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Electrical Discharge Machining - done at full chat

To: fot@Autox.Team.Net
Subject: Electrical Discharge Machining - done at full chat
From: "Mark J. Bradakis" <mjb@Autox.Team.Net>
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 00:32:07 -0600
Some of you know about Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) and how it
basically makes use of a spark to burn away metal for various shaping
operations.  I had a bit of an experience with EDM this weekend.  No,
this doesn't involve the very expensive, very large, very accurate
computer controlled EDM tools over in the Advanced Manufacturing Lab.
It involves a Spitfire running at IVR this weekend.

First race was fun, we had a whopping seven starters.  We redid the back
kink to avoid some concrete that has been breaking up this season, some
of our patches from 2002 didn't take.  The new line turned out quite well,
most drivers thought it flowed better and was more fun to drive than the
previous layout.

Second race on saturday, and I'm zipping through this twisty bit heading
for Conair Corner[1].  The car still has some ignition problems, but at
least I'm getting over 5,000 rpm instead of last event's stumbling,
sputtering 4,200 or so.  I get to my braking point for Conair, the pedal
flops uselessly against the firewall.  Luckily there is no traffic as I
flail about working on getting some speed scrubbed off, cones flying
hither and yon, words I don't normally use spewing profusely from my
mouth.  I manage to gather it up and idle back to the paddock for a

My alternator wire came loose, so I lost my brakes.  The nut holding the
primary charging wire to the alternator worked loose, the wire came off
and was bouncing about in the engine bay.  The other end was still firmly
attached to a direct feed from the battery's positive terminal, so as the
wire whipped to and fro it would short out against various grounding
points.  And one of its favorite targets was the brake line to the left
front caliper.  The brake line finally gave up and just split when I hit
the pedal to slow down for Conair Corner.  That's nice.

Luckily no serious damage, and an easy fix before our final event for the
year on October 23/24.  Take a peek at


1. An old cargo plane grafted to a bus chassis was used as a prop for some
scenes in the movie Conair, and is parked out at the Wendover airport,
just off of the IVR course down by, well, Conair Corner.

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