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Ian

M2 redux

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(edited)

Having the tubing and the plans, the next step was to cut ‘er up. I clamped an old 4' level to the tube and used the level as a fence for my cuts with the Milwauke metal-cutting saw to make the angle cuts. I did notice that with tube this heavy I had to make two passes on each side, once with a shallow depth to cut the face, and then once at full depth to cut the sides of the tube. When I tried to do the cut in a single pass at full depth, the tube would compress the kerf and bind the blade.

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Here is the frame laid out on the floor of my garage. I’m checking that all the angles match up. There’s no tool arm for the lower roller yet; that bolts to the frame and will be made at the end.

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I decided to weld the 3/8" wall rectangular tube in two passes. Even though I have a 220V welder, I’m an amateur welder, so decided to make sure I got good penetration, as I don’t want this 300+ lb monster to fall on top of me, or worse on top of my 2002. I beveled the edges 30 degrees, leaving about 1/8" un-beveled on the inner edges. I also used some 1/8" welding rod to space gaps between the sections. I aligned two long straight-edges with the bottom and back section, and used a digital angle-finder to confirm that the intersection was 90 degrees square. I tacked those three pieces together, then added the bottom two pieces, and made sure they were square as well.

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I wanted to avoid warping the frame, since that would make aligning the upper and lower rollers difficult. So I tacked the corners first, then the faces, then started welding the inside corners, then the outside corners. For the first pass I welded in short 6-8" lengths, to avoid warping the frame. I welded the second pass in one continuous run for each face.

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Here is the welded frame in front of the car that needs some attention from the ewheel.

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I'm pretty happy with the results. The frame is still square and in plane, and I didn't drop it on my foot while flipping it over (and over, and over) for welding.

Edited by Ian

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I wanted to get the upper adjuster mounted, so I used my engine hoist to lift the frame, and then supported it with a chain to an overhead beam.

I was fortunate that when I was pestering Kerry Pinkerton with questions about how I should make the upper adjuster, he mentioned that he had just enough material left-over to make one last "old-fashioned" adjuster (not the dove-tail like he uses in his current big ewheels). So, instead of building an adjuster, I opened the box! And it is a nice piece, with a mounting plate to weld to the frame. Unfortunately, the mounting plate was not as wide as my rectangular tube, so I made a filler out of some scrap 3/8" flat bar I had. I welded in the plug, then ground it smooth. Then I tacked the mounting plate up and bolted the adjuster to it, to make sure it was square and in plane with the frame. Once I was sure of the alignment, I welded the 1/2" plate to the frame with two passes.

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I bolted up the adjuster, and lo and behold, it was still square and in plane! Next up, the tool arm. It's actually starting to look like an ewheel!

ewheel_frame_aduster%20copy.jpg

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Next up was welding on the flange to the lower end of the frame, for the tool arm mount. I found some surplus 1/2" steel flatbar that was 6" wide, and picked up a 30" piece. I cut that to make two 6 x 13" flanges for the tool arm, which gave me a 1" collar around the tube, with a little more on the side that would be on the inside of the bend of the tool arm.

It took me a surprisingly long amount of time to calculate where the holes should go in the flange to still clear the tool arm. It was probably due to the weight of everything as I juggled the 1/2" thick flange and the 3/8" wall 10x4 tool arm, marking successively better sets of holes that allowed clearance for 1/2" bolt heads with the tool arm, while still leaving a healthy amount of material between the hole and the outside of the flange. Next time I need to eat my spinach before building an ewheel frame! Once I was happy I had the right positions for the holes I drilled the holes in my drill press with the two plates clamped together.

I got everything measured and then had to figure out how to hold the plate square to the frame while welding. Strangely enough, I couldn't find anyone to come over and hold stuff for me while I welded! So, I inverted the frame and suspended it from my engine hoist, and then used a high-lift floor jack to raise the plate to meet the frame. This worked surprisingly well. After I got a few tacks in the flange I bolted on the matching plate, to minimize warping during the welding.

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Next I wanted to start guestimating the height so I could make the legs. I rotated the frame back into the upright position, bolted on the beautiful 4"x9" upper wheel from Hoosier Profile (http://hoosierprofiles.com), and raised the frame until the bottom of the upper wheel was 50" off the ground. I probably could have done all the measuring with the frame laid flat on the ground, but at this point in the build I was excited to see what the ewheel will look like!

ewheel_plate2%20copy.jpg

The upper adjuster thand-wheel will be way up there! But I'm tall, so it should work.

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Back to work! Before I can get back to my M2, I have to finish this english wheel. After wrestling this 300 lb frame around, I figured I'd better get some legs on this beast before it falls on me. I raised the frame to the working height I wanted, and measured the vertical distance for the rear legs. Thankfully, my daughter had been doing geometry lately, so my addled brain could calculate the length of the hypotenuse, to figure out where to cut the 6x2 rectangular tubing I had. Then I broke out the trusty Milwaukee metal-cutting saw, and started cutting the legs.

April_01.jpg

I wanted to make the rear legs removable, so I cut some 1/4" plate to use as a flange for the leg. I drilled some 1/2" holes in the flange for the bolts, welded the flange to the leg, and clamped the leg to the frame and used a transfer punch to mark the locations for the holes in the frame.

April_02.jpg

I wasn't sure beforehand where the leg would mount, so I could not drill the holes for the bolts in the frame before welding it into such a heavy structure. This led to one of the more exciting parts of the build... I removed the adjuster and the upper wheel, which changed the balance point for the frame, which was supported by a chain to my engine hoist. As I lowered the frame, it tilted backwards, and the chain slid forwards. I just about had the frame back on the ground when the frame decided to slide a little further back, the chain a little further forward, and before I knew it the frame was on the ground rolling backwards!!

I was stuck behind the engine hoist, so there was nothing I could do but watch in horror as the the frame rolled in slow-motion from a "C" shape to a "U" shape, like a turtle on it's back. All I could think of was that if it fell to the left, it would smash my 2002, and if it fell to the right it would brake some tools. Now, this is a tough nut, deciding what you hope is destroyed, your car or your tools! Fortunately for me, the frame stayed upright! At this point I wrestled the frame to ground, and had a beer.

Next up was drilling holes for the bolts that would hold the legs. I needed to keep the holes perpendicular to the frame. Fortunately, I found a cut-off piece of 6" square tube at the metal store, and once I drilled holes in it with a 12" drill bit, I had a dandy jig for drilling pilot holes in the frame.

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I drilled the holes out to 1/2" and bolted the rear legs on. I was a bit concerned about the weight being supported on just 4 bolts, so I splurged and got AN-8 bolts. They weren't that expensive, and in addition to the added strength, it was neat being able to spec the exact grip length I wanted, so that the threads were not supporting the frame.

I decided to use casters on the rear wheels, since I'm going to install this in a limited amount of space. If I want to do large panels, I'll pull the frame out to do the work, but otherwise keep it pushed back against the rear wall of my garage. However, I didn't want to have the frame moving around while I was wheeling with it, as can happen with locking casters. Fortunately, I stumbled upon Zambus Carrymaster casters (http://zambus.com/index.php). These are pretty nifty, as they have a foot that can be screwed down, taking the caster off the floor. They also do a good job of leveling the frame. The ones I got are rated for 300 lb each, and seem pretty stable. I welded a plate to the bottom of the rear legs, and drilled and tapped holes to mount the casters.

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This pic also shows the rear triangulation I decided to incorporate, to brace the rear legs with the frame. I put removable mounting plates on the legs and the lower rear of the frame, and tacked the tube in for this pic. Once I welded the tube up it seems to really stiffen the legs, and I'm comfortable moving the frame around on the castors. And as a bonus, I found a use for some of that left-over tubing that has been plaguing me!

Here's the ewheel installed in the back wall of the garage. It fit fairly well, although I did have to "clearance" the bottom of the wood storage shelves to get the legs to fit!

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The frame moves very easily with the castors. I welded on a horizontal tube behind the front leg, planning to use it as a receiver for a smaller tube, which I thought I would use as a jacking point to allow me to slide a car dolly under the front foot. However, since I had two floor jacks, I tried using the small jack to raise up the foot, and then slid the large jack pad under the foot. And it rolled pretty easily into place, saving me a trip to HF for car dollies.

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Thanks. I am anxious to get back to work on the M2. The problem was that I had that darned ewheel frame clogging up my work area. Now I've got room to wreck some havoc of the bavarian persuasion!

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Ian, you are my hero. You even fabricate your own tools. ;-)

Keep on the good work.

Lee

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Thanks, Lee. That is high praise, indeed, coming from the high chief of '02 fabricating!

Ian

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Just saw this "side" project.............kudos to you......wow...those welds are hypnotizing.

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About time to get back to actually working on my car, instead of making tools. However, I have a dilemma. I have a bunch of mis-bent DOM tube taking up space in my garage. This is stuff that "just missed" when I started making cages for my friends. And what happens with a cage when one bend is "just off", particularly for a tricky bend like on the A-pillar, is that the back end of the tube ends up somewhere in the middle of the roof, instead of running down the side of the roof to meet the roll hoop. Not something you can easily fix with a hammer and duct tape. So, into the scrap pile it goes.

I also need more storage, as I have steadily accumulated parts to go back into my car, and have to keep shuffling stuff around in order to even get to my car. And finally, I need to practice my welding on tubing, to get some pretty welds before I weld up my own cage. My tubing welds are strong now, but not exactly something I could stare at with pride for the next 30 years. This is the dilemma when you are just learning any skill. How to keep your interest so you will practice enough to develop some skill.

My solution was to use the tubing rejects to build a storage unit. I figure, if I can build a support large enough to wheel my portable generator under, then I can bolt on some wire shelving and make the empty airspace above the generator earn it's keep with storage. Something like this:

Storage.jpg

This needs 6' long pieces of tube; expensive if you are buying it, but free if you have enough short tube to butt-weld into long tube! The first step is to take all these bent tubes, and cut out the bends. You can see some of the donor bends at the top of this pic, and the short straight sections I salvaged at the bottom.

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So, after a couple of evenings of cutting out bends, I had a LOT of short tube. Some of the 6' pieces were going to be made up of 8 short cut-offs. Several further evenings were spent beveling the edges of the tube. Finally, a few more evenings were spent welding all the short pieces into long pieces. What excellent practice! Welding tube is quite an art, as you are constantly changing the angle of the gun as you move around the tube. The first welds were pretty ugly. Truth be told, so were most of the middle welds. But by the end, I had four 6' sections of tube, the latter ones with respectable welds. Next I welded up the horizontal and vertical supports, and then fishmouthed the tube for assembly. After a few more evenings, I ended up with this:

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I got some 1/4" plate from the salvage yard to make supports for the wire shelving, and then bolted the shelving to the plate to get pretty decent storage for the footprint:

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I took it apart and treated it with Picklex20 and then gave it a couple of coats of Rustoleum to stop any surface rust. I put it back together with visions of automotive organization that would make a Bavarian proud. As you can see, my wife had other ideas for using the storage space ;) Oh well, at least I got my CF airbox up off the floor, and I got some excellent practice for working on my cage.

DSCN0005%20copy.jpg

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Uh, there was a car show last weekend in NC. Where were you?

;-)

Cheers,

Ray

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Edging flower beds and mulching during the one weekend when it was not pouring rain this spring! I'd much rather be at the Vintage show.

I really want to drive my M2 down to the Vintage next year.

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I'm bringing mine next year, so I can be humbled by all the ones that make mine look ordinary! ;-)

Cheers,

Ray

Edging flower beds and mulching during the one weekend when it was not pouring rain this spring! I'd much rather be at the Vintage show.

I really want to drive my M2 down to the Vintage next year.

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I'm bringing mine next year, so I can be humbled by all the ones that make mine look ordinary! ;-)

Ray, I don't think we can call any M2 with a 2.5 and alpha-N "ordinary".

Besides, yours currently runs...

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