Thursday, April 8, 2010

Building Bender's body - part 2

So after cutting out the two panels from the propane cylinder, and butting them against each other on the welding table, I welded them together along the seams - pretty heavy tack welding since I expected to have to adjust the fit as the bottom was rounded out.

I tried thumping the body with various sized hammers, I tried swearing up a blue streak, but nothing worked satisfactorily... what to do?...

I carefully marked out some radially spaced lines on the lowest half of the body (to part I wanted to curve the most) and scored them with the angle grinder using a 1mm cut off wheel. I then used a spare automotive screw jack to crank the curve in the direction I wanted. This got it reasonably close to round.
What finally got it to round (unfortunately no photo) was laying the body in a piece of 4" (100mm) channel, and bashing the body from the inside with my "ugly hammer". The "ugly hammer" is something I found in my travels - I suspect it's a railway tool (based on local industry) and is essentially a piece of 3" (75mm) diameter steel shaft - about 350mm (14") in length, with a fairly long 30mm (1 1/4") pipe handle welded at right angles at one end - sorta like a demented golf club. I'd suspect it was used to permit striking things in recesses, based on the marks on it... for me it's a 15Kg (30lb) sledge hammer based on the japanese blacksmith's hammer

Here you can see the tapered body resting on the other half of the cylinder, with the original top section resting above that.
Now that's close to round!!! It took about 6 hours of cussin' under my breath, and hammering/grinding/ rewelding, etc to get to this point, but I was quite pleased with the result

Part 3 of "Building Bender's Body" will cover welding in the crotch plate, and cutting, then hinging and fitting the chest door.

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