After having received the second lot of Robart hinges I’ve spent Saturday afternoon locating the positions of them and drilling and countersinking the holes on the inner dome. My method of fixing the correct position for the hinges improved with every panel. In the end I taped them down with some strong double-sided tape and then put a few layers of frog tape on top. Then drilled all the way through tapes, hinge holes and through the inner dome from the inside, countersinking from the outside and voilà: nice fit. With the earlier ones I often ended up having to take the (inner dome) panel off again and sand back a lot as it ended up twisted and catching on the hole in the inner dome. Next is spraying the remaining outer dome panels blue, give them two coats of lacquer and mount them onto the hinged panels. For the mounting I’m using strong doublesided tape by 3M. That allows me in the future (if ever needed) to take them off and have access to the screws of the hinges.
For spraying the small blue dome ring, I’ve built a “turntable” out of some spare foamboard bits and glued them together with PVA. A metal pin as the pivot point and a handle on top and I was able continuously turn it and spray with the other hand. I will use the same thing for two passes with lacquer.
Here are all the dome panels that will have a blue finish. I more or less followed CuriousMarc’s choice of grit levels. First dry sand by hand up to about 320 grit, then wet sand up to 2000 grit (very messy indeed), and finally Micromesh to take it up to 12000 grit. The aluminium still has a rather matt look but when touched it’s smoother than a baby’s bum.
My lucky day. Browsing through the Part Junkyard on the Builder’s Club website (astromech.net), I’ve come accross a member that offered a 300mm aluminium dome for sale. This one was from the 2011 run. After a few messages back and forth that deal was done and off it went on his side in the US. The fellow builder even threw in a Deutsch base plate (see photo). That was highly appreciated. Thanks again!