Mostly spending the weekends either lamenting crappy weather, or using good weather to get up to speed on this years yard maintenance. Just getting the snow blade swapped out for the mower deck is a big chore, and having had the mower deck on and off twice in the last two weeks hasn't helped. Hopefully blue skies and reasonable winds are on the way...
I haven't talked much about school, but I'm enjoying it immensely. I'm in the long-anticipated sheet metal class, and having a ball. It's nearly all hands-on fabrication work in the shop, with very little by way of lectures. As usual, the FAA starts out assuming we've never even heard of this miraculous new material know as mett-tall. Truth be told, there is a little bit of book learnin' involved. We started out by cutting and bending flat sheet metal, which sounds easy enough until you find out about things like bend allowance and setback. Bend allowance compensates linear measurements for the amount of metal that gets used in making the bend, while setback has to do with the counter-intuitive lessening of the overall length of metal required when measuring for a bend. It's all a little silly, though, since the math is done to a .001" precision, while the cutting and bending is lucky to be accurate to a .1" degree.
Tonight I will officially do a project that I started last week. It involves flush riveting, which in turn requires drilling countersink holes in the top sheet so the rivet head has someplace to nestle down in and be flush with the top skin. Here, you can get a better idea of what I'm talking about at this site. I knew that all of the precision measuring and cutting was likely to be a waste of time since I'm not very experienced with riveting, so I just grabbed a few pieces of sheet metal and did just enough prep work to get to the riveting part. I actually did pretty well, but sure enough I ruined the whole thing with one really bad rivet. Having had the practice now, though, I'll do all of the measuring tonight and hopefully finish it without another bad rivet.
I've found over and over again that having my own tools was the right thing to do. I'm getting frustrated with some of the other students, though. They can't even seem to acquire and bring a Sharpie marker and a buck-two-eighty ruler. I have to gather all of my stuff up from all over the shop every night when it's time to leave since it all gets spread around amongst 6 other students. Oh well, I've had to borrow a lot of tools recently for maintaining the RV, so I guess it goes towards positive tool karma to loan now and then.