What the heck is a blind nut?!? From Nick

Before starting on the arms I wanted to address something I was not thrilled about. The screw that sticks up from the Susan for the arms to attach to. This was going to be permanently in place. Thing is I could see it getting damaged in shipping or storage. Also things like hanks of precious silk yarn could get snagged on it by accident.
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Here’s a mock arm (I will call it mini-arm, BTW, I HATED that movie so much I turned it off after 5 mins and the 50th Ya Baby) screwed down with the thumb screw. It works. But again I’m not thrilled about the screw sticking up after the swift comes apart for storage. Time to come up with something better!
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Enter the all mighty “Blind Nut”. AKA “T-Nut”. These are used profusely in model airplanes for things like engine mounts and hatches. I did a Wikipedia search on “Blind Nut” but nothing came up. So bare down for a play by play on how a blind is installed and used.

BTW there is no entries for “Yawn Swift” on Wikipedia yet. Get working on that Shells!
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1st thing I need to do is make the center hole in the top circle slightly larger to accommodate the blind nut.
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Now the blind nut is inserted from the bottom and the “barbs” hold it in place temporarily.
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Then a screw is put in from the top. This pulls the barbs of the blind nut into the wood as it tightens.
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Now the blind nut is secured permanently in place. Note how the barbs sunk into the wood.
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This allows for an improvised thumbscrew (a screw and wing nut joined together) to be screwed in while the nut stays put.

I guess the term blind nut comes from the fact that you don’t have to mess around with a standard nut on the other side of the wood. Perfect in this case since the bottom will be “sealed off” with the anti-skid material. And it will allow Shells to assemble the swift with nothing more than her fingers… ( *aside from Shells: …which is good, since I am the type that can assemble a vacuum cleaner backwards!* )
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Here’s Mini-Arm all snugged down. Time to start the real arms!!!!!
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Take her for a spin, from Nick

Looks good, but how will it work? Only one way to find out, take it for a spin:

The Susan spins freely and the center screw stays centered as it spins. This means everything lined up well. I let out a huge sigh of relief once I see that!

The arms (big-ass arms, Shells wants this thing to be able to handle a 100″ circumference hank) will attach to that screw. Those get started tomorrow…

Moving right along part II, from Nick

Next it’s time to expand the center hole of the bottom circle. This will be so I can secure a blind nut to the top circle (more on blind nuts later).
For this I break out a drill hole saw. What a fun toy.
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Here’s the center hole cut out. All the access holes are done now. Let’s get this thing together and see what happens.
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It’s kinda hard to tell what’s going on here. But I need to 1st screw the bottom plate of the bearing to the bottom circle. I used long wood screws to line it up with the screw holes in the top. Then I used the calipers to double check that it’s centered. Then it’s the same process as screwing in the top plate, mark holes, drill small pilot holes half way through the wood, screw in the plate.
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With everything upside down on the work bench I can line up the top plate with the screw holes and line up the access holes so I can screw them in from the bottom. Everything lines up freakishly well.
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Normally when I have to screw something down a hole like this it’s a simple matter of rubbing the screwdriver on a magnet (remember 4th grade earth science). Rub a magnet on a piece of metal and it becomes a magnet. This would be great if some genius wasn’t using all stainless steal hardware (hint, magnets don’t adhere to stainless steal). My thinking while buying the hardware was “you never know when Shells could be swifting in the rain“.

So rather than waiting to get to a hardware store for different screws I remembered a trick I read in a magazine a long, long time ago (in a land far, far away). Use a piece of electrical heat shrink tubing to hold the screw to the screwdriver. Then you can start the screw down a hole and pull the tubing off. Lucky for me I had the right size heat shrink handy.
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Here’s a view of the bottom with everything screwed together.
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And the top view.
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