the bottom.

The next step in installation is mounting the unit to the boat.  This is only difficult if you haven't spent the time to figure out exactly where everything is supposed to go beforehand.  It will also be difficult if you do not have sharp drill bits.  My 5/16th drill bit was in good shape, I had only drilled wood with it up to this point didn't survive the process of drilling all the holes for the support struts.  Fortunately, I had a spare tungsten carbide drill bit that barely made it to the end of the job and required replacement when I was done.  The steel used in building the wind vane is 316 stainless.  This is a very corrosion resistant high grade steel.  Most of the stainless that I have been used to working with is 304.  304 is much softer than 316.  There are also differences between the foundries that make 316, and the steel on the Cap Horn is highly polished and very hard.  It will eat at least two of the highest grade drill bits you can buy.  
The first step in drilling is making sure you have the positions for all the pieces right.  
The next step in drilling is taking a break and remeasuring all the positions.
The third step in drilling is to take a punch and dent the exact spot where you want the hole.  Without the dent you will chase your spot around and end up scratching your beautiful mounting tube.
The fourth step is to drill the hole.

The drilling goes easy with a sharp bit and a good dent where you want it.  If you are having trouble you are doing something wrong.  I did all the work in the cockpit of my boat.  It is more hassle than setting up in a work shop, BUT as soon as you start working away from your boat you lose situational awareness and get mixed up and drill things in the wrong spot.   I suppose you could set up in a work shop vice after you center punch your drilling spots, but the final steps should be done in the cockpit.  

Now you take a fine rat tail or round file and deburr the holes that you have drilled.  I elongated one pair of holes and widened the other pair of holes.  In this way when mounting the unit I could match the two struts that attach to these holes in both axis of movement.  

Next step:  Getting the backing plates in.  

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