Ceiling lamp fixture: now on steel

For the last couple of weeks I worked on building a steel version of that fixture in order to hang some cable trays and a couple of other things.

After a bit of measuring I prepared all the cuts. For the sides that aren’t at a square angle I left a bit of extra material to fold over the corner. The clamps for the trays will be made with cutouts from square tubing to have a consistent size and some flat stock. I spent quite a bit of time on this phase but I’m pleased with the outcome.

For this welds I tried as much as possible to either manipulate the rod with my left hand only and sometimes with the right, but I still need a lot of practice with that. Some were awful, but others like this one are quite passable:

Lamp fixture: corner bracket, weld detail

A quick test fit and everything fell into the right place. I love it when a plan comes together.

Lamp fixture: trial fitting

Fixing a metal chair

A while ago we bought a very nice set of chairs with a chromed base and the bog standard pneumatic height adjustment.

After a lot of use a couple of them had the welds on the base break apart. I took one home and after thinking a bit I chose to make a stiffening plate instead of just redoing the missing parts as that area looked very flimsy.

Fixing a metal chair

I traced the outline on some cardboard and then cut a bit of plate with the plasma torch.

Fixing a metal chair: stiffening plate

Some light prep and careful welding made it usable again. I tried first with a small 6013 rod but the arc wandered and blew a hole through the thin base. I had more success with 7018. The welds look horrible but are strong enough, I jumped a couple of times and it didn’t even notice.

Intercom mount

We are installing an intercom system and the front door unit is meant to be mounted in a recess in the wall. But the problem is that that wall is not really suitable for making such a hole.

I cut some strips of flat stock and fashioned a box. It has a couple of tabs to bolt into the wall and another ones threaded to hold the device. This is going to be painted later but I love that blue shading.

Sliding patchbay mount

I’ve been working on and off on this for the last couple of weeks. The space we’ll have on the comms rack to handle the wiring isn’t that great and I saw on a couple of places patchbays that are articulated.

I thought on adding a twist to that and mounting everything on rails. This way I can slide it from behind the rack and then unfold it, gaining access to both sides.

We bought some pre-drilled (but not taped, ugh.) angle with the holes spaced in standard units, that was welded into a fixed frame with a couple of hinges.

This will hang from a small cart with iron wheels that rides on a couple of rails fixed to the walls.

Steel doors for rack closet

With the outer frame already built I continued with the doors. During the last couple of days I made the frames, aligned the hinges and had them welded. I also started to cut the expanded metal for the body and made a couple of simple handles.

Fixing an inverter welder

Today while working on the rack closet the welder died on me for no apparent reason. But, after power off it made a couple of noises and the fan ran for a moment.

For being a Chinese machine it actually looks quite good and neat on the inside. The boards have conformal coating and just a tad of flux residue on some pads. The only thing out of place was a blob of solder on a header instead of a jumper.

I made a couple of measurements, the high voltage section was fine but the control supply was totally dead, except for a brief moment when turning off the main switch. Traced back from that board until finding a small block with a forward converter (kinda odd, I expected a flyback). The only component with bad readings was the recovery diode. I swapped in an UF4007 and at the next flick it was alive again.

Of all the things that could go wrong with a welder on novice hands this was not expected.

Door frame

The next step in the making of the rack closet is the front door frame. It’ll be screwed to the base and the top support. For that I’ll use some square tubing with a cap and nut welded to each end.

The lines scribed on those pieces look a lot like the iconic map of La Plata.

Each one was beveled and welded in the tubes. I ground the sides flat mostly for looks.

As I still had a while more with sunlight I used the support built earlier to keep them in place and tack everything together. Enough work for a Summer Friday.

Tacking door frame in place

Rack closet

So, after tearing down part of that wall we needed a safe way to store the equipment. It also has to be a bit above floor level, as we plan on making a small stage.

For the base I used some C channel iron. Parts of it were a bit mangled, so I made a makeshift tool with an hydraulic jack to spread its sides and have a good fit.

The top is simpler, it just needs to hold the vertical struts in place and the light fixture.

Then I centered it on the base and proceeded to punch and drill the holes to locate the rest of the structure:

Rack Closet: making the base

Making space

We decided to tear down part of the wall that divided the old studio from the control room in order to have a bigger space.

Before it looked like this:

And after a bit of effort it became this:

Cultural differences

Sunday was a very nice day among friends and partners of our neighborhood.

Instead of finishing a draft post about that I’m sad. I spent most of this Monday listening to our representatives going around circles instead of voting, while some of my friends were treated like terrorists, being searched by masked officers at gun point, others punched and kicked.

I listened to the live stream for about ten hours before the sleep took over. Most of the ‘normal’ people I met yesterday chose to ignore this and watch crap tv. Meanwhile in Japan they have entertainment shows like Supreme Skills where they pit engineers and craftsmen to see which one is able to complete very demanding projects. Some of them are very light on the details but nonetheless the content is still better than other productions and showcases a complete different scale of values.

On weekends most of us choose to numb our minds with meaningless stuff. Others enlighten themselves.

No wonder things go downhill.

Birthday

This 30th birthday is way better than the last one.

Near the end, when we were almost finishing packing up a police car appeared. They said someone made a complaint about noises and that we should turn it down.

By then, after a very loud party on the street, there was just a small powered speaker, so we just unplugged it. They walked away, tail between their legs, but before that took all my personal data just in case.

Continue reading