Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Steel (November-December/2009)

October was spent working the football season at The Waffle House, living in my tent, getting to know Scott, paying off my debt, and taking out a second loan. My uncle also loaned me $500, against my future creative work. He has always been an encouragement for my artistic nature. I went to Canada to spend Halloween with my son, and when I returned in November we were ready to buy steel and begin building. We came up to work 3/4 days out of every week, and I worked the football weekends, third shift Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then hit the road and came back to build on Monday!
The chassis of the trailer is made from 1/4" thick 4" x 6" rectangular steel tubing. We bought it at Steel Materials in Cartersville. They also have an AWESOME strap metal yard next door where I found a big stainless steel tub for the bath-tub, and a little sink for the kitchen. I expect I will also be buying some scrap textured steel for the nose skin, to guard against rocks flying up from the road.The walls will be made from 2" x 4" 18 & 20 gauge C shaped steel studs, with hat channels holding the completed frames together at the top and bottom. The floor joist will be made of 18 gauge 2" x 6" stainless steal beams. This material we bought from Building Specialties, also here in Cartersville. When the floor is resting on top of the chassis the total depth of the floor ( which will house the batteries, water tanks, floor hatch accessible storage units and insulation) will be 1'. I cut all the components for the port and starboard walls on my birthday!
The first job to attend to in building the chassis was creating the V shape of the nose by cutting and bending two of the rectangular steel tubes. We used and oxy/acetylene torch to cut 13 degree angles in each of the tubes, and then used the torch to heat the hinge of the joint and bend them into their angles. We then shaped the ends of the tubes at the nose enough the accept the hitch bought from Northern Tool, and we drilled and bolted through the hitch plate and the tubing with 1/4" grade 8 bolts to hold the nose in position. We then used a come-along to pull the aft ends of the tubes towards each other to the necessary parallel width the meet with the axles. We braced the arms of the chassis as we made progress with cut portions of the floor joist, grinding out the angles where they didn't meet well, and checking and re-checking out parallels until we were sure that the angle and distance was right. Then I welded the bends. Once they were secure we created in the forge backing plates to match the angles, Blacksmith Bill holding the 1/4" steel while I hammered it over the edge of the anvil, and then I welded them in place on the inside of the chassis. At this same step we also made a nose plate from the front, to be placed under the hitch by bending another piece of 1/4" plate over the horn of the anvil. I used the torch to cut a billowing cloud motif in the edge of the plate, to round the corners.


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