Friday, January 23, 2009
the smell of metal
There is nothing like the smell of metal. There is a unique odor given off when metal is cut with a circular abrasive saw or with a torch. I lack a torch, but I do have the cut-off saw and I used it plenty today. I actually only made eight little spot welds to tack together the frame for the top of the bench I am making, but that was really quite nice. I had to figure out what the heat and wire feed speed wanted for settings, and I dared not just weld great hunks of stuff until I know the pieces I've got are going to fit together properly.
I took the initiative and weighed all of the parts and pieces today. I need to make sure that they do not weigh more than 75 pounds or I can't ship the thing via UPS. So far with all the big metal pieces totaled up, I've got just over 50 pounds. It's still gonna cost to ship, but at least it won't be refused.
Here's a picture of the frame for the padded top on the baby scale. Yes, it is a baby scale. I inherited it from my first mother-in-law who used to be a rural outreach nurse. I normally use it to weigh fish. This is a perfect application, though.
If you look closely, you can see that the frame weighs between 14 and 15 pounds. It's an old scale, but is still quite accurate. I think babies get weighed on digital scales nowadays.
OK, next exciting news of the day: I went up to Lowe's and bought the el-cheapo $100 benchtop model drill press. The gal asked me if I'd like the extended warranty (for two years). I told her that if the thing lasted through the next month, it will be fine. I don't know if I can kill it that quickly, but it's possible. I've been drilling all afternoon through 1/8 inch steel plate. I have to start out with a little pilot hole, then drill a bigger one and then another bigger one until I get the size I need. Note the little shards of metal everywhere:
And the metal on the floor by my feet. Notice the spatters of oil. I have to use oil when drilling through metal or else it will get too hot and burn up the drill bits and they won't work any more. So I have oil and little culicues of steel. Everywhere.
And here is the bench next to the drill. That metal stuff gets everywhere - and it's sharp! I have to be careful not to cut my fingers on the shavings.
While I was at Lowe's, I also picked up some of the fastener bits that I am going to mount to the bench. There are 30 of these little darlings just waiting for my creative application of them.
This is what my workbench looked like by the end of the day. And when I say the end of the day, I mean 11:30 p.m. That's how long I was at this today. I got almost everything cut that needs cutting, most of the pieces fit together and clamped so I can get a look at them, and several pieces drilled out to accept bolts. Tomorrow will involve more actual welding and tacking and such, plus lots more drilling. And lots more clamping. It's going to be another busy day. But I got so much done today that I feel really great about it. Like this thing is actually going to happen.
Oh, some bad news. It's not going to tilt. Not this one. Maybe a later model will have that option, but for my first one, that's just more complicated than I want to deal with. This is going to be the sturdiest spanking bench on the market, and it's going to look fantastically cool.