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When looking at pictures of "fixtures" or "gadgets"...

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  • #16
    An engineering project which you're pretty sure isn't going to work had better look like it should work. Otherwise all the armchair quarterbacks will say, well of course it doesn't work, just look at it - it looks like crap! If it doesn't work but looks nice, they'll ponder it for a while, then pronounce that it looks like it should work. Then they don't feel that time and money has been wasted on garbage, even though it is garbage.

    On the other hand if it works perfectly, only the terminally anal will care what it looks like.

    In most work, looks are a luxury. If you have the time and money, make it look nice. If you don't, pay attention to the important stuff first.


    • #17
      Originally posted by snowman
      I have decided that I am going to start my own forum for people to talk about machinist's welding projects.

      I see people post stuff on here, and frankly, my crap is em-bare-ass-ing!

      But it works.

      But, it's hellish looking, so I don't post pictures of it.
      You want to see ugly?
      We turn out some not bad stuff out of the shop. The fixtures and jigs we build in a hurry are nasty looking sometimes.
      We have a big pile of fixtures in one corner.
      Of course they never work for the next job.. so you just go in the pile with a 2 pound hammer and beat off the chunks you need for the next jig/fixture.
      Big gobs of old broken and pieces that don't break off easy... if it fits it gets used, if it doesn't fit we make it fit however.
      Jigs... Geezuz.. that welding jig that mo built to weld hummer seats is a work of art. I couldn't believe that thing. I've never worked at a place that would let you spend that kind of money on a jig.
      The precision side.. I get in trouble all the time doing fab work when I combine machining into it.
      I always work to close tolerances... then welding pulls things outta whack.. no matter how careful you are. Then my close fitting parts don't fit and my near perfect whatever was a waste of time.... out comes the grinder or files to put in the slop I should have machined in the first time.
      Perfect isn't always perfect.
      I have tools I don't even know I own...


      • #18
        An engineering project which you're pretty sure isn't going to work had better look like it should work. Otherwise all the armchair quarterbacks will say, well of course it doesn't work, just look at it - it looks like crap! If it doesn't work but looks nice, they'll ponder it for a while, then pronounce that it looks like it should work. Then they don't feel that time and money has been wasted on garbage, even though it is garbage.
        Or, as my dad says, "If it don't go then chrome it."
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


        • #19

          To me its all about refinement and that can mean so many things, including a polished part that flexes as a unit rather than having stress area's -- it's the finishing touch, and is actually a must on some things as they will disintegrate without it (hi-perf con-rods an example)

          There are varying degree's to "making something work" but the better stuff usually has more refinement - if not then its "generally" not the better stuff.

          As a mechanic clunky parts are an engineering turn-off, its the difference between popping the hood on a car and going WOW! or wanting to shut it quicker than you opened it, Also more refined parts are stronger pound for pound and yet generally more efficient at doing their job -- in general, yes they look "prettier" but this type of beauty is more than skin deep - it actually adds strength and in some cases even corrosion protection.
          Its the difference between a Ducati and a harley, An NSX or a ford mustang...
          All of them "work" as in function but both the Duke and the NSX have a cro-mo frame while the hog has just steel and the mustang a stamped out uni-body, Both the Ducati and the NSX have highly polished connecting rods (the NSX's titanium) not so with the harley and ford , The Duke sports much carbon fiber and the NSX body is aluminum -- the harley and the stang dont sport anything.... but there are people who like the crude, and thats ok --- im that way with wine --- but its just because i cant afford the good stuff... that hurts, I know better but really cant do anything about it


          • #20
            If its going out, or for someone else then I do try and get the best 'finish' reasonable(taking cost etc into account). however lashes and bodges for jigs to make one offs are also common...
            If Im making a 'keeper' then it gets a finish thats appropriate to its function, SWMBO wont let me put rough stuff on the mantlepiece

            Just south of Sudspumpwater UK


            • #21
              Am I cheap or what?

              A while back I ordered (or thought I ordered) a vise work stop from enco, its a kurt design and I was just going to cut a slot in my top/back jaw and be on my way, well - all they sent was a set screw and the little wedge, so I built my own...

              I ended up putting a radius in the corners of the piece for both strength and parts/corner clearance

              I also ended up putting a relief under the center of the piece so the piece will set on both ends and maintain a true fit to the jaw as we all know we dont always get every little chip out of the way, less surface area leaves less room for chips and having it taken out of the middle leaves less chance for "rocking" even after tightening, What you cant see is that its O1 tool steel and that its also highly polished where the 45 degree wedge meets it --- it doesnt matter as much that the box stock little kurt wedge has a terribly rough surface on it, because there's nowhere for its "hills" to settle in my larger piece thats polished and also quench hardened in sulfer oil, It works like a charm (even barely tightening it) --- I will have it for the rest of my life, its a little "gadget" but every time I use it I not only enjoy it, it makes me feel good about my brain.


              • #22
                I think adding welding as a new forum or topic is a super idea.

                Been trying to teach myself the machinist trade part time for a year now and find most of my projects so far have involved welding in some form or another. I use flux core .030 but have a big problem with splatter. Seems I spend just as much time scrapping this up as i do fitting and welding. Not going to mention the quality or appearance of them, pretty their not.

                Any suggestions on what I could be doing wrong cause it's sure a pain in the A especially on inside box corners??

                As I am new here, thought seeing this "welding mini-forum" I'd take the opportunity to post some pictures of one of my winter projects, my son calls it the machine. I call it "this sure turned out to be a lot more work than originaly thought it was going to be" Hope I insert the pictures right.

                Mostly made from 1/8 x 3/4 to 3" HR flat stock for the body and various sizes of shafting material and HR bar for everything that turns or pivots. Once my son figures out what colour he wants it, I'll get it in paint. One day it's green like daddy's lathe the next it's orange, then back to green. Maybe I should add some orange highlights to the lathe and it would be easy for him....


                • #23
                  Do nothing and it will be a nice red/brown color by the end of summer! Very nice work, lucky kid!

                  Montezuma, IA
                  David Kaiser
                  “You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.”
                  ― Robert A. Heinlein


                  • #24
                    YEP, bob.. that is how I ended up with a purple studebaker, and then a purple harley..

                    Took about a week.. I did change the order on the harley to BURPLE thou.. a blue purple..

                    You need to put a auto-paint finish on it.. it looks good. maybe some flames and metalflakes.. and.. some decals..

                    Look for decal materiels on the net at
                    Excuse me, I farted.


                    • #25
                      Yes lucky kid! (is that a suicide knob on the steering wheel?)


                      • #26
                        How bout the color scheme in this thread:


                        Its sort of got that Fisher-Price look that would probably be much more appropriate on your son's UTV than a surface grinder. Allistair should repost his picture of his (IIRC) die filer. Its mostly green with a lot of that same Fisher-Price effect

                        Paul Carpenter
                        Mapleton, IL


                        • #27
                          Thanks guys,
                          Plan on the auto paint but at the cost I won't be putting it on till he's sure of the colour. And NO! David. Not even going to show him this reply, gawd I'd be another 6 month's in detail work...and all he needs is an idea and it would never end.
                          A.K. Bommer, yup that a suicide knob I machined up. My son calls it the speed knob. Built a rack and pinion steering unit for it so he has more of a feel for real driving as opposed to the usual 1/4 turn to lock on a go kart. This one is 1 1/2 turns.


                          • #28
                            Yikes Paul.. I was leaning more towards a sky-blue-pink theme with metal flaked stripped decals.


                            • #29
                              QB I must have missed this thread the first time by and got linked from the rifle rest........that is a serious kid truck-tandem and pup no less.....what does it weigh? Did you machine the rims also?

                              Another thing of note is I like the big windows and lighting and openess of your shop, I also picked up a Tos late last year but built a partial 2 story shop and have the lathe and mill tucked down below, kinda dark and dungeon feelin.......anyway beautiful work on all accounts and I can't quite tell who your building the toys for.........LOL Oh yeah just thought I'd let you know, someone must have recently stolen your calendar......
                              Opportunity knocks once, temptation leans on the doorbell.....