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BigD
BigD Reader
12/31/17 4:13 p.m.

Final project of 2017, brace for the precious

SkinnyG
SkinnyG SuperDork
12/31/17 5:50 p.m.

Are you going to have a rubber mount for the precious?

Or a TIG welder to put the ears back on the precious?

BigD
BigD Reader
12/31/17 6:35 p.m.

Neither, everything's solid mounted. Not mickey mouse rubber in this car

turtl631
turtl631 Reader
1/4/18 11:29 a.m.

Wow, great thread, can't believe I missed this for several years.  Your Fab skill is really impressive, is this all self-taught or do you have some buddies who help you out? I picked up a Miller MIG welder a few years ago, haven't used it a ton mostly because the majority of what I need to do with the car at this point requires aluminum.  I think I'm going to get the HTP Invertig 221 and start practicing.  I've watched a ton of YT vids, welding tips and tricks etc.  

 

Also, this car overall is just pretty bonkers. It's got to be a steep learning curve going to a light car with that much power and big A7s all around.  I thought my 500 wheel horsepower capable s13 on NT01s was a huge leap from my S2000...

BigD
BigD Reader
1/4/18 5:17 p.m.

Thanks turtl!

It's been an evolution of skill based on necessity. This car is like a perpetual sequence of "What would be cool to do next? That? Oh well I don't know how to do that...". So at some point I couldn't buy parts to bolt on anymore so I asked a friend with an old Lincoln MIG to weld some stuff up for me. While I was over at his house over a long weekend and he was doing the welding, I was expressing how fascinating the ability to stick metal together is for me. He said here you go, and smacked me in the chest with his helmet. He gave me some basic rules to follow, grabbed a scrap plate and set the machine for me. That's how I ran my first beads.

The next day I was hunting for a used Lincoln MIG and found a 180 mig pak in the classifieds for about half price of retail that seemed to have just gotten the box opened. My friend came with me to check it over and I pulled the trigger.

My biggest source of information has definitely been Jody's channel but it was most useful when it was interactive. What I mean by that is I'd re-watch videos after practicing because after I progressed, I'd pick up on things in the videos that I wasn't looking for previously. TIG especially, I picked up new things from his videos long after I thought I more or less knew what I was doing - which turned out to be false.

TIG started for the same reason as yours. I had a spool gun for the MIG and it worked for when it absolutely had to. It was useless on thin stuff and didn't have enough jam for thick stuff but at around 1/8" it was quite usable. You can see some of the welds in this thread, like the bung in the diff cover or the tablet bracket. I had been eyeing TIG for a long time as a result as it prevented me from making anything interesting out of aluminum. When I decided to turn my roll bar into a full cage, I decided I wanted to do it with TIG and that got the ball rolling down that hill.

The learning curve with TIG was a lot steeper. I sometimes wonder if I would be better off starting with TIG because MIG is too forgiving. They say stickout and torch angle matter with MIG but not REALLY, you can make all sorts of whacky techniques work. With TIG it's really true. One of the hardest and most important skills to master is maintaining a tight arc and consistent torch angle. This is especially hard with a lot of metal build up and on pipe.

Metal build up because with each dip, the puddle will grow a lot. You can at this point know that your arc is sufficiently tight because you will touch down. Most guys adapt to this by holding a longer arc and then things go really bad. What you need to do is have enough feel to pull the torch back as the puddle grows. So you're effectively pogoing the torch ever so slightly, rather than just moving it linearly like a printer head. 

Pipe or other non-linear weld because with every dip, you have to change the torch angle along with moving it, otherwise after only a few dips you'll be way off vertical.

Aluminum was the hardest so I started learning with it. Ironically, once you are used to the mechanics, aluminum is one of the easiest metals to TIG weld but initially it's a pain because it's extra unforgiving to bad torch angle or arc length, too much or too little heat and it's super shiny so when you're already not used to knowing what you're looking for with the torch, arc and puddle, everything is in a bright silver reflective glow...

I got good advice for learning which I would highly recommend to anyone in turn. That being to set aside between one and two weeks of DAILY, deliberate practice of no more than 1 hour. Set a timer, the trick is not to allow yourself to practice bad technique because you're getting tired and frustrated, thinking if you just keep hammering away all night long, you'll eventually get it. Your brain needs time to do some laps around what you just threw at it and you'll magically be better for tomorrow's hour. It doesn't have to be exactly an hour, if you find yourself going backwards at a half hour in, quit for the night. At minimum take a break.

If you get your welder, start practicing and have any questions or want tips/critique, feel free to post your questions and photos here, I'd be happy to help. The learning curve and various pitfalls are still fresh in my head.

 

Regarding the car, it's been a very pleasant surprise in that sense. It's fast as all berkeley but it's actually pretty easy to drive. It's super stable under power and braking, doesn't seem to exhibit any bad traits in the corners, it understeers when you think it would, oversteers when you think it would and not terminally so. Granted I have yet to try pushing the car hard but so far it's been very encouraging as I continue to up the ante. I'm also doing my best to use technology to make my life easier behind the wheel, like traction control and downforce. Next winter I plan to install the new M5 ABS from Bosch Motorsport.

BigD
BigD Reader
1/6/18 3:22 p.m.

Condom for Precious, set the clutch stop, also finished welding the trans brace mounting plates and painted them and the brace. Too berkeleying cold for anything more since I'm out of propane. Motherberkeleyer ran out slowly the other day and I was like the boiling frog, didn't realize it until I couldn't feel my feet

Ivo
Ivo New Reader
1/11/18 1:12 p.m.

Any progress with this project?

BigD
BigD Reader
1/11/18 3:39 p.m.
Ivo said:

Any progress with this project?

Not yet, it's been frigid here so I haven't been motivated to go back in the garage. I did get a new propane tank though!!! I will probably finish off the wastegate next while I save up some $ for the driveshaft.

BigD
BigD Reader
1/16/18 10:22 p.m.

I've always liked choochoos

BigD
BigD Reader
1/20/18 8:36 p.m.

Not really about the car but after years of searching, I finally found the right compressor. It's ancient, ugly and AWESOME!!! Canadian made, 40-50 years old and runs like a champ! It sounds great, I can finally use compressed air without a panic attack over the compressor firing up. It's an 800 rpm 2 stage pump that pumps up the 60 gal tank to 100 psi in minutes.

 It's funny how schizophrenic my garage is. My tools are either the latest and most advanced or giant ancient badass dinosaurs.

 

 

 

 

BigD
BigD Reader
1/21/18 8:56 a.m.
DK.Alice said:

In reply to BigD :

Which compressor should be used for the car? How much minimum psi of air compressor for the car?

Most things you would do on a car with air doesn't require much pressure, although the 2 stage compressors have a much higher ceiling of pressure (this one is designed for 200 psi). More important is CFM, air tools, HVLP paint guns and plasma cutters guzzle air. A big tank helps with that but that just delays the problem if the compressor pump doesn't have high flow. The compressor will still have to run for a long time. At best it's inconvenient because you have to stop and wait for a pretty long time but for me it got so bad that I couldn't use air tools anymore. I sold my plasma cutter because even for applications where it was the ideal tool, I couldn't fire it up because I dreaded running the compressor. Now I'm on the hunt for a Miller 625

And while this compressor is big, high flowing and high pressure, the main reason I wanted it is the low pump speed. The typical direct drive compressors like the one I used to have, sound terrible and in a 2 car garage is an assault on my brain (I even started wearing ear muffs when I HAD to use it like for tires). Most modern belt drive compressors are still not much better because they are still pretty high RPM which is cheaper to make. 

These oldschool compressors are almost impossible to replace with something modern, not without spending many thousands of dollars. Screw type air compressors are the ultimate as they are not much louder than a fridge but they are extremely expensive, not particularly durable and most of the ones you can buy used are for 3 phase industrial power.

For a piston compressor, look for vintage machinery, it's built unlike most things you can get today - to last. One thing to look for is the RPM of the motor and pump. Most of the belt drive compressors you'll find have about 3400rpm motors and 1700rpm pumps. The ones you want will have about 1700rpm motors and 700rpm pumps. Also look for the CFM@PSI ratings because many single stage pumps can hit 125psi or flow 10CFM but not both. 2 stage pumps can deliver high flow and high pressure. They may be capable of 200psi but more practically interesting is the fact that they will also comfortably flow high CFM at 100-120psi.

frenchyd
frenchyd Dork
1/21/18 12:06 p.m.

In reply to BigD :

  Compressors aren’t the only thing that is better if it’s old.  My vertical mill and lathe were both originally powered by an over head belt running at 125 rpm.  Every wear point on them was adjustable so accuracy was never affected.  But at only 125 rpm they were simply too slow for modern shops.  I bought them at scrap metal prices and found a 7 horsepower single phase electric motor to drive them. 

I could work away without need for ear muffs.  With a simple ball mill I was able to port my Jaguar heads in a few hours compared to the 40 plus it used to take.  On top of that matching flow through each port was a few minutes  task instead of a Few days when I hand ported them in the past 

BigD
BigD Reader
1/21/18 3:28 p.m.

Yeah like I said half of my garage is advanced new tech and the rest is 40+ years old machinery that I wouldn't give up for anything remotely comparable from the modern crop. My youngest machine of this kind is my bandsaw which is only about 27 years old (one of the last Delta 303s with the gearbox). Everything else is probably closer to 50-60, like my grinder and drill press. Once I got those and used them, I was so disgusted by my modern ones that I couldn't even bring myself to sell them and threw them away.

BigD
BigD Reader
1/30/18 9:32 a.m.

I hope to finally get back to the car this week, finish the wastegate project with the fender sheet metal and bracing for the tube. The compressor pushed me over the edge with wiring my garage. When I got my first welder, it was a MIG PAK 180 which is 220 only. My laundry room is behind the garage entry door so I just ran an adapter and extension cord to the dryer plug but it involved moving the dryer and unplugging it every time. So I wired in an outlet into the garage but I never liked how it was done. It was safe but because the drywall is double layer, it was a pain to mount the box to the stud. I had to use a box extension and screw sort of at an angle. It was sturdy but ugly as hell.

I've been using it for years, mainly running the welders off of it. Since I got the 211 which is so efficient that it welds everything I need to MIG on 110 (done 3/16" without popping a 20 amp 110 breaker shared with battery chargers and garage lights - INVERTERS RULE), I'd only been using the 220 for the Dynasty. Then I got the lift, still not a huge deal, just the annoyance of the massive extension cord, switching it from the welder to the lift but it was rare that they'd conflict. Now I got the compressor which is 220 and the compressor now gives me mental permission to hunt for a Spectrum 625 which can do 110 but for thick stuff will definitely need 220. So I decided to stop the garage activities to redo it the way I'd been wanting to over the years.

I swapped out the 40 amp main panel breaker and 8/3 wire for a 60 amp and 6/3, and ran it through the same hole as the outlet with a conduit, into a plywood panel screwed into studs, and mounted the breaker to it.

Now the lift and compressor are hard-wired off 20 amp breakers and there are two outlets on 40 amp breakers, one for the Dynasty to plug into and another for anything else that I can use with the extension, like the plasma. It's a pretty trivial project for most handymen but I'm super proud of it, mainly because I finally did something properly that's been bothering me for years that it's half-assed.

 

Before ripping out the outlet, I felt like I haven't done aluminum welding in too long so I dug through my metal supplier's offcut rack for some 1/4" tubing, bought some pads and bearings and made the world's most badass calf raise. I even put the shift knob that came with my 4 speed to use. Been using it with 4 plates every day, which is around 4-500 lbs load on the welds, pretty good test for my work.

 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
2/27/18 2:23 p.m.

Been following without following for a little while... Finally commenting so it's easier to find. Love the build!

BigD
BigD Reader
2/27/18 5:02 p.m.

In reply to AWSX1686 :

Thank you! Thorough updates coming soon, once I finish dropping the diff and verify the driveshaft fitment. Got some cool plans for the diff, including new ramps and having a flange laser cut out of stainless to make a new, strong rear cover.

Visited ANZE who serviced my front dampers while making them 2" longer in the process and changing them over to their new billet housings. Also revalved them and supplied me new front springs as I felt with the 900s my front was too soft, now going to try 1100s.

While I was there I saw some really cool stuff but this one stood out to me - it embodies the excesses of F1. It's a titanium hydraulic actuator. To open a fuel fill flap...

Been wasting too much time making my own 5x8 utility trailer. I really wanted one because I can't justify buying a pickup but when you need one... you really need one. But I couldn't find a utility trailer I liked and didn't want to pay to have one made how I want so I decided to do it myself. Bi-folding gate, rubber axle-less suspension, electric brakes, LED lights etc. I can't wait to finish it, so I can get back to welding steels. Otherwise I'll soon start having nightmares about welding out of position with that AC buzz in my head.

I was worried my Dynasty 210DX didn't quite have the balls to do the really thick stuff but I tried mixing in a little Helium. It makes the process much more demanding and frustrating since Helium doesn't clean the puddle the way Argon does but WOW does it turn the heat up to 15! I had to back off the pedal to prevent blowing back 3/8" aluminum!

Nader
Nader New Reader
2/27/18 5:19 p.m.

Those welds don't look like they were done by hand.  More like a machine.  I've also seen your rather large firearm in this thread.  I have growing concerns that you are actually a cyborg terminator, and that BMW is not actually a car, but a time machine.

BigD
BigD Reader
2/27/18 8:31 p.m.

In reply to Nader :

Sarah Connor? Your clothes, give them to me, now! My car can definitely hit 88 a lot easier than a Delorian.

Haha, thanks! Keep in mind it's the internet, I'm not going to post my worst welds... but they all pretty much look like that now. I still screw up from time to time but it's usually not something I did - well, not technique. Things like contamination, or the torch hose catches on something or the part falls... or I get to the last stitch of the structure which seals it and I don't notice that and it goes all geyser. But I feel like I'm getting to that elusive point where not only can I get it right but I usually can't get it wrong if nothing unexpected happens.

BigD
BigD Reader
4/12/18 5:17 p.m.

I've got some delays with suppliers that are causing me to delay finishing things up but some pics to prove that I'm moving along. Will explain everything more later when it's all done since I'm playing a lot of it by ear

formyhealth
formyhealth New Reader
4/13/18 12:45 a.m.

Wow I just finished reading through the entire thread, it's amazing what you've turned this car into! You're a mad man and I love it!

 

On an unrelated note, if you still have your old shifter and you don't plan on using it, I would definitely be interested in it if you were wanting to let it go for a few freedom bucks.

BigD
BigD Reader
4/13/18 7:19 a.m.

Thank you sir!

Unfortunately the AKG has already gone to a new home.

BigD
BigD Reader
4/13/18 12:53 p.m.

Titanium lobster continued. Still waiting for Vibrant to stock the v-bands. I got one clam half from Ticon which is a lot spendier, hoping not to have to buy more from them

 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
4/13/18 1:10 p.m.

*drool*

 

Top notch welding there! Looks great!

BigD
BigD Reader
4/13/18 3:56 p.m.

In reply to AWSX1686 :

Thank you! Getting comfortable with titanium, it's pretty easy once you get used to the quirks.

BigD
BigD Reader
4/15/18 9:02 a.m.

Ran out of Argon with 1" left to go. I wonder if I should leave the pipe untrimmed... they would really appreciate me in Japan

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