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Time for a Tools and Fab build thread! I've been busy whilst waiting for a machining favour to be able to continue the suspension build.... I also kind of ran out of space with the purchases in the next paragraph.

Back last year, I heard Halfords were discontinuing their black 'industrial' range of tool chests and changing the design. Cue a mad scramble to get some more boxes ordered to match the pair of bottom chests I already owned. I've always had two of the bottom chests as I like the deep drawer, the upper of the deep ones being my socket drawer with everything stood up. In an ideal world I think I would have gone for another pair of bottom chests to go with the plan that follows, but I couldn't get hold of them. So I ordered two mid section drawers and two top chests.That's the tools bit covered.... but how is this a fabrication thread I hear you say!

Well for those that don't know, the set of three Halfords chests are pretty damn tall when they're all together. Even with my 6'3" standing, a bit on the tall side as I want my sockets to be in the top sections as I'm pushing the drawer loadings a bit with the setup now.

After a little bit of design time I ended up with this:

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I designed the step frame to be able to keep the boxes really close to each other and drop them as low as possible. The clearance under the centre of the main chassis is only 25mm. If I find I need to move the trolley far I can always lift it with the forklift. I can also shim the trolley upwards if I find I move it about and it catches the workshop floor. I didn't originally have the two little end cupboards on there. But I thought that it would be good to make use of the space at each end. Not sure exactly what I'll use them for yet. I'll put a door on the front of each one at some point, going to see what I end up using them for first as I can always do a drawer instead. The design is a little elaborate and over engineered, but I've built it to last forever and the potential total weight of the toolboxes and their maximum draw loadings brings it to around 1100Kg :o.

Trolley is finished (minus powder coating) as I type this, but I'll post this in a few hits as I get time.

I also need to apologise for the awful quality of the first half of the pictures... my old phone had a great camera but was hindered by the Ross-proof case covering the lense. I've been a bit brave with new phone and not got quite such a bomb/workshop proof case.

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First up was an order to my local steel stockist who happens to be right next door to work. Around £160 later I had a pile of bits ready to start. Thanks must also go to my good friend James ( @Jim Bob) for bringing it home for me one afternoon :)

Main chassis bits are 50 x 100 x 5mm wall box, the smaller stuff is 20 x 20 x 2.5 (smallest wall thickness they stock).

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I didn't think the price was too bad considering it was all cut to length and a decent enough square end to be able to use without too much hassle. In an ideal world it would be nice to flash over the ends with a mill to get them cock-on but that's just me being fussy.

A friend of a friend passed away and I was given a box of assorted tools, amongst which were these little mitre clamps which were extremely handy for the 20mm box section bits! 

This is the first of the two subframes that sit on top of the main chassis to take up the lip around the bottom edge of the boxes.
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All welded and ground back:
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Rinse and repeat!
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nice !

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Next up I started the frames for the two end cupboards, again the little clamps came into their own.

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They held it reasonably square to start with,but it was easily fixed with a mallet once tacked together.

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Some gratuitous weld shots:
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All the external welds were taken back flat ready for the next bit:
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24 tube ends cleaned up and prepped. IMG_2892.thumb.JPG.07153b1f1f5ed2c1bc1757b5199e4341.JPG

This stage was a little awkward as everything likes to pull, so tacked them in first.IMG_2894.thumb.JPG.ed1034265ddfc6b4fbe4963dc583a0f0.JPG

Then lined up the other side and tacked on.IMG_2895.thumb.JPG.cbaef3ad167ec90a220de119d7bcbe40.JPG

Many many many welds later...
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Again, all the external ones were ground back flat.
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The same was done for the other side.

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Time for the main chassis... but first I wanted to get the welder dialed in so I found some offcuts of the right wall thickness and did a few welds in the positions I was going to use. Well worth doing if you don't pick up the welder that often. Even tried a little weave which I don't really like.
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Not too shabby, big thanks to Mike ( @discomikey) for giving me some settings! 

Run out of attachment space :( 

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As they were cut nicely, I could just clamp them up with minimal prep.

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Not sure where the 4th one is here! 
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It was much the same process for attaching these to the main rails. I just did them flat and measured lots and lots.

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These ones also being ground back for later...

One finished rail:
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Using the first one as a jig, the other one was clamped up and tacked together before being full welded.
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Next it was time to add the crossmembers:
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All tacked. I again waited until it was completely assembled before fully welding any of them.
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All clamped and ready to fully weld...
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 However I then left it for the night and decided on my return that I wasn't quite happy with the alignment of the two main rails... one was a couple of mm too far to one end. so I cut it off and went again. Cock-on this time :D.

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Time to fully weld the crossmembers:

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This one is ground back ready for later.
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One mostly complete chassis: sorry about the awful quality.
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As you probably noticed in the 3D model at the top, I've designed some gussets for the chassis. These probably aren't necessary, but I think they make it look good and will add to the strength. At this point I needed some bits to practice on so out came the previous scrap and I then cut some bits and stuck a 30mm hole through them. Word of warning here... I treated myself last birthday to the new 18v Dewalt set, the big daddy of their range. How I didn't break my wrist drilling the first hole I don't know :lol: Even bracing against my body it was tricky!

Anyway onto the welding. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear. It was NOT pretty :lol: . I could just puddle weld the gussets, but I want to make a feature of them. Back to the drawing board...

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So I dug out my TIG from the mountain of carp on my workbench...

I recently rebuilt the torch to get rid of the awful long ceramics It used to use, but mainly to replace the bit of the torch the gas comes out of. With the old ceramic and associated bits (the long one) the gas coverage was awful. The gas came out of a couple of cross drilled holes in part of the bit that holds the electrode. This setup used to eat gas like there was no tomorrow as to get a decent coverage it needed a higher gas flow.
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Thanks to some 'contacts' :P, I had a lovely new setup complete with what's called a gas lense. Far better for gas coverage :D.IMG_3291.thumb.JPEG.c41c4502341cfeb0a43ac86f5823c06f.JPEG

 

This is quite a good comparison:
Image result for gas lens TIG comparison
 

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You'd be surprised how bad that won't look after paint! But I completely understand wanting to make a nice job. 

Like the project 

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Thanks! 

Yeah.... but what’s coming will look even better :wub: 

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So I'd not picked up my TIG for over a year if not 18 months... but I did do a couple of short welds at work for @FridgeFreezer but they were tidied up by someone else :ph34r:.

Basically I wasn't expecting much... but these first two practice ones came out great :D 

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TIG is definitely something where you need to keep your hand in, but you'll always have a bad day here and there. Nice to be able to show the chap at work who taught me that I've still got it.

First off, a not so pretty one, but still plenty strong enough:
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And a much better looking one. Position is key in TIG, being able to be steady but also move easily is key. I sometimes stick a clamp on the job if I need somewhere to rest. 
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These are the little tabs for bolting down the two little end cupboards to the main chassis. Time for a test fit, all looked good so I welded the other four on the second frame.
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With it aligned properly and clamped down onto the rails, I marked the holes through.
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Once marked I took the frame off to give me clearance for the drill. They were drilled to 6.8mm, and then tapped to M8. I've done it this way so its less unwieldy when it's being powder coated but also that should I find this bit doesn't work so well further down the line, I can make a different bit to bolt on instead.
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Just as things aren't necessarily perfect, I put a couple of centre punch marks on the chassis and the cupboard frame so I know the correct orientation when it comes to assembly time. 

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21 hours ago, FridgeFreezer said:

This is too posh by half!

Oh just you wait for what is about to be posted next! :P 

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The tops of the end cupboards I had cut and folded. The corner relief means you don't get that little bulge on the corner that you get if you just leave as-is.
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Beautifully neat folding, I didn't want to bugger it up so made sure I had a fresh rod, fresh tungsten in the torch and did a dry run of the movement to make sure I could move smoothly. All went well, so lid down and out came this...
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Followed shortly by this arty little number :P on the opposing corner. Afterwards I did give the edges of the weld a tickle with the die grinder and a sanding drum just to smooth them a little.
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Back to the frames for the cupboards, I thought for a long while about paneling them and whether to drill the holes before or after coating. I eventually opted to pre-drill them all.IMG_3355.thumb.JPEG.d026e70d66144227c01f25c7a9624f2e.JPEG

Mammoth job that was!
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~130 holes later they're ready for the panels! 

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About this time I also decided to cap the ends of the main rails of the trolley, but also that I was going to make the little worktop bits above removable incase of any future changes. So time for a couple of little models and a couple of files sent to my laser man and this happened:

I only needed 8 of the little tabs (the first bits it cuts), but thought as I was having some done I might as well have some stock of them! 

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Then I got on capping the tubes.... all 12 open ends :o.

First a little bevel all round:
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Four tacks and then buzz it on:
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Then grind it flat:
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Many welds and much grinding later:
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Bit of a grinding session there... Should have got some coarser grit flap discs for this! 

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1 hour ago, Anderzander said:

You’re doing a fabulous job💖

Only thing I can’t understand is, with you cracking on at such a pace with this, why wasn’t your 90 finished 18 months ago 😮

😊👍🏻

I started this about mid November I think it was.... and was only waiting on me... not involving any favours from friends :mellow:

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