Like my initial hands on education in Machining, I got my first serious try at Welding with William & the Fly Corvair crew.
Here is a Pic of William TIG welding my Main Control Column
He did a beautiful job welding almost all my Flight Control Parts in the 2007 – 2008 time frame.
I’ve been able to fixture & cut steel parts airworthy parts for years now, but the Art of TIG welding has been the most long and painful learning curve out of all the Aircraft fabrication techniques I have tried with Composites being the polar opposite to this skill
I did learn the basic Safety and the 30000 foot overview of what is going on from William & Kevin. I did get some time on WW’s Lincoln Precision Tig 225
The engineering side has been quite different to the fabrication side. I’ve got to work on plenty of welded parts for the Detail Design, Structural Analysis & Drafting at Piper & P&W
I did get to try Oxy Acetylene Welding & some initial TIG welding at Oshkosh & SNF thru out the years even before 2005. Almost every year at Sun N Fun Lincoln Electric has hands on training forums, we you can try it out the TIG & MIG machines. I would give it a quick 5 min go to see what I could do. Starting from Complete Booger welding, I made slow improvements each time I would try but still a very slow learning curve.
Enter Sun-N-Fun 2016, With WW & Dan now on the opposite side of the state from me and the prospects of “hire it done” on SP-500 parts a one off E-AB prototype I came to the same conclusion as I did getting a Mill / Lathe in 2008 that it would not take too much hiring it done before I could just go buy a machine for those even willing & skilled enough to do this kind of work. Working in the Aviation & Aerospace Industry out of all the construction / fabrication methods out there TIG welding is by far the most operator Skill demanding. I did notice slight improvements each time I would try it every few years at the shows. Talking with one of my Co-Workers Chris who TIG welds (with a “Team Blue” machine) told me he learned via You Tube. Also he brought up how most Community College classes on TIG welding is to get people into the industry with only a small proportion of mastering the skills with a whole bunch of Acadamia & Curriculum thrown in all at a cost that could go buy full machine for. to some You Tube & Learning on the Internet may sound Cheesy, Incomplete or any other Negative label you can slap on it however some things came to mind with my previous experiences. I learned to Build, Dial in, and skillfully fly Neutral Stability, unforgiving Q250 Racing Quads all thru You Tube. I was able to get both the Technical, Safety & Skill thru this educational medium. If I could Pull it off with Grace with Quad Racers why not TIG Welding.
I also knew Good Lincoln & Miller welders only get discounted at Major Aviation and Car shows. SNF 16 was the prime time to pick one up. So around a month before I found 7 real good TIG how to You Tube Channels:
Welding Tips & Tricks https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqq70AnPkj4-UApS_m_6mPw
Weld.com “Mr Tig” https://www.youtube.com/user/Welddotcom
Lincoln Electric TV https://www.youtube.com/user/lincolnelectrictv
Miller Welders https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTRI9Us8zLiywY29vsW3kKg
Eastwood Company https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMb7dl9tHKx-zKDchXjeNfQ
While at Sun-N-Fun I got to quiz quite a few Welding Instructors & SPA Panther’s Cheif Welder Travis about tips, techniques & machines. As usual Lincoln Electric was well represented at Large aviation fly ins, I ended up getting a Lincoln TIG 200 Square Wave Machine after getting around 40 mins of hands on instruction on the same machine at the show.
With the compact nature of my shop most things need to be on Wheels if they can be. While I went full Gonzo on the Welder I knew the Cart did not need to be a fancy brand, Harbor Freight has a real good heavy duty Welding cart with room for a Very large Gas Cylinder on it. HFT # is 61705 http://www.harborfreight.com/welding/welding-accessories/welding-cabinet-61705.html
Chris from work Recommenced Praxair for a local Welding Supply Company. I was able to get a 110 Argon Cylinder, some Tungsten Electrodes, Welding Respirator & Welding Coat from them.
One challenge with the welding cart vs. the TIG machine was the +, – & foot petals plug in real low on the TIG 200, the cart has a handle that kicks up so you can get into the top drawer easy. I could have made another handle for it but thought a Stand Off would give some real good welding practice, get it off the top of the cart a bit for ventilation and be able to put in some more aggressive Cleats to make it more stable on top.
Here is a picture of the finished Stand Off / Cleat for the machine & some of the raw stock behind it.
A close up of the paint job and one of the welds
I’ve bought Marked Aluminum Billet from Alro Metals Plus in Orlando for years, they actually have a location way closer to me in Pompano “Fort Lauderdale” http://www.alro.com/locations/location.aspx?loc=PZ
They have a real good selection of Welded Steel Square Tubing for around ~1/Lbs for what’s in the “drops” cut off bins.
After cutting the tubing on the portaband, the ends where cleaned up on the Mill in a Flank Pass
A close up of some of my welding, not bad for a “home study” course
A all welded up but before paint picture
The cleats stop the machine from sliding L / R, F & B. the 2 bottom runners engage with the built in stops on top of the welding cart. So far I only have 120V in the garage and it has worked great so far. Ive even gone up to 1/8″ with out a problem and NO over temp warnings.
The TIG 200 also has Pulse Settings for DC-, this allows for many techniques for welding including the stack of times with a Lay-Wire method. the pulse actually creates the stack, rather than the traditional Dab. here is the gratuitous practice run pic, testing out different Pulse Frequencies and filler rod sizes on some .050″ 4130 sheet.
for 4130 Tubing I was able to re-use my Lathe Boring Bar Holder as a Coping jig. and chuck a same size end mill in the Lathes 3 jaw chuck.
some of the final product for the practice runs.
The immediate push for getting a welder now was to get a elevator idler welded up for the 500. It not only takes weld practice but some kinds of weld joints benifit greatly with jigs and chill plates
First order of business is getting a central alignement / chill block milled, I don’t have a 4 jaw Chuck yet so I had to use a boring tower set up on the mill head to get the precise 1″ dia bore.
Next tooling item needed was some tight fitting screw down clamps, they have a slot in them to grab the bent flanges of the idler arms, good excuse to use the slitting saw on the mill, real wicked looking but not quite the safest thing in the garage.