Major Visual Progress

Greetings. I’ve finally had some time off to spend in the hangar lately so here’s a rundown on what I’ve been up to…

The base of the table is all welded. This was no small task, especially considering my still underdeveloped skill in out of position welding. I was having all kinds of problems with vertical and overhead welds.  I think it boils down to my trying to do overheads too cool and getting a bunch of spatter in the torch.  I’d think I had it all cleaned out and then run a vertical bead and get a bunch of porosity due to spatter deep in the torch obscuring the flow of gas.  The really distressing part of all of this was that the problem welds tended to be unreachable by my angle grinder, so I didn’t have any way of grinding them out and trying again.

Then I learned about the die grinder. It’s basically like an industrial strength Dremel Tool. I got a pneumatic model for about $30. There are electric versions that would be handy if you didn’t have a high capacity air compressor, but they’re a bit more expensive.

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Vertical down gone awry. Was really stressed about some of these bad out of position welds in hard to reach places until I learned about the die grinder.

 

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Die grinder saves the day.

Looking ahead to trying to level out the table, I was confronted with how I was going to mount leveling feet. The brackets I built for the corners were made for castering wheels, and I didn’t have anyplace to mount the feet. Eventually, I decided to scrap the corner wheels in favor of two giant non-castering wheels in the middle of the table. I’d put the leveling feet in the corners and they could be retracted when I needed to move the table. I’m going to use the die grinder to remove the wheel brackets and replace them with tapped leg end caps so the feet can just screw into the bottom of the legs.

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Base is pretty much welded. New wheel arrangement works great!

 

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Once the table’s functional, I’ll make some top brackets for these. For now the U bolts work fine.

 

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Temporary arrangement of leveling feet.

Once I had the landing gear all figured out, it was time to think about the risers. This was my first time doing 45 degree beveled joints. I started by tacking opposite corners. I clamped them onto the edge of the table so I had access to 3 of the 4 corners of the joint. This way I only had to flip and re-clamp once.

When I first started running beads, I blew out a couple of the outside corners because I was running too hot again and not traveling fast enough.  Did my usual penance of grinding and came back and had some success.

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Getting ready to tack up a couple of risers.

 

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This was just terrible. I was way too hot and blew a giant hole in the outside corner. Had to build it back up and do a bunch of grinding, but at least it was accessible.

 

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Amazing what a good night’s sleep and a clean torch nozzle can do for your beads.

When it came time to tack on the risers, I used a couple of strong 90 degree magnets and a bar magnet to get it close and tweaked it with a good digital level.

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Used a few good strong magnets to line up the risers before tacking them onto the frame.

 

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Couldn’t help laying the rail on once I’d tacked up a couple of the risers. Starting to get a sense of the scale of this beast…

 

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Using the rail as an alignment guide for the middle riser before tacking it on.

 

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All 6 risers tacked on. Looks very close. Still lots of work to do.

It’s pretty cool to have the frame pretty much completed! I’m excited for the upcoming challenge of mounting the gear racks and v rail. In the next post I’ll show how I drilled and tapped mounting holes in the top horizontal beams and brackets.

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