Rookie wanna-be weldor starting to make some cool things!
Ok - a little foreshadowing...
I took a stick welding course back in '06 at a local community college and did well with it, but I never followed it up. I didn't have a welder to keep practicing with, so whatever I learned was eventually lost.
Fast forward 4 years.
I have so many ideas in my head of things that would make my life easier that only require simple fabrication skills. One day I started mentally adding up everything if I had to go out and buy it. Buying a welder was less expensive - if I could use it, of course.
So, I get the itch again. MIG, TIG? More research. More hair pulling. More moving money around via rotating MC equity. :D What to do, what to do?
Well, to get the ball rolling, I sold a very nice DL650 that I just bought and was only 3 months old. :cry
Nice bike, but they make 'em every day. I'll get another eventually. I just needed the cash flow.
Ok, bike sold. Now what? Well, I picked up a very nice, hardly used Miller Syncrowave 180 SD on ebay. Then I bought all sizes of tungstens, collets, gas nozzles, filler wire, you name it.
Hmmm....I still have some cash from the DL. I'm not smart with money. But I am smart enough to know if will disappear little by little if I don't focus it on the project at hand - setting up for welding.
So like anyone who likes to blow cash, I did the next best thing: I bought a brand new Miller 252 MIG with a 30A spoolgun. Now I can do aluminum with the TIG or the MIG.
Ok. The cash is all gone. Whoops! I have no materials! Good going, genius. I knew I should have held off on the MIG. Oh well, it's in the garage now.
Next up - I wired a 50A plug in the garage. Perfect for both welders. Plus I bought some 80 ft3 tanks and had them filled. So now I have some welders, but absolutely no knowledge of them and still no materials.
OH YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! I work at a data center, and they are upgrading their UPS battery racks. They are TRASHING all the old metal! Suh-weeeet!!!!
So, I hauled in my trailer, and loaded that puppy to the gills.
Everyone knows that you need a good table to get in a proper position for any kind of welding. So, with free metal scrap in hand, I went to work. I broke out the MIG, burned a couple of test beads, and just went for it. Here is one of my very first projects...a heavy duty table with a drop down vise...
It is roughly 6' wide x 3' deep. I made the vise drop down so that I can load full sheets of metal on the table with no obstructions. Plus I made the top the way I did for future plasma cutting. I took breaks frequently and drank lots of milk to try and stave off "metal fume fever" since mostly everything was galvanized. This table took me about a day to make, and I have made modifications to it since for holding tools, a port-a-band bracket, and pockets for markers and pencils and other small items. Total cost? About 10 bucks of gas and filler wire using .035 ERS70-6 and CO2/Argon mix.
My main goal off all of this was to attempt to make my own aluminum panniers, and all the materials for them is currently in the mail. I have made a bunch of other things and will post pics up when I take them. I've only been welding for about 2 months, but I'm getting better with practice.
More piccys to follow...
I like that vice swing off.
Looks very respectable!
I look forward to the pannier development :deal
I may have to make 3 sets next year if a deal on new cannot be struck.
I also made a stand-off (not shown) that can be positioned anywhere on the bench for holding long materials. It is made with a piece of 1" threaded rod so I can adjust the height up and down. I'll take a pic of it this week.
Yeah, I'm eager for the big brown truck to show up.
I made a 3" square cube out of 1/8" aluminum scrap from work and it took me 2 days because I'm pretty picky. It's now a glorified paperwieght.
After that I made a bashplate for my KLR that turned out pretty nice for a first timer. I need to get pics of that as well.
I'd be happy to fab some items up for you as soon as I have the skills.
I used to have my own custom painting / sign shop / leatherworking business for several years, and I have good customer skills. I didn't get all this together purposely for a welding business, but some extra side coin is nice, and I would be open to that.
Here is a used plasma cutter I scooped on ebay after getting some advice from some inmates. It makes fabrication much easier.
I made the cart from all the free scrap metal I mentioned earlier. The wheels are from a broken dolly that I had packratted away. I knew being a hoarder would eventually pan out.
The top of the cart is from a scrap side panel from a piece of industrial switchgear from an upgrade. I cut it with the plasma cutter.
I have since rattlecanned it satin black with Rustoleum.
I did this mod about 2 weeks after getting the welder...a dual cylinder rack. It's a $300 dollar option from Miller. I bought a floor model from a local distributor and it came wit a single cyl. rack, so I made my own.
It is also made from that piece of switchgear cover, and I still have some of it left! I think it is 16 ga. mild steel.
If you look closely, you'll notice a gold chain. Yep - it's from an old dining room light fixture. Packrat!
I also used 1/2" one hole straps to keep the gas line for the spoolgun off the floor. I made the spoolgun/MIG torch holder and cable rack as well. Made from scrap 18 ga. (sides), a 4" E.M.T. coupling (the radius the cables lay on), and 1" square tube (the support). Everything mounts to existing hardware of the welder itself.
The "foot" that the cylinders sit on is removeable. It bolts to the single cylinder foot using factory holes. I made it for 80 ft3 cylinders because I was told that is the largest size I can own. Anything larger need to be rented. If I decide to go larger, I would simply have to extend the rear of the foot out. The width is fine.
I rattlecanned this as well.
All materials were free except for a $5 can of paint. I'd say this took 6 hours tops. It was a fun project.
I've been researching metal brakes, and I have decided I can't afford one, but I need one. I can't bend my bags without one unless I want them to look like hammered crap.
We have a nice brake at work, but it's only good for 22 ga. Everything for bending heavier gauge is $1,500 and up.
Thanks to the internet, there are a lot of DIYers out there just like us guys. After about 4 hours of research, I decided to make my own.
- again - all from scrap. I haven't bought a shred of metal yet.
The throat opening is 22", but it should have been 24". I was trying to make the hinges concealed in the base, but my battery drill took a dump in the last hour. The trigger burned out. Then I had to scab some hinges to the top, which took away an inch of working room on each side. The hinge placement was the hardest part.
The top clamp is constructed of 2" angle x 3/16". I welded in 3/16" gussets underneath. The brace of the top clamp is made of 3/4" I.D. black steel water pipe with a 1/2 bolt welded in to adjust down pressure.
The base is made with the top half I cut off my table legs shown earlier. (from old UPS battery racks) The base rotates up after you clamp your material down, making the bend. Handles are made with 1" rigid conduit. The pic doesn't show it, but I made another adjustable triangular bottom brace for the base - and it needed it! The base is also 3/16" steel C channel, and it was flexing when bending a 3/4" flange on the 1/8" x 22" piece of 3003 aluminum in the pic. Also shown - a 2" wide piece of 3/16" mild steel flatbar bent in a 90. My fugly homegrown brake bent it with little effort.
The brake bolts to my tabletop and is removeable if needed.
It took me about 10 hours to put this together and it works great! It's a bit slow since you have to tighten 3) 1/2" nuts for each bend, but it beats spending $1,500 for something made in China. I have maybe $10 in gas and wire in this bad boy.
More pics to come - I've made something every single week in the last two months since I began!
ok dude, STOP! you're making me want to go spend a LOT of money on welding toys just to amuse myself and make a few bucks.
seriously, I'm impressed with the resourceful thrift with which you've built effectively $5000 in shop tools should you purchase them. job well done.
I keep looking at these things and thinking how much I want to own a bunch of welding stuff.
I have only shown half of what I've made in 2 months. I'm trying not to come off like a braggart, but I'm just pretty excited to be finally making stuff. It's pretty awesome.
Fixing stuff, too...I was a hero when I welded my kids broken tricycle pedal back on! Then I made some "trick pegs" that screw on the axles of my other kid's bikes for doing stunts. I think I spent most of the day making pegs for kids in the whole neighborhood!! Ha Ha! I was the cool Dad that day! :D
The manager at work found out about my new addiction, and commissioned me to make some ladder racks for the Gator we use to go from building to building. My first "paying" job. (we bartered for a nice drill press! Mmmm - okay!)
I made the rack in two pieces because it has a dump bed. I used 1" square tube x 1/8" for the uprights, and 3/4" I.D. black water pipe for the horizontal pieces. Mounting tabs made from 3/16" flatbar shaped to fit.
The job took 20 hours start to finish.
...and with the leftovers from the Gator job that I got to keep...
I made some pannier racks for my trusty KLR...
I used the 1" x 1/8" wall square tube scraps. Yes, I know, it's a bit of overkill, but hey - they were free, and I am a KLR owner after all. I made it in one piece, and it's not too difficult to install/remove. I also welded on some 1/4" U-bolts to have extra strap points. I will shoot her with some more rattlecan black this week. I think I need to buy stock in that stuff.
I will weigh the rack, because I am curious of the weight myself. I'd say it weighs in between 10-15 lbs just by the feel of it. I'll chime back in when I know for sure.
Nice set up ! You look like a pro rather than a rookie. I am a retired welder and wish I had a set up like yours. Keep up the great work :clap
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