Saturday, February 20, 2016

Probably the worst welding in the world!

Yesterday I was reminded of my 2 year anniversary of meeting m'lady. Needless to say I'd had subtle reminders for the past week or two. I'd been finding notes written in Sharpie on my dinnerplate that I'd discover after doing my usual plate-clearing feat. I found notes in my lunch bag, reminding me of it all. So yesterday it was suggested that as it was forecast for 20% rain for Sunday, maybe we should head out on Sunday. That would leave me with all day today to work on the bus.

Well, today I started by cutting the steel for the infilling for the old cable compartment. That was pretty easy and after a little careful grinding, it was just the right size.

The plate, usefully, kept succumbing to gravity so in order to counter the effects of gravity which seems to be somewhat of a problem, I used existing hillbilly holes, some of my defective 10-24 bolts, washers and nuts. That held it all in place quite nicely.

Being mindful of the speed with which I can cut through 15 gauge steel with my 6011 1/16th welding rods, I worked quickly to weld the steel together. Now the steel I am welding in comes from the sole surviving seat back that the hillbillies left in the bus. That has been really useful supply of steel as it has been used for several things. Needless to say, I achieved the feat of cutting holes in the steel without too much problem.

I did get better as I went along though I had to pick up the pace a bit in order to complete the job before I ran out of welding rods. It was touch and go most of the time! I managed to burn quite a few holes and then had to sit there and build up the steel in order to fill the holes.

I don't think my welding will win any awards - aside from the booby prize. Maybe a Rotten Tomatoes award for ugliness. It does work though even though it looks nasty.

The biggest problem I had was that the steel sheet warped and moved a bit. It's nowhere near flush which might or might not be a problem. I might have to trim my compartment in order to fit it around my wonderful workmanship.

As it was getting gloomy - it had been overcast all day and I'd had to try a whole load of different tactics to be able to see what I was doing. My welding helmet is a little too dark to be honest. It's fine in bright sunshine but not in cloudy weather. In the end I found the hand-held eye guard worked best as it allowed me to see the area around the weld while blocking the really bright light.

Having put all my tools away, I wire-brushed the welds on the outside and slapped some primer on everything. Needless to say, as soon as I'd done that, the 20% rain arrived a day early.

With luck the rain won't harm the paint. I need to get underneath to prime the steel on the back. Judging from the smell of burning rubber when I was welding, the back of the bodywork has some rubberised paint on it.

With luck, I might be able to get the compartment installed tomorrow though I'm not counting my chickens. Today's welding took rather longer than I had anticipated to be honest. Had the weather not looked like rain then I would have welded the final strengthening pieces on the compartment. I never thought to check whether my main breaker box will fit nicely beside my distribution panel. If it does, perhaps it might be simpler just to finish infilling the hillbilly compartment and simply putting a socket box there instead. 

Meanwhile, my screw eyes arrived today. Too late to do anything with them today though. I now have everything I need to be able to complete the shower curtain fittings. Well, perhaps almost everything - I might need some S hooks.

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