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Aluminum eyelets make good fever medicine

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Notwithstanding assurances to the contrary by ham gear manufacturers, we sometimes have concern that our compactly built rigs and accessories may be running a temperature. If you have built or purchased equipment that seems to bottle up an excess amount of heat because of inadequate means for ventilation, this idea may be worth trying.

The simple expedient would be to drill a pattern of ventilating holes at the proper places. But the results may not provide the best desired appearance. Raw metal can be seen if holes are drilled through a previously enameled surface. The job loses its "factory made" appearance.

Aluminum eyelets can be purchased at very low cost in the notion department of the average department store. These are refill packages for use with eyelet pliers, but forget the pliers for this use. Also, select the package containing the plain aluminum eyelets, not the colored ones.

If you consider trying this idea at all, test it first on a scrap sheet of aluminum to see if you like the results, and also to practice the procedure before tackling valuable equipment. Also, don't try it inside a confined space where you won't have room to manipulate the tools used.

Holes 3/16 inch in diameter were drilled for example illustrated. The head of each eyelet should rest on a firm surface when cutting the shank and driving it home. A countersink bit placed on the shank of the eyelet and tapped with a light hammer will cut the shank into some eight little tabs, which are then flattened down with a few light taps of the hammer alone. Don't drive too hard or the head of the eyelet may be distorted.

Holes arranged in a pattern ¾ inch apart in each direction give a nice appearance and provide good escape for air.

If you've been frying eggs on the top of your rig, don't be surprised if you find that the cabinet itself may even get a little hotter when the vent holes are provided. Chances are there has been a pocket of heat underneath without very much air motion. As this heat passes through the vent holes the metal top may absorb still more heat than before.

Pic 1
This is the way the eyelets come packaged when you find them at the notion counter.

Pic 2
An ordinary countersink does the job of spreading the inside end.

Pic 3
The finished job-ventilating holes in the cabinet attractively set off. Compare with the plain holes on the near surface.

One photo shows the difference in appearance between raw holes and holes finished with eyelets.

John Howard, K8MME.