After finally getting the last parts cut on Dec 23 I had to go into a fabrication frenzy. I was constantly ducking out into the garage to do the next round of glue and/or paint. One of the real tricks with these cutters was getting the push plate positioned really accurately inside the cutter walls. There was no positive alignment when I glued the cutter walls to the top plate. If the push plate was off by much the plate would bind against the wall and stick. Here you can see the system I came up with. I glued up everything else, and positioned the backing plate on a scrap rod. Then I just put in a few drips of solvent on the backing plate, and plop on the push plate. I had enough time to position it exactly and then let the solvent do it’s work. I left the protective paper on the under side of the backing plate so there was no danger of a stray drip of solvent fusing the backing plate. This system worked great, but it did mean that the parts weren’t interchangeable. That really didn’t matter much.
I cut some springs/push rods. I needed them to be just the right lengths so the spring would still exert some upward pressure when fully up, but would bottom out before the push plate could be pushed all the way out of the cutter housing. That protects the assembly and makes it hard to apply a lot of sideways or pulling forces on the push plate. I used 1/8″ tubing instead of rod so the glue could bind to the inside of the tube a bit. It also makes it so you can fill the hole with glue, and when you insert the tube the extra just goes up inside the tube instead of squirting out all around. I chose stainless over brass to be more food safe. The springs aren’t stainless though, so they really shouldn’t spend too much time in contact with water.
Once I had assembled and glued the cutters they had to be clamped to keep the springs from tearing them apart before the glue was fully cured. Here you can see a two Moomins clamped in the jaws of a big Jorgensen Clamp. Don’t worry. I was gentle. I managed to get them all done in time for Christmas *phew* but I did end up having to give them away 100% untested. Eek!
The day after Christmas I finally got to take them for a test drive. I had had to make the cutting walls a bit thicker than I would have liked, in order to have enough surface area for the solvent welding. That made it so you have to push down a bit harder than with the comercial cutters, and give a little bit of a twist or your Moomins end up with a paper thin fringe, but ultimately they worked fine. Giving gifts I hadn’t fully tested was a bit hair raising, but it all worked out in the end.