Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"A face to the Name"

The title of this post may seem a bit unusual...but it fits this stage of my build perfectly. For the longest time I have had idea after idea on what the frame would end up looking like. I felt like I had built a sort of bond with a few of these ideas. Silly, yes I know. However, I knew the ins and outs of the frame but I had never actually seen. Well, Sunday that all changed. The clouds parted, the sun came out and work got done!

I arrived at 11am and was pleased to find Hans Paulson fully prepared to start working. Hans is a great guy. He has been building race cars since the early 70's and is very skilled in metal fabrication of all types. Bending metal happens to be one of the skills. I stopped counting the various sizes and types of dies he had on ONE of his racks. He even made some of them himself. Pretty impressive!

We got to work as soon as I was finished drooling over his tool collection. Han's took the time to set up the 1.5" die while I snapped a quick picture of our work area. You can see my mock-up frame to the right.
Han's making the first bend. I wish someone had taken a picture of me because I was so excited to have this all start to come together!
 First bend!
Working quick to the next bend

 One side almost done

Matching sides

More bending
One side complete!
At this point in the day I felt like I would blink and Han's had already finished the next few steps. Here he is bending the second side.
Two sides!
A couple more bending pics

Halfway through bending the front frame/seat frame
A few more bends...

Three of the frame pieces

Now to the welding. Once again, I was blown away at how talented Hans is. He had the frame pieces notched and welded faster than I could hand them to him! Plus the welds were beautiful!

Unfortunately my battery died and I was unable to take pictures of the front two vertical pieces being made and welded. When I got home I charged it and took a few photos of the finished frame (minus brackets etc.)

I got home much earlier than planned and decided to add a few of the gussets. I pulled out the tubing notcher and cranked out 4 gussets out of 3/4" tubing.

I plan on working more on the frame this Thursday and on the weekend. Expect more frequent updates now that I have the ability to work from my own garage again.

I am still waiting on my fan shroud to be made. Pictures will be posted as soon as I pick it up and install it.

I leave you all with two last photos to give you a better idea of what the whole thing will look like.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wheels for the Inflation Fan

I attached 10 inch wheels to the inflation fan. I am still waiting on my shroud to be rolled for me. Here are a few pictures of the wheel installation.

The fan rolls around great with the new wheels. I am hoping to have the shroud made and installed this week.

As for the frame for my basket...I have it built! Well...kinda. I have the main part of the frame bent and welded together. I still need to attach the seats, gussets and miscellaneous brackets to it. Check back tomorrow evening for a LONG post with a LOT of pictures. My spirits are pretty high now that I have something to actually look at and admire.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New frame for the Inflation Fan

A few months back I had started to tear down an inflation fan that had a brand new 8hp motor but was on a damaged frame that had been fixed way too many times. Below is just one example of how patched up the old frame is.
I found a little time today to work on the new frame and actually made quite a bit of progress. The old frame used 1" round tubing. It looks like .095" wall. I decided to build mine out of 3/4" X .095" wall round tubing to save a little weight. I hope my crew appreciates that decision when they have to move it. The other reason I used 3/4" round tubing is because I have a 3/4" conduit bender and could do the bends myself.

I decided not to modify the frames design because the fan worked just fine before and I didn't see a point in making a new (untested) design for something as important as an inflation fan. So, I made my measurements and got to bending the front part of the frame.

Since it is a thin wall mild steel frame, I am using my gas-less flux-core MIG welder. The machine can lay down a decent bead but I am still getting used to it.

After I finished bending and welding the front frame I measured, cut and welded the front engine mount into position.

At this point I was making such great progress I forgot to continue to take pictures! Between the last photo and the next I measured cut and welded the back brace/legs onto the front frame and welded their braces into place.

Here is a comparison photo of the old and new frame at this stage of completion. I really like the look of the new frame so far.
The next and second most crucial step of building the frame is cutting and welding the back engine mount. The reason it is a little more difficult than everything else so far is because it has to be perpendicular to the front of the frame or the propeller will make contact with the tubing. I could have used a carpenters square but I decided to use my angle finders instead. I leveled out the front edge of my frame (left gauge) and adjust the back engine mount until it was level as well (right gauge).

 After I got the engine mounts welded, I took a 3/16 plate of steel I had and drilled out holes to bolt the engine to the plate. I centered the shaft of the engine between the left and right of the front frame, made sure the propeller was parallel to each face of the front frame.

Once I was sure it was lined up, I welded it into place. Here are a few comparison photos of the new vs. old.

I managed to shed a few pounds off the new frame so far. I haven't installed the new wheels yet but I will try to get on it tomorrow. All I have left is to fabricate and install a metal shroud, install new wheels and come up with a creative paint design. I think I can have it completed by the weekend as long as nothing important pops up. I'll end this post with the new frame as it sits right now.