This tip comes to us by way of [Jody], aka “The Weldmonger” on YouTube. Subscribing to his channel is a sure way to keep your welding ego in check; you may be good, but [Jody] is better, and he’s willing to share as much of his experience in video format as possible. For this tip, he starts with a cheap chipping hammer, the universal welder’s tool that helps remove the glass-like slag that forms during shielded-metal arc welding, or what’s commonly known as stick welding. The mild steel of the hammer makes it hard to keep an edge, so [Jody] pulled out his TIG welder and laid down a bead on the cutting edge using an old drill bit as a fill rod. The video below shows the process in all its simplicity.
The tool steel of the drill bit is far harder than the mild steel of the hammer, but still soft enough to take an edge, and the resulting tool is much improved. We’ve seen something similar to this before, when hard-facing filler rod was built up on the edge of a mild steel slug to make a cutter for internal weld seams. We liked that hack, but knowing the same thing can be done with something we’ve all likely got in abundance in the shop is a neat trick. Thanks, [Jody]!
As we’ve seen over the years, it’s possible to bootstrap your own metalworking shop using little more than a pile of scrap steel, a welder, and an angle grinder. With time and dedication, you can build increasingly complex shop tools until you’ve got yourself a nice little post-apocalyptic workshop. It’s the whole idea behind the [Workshop From Scratch] channel, and we never get bored of seeing his incredible backyard engineering.
But eventually, you’ll have built all the basic stuff. What then? Well, as [Workshop From Scratch] shows in a recent video, you can start working on the luxuries. Do you need a motorized table that will let you spin the workpiece and position it an at arbitrary angle? No, probably not. But as the video after the break shows, it’s certainly a handy thing to have around the shop. We especially like how he uses it to quickly and easily produce nearly perfect circular welds.
From a technical standpoint, this is perhaps one of his more straightforward builds. But at the same time, the attention to detail that he puts into even this “simple” design is phenomenal. Nothing is wasted, and cutoff pieces from one section are often used in imaginative ways elsewhere.
[Workshop From Scratch] is truly a master of working with what you have, and this project is a perfect example. We especially like the tilt mechanism, which uses a massive leadscrew spun by a wiper motor salvaged from an Audi A8 B4. It looks like a fair amount of new hardware went into the control electronics, but even still, we have no doubt that the cost of this build is well below the purchase price of a commercial alternative.
Unless you have one large pile of cash to burn through, properly equipping a workshop can take years of burning through little piles of cash. Whether to save a bit of cash or simply for the challenge, [Workshop from Scratch] is doing exactly what his channel name suggests, and his latest project is a XY table. (Video, embedded below.)
A XY table, or cross table, allows a workpiece to be translated in two dimensions, usually on a drill press or milling machine. On a drill press they make repetitive task like drilling a series of holes simpler and quicker. [Workshop from Scratch] built most of the frame with steel flat bar, and the moving parts run on ground steel rods with linear bearings. Lead screws with hand wheels are used to translate the table.
A machine like this requires the opposing plates of each table to be perfectly aligned, which [Workshop from Scratch] achieved by spot welding the matching plates together and drilling them in one operation. He also added T-slot top surface, created by welding wide flat bar on top of narrower flat bar.
With the lack of dials, it doesn’t look like it’s meant for precision work, but we would still be interested to know how repeatable the lead screw positioning is. Regardless, it’s still a useful addition to the shop.
The Volkswagen Beetle is a true automobile icon, and while it may not be the fastest or most breathtaking looking car ever built, its unmistakable shape with those elegant curvy fenders and bulgy lights holds a special place in many people’s hearts. And then it inspires them to build minibikes from those same parts.
The idea of the Volkspod is to take the Beetle’s two front fenders, weld them together to one symmetric body, and turn it into a small motorcycle. [Jonah]’s version does all that, but instead of taking a whole minibike as core of the project, he only uses a minibike frame and substitutes the engine with a 2000 Watt e-bike motor along with an e-bike battery pack. Fitting the frame within the dimensions of the fender construct required some extra welding work, but in the end, it all came nicely together, and with its red paint job, it kinda looks like something from a vintage post-apocalyptic sci-fi cross-genre movie. Watch him taking it for a spin in the video after the break.
Tracked vehicles are cool, but can be quite complicated to build. [XenonJohn] wanted to skip the complexity, so he created Vector, an electric tracked motorcycle using only basic parts and tools. No machine tools required.
If it looks familiar, it’s because it was inspired by [Make It Extreme]’s monotrack motorcycle that we covered last year. [XenonJohn] liked the concept, but wanted one that was simpler to build. That meant ditching the custom machined parts like the wheels and the suspension system. These were replaced with three go cart wheels and axles mounted in pillow blocks, on a simple welded frame. An e-bike battery powers a 500 W golf cart motor that drives the rear wheel. Like [Make It Extreme]’s version, the track is an SUV tire with the sidewall cut off. [XenonJohn] used tin snips to do this, but from personal experience we would recommend a utility knife. This track design will have a tendency to collect debris inside it, so cutting some hole in the tread could help. As with most single wheeled/tracked vehicles, you really don’t want to try and stop quickly.
It looks like this bike works fine in straight lines, but there is room for improvement with the steering. [XenonJohn] has some ideas to do this, which we hope to see some time in the future. Let us know in the comments how you would make it turn better.
[XenonJohn] really like vehicles that can make you face plant. He built quite a few self-balancing motorcycles, one of which was supposedly designed with first responders in mind. It honestly seems more likely to create an emergency than respond to one.
There probably aren’t many people out there who aren’t aware of what thermite is and how it demonstrates the power of runaway exothermic reactions. Practical applications that don’t involve destroying something are maybe less known. This is where the use of thermite for creating welds is rather interesting, as shown in this video by [Finn] that is also embedded after the break.
In the video, one can see how [Finn] uses thermite charges to weld massive copper conductors together in a matter of seconds inside a graphite mold. Straight joints, T-joints, and others are a matter of putting the conductors into the mold, pushing a button and watching the fireworks. After a bit of cleaning the slag off, a solid, durable weld is left behind.
The official name for this process is ‘exothermic welding‘, and it has been in use since the 19th century. Back then it was used primarily for rail welding. These days it sees a lot of use in high-voltage wiring and other applications, as in the linked video. The obvious advantage of exothermic welding is that the resulting joint is strong and durable, on account of the two surfaces having been permanently joined.
If you’ve seen both a fused filament fabrication (FFF) printer and a wire welder, you may have noticed that they work on a similar basic principle. Feedstock is supplied in filament form — aka wire — and melted to deposit on the work piece in order to build up either welds in the case of the welder, or 3D objects in the case of the printer. Of course, there are a number of difficulties that prevent you from simply substituting metal wire for your thermoplastic filament. But, it turns out these difficulties can be overcome with some serious effort. [Dominik Meffert] has done exactly this with his wire 3D printer project.
For his filament, [Dominik] chose standard welding wire, and has also experimented with stainless steel and flux-cored wires. Initially, he used a normal toothed gear as the mechanism in the stepper-driven cold end of his Bowden-tube extrusion mechanism, but found a standard wire feeder wheel from a welder worked better. This pinch-drive feeds the wire through a Bowden tube to the hot end.
In thermoplastic 3D printers, the material is melted in a chamber inside the hotend, then extruded through a nozzle to be deposited. Instead of trying to duplicate this arrangement for the metal wire, [Dominik] used a modified microwave oven transformer (MOT) to generate the low-voltage/high-amperage required to heat the wire restively. The heating is controlled through a phase-fired rectifier power controller that modulates the power on the input of the transformer. Conveniently, this controller is connected to the cooling fan output of the 3D printer board, allowing any standard slicer software to generate g-code for the metal printer.
To allow the wire to heat and melt, there must be a complete circuit from the transformer secondary. A standard welding nozzle matching the wire diameter is used as the electrode on the hot end, while a metal build plate serves as the other electrode. As you can imagine, getting the build plate — and the first layer — right is quite tricky, even more so than with plastic printers. In this case, added complications involve the fact that the printed object must maintain good electrical continuity with the plate, must not end up solidly welded down, and the fact that the 1450 °C molten steel tends to warp the plate.
Considering all the issues that have to be solved to make this all work, we are very impressed with [Dominik’s] progress so far! Similar issues were solved years ago for the case of thermoplastic printers by a group of highly-motivated experimenters, and it’s great to see a similar thing starting to happen with metal printing, especially using simple, readily-available materials.