Thursday, August 6, 2009

Take Hold of the Flame

WELDING! This. is. awesome. It feels like using a hot glue gun, but with more molten metal than glue. Oh, and you can't see a thing until you pull the trigger to arc electricity through, fusing your pieces together.

Did I mention that it looks badass? No? Well, it looks badass. Our team all learned to weld for this project at Tech Shop, which is where we are doing most of the building.

To start we do tack welds, which are just strong enough to hold our pieces in place and just weak enough that if we find we've made a mistake, it's nothing a hard swing of a hammer can't fix. See those little spots? That's all it takes.

Welding can fill small gaps between pieces. Because we want both sides to be identical and they've already been carefully measured, we don't want any gaps. Clamping everything together keeps it solid. Those arrow-shaped things are magnets to hold everything in place.

With the sides fully tacked together, we double check that everything is level and square. Here I am demonstrating a technique I picked up for creating right angles with your hands. I tried using it to confirm our measurements, but I must have done something wrong because it didn't agree with the level. More practice is needed.

A class was about to take over the room, so before we beefed up our welds, we moved all the equipment outside.

Welding gets hot. Wear your gloves and long sleeves! That spot of light is bright enough to give you a tan.

Grinder time.

What is it about sparks that is so awesome?

SEE? Pure awesome! To keep the inside of the frame flush, we grind out the bumps created by welding so the crossbeams will fit in place.

Lock it down. After putting in the bearings and placing the axle, everything gets clamped together for welding into one piece.

Let's compare. Which frame would you rather race in?

It's the end of the day and the shop is closing. Next week it's time to put on some brakes and get the steering set up. I suppose that will require front wheels, but those are just details. For now, we have the world's most monstrous handtruck.

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