Monday, September 5, 2016

After a few months fucking around with TVRs, coffee tables, vacations, and school work, I'm finally back to work on my Jetta!

When I left off, I had just finished one of the front lower control arms, shown here on the bottom.  The arm on the top will be used in the rear, where I will be running a swaybar, and I cannot delete the swaybar mounting hole.

In order to form the shape, I made a steel-reinforced red oak hammerform.

This thing will take a serious beating under my 4x rivet hammer, so I welded the plates together in addition to the three bolts.  I have been having some gas or contamination issues lately with my TIG setup, but I used this as an opportunity to practice on a part that doesn't really matter.

It's hard to capture in photographs, but I also dished out the oak since I will be boxing in the arm with curved tubing.

To form the pieces, I tacked a strip of 18ga mild steel along the form.  Not only does the steel reinforce the oak, but it allows me to weld the piece directly to the form to hold everything in place under the intense force of the air hammer.

The parts still need a LOT of finish work, but the rough shape is complete.  I'm not sure if these will clean up, but the form is reusable and I can easily hammer more.

A rough test fit confirms that it's close, but I have a lot of fine-tuning to do before they're ready to weld!

I've spent some time away from my projects the last few weeks enjoying my time off in the last few weeks of summer.

My friend Jason just bought a sweet house in the woods outside of Pittsburgh, so our California friends flew out for a visit.

The house was designed by Alan Dunn, I'm a huge fan of the design, layout, attention to detail, and the entire property!

I picked Billy and Neel up from the airport and we began our weekend... at 2:30am Satuday haha.

We all stayed at Jason's the whole weekend, this was my view waking up.  Take note that isn't a television, that's a strategically placed sofa so they can enjoy the view.

I've been told Dom and Mia are NOT named after The Fast and the Furious characters... but I'm skeptical.

If I had to choose one picture to summarize the weekend, this might be it.

I love the detail of the house; even the fire pit was designed, located, and built with the experience in mind.

We also consumed a lot of food.

This weekend, some new friends Alex and Gus came to my shop with some toys.  These guys are my MBA classmates, and I invited them out after they expressed a mutual interest in cars, tools, and gun stuff.  While I don't personally own any guns, most of my friends are really into them.

Alex owns a gun shop, and brought along this suppressed full auto MP5.  Fro, our resident machine gun expert, approves.  I didn't get any more pics, but it was fun to shoot!

I also attended the annual shop party hosted by my friends Ian and Andy.

You may remember this mini-bike from last year.

It's been beefed up with a new exhaust with fresh pipe dope!

Tim also fabricated a chain guard.  For safety.

Johnny D's ride lays in wait.

'Murican muscle.

These guys bought a TIG welder recently and started stepping up their fabrication game.  The mini-bikes are intentionally shitty, they normally do quite good work.

Since the last time I came to visit, they also picked up the 3rd plasma cutter ever made.

ATTN: Billy.

This year somebody brought an LS-swapped S14 on a trailer!

I didn't get a picture of the entire tow rig... but it contained a turbo LS swap!

Hillbilly Deluxe.

As usual, things started out tame...

Then things got a little wild.



It was a great way to mark the unofficial end of summer!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

I finally finished my coffee table!

When I left off, I had just tacked the frame together. I finish welded all of the crossmembers, working in sequence to minimize warping and keep the table square.

After welding, it was close but still had to be pulled into the final shape.  After pulling around with some carefully placed ratchet straps, I was able to get the frame square a little better than 1/16" on the diagonals.  Here you can also see that the crossmember welds have been ground smooth.

The next step was to build mounting tabs to hold the top in place.

These are just pieces of 16ga stainless steel welded to the crossmembers and legs.

All finihsed up!

I added some 1/8" thick rubber strip to the top of the frame. This will isolate it from the concrete a bit, provide a grippy surface, and space the concrete away from the stainless just a bit.

The last step before assembly was to seal the concrete surface.  I decided to use an acrylic sealer, which should be more than adequate for a coffee table.

I bolted through the tabs using rubber washers to isolate the stainless from the concrete.  This is strong enough to hold it together, but will not over-stress the threaded inserts I have down inside the concrete.

This photo shows off some of the weld finishing I did on the crossmembers as well.

All finished!  I'm not quite happy that some of the rebar created ghost lines in the surface, but overall I'm happy with the finished product.

As expected... it's heavy.

As I loaded up I realized I don't have any coasters in my apartment.  So I made some in matching 304 stainless!


Now back to the Jetta!!!