Heavy Metal All Through the Weekend

As a tribute to the last few posts, I won’t talk about the process of welding too much besides the fact that our tutorial and lesson with Cole went very successfully. His main focus was to show us how to configure jigs and rigs to create these pieces in an assembly manner and to ensure that each piece of metal we cut down is exactly the same. Not only did he do that with relative ease, but he also took the time to watch each one of us weld a vertical connection and point over our shoulder what we could do better. Just given the nature of welding, a lot of it comes with two things: time and patience.

Everybody will have plenty opportunities to weld over the rest of the semester and by no means is it limited to a few people, however we’d still be wise to “assign groups” to things, just to reinforce responsibility and the division of labor. That being said, Cameron, Ed, and I are going to be the “metal people”. We will start this weekend doing what we call mock-ups, with the end goal of successfully (hopefully) framing one door. Not to get too thick in the weeds, but Cole gave us good advice about how to build a template that lets the frame sit at perfect 45 and 90 angles, and then you can use a technique called tack welding, which is putting a tiny dot connection on all 4 corners of a box for example. This helps it keep slight rigidity while you shift things and change your angles a degree or two to make it perfect, then you can finish the rest of the connections.

As of yesterday evening, Rachel has been taking the truss and turning her CAD drawing into our final configuration to pull the exact dimension – it’s funny how literal fractions of an inch can carry a long way; moving a slat 1/16″ consequentially moves the frame, which moves the frame gap, which changes the proportion of W x H, which changes the column spacing, which then directly lines up with the truss, etc.

Summarily, this mock-up will serve us well, not just for metalshop practice but to be able to play with the door design on a 1:1 scale. I think it’s safe to say that the door is our most intricate piece to the project and you just can’t tell how things are going to work until you physically make a full-size prototype.

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