Tag Line

"Built Dam Strong!"

25 October 2012

Rusty Railing Repair

(Yes, I do love alliteration!)

So, I spent most of yesterday fixing stuff that started off looking like this:

That is the bottom up an upright that was cemented into the front stair case of a house. The owner of the house was concerned for her tenants and her own safety, since the railing was flopping about like a wet noodle.

I arrived, got set up and got to working.

I took some 1 1/4"x 1/8" strapping and bent and drilled and cut some pieces:

Then I got to fitting things together:

 A little crooked to start:

 But once I got this welded up:
The railing straightened up nicely.

I had to replace another section on the upper platform. When I drilled the hole for the wedge-lock concrete fasteners, I drilled the upper one a bit too deep . . . and I dropped the wedge bolt too far in the hole. I couldn't grab it with pliers. I couldn't "tweeze" it with screwdrivers, and i didn't happen to have any actual tweezers with me . . . so I got a bit creative with welding wire!

I bent up the end of the wire into a small circle and jammed it down over the threads:

The tension of the wire grabbed the  threads and I could pull the wedge bolt out.

After I thought I was done, the owner of the house wasn't happy with how much movement there still was in the rail. It was much safer than it was, as I could literally lean all my weight on it and yank without anything bending or breaking. I didn't actually want to put in another bracket, but, hey, the customer wants what the customer wants.

So, after painting the bases, I prepped another bracket for the other side:

Then welded it on:

I couldn't match the brackets exactly because I didn't want to get too close to the edge of the stairs because running a hammer drill close to the edge of fake stone can crack it, and that is a huge problem.

I didn't get any pics after this since it was getting dark and I had to move on to another job. The customer was very happy with the completed job, and that is all that matters.

23 October 2012

More Sign Holder progress

As I showed in yesterday's installment, I had to trim back the support Ts in order to allow the support arms to swing freely. It took a while to get the measurements for the cuts, but I came up with good dimensions for the cut. 

Here's how it looks:

The way the end looks now:

The new gap to allow the swing:

The gap is 1/4" and the length of the hypotenuse of the triangle that I trimmed off is 3/4". It's just enough and doesn't even look too bad.

The other issue I am running into is a bit of galling near the 2" tube:

 The type of aluminum selected for this piece is prone to this, but I'm taking care of the issue by smoothing  everything out and will apply some light grease after everything is assembled. 

Tomorrow's task will be trimming up the other side to allow the support arms to swing 180*. Basically I'll be doing the same thing as the other side:

One of the best solder jobs evar!

I got this P28 in my hands today. I had to post up pics to show the fine work some people do with chipping ECUs!

You know the whole thing called "through hole components?" This is the backside of the socket for the chip:
It's such a good job, the legs of the socket were invisible!

Topside view:

And for a reason that I am sure is beyond my miniscule comprehension, this IC was resoldered by this master of the iron:

During the desoldering process, I discovered that several of the pins barely had any solder correctly joining the pins to the traces:
Cold solder joints are the best!

(This whole post was written sarcastically, just to make sure that I am clear about this.)

22 October 2012

Flintstone style '66 Thunderbird

Here is a very pleasant diversion from the usual stuff I work on:

(Funky angles avoiding the plate.) This is Chris' '66 Ford Tunderbird.

Why do I say it is Flintstone style?

I hope you can figure it out without me needing to explain it.

Here's the new 18g panel to get put in:

I was surprised by the interior:
What people say about things not being made how they used to be made is entirely true. This stuff is almost 50 years old . . . and it all still works and just needs some cleanup and polish, honestly. Let's see your 2012 model year car last 15, let alone 50.

Possibly the best part of the car:
I also really like the fuzzy dice. I'm weird like that.

Test fitting:
This was after a lot of cutting. Why more cutting? The floorpan had already been replaced some time in the past, and I had to take that layer off in order to get the floor pan to fit correctly. This took hours of careful trimming and prying to just get to the test fit point that you see in the above photo.

Marking, trimming, wash, rinse, repeat:

After a few more hours of carefully doing a little tweak hear, a touch more grinding there, I got the panel to fit well.

With the pan in place, I traced out the supports and then marked spaces to drill holes:

Pilot holes to verify measurements:

The holes matched up perfectly (thanks to careful measuring) so I popped the rest of the pilot holes:

All of them lined up with the flanges on the supports, so I drilled them out to about 1/4" in order to get a decent imitation spot weld:

The sun was setting, so I just busted out the rest of the welding and did some other patchwork underneath the car that I didn't get pictures of.

Here's the final product:

It's rock solid, with very, very little deflection even with all of my (fat) weight on it. It will last a very long time, too, especially with the right treatment of the panels. underneath and on top. 

21 October 2012

Custom sign holders nearing completion!

Now that the shop is mostly taken care of, I can get back to actually making progress on projects!

I had to cut two more pieces of 2" wide plate as braces for  the sign frame:

Those pieces started out as one piece of 4"x8'x3/16" plate. I cut the plate to the length I needed ( 26 1/2") and then cut it down the middle with my bandsaw. It took a while, but with good layout and a steady hand, I am impressed with how nicely the ended up being.

Then it was time for some grinding. As and welder who prides themselves on making good looking and strong welds, it hurts a bit when you have to grind the welds down for aesthetic or, in this case, functionality. Here is what I had to do:

Since the T-shaped piece is going to have the sign frame support tubes swing around it, the welds had to be ground flush so that the side plates would clear.

Now I am showing off why I prefer to have good clamping areas on all work benches:

It just makes your life so much easier to have a solid place to clamp what you are working on down so you can not worry about holding things. Solid clamping makes for a much safer work environment. 

After grinding down the welds, I center punched the previously marked spots for the pivot and locking holes:

This is the tool I use for all my center punching:

Even though it is a Starrett, it is extremely reasonably priced. The tips are replaceable, though I haven't had to replace the original in the . . . 3 or so years I've been using it, marking many thousands of holes to be drilled. You can also adjust the tension which effects the effort and punch depth. I love it. If you want to make your layout and drilling much more precise, get an automatic center punch! It is very much worth it.

Once I got the holes marked, it is time to drill. Now here is a not about drill press safety:
If you don't have a piece that is long enough to rest against the upright of your drill press, put a stop on the dang work table. As you can see above, it is nothing fancy, but it is necessary! You can severely injure yourself, or, more importantly, ruin the piece you are drilling if it slips from your hands as you are drilling. The worst time for it to slip is when the bit is about to break through, as this is when the bit is most likely to grab the piece and spin it, breaking the bit, your hands/fingers/workpiece.

I finished drilling the pilot holes after being annoyed that my baby sized drill press didn't have enough stroke to drill all the way through the sides of the 2" box tube. I had to mark the other side of the tube and go through the whole process again. *le sigh*

Anyway, I finished getting the holes drilled and then cut the tube supports to the general length needed:

I had to file down the insides of the tube so that the supports would be able to fit around the hole:

I finished the supports to length on my sander, then tapped them into place:

The reason why I am bothering with this is that the support Ts are going to be the most stressed member of this whole construction. Adding in the tube to couple the sides together will greatly increase torsional rigidity which will help cope with with loads from the large vinyl sign.

The next task was to start drilling out holes on the sign frame supports:

This is where my drill press decided to stop working. Again. I am pretty stumped as to why, but I will figure it out or get another one as soon as I have the cash in hand to do it.

Always support your work! I would never have been able to pop 1/2" holes in the thin support plates had I not been clever and used the Ts to support the ends of the plates:

This is the assembly bolted together:
Do note that I will have to trim the corner of the T and also the corner of the plates in order to clear everything when the entire assembly swings. I left them square to make it easier to work on everything, but will make the final cuts when I know everything else fits as perfectly as posible.