Yesterday I began to contruct the thermal housing for the seismometer. I cut foam panels for the four sides of the frame, the four sides of the lid, and the top of the lid. I then assembled the aluminum sheets making up the lid via hinges. I dropped the spring-loaded nuts into the McMaster-Carr posts, and began to fasten the sides of the lid, foam included, to the posts. I discovered that even though the nuts are spring-loaded, they still have a tendency to move quite a lot when you are trying to get the bolt to find them in the track. And once one pair is fastened, it closes off the whole line such that you can't see if you're putting the bolt in the right place to meet the nut. It was also more difficult than expected to have the nut pass through the foam as well as the aluminum sheeting. Nonetheless, I assembled the whole lid save the foam panel on the top face. See photos below:
Attachment 1:The top face of the lid and its four side panels, connected by hinges.
Attachment 2: Two of the sides connected to the corner posts; six bolts per face.
Attachment 3: All four of the sides secured up.
Attachment 4: The day's final product, right side up, with the corners sealed up with aluminum tape.
Attachment 5: The lid upside down, so you can see the foam sealing around the corners.
Problems & Potential Solutions
The first two sides that I brought up to the posts went fairly easily. However, I was only able to secure 8 of the planned 12 nut/bolt connections on the remaining two sides (the 8 corners of the two faces).
For assembling the rest of the housing (the non-lid part), I want to try and find a way to more securely keep the spring-loaded nuts in place. Assembly would be much easier if the nuts were more stable in the tracks. Also, I will find some washers to put between the bolts and the foam. I tested this on one connection, and it helps the bolt from breaking through the foam after many fasten/unfasten attempts. Lastly, I want to perhaps adhere the foam to the centers of the aluminum panels as well. This would serve the dual purpose of keeping the foam from bowing out from the aluminum, and keeping the holes in the foam aligned with the holes in the aluminum if (when) the side is removed from the rest of the frame.