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"Built Dam Strong!"

07 June 2012

I finished my first complete header today!

First things first . . . A shop isn't a shop without good tunes. For the past few months, I've been listening to muzak (I generally listen to mostly bad music) while working via my lap top or my cell phone, neither of which are particularly pleasing to the ears or clearly audible over my TIG welder's fan that is constantly on. (The on thing that really irks me about that welder. heh) I made sure I got up early and loaded up my speakers and amp:

I've had this stuff for years! The speakers are Alesis near-field monitors. The boxes are HEAVY and ported. I drive them with an Alesis 150W amp (most of the time, sometimes the 500W version I got for subwoofer duty . . . ) and feed them through a normal 3.5mm to RCA adapter cable. At times, I've been accused of having the subwoofer turned up too loud . . . when I don't even have one. The speakers are very efficient to pretty low frequencies, and I really do tend to prefer fabric tweeters since I have a tendency to be overly sensitive to the treble area. It was such a joy to listen to polka (yes, really, at least part of the time) and other music while working!

So yesterday, I left off with this:

It was tacked up and ready for full welding. After fiddling around a bit trying to figure out the best way to position the header for welding, I got an idea. The stock exhaust nuts, while very robust, are rather large and get in the way of the TIG torch. Why not figure out a way to reduce the profile of the bolts that were holding the header to the jig? So, I did! Below is a pic of the M6 threaded rod, washers and nuts (all stainless!):

The stock exhaust stud is an M8 size, and in the following pic you can see the clearance difference rather easily:

This made a good difference in clearance and ease of welding around the tubes. 

Here you can see the header mounted on the c-channel jig:

This makes for a much easier time of welding everything since you can move the jig and header around to make it easier to weld the difficult spots! Even so, I was getting stuck in a few places as I still have the long back cap in place:

A bit more shuffling around easily took care of that last little bit, and that was no where near the hardest part that I had to weld. 

I think this is after everything was welded, as I didn't get many "in process shots" since I was busy working over under around and through the primaries to get everything welded:

In the afternoon, new goodies arrived! I ordered some Norton sanding belts and Mirka stick on discs. The Norton belt is likely coming off soon because of this:

It is terribly ironic that the cheap belt that came with the thing tracks perfectly strait while the high quality (Norton makes many of my favorite abrasive products!) belt just rams straight into the side, creating a lot of unnecessary friction and slowing the whole thing down.

The next items to show off are the router speed controller, which works, at least with no load on the motor and a digital optical tachometer. I could test the tach out today as I didn't realize that the thing took 9V batteries, and I have none of those. 

The tach works optically. It requires a piece of reflective tape mounted onto the rotating thing you want to measure the RPMs of, and then you point the tach at the thing and it simply counts the tape. I mounted the tape directly onto the the chuck:

Once the header was welded up and I took the collector off and put it back on (what a pain . . . ) to verify everything was fitting decently enough, I needed to find a way to mount the springs. I came up with a brilliant idea to use this:

The twin of the free bed frame bracket I used to mount this:

To make 4 of these:

Which got sanded down to match, looking like this:

I cleaned up the flat sides, which I should have done when the material was in a large, flat piece as that would have taken much less time, and had two pairs of retaining spring tabs! I didn't even have to drill any holes!

I got the header mounted back onto the c-channel jig ( take apart, put back together, ad naseum!) and figured why not make the new low-profile studs permanent bolts:

I simply carefully melted the threaded rod to the nut and now I've got a perfectly sized nut that will make dropping in and securing things to he jig much easier! 

Here are the 4 finished tabs:

I trimmed the ends of the springs back a bit to make mounting slightly easier without taking the whole thing off:

While the header was on the head, I had marked off where I wanted the tabs to be, so I got them ready for welding:

Trying to tack with those magnetic triangles was weird. The magnetic field was definitely distorting the arc! It was so very weird. But, I managed to get a tack on there and then take the magnetic holder away and then weld the tabs on solidly:

Every once in a while, something weird happens that is still pretty cool. I wanted to keep the tabs 2.5" apart, but check out what the second set of tabs measured to when I just placed them by eye!

Dead on! OH YEAH! LOL!

Here is the final shot of the evening:

DONE! (Almost)

I forgot to clean up the inside of the ports from the head. That is going to be the first thing I do in the morning, then, finish packing it up and get it to the FedEx facility! YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Another ironic thing: most of my pretty welds on the primaries are on the backside of the tubes. LOL! 

I learned so much today doing this! I can't wait to move forward and tackle more challenges, and I already have those ready and waiting for me! =)