"If my clothes catch on fire, just pat me out."
That is quite possibly the most badass instruction someone has ever given me. Given that the welding slag and sparks were landing on his chest, he wasn't kidding.
If you remember from a post last year, the frame is generally in great condition, but a previous owner cut a few gaping holes to run plumbing. Since I'm running plumbing by a different route, and because the holes are egregious, I asked my neighbor to help. Actually, when he moved in six months or so ago, Cory saw me working and volunteered his help, if I needed it. Cory is a welding engineer; I just about fell trying to do a happy dance while on a ladder.
Here were the two biggest holes in the frame (noticed the past tense, huh?!):
Actually, I missed the opportunity to get good "before" photos. Here both holes in the frame have had some clean-up work done. But, it is pretty easy to see how little steel was left to support the weight of the floor and everything above it.
Since I know nothing about welding, it was a ton of fun to learn. Cory taught me the basic physics behind the cutting torch and the welding inverter, but the best part was watching someone use skills I've never seen first-hand before. I had lots of fun today.
Both patches are now in place, with just a little bit more welding to go. Next weekend we will finish up these two holes (Cory says one of his first welds needs reworking. He is a meticulous kind of guy.) We will also weld up some supports for the black and grey tanks that hang below the floor. I'm still nervous about the tanks hanging below the belly pan, but if the shit hits the fan, I'll replace the tanks later. (Well, the fan is installed in the roof, so if it actually hits the fan, it might be the least of my problems.)
BUT, lest you think I spent the day twiddling my thumbs, here are a few photos of me working the grinding wheel::
And here's a fun gallery from today:
I'm not an Airstream Jedi, yet. Airstream Jedi would have sounded presumptuous, like I know what I'm doing. That couldn't be further from the truth. Padawan is a title I can hope to live up to.
Knots Per Hour
My friend Mike is building an airplane. Check it out.