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    Re: Hybrid Artificial Horizon
    From: Greg Rudzinski
    Date: 2008 Sep 15, 16:00 -0700

    Ken,
    
         I would like to suggest you try building a square raft out of PVC
    and for right angle PVC corners. If glued properly this should be both
    water tight and symmetrically buoyant. I have seen such floats used to
    support sea kayaks above water to prevent bottom growth. Home Depot
    should have everything at a reasonable price.
    
    Greg
    
    On Sep 15, 9:04�am, "Ken Muldrew"  wrote:
    > Thanks to everyone for helpful suggestions. I do like the idea of getting
    > a plastic "donut" from a toy store (one of those stacking, tower-of-hanoi
    > like toys should provide several sizes to choose from) and mounting the
    > mirror using some kind of adjustable centering mechanism.
    >
    > In the meantime, I rebuilt my box-raft using epoxy and more care in
    > construction. I floated some small pieces of wood between the raft and the
    > sides of the box to keep the raft more-or-less centered. Of 5 trials so
    > far, using Jupiter and a couple of stars (emptying and refilling the box
    > each time), the error has been between 0 and 3 minutes. I think the main
    > source of inconsistency is, as George suggested, due to air bubbles
    > underneath the raft. If I float the raft in a large sink and look
    > underneath, I can see several bubbles, perhaps 2mm in diameter, each time
    > I float it. My next step will be to try a wetting agent, as Bill
    > suggested, to see if that helps. I would like to keep it as simple as
    > possible, so my first thought is to clean the glass with a mild chromic
    > acid solution, but even if something like a drop of detergent is needed,
    > that is still a lot less messy than a tray of motor oil.
    >
    > To protect it from wind, one would need a cloche with plate glass windows,
    > but the raft seems to be more immune to a light breeze than a plate of
    > water, especially with spacers to keep it from touching the sides of the
    > dish.
    >
    > With careful construction, especially if you have machining equipment
    > available, I think it would be quite realistic to think that one could
    > build a mirror raft that floats level within a tolerance of 15". Getting
    > it to do so in a dish of tapwater without any other contrivances may be a
    > bit more difficult.
    >
    > Ken Muldrew.
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