This morning I woke up to a text from Mike Beasley giving me suggestions on how to fix my gear door rigging issues. His biggest suggestion was to have each end of the spring actually touch the gear doors. This will force them both to open all the way. It makes sense, and so I figured I would give it a try.
He sent me photos of what he did and I copied, with my own twist. The biggest difference between his doors and mine is that mine only open 85 degrees, and his open 90. I am not sure that makes much of a difference. He put an aluminum insert into the center of his spring, and threaded the ends. These inserts are screwed into studs on the gear doors. So I uncovered the lathe, and got to work.
Aluminum inserts were turned down to fit inside the spring I had. In addition, I “threaded’ the exterior of the inserts for the springs. The springs had 18 coils per inch, so I used the lathe to create a 18 thread per inch groove on the exterior of the insert. This in effect created a way to thread the spring onto the insert. I also made the insert .010” larger than the ID of the spring. This created a clamping action on the insert.
It took me a couple iterations to get it how I wanted it, but eventually I came up with an insert that worked. I am quite impressed with how tightly the spring holds the insert. A center hole was drilled and tapped 10-32 for the click bond studs that will be put onto the gear doors. The assembly was then put in place on the gear doors.
I did some retraction and extension tests with the manual crank I have been using. The gear doors now sequence properly, but during the extension they have a jerky motion. But, I am very happy that we are much, much closer to a working solution than we were even yesterday. I have a few thoughts as to how to fix that, but I am going to consult a bit with some experts and go from there.
During the actuation tests, I was getting sick of manually cranking the gear. So I spent some time wiring up the gear motor. I have to admit to my lack of recent practice with wiring electronics, reading wiring diagrams, and making up wire harnesses. Even though the wire harnesses were mostly made by Jack Wilhelmson, I had to crimp on some ends, populate some connecters, and adjust limit switches. Luckily, it went fairly smoothly.
When I hooked up the wiring harness to the battery, luckily all the PFM smoke stayed inside. Lo and behold, the gear actuated as expected. I still may have to adjust the limit switches slightly, but man is it cool to watch.
After the last few workshop sessions where I have had some major frustrations, it was a great day. I stopped after I got the gear motor working, and consider the day a win. For your viewing pleasure, a couple videos of the gear extending and retracting.