Some really good news for the mountain wheelchair project…
I’ve purchased a welder which is capable of welding aluminium, and… wait for it… found somebody who is not only willing to spend a day teaching me how to use it, but also to look over my welds when it’s all done. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome, especially when you consider that Dan (of Coastal Welding) not only manufactures parts for DMM climbing, but also has experience of building custom wheelchairs!!!
Although it was the cheapest I could find, the welding equipment has still cost about £1,000 once gas, fittings, accessories and supplies have been included. So long as it lasts long enough to build the frame, then I’ll be happy.
It lasted less than 5 minutes! I was in the process of building myself a steel welding table thinking it would make things easier, and give me a chance to practice with the welder. I did the first tack-weld and the welder threw in the towel.
The welder has been returned to the seller, fixed (loose connection apparently) and has now been able to finish all of my tack-welds. This means that I can actually start building the mountain wheelchair!
In other news, the motors have made the journey from China and are currently in Northampton. Exciting!
Yesterday I’d spent considerable time trying to weld aluminium to steel to create some mounts for the motors. Having Googled it afterwards, it’s not surprising that it didn’t work, so today was all about cleaning up yesterday’s mess:
A Fresh Start
Yesterday wasn’t a complete waste of time though because it provided more welding experience and it actually seems like I might be starting to get the hang of it:
Steel Motor Mount
With all of the welding done, I gave it a quick coat of paint, mounted the motors and added a temporary remote control.
Last night I also tried sitting on it and it had no problem whatsoever moving my weight, and that was with just one motor connected. The paint’s still a bit tacky so no sitting on it at the moment.
Even with me sat on it though, and with only one motor connected, it’s quick! I’ve decided that walking behind it is not a viable option and have ordered the parts to make it radio controlled. It’s also only two-wheel-drive at the moment because I need to print more sprocket mounts but one of the 3D-printers is busy working on another project and my other printer is currently having a major overhaul.
What’s really pleasing though is that I had built this just to experiment with batteries and motors but the fact that’s able to easily carry a full grown man opens up far more possibilities. Can’t wait to get it out for some “field tests”.
So today I discovered that you can’t weld aluminium to steel, no matter how hard you try, and for a brief moment my larger prototype was alive, until the aluminium/steel weld failed:
Will need to find another solution for the motor mount and it looks like the chains might need a link taking out but it’s getting there.
Ada’s little brother and I continued working on the frame for the next prototype this evening.
Behold the result:
Just before midnight last night I decided to bring the welder into my living-room and have a go. As you do. I’m certainly no blacksmith but to be honest, I’m quite pleased with the result:
The weld didn’t seem to want to stick tot he zinc bolt though so just before posting this I did a quick Google search. Apparently the fumes from welding zinc are highly toxic. Oops! I won’t be doing it in my living room again then!