Assembling The Module Frame - End Plates & Corner Gussets

Gathering Up The Tools, Screws & Glue
There's nothing worse than starting a job only to find out that, around Step 3 or 4, you needed a clamp, a clean-up rag, or a 1/2" wrench while the epoxy glue is dribbling down your fingers.  Frustration and anger ("that was  real dumb, Robert!") are two emotions that quickly come to mind.  We almost had a situation like that when I installed the T-nuts for the alignment pins/ bolts.  So, to make sure we don't have another one like that, here's a list of the bits and pieces we need to have close by for assembling our module frame.
  1. #6 x 1 1/2" flathead wood screws
  2. #1 Robertson Screwdriver (make sure it fits the screw heads)
  3. Wood glue
  4. Shop rag and a pail of water
  5. Corner Gussets
  6. End plates
  7. Measuring blocks (the same ones we used to mark the location of the screw holes.  These will be either 2" or 1 1/2" width, depending on the thickness of the Styrofoam we will be suing for the deck of our module. 

Gluing, Screwing & Assembling
Our next step will be to glue and screw the corner gussets to the end plates.

1) Screw in the 6 screws into the holes of one end plate as shown below.  The screw tips should be flush with the "In" side of the end plate but you should not be able to feel them with the tips of your fingers.

2) Place the end plate "Top" down (ie "Bottom" up) on your work surface.
3) Place the measuring blocks on the "In" side of the end plate as shown below.

4) With the `Bottom" of the gusset facing you, dry-fit the edge of the gusset to one end of the end plate.  We want to determine which edge to apply the glue.  Dumb as this may sound, I've applied lots of glue to gusset edges, only to find out that I should have applied the glue to the other edge. 

5) Liberally apply and spread wood glue along the edge of the gusset as shown below. 

6) Place the gusset on top of the measuring blocks and flush with the edge of the end plate.  Make sure that the `Bottom`is facing you.  Hold the gusset and end plate tightly together so that the edges are flush with each other.  Screw in the end screw 1/4 of the way in.  Screw in the second screw  1/4 of the way in.  and then the 3rd screw.

 7) Tighten the wood screws until the gusset is tightly fastened to the end plate.

8) Wash off any excess glue from the gusset, end plate and measuring blocks

9) Repeat Steps 1) to 7) for the other end of the end plate.

10) Repeat Steps 1) to 8) for the second end plate. 

11) Let the glue dry for 24 hours.

12) Sand the ends of the end plate and gussets so that both edges are flush with each other. THIS IS IMPORTANT!  If the ends of the end plate and gussets aren't flush with each other, the module frame will not be square.  Take that extra time to sand the edges so that they are flush with each other. 

This is what the final results should look like.

Next, connecting the end plates/gussets to the side pieces.

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