In a perfect world I would order the panels with tab and punched/tapped holes, they fit together perfectly and everyone proclaims my genius. I guess that’s not going to happen… well, maybe part two.
Getting panels to fit together is of course vital but I think I might pull back on the machining requirements for the initial panels. What I assumed was a fairly simple set of requirements is leaving a lot of the metal fabrication places running away in horror… or maybe they’re just ignoring me.
Anyway, as I was out for a walk I realised that all I really need is the very bare requirements. 3mm aluminium curved to a spherical form and with the edges cut off to make some hexagons and pentagons. I can drill the holes, tap them and use wooden blocks to hold them together. If a 3mm thread isn’t very long (and it isn’t) then I can just drill and tap more holes.
Obviously this doesn’t work for thousands of panels but for a few dozen it’s fine…