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"Built Dam Strong!"

18 May 2012

Wear your effing safety glasses/goggles/shields.

After a late but very productive day yesterday, today started off bright and early with a good breakfast and running a few errands. After getting that stuff done, I header over to the "shop" and set to work.

I had noticed yesterday that the bandsaw wasn't exactly set very perpendicular to the work table, so I got out my square and got it as close as I could. Then I cut four 1.5" long pieces of tube:

They turned out really decently with the adjustment! Also, as a side note: ALWAYS DE-BUR YOUR WORK! Always. It saves your fingers and makes fitup a lot better overall. 

Those four pieces are going to be slip fit collars for a collector:

The reason for doing it this way is that the steel is good quality and thick enough (16g) so that "normal" tailpipe expanders cannot actually expand the metal enough to make slip fit joints. This is HIGHLY annoying to me. My good tailpipe expander is even too large to fit into the tubing of that particular collector, so I am forced to try goofy things like this. The hardest part will be welding the insides, though I am likely going to cheat and MIG those parts since even my small TIG torch can't really reach in too far and the pieces will need to seal. 

Once I finished those up, I moved on to the next task: removing the motor from my Che-ese drill. (Che-ese = Cheap + Chinese)

I've had this thing since 2003. It stopped working last summer. I figured that the cheap motor just died. No biggie. I'd take the motor to an electrical supply store and get a new one that is likely way more torquey than the old one. Well, that wasn't the case. I pulled the switch plate off and was looking at the wiring, figuring that maybe something had come loose, since, after all, this is a Che-ese drill, and something could have fallen apart. Poking around the innards, I found wiring that didn't make much sense. How hard can it be to wire in two three-wire wires? (Hot, neutral and ground, the modern wiring standard for AC electrical supply.) Well . . . after a few minutes of probing the switch and wires with my multimeter, I was convinced that the darn thing hadn't been wired correctly from the beginning. I switched two wires around and the motor spun up better than ever! Now the only question that remains is how the heck did it work for 7 years with the wiring screwed up? That is some Chinese magic, no doubt. 

I spent a good bit of time sharpening tungsten after that. Talk about mind-numbing activities . . . I mean, it is involving. You have to angle the tungsten correctly, rotate it at the right speed and hold on to it without letting it bounce too much on the stone. What's worse is that I was starting from scratch with 10 brand new 1/16" electrodes. You might think that thinner would be faster, but that isn't the case, because you can overheat them much more easily so you can't apply as much pressure as you would a thicker tungsten.

I haven't used any electrodes so thin before. I am kinda of excited to see what difference it will make when welding the thin tubing and sheet I am going to be concentrating on over the next week!

The afternoon progressed into early evening. I started up on another piece to a puzzle: the rear hoop for Mike's CB450 frame. He bought a pre-bent hoop that was mostly the right width but with legs that were too long. That isn't an issue with a bandsaw around, though. =) 

As I mentioned a moment ago, the hoop was mostly  the right width and I wanted to spread the legs a bit wider to neaten up the transition as much as possible so I can save myself some work and make things look cleaner all together. 

Here's the hoop in the vise:

I simply used the vise to act as an expander.

With the extra length of the legs, I got the hoop to open up a bit, but the material sprung back quite a bit. I shortened the legs up just past the first bends and started to slowly expand the hoop which worked brilliantly. 

I was taking it very slow, working the hoop a little at a time, since too much too fast is NOT a good thing when trying to maintain a nice, mandrel bend. 

Until . . . the hoop sprung off the vise so fast i couldn't even react and it hit me in the face. Specifically, it hit my right eye lens of my safety glasses and smacked my lip pretty good, too. The impact was so intense, the edge of my safety glass lens sliced open my cheek like a shear, thusly:

My face hurts. I cleaned up the cut and put the butterfly on it. I know I am going to get fussed over when "normal" people see it (especially a certain woman), but it'll be fine eventually. After I got it cleaned up I tried on a different set of safety glasses and my nose promptly protested enough to tell me to call it quits for the evening. 

The whole point of this is that I would be out an eye, or, look like I lost a fist fight if I had not been wearing my safety glasses. WEAR THEM. You are beyond foolish is you don't. Wear them before you start working. Keep them on at all times. Don't take them off until all your tools are at least at rest and nothing is under tension or stress. 

Final pic of the evening:

The angle of the camera lens throws the perspective off a bit, but the hoop nearly matches the outside of the frame rails. This will be much easier to fit up once I trim the legs to match the profile that Mike wants, which is basically as short as possible to enhance the lines of the bike.