Building the Base

Wednesday was an exciting day for us here at the workshop! After the first shipment of steel came in Tuesday, we dove right into measuring out the new pieces of steel and marking up the trailer. We decided to divide and conquer and so two of us continued using angle grinders and cutting discs to wrap up our demolition work on the trailer, taking off the last couple unnecessary pieces of the old trailer. Sparks were flying everywhere! Another two of us set to work making a jig for cutting our steel tubing and angle with the metal band saw. We measured out the first few tubes to 97 3/4 inches which will serve as the foundation, also known as sleepers, from which we will build our studs, walls, roof, etc. on in the near future. After two of us would cut the steel, we would hand the piece over to two more people who would grind down the edges of the tubing to make chamfers where the weld will melt and hold two pieces together. The last person in the group was continuing to finalize and format our boards and construction documents so that we can print them out on large scale plots and have right by our side as the rest our us work towards getting the base of the Vat Shack steady and ready to be transformed in the coming days.


We did have a few obstacles to navigate around before we could attach the sleepers to the existing structure and actually start our build. Our main issue was after all the sleepers were cut and chamfers were made we had to make sure there was equal spacing in-between every single steel sleepers. We used math to try and figure it out and when that didn’t work we used trial and error to zero in on the problem. The problem was that we thought we had made our first and last sleeper square because when we took the diagonal measurement in both directions, they were the exact same number. Then we started thinking the trailer itself was a little crooked and bent because it is a used trailers and some of the rails were a tad cattywhompus before we even got the trailer. In the end, the actual problem was that we made a rookie mistake and didn’t measure the distance between the sleepers in the perpendicular direction because we thought that the diagonal alone would tell us if it was square. Turns out the left side was 3/16 of a inch off compared to the right. The lengths of the tubing were correct, the angle was just off by a hair; however that hair multiplied over an eight foot span added up quick. By the time we had the problem solved, it was already after sunset so all we could do was tack weld the sleepers into place for the time being and then fully weld them on Friday when we will have more daylight. All in all, a very productive day was had by all! Check back soon!

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