Basic Blacksmithing

Not much I can add to this article over at Make Magazine on the basics of blacksmithing. Check it out!

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The Art of Compromise and Using What You Have

There I was, minding my own business several months ago, helping my best buddy load some steel for a now forgotten project when Angela, the super cool person who works the office and keeps things running smoothly at my favorite steel supplier, pointed out a couple piles of heavy duty steel U-channel scraps and told us to take as much as we wanted so she wouldn’t have to deal with it.

Several hundred pounds of steel loaded into the back of a pickup later, my buddy and I set off and eventually offloaded the scraps in my garage. The steel was all 6 x 2 1/2 by 3/8ths thick and the bulk of the usable length of the scrap was 30 inches. I had to trim off some angled cuts the fabrication guys had made in building whatever real project they’d contracted to build but that was pretty easy thanks to my Harbor Freight band saw.

So, I have this pile of heavy duty, beefy as f*** steel in desperate need of a project and it dawned on me that as a wannabe welder, I needed a good table on which to work. If I butt welded a couple pieces together I could have a 48 x 30 table which was really perfect for my garage.

So, I butt welded a couple pieces to create the main horizontal support pieces. One thing to note is that a real professional welder would be able to assure that their weld is as strong as a continual piece, I’m an amateur at best. I’m going to use physics to help ensure my table is as strong as possible.  Notice in this photo I intentionally put the welded pieces at opposite ends so any weight on the table would be more of a sheering force, rather than a bending force that would focus on the weak spot: the weld.

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Also, in the above photo, you can see a trick to ensure everything is square. Using squares is great and gets you pretty darn close, but measuring opposite corners can get you very close to perfect. In this case, it was less than a 16th of an inch difference between one set of opposite corners and the other. I went into more depth in this post about making sure things are flat, level and square. Read it so I don’t have to copy and paste the whole thing.

Additionally, if you’re working on a normal garage floor, keep in mind that most garage floors are poured with a downhill slope to ensure any water runs out of the garage, not in. You can see in these photos that my level showed it was off, yet it was consistent with the floor.

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After I tack welded the two horizontal pieces and the two cross pieces, it was time to lay out the rest of the table. Given what I what I had to work with and mathing it, 2 3/8ths inch space between each piece of steel worked out to pretty close to even spacing.

I welded the legs on first to give myself an easier work space, then set to welding the rest of the cross pieces.

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A couple things to think about on a project like this (free) is your materials will dictate a lot of your design. If that simply won’t work, don’t be afraid to do a hybrid wherein you buy some key pieces and use your free stuff for the rest of it.

Once it was all done, this thing was heavy as hell and sturdy as f***.

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The advantage of a table like this, with gaps between the crosspieces, is that I can clamp pieces anywhere, even in the middle, to fight heat distortion.

Now I have a really strong table that cost me just a few dollars for electricity, gas, and welding wire.

 

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In a Van Down by the River!

A Hackaday article reminded me of a project I want to try some day and that is converting an old bus into a sweet RV.

Jake VonSlatt has a cool page showing how he did it and was the page that originally got me wanting to do the same conversion. Time and space to put any project like this have kept me from doing it, for now…

If you have attention issues like myself, here’s a video VonSlatt made, check it out:

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Cold Casting Small Stuff

No, I’m not dead…

Anyway, check this out! Cold cast using a mixture of real powdered metals and clear resin. He starts with a 3D printed original but there’s nothing saying you couldn’t had carve a piece out of wax, etc.

 

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Getcher hands on some copper and build a still!

Legally, of course…

This outfit sells kits that require some assembly but they have helpful videos on the Youtube that show how to assemble their products.

The Home Distillers Forum is a fantastic resource for people who live in New Zealand where home distilling is perfectly legal…

There are currently bills in Congress to legalize hobby home distilling and I truly hope they pass. Lots of folks do so in spite of the (weakly enforced) law but my employer would come unglued if I got caught moonshining so alas, I must wait…

Even the most basic digging around on the interwebs will lead a person to detailed tutorials on how to constrict a still.

George Washington would approve

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This Instructable leave out the whole “where to get a huge boat” detail…

http://www.instructables.com/id/Convert-a-Wooden-Tugboat-to-Liveaboard/

This is a great step by step tutorial on how to convert a tug boat to a recreational vessel…

Okay, not so much step by step. In fact not at all.

But it’s a cool record of the transformation. Oh and this project is a wee bit past the average DIYer.

Just a smidge…

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Garbage can CNC Machine Build

While I know a lot of CNC snobs would turn up their noses at this, the ingenuity displayed is great. A lot of basic mechanical principles are on display with this project and I think it’s awesome.

Though, dude’s accent scares me a little…

(But I barely speak Murican, let alone a second language so kudos to him!)

Source: Garbage can CNC Machine Build