View Full Version : If only they had told me what they were doing......

12-02-2014, 04:43 PM
A couple years ago, I was asked to build two aluminum frames to "support some ductwork". I was given a sketch, and the job went without a hitch. End of story...not quite.

Last week, the new doctor in the Vet Tech program asked me if I could raise two stainless steel enclosures hanging from the ceiling in the operating room.


The bottom is only 66 inches off the floor. People are always bumping into them, or having to look around them.

Looking inside, I found the two frames I had built. Turns out they bought the wrong length enclosure, and they didn't want to wait for a replacement. If I had known, I could have shortened them, and made the frames to fit back then. But they never asked.

The enclosures have a quad electrical outlet, an oxygen and a nitrous oxide quick disconnect, and a waste anesthesia gas suction line. Everything except the pvc is flexible.


The frames are secured to the ceiling with threaded rods and self-locking nuts. Getting into the overhead to hold the upper end of the threaded rods was a real problem, so the upper part of the frame had to stay in place.


I developed a plan to remove the SST enclosure, shorten the frame in place, then put it all back together. The first thing I did (not part of the plan, though) was...


Yep, it's definitely too low.

12-02-2014, 04:55 PM
After getting everything out of the way, I cut a section out of two legs of the frame, and installed temporary supports.


Then I cut the other two legs, installed joiners on the upper ends, removed the temporary supports, lifted the lower part of the frame into position, and secured it with clamps.


Now it's just a matter of riveting the joiners on all four legs, reinstalling the plumbing and electrical pieces, and shortening and reinstalling the SST parts.

What could have been taken care of in a couple hours is going to take three or four days to fix now.

Yikes, I just noticed the clock. Now you know how slow I am. :)

Rich Carlstedt
12-02-2014, 04:55 PM
I can see you raising it up, but then how do those short nurses
plug into the electrical outlet and more important, the oxy line ?


12-02-2014, 04:56 PM
Clumsy Bastard!
He He He ouch!

Jon Heron
12-02-2014, 04:56 PM
May I suggest turning a safety edge around the bottom of the boxes too...
At least you had some nitrous on hand to ease the pain... :p

12-02-2014, 05:26 PM
I only raised it 12 inches. I had the Doc and some students do a "reach test" to where the outlets would be, and they all approved of the new location.

12-02-2014, 05:36 PM
Given your forum name I think a remote controlled raise/lower would be in order.

12-02-2014, 05:50 PM
And do like i do when i am in the shop, having an abundant hair growth like yours, wear a cap.

J Tiers
12-02-2014, 07:08 PM
And do like i do when i am in the shop, having an abundant hair growth like yours, wear a cap.

Si... that is best. Wear it loose, so you get some warning of the threatened damage before it happens.

Old Hat
12-03-2014, 04:33 AM
It's a ballace, trust me.
They rarely give you all the needed information to do a bang-up job.

I have learned to fish it out of them. BUT this was a hard learn.
I use to scare off some good work going too far with open questioning.

I think folks figure they called you for answers not questions.

Black Forest
12-03-2014, 05:44 AM
Old Hat wrote, "I use to scare off some good work "

Now how come I don't find that hard to believe!

12-03-2014, 04:33 PM
I got all the riveting done, cut 12" off the enclosure, and got it back on the frame. You can see the splices here:


The fit to the ceiling is very good, and I was able to reuse all the holes in the lower part of the frame.


Just a little more to do, and I can start on the second one. I hope it goes as well as this one.

12-03-2014, 09:14 PM
Nice job!
Agree 100% on the subject "If only they had told me what they were doing......" No idea how often I've had jobs where 'what they wanted' was at odds with what they were trying to do.

Mark Rand
12-04-2014, 05:20 PM
66 inches from the floor. I don't see the problem. Plenty of room for folks like me:rolleyes:

Were the splices made from the bits of frame you shortened?

Nice job, doesn't look like it was modified from the outside.

12-05-2014, 02:28 AM
I cut the two temporary pieces and the eight splices beforehand so I could deburr the ends in the shop. The pieces I cut out will be used by the kids for welding practice.

Thursday I got the second one taken apart, and I have the legs shortened and splices installed on the frame. I'll probably finish up Monday.

12-05-2014, 11:30 PM
I am going to assume that the installation of Veterinary equipment does not follow the same standards as other medical installations.

**rant on**

First off, I was surprised to see compression fittings inside the pendant.

The units that I used to install had DISS connections at the top of the columns and all the column's medgas piping was copper all the way to the top. If DISS connections had been inside, the inside the connections to the outlet piping would have been brazed at the factory. If I had ever run across piping like you have, I would have refused to connect it without a cover my a** letter from the Hospital and there insurance company.

Even though this is a veterinary installation, people don't want there animals harmed by faulty equipment or installation. Not saying you did anything wrong winchman, but the equipment surprised me...

**rant off**

just curious...
is that entire assembly supported by 24 pop rivets in shear?


12-06-2014, 12:04 AM
I used to work in a lab, maintenance was development mainly in my final years, the closest I've come to that kind of setup was in the gas chromatography lab, pipe work carrying oxy, acetylene, nitrous oxide, methane special mixed gasses etc all in close proximity, not a nice mix of things, I did not like the design of the original pendant, oxygen, nitrous oxide and electrical service inside an enclosure without any electrical cross bonding, or isolators aka stainless ball valves, compression fitting is ok but a 24 hour leak test with helium would have been done over here, the modification looks absolutely fine, a nice job, it's the original design I don't like, cabling would have to be run in conduit and as I said electrical earth and remote isolators for the gasses on a wall away from the pendant, having got some training from a medical gas company before taking over the lab they took me to a couple of hospitals to do installations with them, all 1/4" stainless, silver soldered and swage locked together main gas supply's to theatres were either stainless or copper, all the pipes were earthed, earth straps across all of them.
Apparently I was told that fires where the patient was actually set fire to by anaesthesia and the use of electrical cauterising equipment have been quite common!
Well done, nice tidy job

12-06-2014, 09:54 AM
There are two additional pop-rivets through the stainless enclosure at the very top of the open side in addition to the ones in the splices. The whole assembly weighs less than forty pounds. They told me they use the oxygen and vacuum lines and occasionally the electrical outlets, so there's not much added load on it. I know it will hold me up. :)

I have no idea what their protocols are for sterilization before doing surgery. They were really adamant that I not mess up their nice seamless floor.

The guys in the maintenance department told me they had to go through a lot of trouble making sure the plumbing didn't leak, so they really didn't want to disconnect any of the fittings.

12-06-2014, 02:57 PM
Nice job. I understand completely about the need to ask questions on a job...I work part time at the local Ace Hardware store, and routinely question customers who look a bit "uncertain" about what they are doing. I've been able to steer many of them to a better product for their projects, not necessarily the most expensive, but one that will do the job better, or look nicer when done. I get a lot of high school and college students that don't know diddley about tools or materials, but have a project that they need to do. It's a good feeling when they take my advice and come back later to thank me for helping to get a good result! Here's an article about one of them: http://forum.grinnell.edu/kenji-yoshino-11-10-microscope

12-06-2014, 04:35 PM
Well, that's just the cutest thing...and really clever, too. Thanks for posting.