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Discussion in 'The Garage' started by kirkster70, Oct 3, 2010.
A little out of order as far as when it was finished, but here is the Gator completed...
Aluminium should cut ok with a jigsaw, use a coarser blade than for steel, turn the speed down a bit & spray the underside of your work with cutting oil. A circular saw with a fine tooth TCT blade is also good for the long straight cuts.
Love your work, a bender like your one is now on my list of future projects.
Thanks for the tips on blade cutting, Clint. That will help out next time I'm using a blade. I have heard about using different waxes, etc, but never tried.
The brake works well, and I finally had a chance to test it out today...pics to follow...
It's been a busy day. I moved the redneck bike lift into the other garage by myself. That sucker is seriously heavy. I moved it to the welder instead of the other way around. It's all cleaned up, put back together, and ready for modding. I knew not to touch it because materials for the panniers would soon be here, and I hate half finished projects lying around.
Racks are dry as well. I need to get longer hardware for mounting.
The mail lady brought my latch hardware today, and the UPS guy brought my aluminum sheet. I'm glad I didn't get carried away with the lift now.
Cut #1 on the sheet with my plasma cutter. Yes, that is a cut. It cuts aluminum better than mild steel.
Above: close up of the cut. A quick pass with a hand file on the backside and it's ready for welding.
Layout for bag #1. I decided on 18" long x 9" wide x 15" deep.
Bend #1 goes into the homemade brake. Let's see if this thing works.
See the bottom of the brake? I told you this was made from scrap, right? Success! It works! Hot dog!
Bend #2 goes under the clamp. Using the 3/4" wrench doesn't take as long as you would think.
Using a protractor to make sure I'm getting enough bend with the springback of the material.
Bend #4 complete... more pics to follow...
Clamping a straight edge to the pannier to plasma cut the excess away.
Again, this IS a cut. If you've never used a plasma before, you would not believe how friggin' awesome these things are.
One shell complete. Whoops! What happened here? The plasma cut flange is narrower than the factory sheared side. I now see the problem - there is 1/8" of gain on my bends. So, the 1st flange is 7/8" instead of 3/4". My plasma cut is 3/4", so it's 1/8" smaller. No worries. I know next time.
And then there were two. Notice I compensated on bag #2 and both flanges are equal.
I noticed a couple very slight imperfections in the bends, and I think one of the gussets under the top clamp must be lower than flush. I'll take a grinder to it tomorrow.
That's all for today, boys and girls. I'm pretty excited that the brake actually worked. Tomorrow I will cut and bend the tops and sides. There should be time to start welding if all goes well.
until next time...
I'm luvin' this thread, keep it coming.
this thread makes me confident I need a welding setup.
You bought a Hypertherm, right? Very nice work, all around. I like the bender, and will put it on the list for this winter (not that I need more projects, but it would be nice to stop building boxes out of plywood and move on up to metal).
I love seeing this stuff being done out of a small work shop at home! I own a high end metal fab shop. I need to make more time to do some of the great projects you are taking on. I've been kicking around putting some alum bags together for a while now. Looks like you're on the right track. Keep it up!
Thank you all very much for the kind words of encouragement. It helps me feel like I'm on the right track!
Yes, it's a Hypertherm 600. It's probably 5 years old, and I picked it up second hand on ebay for half of what new goes for. They still make consumables for it, and I've used it since day one. I'm getting better at using it.
Another busy day today. More pics to follow...
The day begins with cutting out ends and bending flanges. What would normally take me a day took about 20 minutes including the bends.
Miters cut with the plasma. Not exactly the right tool for the job, but I don't have a shear or nice snips.
Now the shells need miters cut.
Using a Miller 30A, .035 ER4043 filler wire, and pure argon flowing at 25 cfh, I start tacking everything together. the soot from the welds has already been brushed off for the next step.
This isn't anything like welding mild steel. The difference between a cold weld (not enough penetration) and blowing through the metal is a very narrow margin. Plus, I am still learning this. Miller doesn't even list the settings for aluminum this thin. They go down to 14ga, and this is a bit thinner. I set the controls like it's 14 ga, and go for it.
I develop a technique of doing a 3/8" long tack, pausing, and going again. Once I lay down about 2-3", I pause and scrub the weld with the stainless brush again. I don't know if this is correct, but it's working.
"The Enforcer" comes out to make the aluminum do what it's told to do. Unlike typical MIG, fitup has to be precise just like TIG when burning aluminum. Otherwise, blowouts are frequent. Ask me how I know. The hammer allows me to beat the seam closer after tacking.
One fugly bead later. Hey - this isn't TIG.
Now we're talking! This makes up for the heavy rack. With the lid in place, it should be right at 8lbs. Pretty good for a huge box.
One down, one to go. I ground the edges and had the brainy idea to lay a heavy fillet interior weld to compensate for grinding some of the strength away. BAD MOVE!!!! I blew a hole the size of a quarter through the side with the squeeze of the trigger! I didn't take repair pics, because I was in panic mode. I backed the interior with a copper bar, then made circles smaller and smaller until the hole was filled. MIG does have good deposition even on aluminum. I ground her down, and you can't see it even if I pointed it out. Whew! Disaster averted.
Both bags fully welded and goobers ground smooth.
I just got my "mounting pucks" (not really - think ebay) today, so I need to tack a nut to the backside of my racks. I was holding off to make sure the thread pitch was right.
More to come later. Stay tuned
Nice portaband. I have one and love it. I need to fab a mount or something to hold it to make better looking cuts though.
Thanks! Yeah, it makes things easier, that's for sure. I got tired of laying it on the floor, picking it up, etc, so I fabbed a bracket. It's a scrap from an old ATV winch mount bracket that I had an extra of. I holesawed it, then cut two lines to the holesaw hole for the "U" shape for the handle to rest in. Then I had to tack in a small scrap of strut to keep the outside piece of strut from twisting.
I also tacked in 4" pieces of scrap 1 1/4" E.M.T. conduit all over the table for tools, holding the torch, the vise stand off, etc.
My handy ebay knobs that I scanned through 40 pages to find!
They have a 3/8-16 x 3/4" threaded stud in the back. I got ten of them shipped for $17. That beats spending $60 a bag for a mounting kit. Hey, we're on a budget here.
I've been waiting on them to show up so I could tack the right size nut on the back of my rack. I masked off the steel before painting.
I used another bolt (didn't want to melt the knob) to place the nut, then clamped my ground onto the end of the bolt. Bingo! We're in business.
Then back outside for another spraybombing. I used old bolts to keep from boogering up the threads. Remove the bolts when done spraying. It's an easy to remember painter's trick.
After the paint set up once again, I brought the rack in to test the low buck pucks! Perfection!
Tomorrow morning I'm heading to the hardware store for longer bolts to mount the rack. Then I need to make lids and determine where to mount the bags. I may need to relocate my rear turn signals, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
I want the top of the lids as flush as possible with the rear rack, but that may change when I actually see it. That's it for today.
until next time...the saga continues...
Very very nice thread. I share your desire to build things and I also built a metal brake some years ago using Mother Earth News plans in order to bend the sheet metal on a tractor I built. It's got 24" capacity and will handle down to 12 guage or so.
For my MIG welding cart, I used a metal bed frame with casters that I cut down to size.
Thanks! Making things is pretty fun. It's funny you mention a bed frame - I helped a neighbor make a bracket to straighten a sagging fence gate with pieces cut from a bed frame that he supplied. I kept the leftovers that he didn't want. There is scrap everywhere if you're looking for it.
Just this spring I tossed out a lot of good scrap (before I got the welders) and I'm kicking myself now for it. Oh well. I have my mind focused on it now, so I'll try to hang onto things that can be remade into something else. It really does open a lot of possibilities when you can glue metal together.
Just got back from the hardware store for mounting bolts and some rubber foam tape to make the flange seals for the lids.
Rack mounted and ready to go...
I will have to modify the signals just as I thought. They are in the way by 1/4". I will probably make a modified bracket so they can still rubber mount to the existing mount. That will have to wait until next week. I still need to make the lids, mount the latches, drill the bags for mounting holes, make a bottom support, and roll bedliner on the inside of the bags to keep the contents from turning black, so I have plenty to keep me busy until then. I think I will also Scotchbrite the exterior of the bags to give them a brushed finish look ala Russell Mitchell (Exile cycles) The industrial look is appealing to me.
By the way, your tags are out of date!
Does the entire weight of each pannier rest on the threaded shank of those knobs in shear?
or is there some other support I havent seen there?