Friday, January 14, 2011

Fun Stuff While Learning To Weld

Here are some of the projects that I've used to test out equipment, figure out how things work and try out tips and techniques that I've only read about.  You can't be timid, diving in and getting your hands dirty is the only way to learn. I'm finding it takes patience and tons of practice to grasp these skills.

I used this fish to practice heating and bending items with the oxyacetylene torch and tacking light gauge metal with the stick welder.   This was before I had a plasma cutter so I cut the sheet metal with a grinder/cutoff wheel.  What a difference the plasma cutter makes.  Cuts are cleaner, can be much more complex and are exponentially quicker to make.

Here's a knight-in-armor guy I put together using the oxyacetylene torch.  I had fun adding pieces of rod, bending them into place and trimming off the excess using a pair of bolt cutters.  The torch gave me great flexibility and allowed me to be creative on-the-fly and not have to have every piece planned and pre-cut.

Different angle of the same guy.  I made the helmet out of one inch thin wall tubing.  The details were cut using a grinder/cutoff wheel.  The shield was made from thin flat steel cut to length and welded together using the torch.

After getting tired of practicing welding different angels on scrap metal so I came up with the idea of building a cube out of  quarter inch plate steel.  I forced myself to make all the welds with the cube in place (without rotating it to an easier angle).   Some of the verticals were a real challange for me.  Had to play around with the amperage and weld speed before I found the right combo. I ended up giving the grinder a real workout.  Had to build up and grind down many area to get a "perfect cube" with sharp edges.

Eventually I had a clean cube so, now what?  I hadn't really thought through what I was going to use it for once finished.  I ended up adding casters to the bottom mounted on heavy gauge angle iron, painting the whole thing safety blue and using it as a small patio table.  It's perfect size to roll up next to a chair or lounger and hold a drink.  It's also probably one of the sturdiest patio tables around.  The weakest component, the casters, are rated to 1,000 lbs. a piece.  So  if need be my new table can support a mid-size sedan.  You just never know when when that could come in handy.

I called this one "Man Riding Meteor".  This may have been my first "real" creation ever.  I used the oxyacetylene cutting torch to carve out the base from quarter inch steel.  I left the edges intentionally jagged to look like a flame trail or meteor flying through the air.  The head and feet are made from chain links and the body is quarter inch steel rod.  I used a oxyacetylene torch to weld everything together.

A view of my shop (the wife calls it our garage).  The major tools are a Victor oxyacetylene setup, Hobart stick welder, Hobart plasma cutter, Dewalt chop saw and Ingersoll Rand air compressor.  I built the tables and racks from scratch.  The third table/rack with the bender on it is still in works.  I plan on using it hold all my scrap material in the lower half and have the top free for a vise and the light material bender.  I'm going to have to devise a way to have drop-down legs secure it from rolling around while bending or prying.

This one is kind of the ugly duckling.  It doesn't seem to have too many admirers.   I created it while playing with scrap to practice different weld angles angles and material thicknesses.  The top is held to the base with an old truck water pump.  It can swivel a full 360 degrees.  Many of the other pieces move or spin.  This was a great learning experience for me.  Great to experiment with different welding rods, amperage settings and materials.  Also presented my with an opportunity to be a touch more precise with the cutting torch.  I removed small nipples from the top of the water pump without damaging or marking the rest of the piece.  I'm guessing that this one will eventually find it's way back into the scrap pile.


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