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Practice makes… an engine stand!

January 23, 2018

There are plenty of articles online talking about how to improve your MIG welding skills (and the ever helpful mig-welding forum) – but at some point they all say something very similar: get a lot of scrap pieces of steel and practice laying down welds over and over…

I definitely need to practice my welding, but I also really want to do something productive with the limited time I have to work on project car! Being frugal I also don’t like wasting perfectly good materials making something that has no use, and I like avoiding paying for things where I can too…

Several months ago I was lucky enough to come across some builders at work who were removing some handrails and banisters, which were mostly made from 50mm box section steel. They were planning to chuck it all in a skip and more than happy for me to take it away to save them the bother, so I have ended up with about 25 yards of steel tube to practice my welding on.

At the same time I realised that I would find it a lot easier to work on my Pinto engine if I had an engine stand and so making my own, rather than buying one, seemed an obvious step. I started searching online for information on the right dimensions and, between the helpful write up I found about making “The Best Engine Stand That Money Can’t Buy” and a few Google Image searches, I had the measurements. It was short work chopping the box section accordingly (although the next project will be to construct a angle grinder bench mount so I can make even shorter work of cutting!). I also needed a few other bits and pieces and, between a local fabrictors perfectly happy to let me have a few short lengths of tubing to make the pivot for the stand for £5, and a heap of other bits and pieces i’ve picked up along the way, I practically had all the parts for free. Getting 16 m8 bolts with washers and nuts to secure the castors was probably the biggest expense!

For such a simple thing to construct, this little project has given me a LOT of welds to practice on. I’ve watched a good few Youtube tutorials but nothing beats having a go, over and over again, trying out different torch position, power settings, wire speed, etc. Some of the welds definitely look better than others, but only practice (and ideally doing all this much more regularly!) will make perfect. Once again, the no-rent Hobbyweld arrangement has turned out just right for my situation, as i’ve only managed a handful of days playing with the welder in the last year thanks to the demands of two small children. But it’s immensely satisfying to know I turned a pile of scrap into a solid tool for the workshop!


From → Building

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