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Measuring for a Good Fit

By Charles Stangeland

October 19, 1999

I have been working on building a light source that shoots through the tunnel making it possible to see the shock waves on the other side of the tunnel. I am making up a little stand right now to hold the light source. It will be built out of mostly aluminum and some stainless steel. Some of the parts have already been pre-manufactured, and I am changing them a little to make them work for this application. I am going over to the 11' wind tunnel right now to take measurements on the different parts, in particular, the screw locations. Then I will add that information to the redesign. This whole project will be done by hand. There will be a lot of lathe work and a lot of milling work.

Last week was one of the worst weeks. Nothing went right. I kept making everything the wrong size. Luckily, I was able to modify it to make things work. I measured a thread, and it looked good. Then I made the other piece to go into the first piece, and it wouldn't fit.

I had to figure out why it wouldn't fit. It turned out that I had left too much material. I had to go and cut the second piece down. Since we are designing this piece on the spot, I am learning how to manufacture it on the spot. This was a part for the light source stand I mentioned before. I am making a swivel base, and I miscalculated the measurement on the thread.

This will be installed in the 9 by 7 wind tunnel part of the unitary system. It is a supersonic tunnel. So, with the light source installed they will be able to measure the subsonic shock waves and then the supersonic shock waves when the speed exceeds the sound barrier. I have never actually seen this live, but I have seen a picture of it.


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