Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Made Metal Stick to Metal

I decided to give my new welder a go recently. It's a
small 110v flux-core wire welder and it's pretty handy for anything under 1/4". Anyway, after my dad giving me his old spare set of welding gloves and an old welding mask I struck some arcs and gave it a go.

A few years ago dad had me try welding on a small trailer that needed some work. The results were a "porcupine" of welding wire as he put it, so I figured I'd have to do better this time. After getting a feel for making a few beads on a piece of scrap and burning my name through a piece of thin sheet metal, I decided to try something more substantial. Taking a pile of steel scrap I had around, I fashioned it into an arm that moves at the elbow. While half-way through working on it my roommate ordered pizza and I had to go sign for the it. The delivery guy almost fell over when I walked up with the mask, welding jacket, and one glove still on.

I also made a small metal bracket from some political yard sign metal (the same as the fingers on the arm) for my room mate so his new air filter can bolt up properly and not wear holes int itself. it's pretty much just a rod with a loop on each end welded so a bold could go through.

Once I'd finished the arm and bracket I felt more confident with my welds not falling apart, so I gave a shot at making a work bench. It's made of some metal shipping crate frame that I held together with baling wire while I tacked it together. It's pretty self explanatory to look at it, and sits pretty solidly, but I wish I'd had a magnetic square, as the corners are nowhere near square. Ohh well, it'll still work nicely. The table top is just chipboard and I painted the whole thing so it won't rust or peel too badly. I'm probably going to make it so I can bolt my Skil-Saw to it and use it as a table saw. I'd also like to get a vice mounted to it as well. At the moment the whole thing is just holding up my

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Made a Robo-Archaeopteryx

Though it's not complete yet, I figured this is neat looking enough to warrant making a post for now. My room mate got an itch to build a model of a P51-D mustang. He coaxed me into getting a model to make as well. I remember making a model or two growing up, but never got too into it since I always knew what I was going to wind up with in the end and they never seemed to give you much choice in variation. I was into Lego though since once you'd made what was on the box you could recombine it any way you liked. I wound up recombining the parts from a kit into some odd things, and figured this would be fun to do with the my models as well.

I got kits for a 69 Z/28 Camaro and a Huey Vietnam War era helicopter. I used superglue to hold it all together, setting out the parts and looking over them for things that might shape together. The times I've made models like this I've never been too sure what I was working toward at the start, and just started to put together larger pieces. What I wound up with was a bird-life thing that looks pretty similar to an archeopteryx, an early ancestor of birds. I'm still planning to add more detail and paint the whole thing, but for the moment it still looks pretty neat, so here it is. There are some more photos on a Flickr set here:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Made a Bridge and Stairs

Yesterday and today I got an itch to go to the other side of the big ditch behind my back yard, but wasn't able to since the big ditch has about a 12ft wide stream in it with little fish and frogs and all. I manages to score some nice 2x4 lumber and fashioned myself a bridge to cross the gap. It's pretty self-explanatory; two 12' boards on end toenailed to the 4x4s they're sitting on, then planks of 2x4 over those for the deck. On the other side it turns out there's a fire trail that runs about a quarter mile in one direction and about 3/4 mile in the other, with trails to the side leading into the woods. It's a good place to go exploring. After making my little bridge though I decided the incline on the other side was too steep to keep scrambling up it every time I go over there, so today I made some stairs to make going up a little easier.

They're pretty simple, just start at the top, dig out the first step, shoveling the excess dirt down to where the next step will be, pound a line of steaks into where the face of the first step will be, then tamp down the ground in the first step and repeat for the next step. Filling in the backfill with sticks as well as the dirt should hopefully prevent some erosion, and for some of the steps I just put in a few steaks with flat boards behind them. We'll see which type fares better over time I guess. Make sure the steaks are about twice as long as the step is tall to give them plenty of room to hold into the ground without tilting forward.

I was thinking about making the bridge able to winch up onto my side so it's not abused or broken by someone, I might have to re-visit this if I do so. There are more photos over on this Flickr set.

And one more thing. It's November 4th, GO VOTE AMERICA! THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS!