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-   -   Vetterizing my 2013 Zero S ZF11.4 (https://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/vetterizing-my-2013-zero-s-zf11-4-a-28928.html)

Burton 05-10-2014 10:50 PM

Vetterizing my 2013 Zero S ZF11.4
 
I figured I should start a thread on here so people can ask questions and get updates. For a couple weeks now I have been posting content to my blog, youtube, and flickr accounts documenting the stuff I am doing to the bike. This week was more exciting because I started to make sub frame mock ups for the bike so I figured I would post up a thread.

Blog: Call Me Burton | Ventures into permaculture, electric vehicles, streamlining, motorcycles, preparedness, homesteading, and learning.
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...TneDyNmxo9tGBZ ( zero specific play list )

I am waiting for the last video I shot today to render on youtube before publishing my mostly weekly update on my blog. I plan on doing a lot more tomorrow to get the seat pan created in hardboard and on the bike.

I do have a question while I am at it. From the widest point in the profile of the bike, if I draw a straight 17 degree line to the tip of the tail will there be early separation or will the wind follow the profile?

I have drawings overlaid on Vetter's ride to better illustrate what I am talking about if there is confusion in my question. The third or second image in the group of 3 is what I am thinking but doing it along the 17 degree line versus the nice smooth curve.

Also does anyone know of a way to make complex curves like this easier than using composite materials and molds?

Burton 05-11-2014 07:48 PM

Got wood mockup on bike today and realized I made some mistakes, as normal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI6r6gkRMXo

I didn't get a chance to measure the angle of the straight section for reference since it was an on the fly decision. But I do have a cardboard template of the 'ideal' shape for my tail now. I just have to figure out the easiest way to make it.

NachtRitter 05-11-2014 09:57 PM

Looking forward to seeing where you go with this. Pretty cool to see an aero shell on a serious e-motorcycle.

sendler 05-12-2014 06:30 AM

Here are a couple great posts comparing a pure aero tail fairing to various straight sided and truncated shapes.
.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...rag-26881.html
.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...ack-26505.html
.
.
.

elhigh 05-12-2014 08:26 AM

The 2014 calls out a range of 70 at 70 on real-world highway runs, it should be very interesting to see what streamlining does for you. It should make a big dent in your current draw while cruising, but you might experience a slight degradation of range due to the added weight.

Unless you're cutting the fat by pulling original cladding. I haven't dug deep into your blog yet. Maybe you'll mention it there.

Grant-53 05-12-2014 10:08 AM

The time tested methods of making airframes is rib and skin. Bulkheads are of plywood or aluminum. Skins are doped cloth, sheet metal, or thin plastic.

Burton 05-12-2014 11:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sendler (Post 424076)
Here are a couple great posts comparing a pure aero tail fairing to various straight sided and truncated shapes.
.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...rag-26881.html
.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...ack-26505.html
.
.
.

Ok now my head is spinning. So basically to do a straight tail of say 17 degrees I need to make the curved section before the tail, in this case at the seating cowl, for it to attach properly and even then it will have double the drag of a nicely arched 'ideal shape' tail of same length.

The good news is Kamm tail id ok if that curve is there.

The issue then is the gap. Do you recondition the air flow by lipping it up and out before the gap, do you use air curtains, or just leave it be to ensure reattachment at the seat/rear. Also what about the head rest, currently where the license plat goes on Vetter's design. It seems it would be better to extend it out into the tail and go with a proper Kamm tail.

The issue then for me is fabrication. Vetter uses sheets of milk carton paper to skin his bike since it is cheap and easy to repair which is why the bikes profile has a straight tail of 11 degrees. To do a proper tail I would need to bring back my model airplane skills and skin it up that way or go with full composite materials.

There is a good chance I might end up making two tails, one with the ideal shape and Kamm and the other to Vetter's spect with a little modification to shorten the tail. But it am having a hard time thinking they would produce radically different results given the open cockpit.

@elhigh
This bike was previously used for racing so everything not essential has been removed. This is a 2013 S 11.4 but I have been told it is lighter than the 2014 SR and faster, much faster. that stated I will likely be adding chargers to this equation and those add a lot of weight, but without then I cannot tour on the bike.

The chargers will be easy to remove for my weekly commuting via highway at 65 to 75 mph 26 miles one way. Ultimately though I want to be able to ride this bike much farther.

@Grant-53
I assume then the best course of action for the proper tail would be to find out the shape of the seat pan and recreate it in a graphing program decrementing it to figure out bulkheads first. This likely will not happen till June at the earliest as vetter only just finished the seat pan last week.

sendler 05-12-2014 02:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Burton (Post 424097)
make the curved section before the tail,

The round section is the nose of the bike. Regarding flat versus complex curves, "Don't make it more trouble than it is worth". A true airfoil can have half the drag of an ice cream cone but with all of the other trade offs to practicality such as the rider gap, the difference will be much less in the end. Choose what you can easily build or you will get hung up on perfection and never finish anything.

Burton 05-12-2014 03:14 PM

For some reason I thought the seat pan would also need to be rounded off as the wind from the nose cone crosses the gap to contact it next, or your body.

Since I don't have the cowl installed yet I don't know what else I can do to this airflow to make it follow the tail better.

@sendler
Are you confirming that if I did a 17 degree straight ice cream cone shape or a ideal shaped tail because of the rider gap the latter wouldn't be worth the effort?
What if air was better controlled over the gap with something like an air curtain or something to throw the air out wider before the gap?

Grant-53 05-12-2014 05:07 PM

Start with the bulkhead at your back. The side profile top angle is 4 degrees down and the bottom is 7-8 degrees up. The rear following ribs are usually elliptical and you can adjust the widths a bit to get a slight side curve. The head fairing could be a half cone roughly 10" dia. and 30" long. The gap between the front nose and the rear bulkhead could be filled with a panel or something stretchy such as Lycra. It has more to do with riding style than anything else. If you prefer the open cockpit you might try a small lip around the back end to the nose piece and put a radius on the forward edge of the main bulkhead.

sendler 05-12-2014 06:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Burton (Post 424117)
@sendler
Are you confirming that if I did a 17 degree straight ice cream cone shape or a ideal shaped tail because of the rider gap the latter wouldn't be worth the effort?

A pure airfoil can be cd .07. A snow cone can be .16. Which is still way better than the .60 cd you are starting with
The total drag of the streamliner with a straight tail won't be twice as high as the vanishing value of an ideal airfoil because you will never achieve the drag number of the ideal with mirrors, heads and hands, egress gap/ side wind vent, lights, ect, sticking out anyway. Keep it simple and get it built or you will end up like so many grand designs I have seen presented here with it half way done and never finished.

Burton 05-12-2014 07:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sendler (Post 424139)
Keep it simple and get it built or you will end up like so many grand designs I have seen presented here with it half way done and never finished.

Have you been following my youtube channel long or you are you on Vetter's email list serv. I am spending every bit of spare time I have on this right now so it will get done :) 16 + hours on weekends and 2 to 3 hours on week days.

I didn't spend 12k for a bike and 2k for the Vetter fairing for it to simply sit in my garage and collect dust ^_^

I was just curious to know if it would be worth it to even build the ideal shaped tail vs a straight one. I am going to do the straight one anyway given it is the fastest and it would be nice to use it to compare with other modifications later. =D

As for headlights and such, I plan on making everything flush with the cowl / tail via port holes covered in lexan like vetter does his headlights. I have a JW Speaker 8700 and two 6050's coming in Wednesday to put on the front. Haven't decided on blinkers yet but they will be LED for sure.

@Grant-53
Are those angles for motorcycles as well as cars? Should I make an effort to flatten out the bottom of the bike and cover the top half of both tires with a wind deflecting fairing? I think the Vetter cowl covers the front pretty well.

Grant-53 05-12-2014 10:53 PM

These angles are for two wheel vehicles with a fair amount of ground clearance. The flat bottom template is primarily on cars. That's the simple version as far as I can tell. Fred Hayes uses an Aerotech Bonneville style low tail, but the word from fellow riders is the higher tails are more stable. We have been looking to get low drag and stable handling which includes some down force on the front. The Vetter front is a proven, if expensive, piece. Try to make the whole package smooth and flush, start with the rear wheel since it will be more exposed.

Burton 05-14-2014 11:13 AM

Vetter and I are finalizing the placement of key fairings via email today so I will have a better idea where stuff needs to be designed.

I have been looking at the strip built canoe technique specifically in relation to using foam and making recumbent shells. I think this technique would lend itself well to making the tail section.

Now I just need to identify costs associated with going this route versus another. Most people are using a router, a fixed saw of some sort (table or other), and a plotter. I don't have either but I think I can get away with using a wire cutter with a jig for the strips and a straight one for cutting the strips from the large sheets.

As for the plotter I could index the drawings and print them on 11x8.5 pieces of paper and tape them together. I am also going to have to redownload sketchup so I can make the required large plots (assuming it is capable of this if not I will simply use illustrator and math).

But I likely have to wait as I need the rear seat cowl as a starting point and I need to switch focus to getting the bike registered which is going to require mounting lights and some other items I must fabricate. In the mean time I can collect materials like the fiberglass, epoxy resin, tools to apply them, etc.

I also need to figure out my license plate solution on the 'ideal' tail. On the default tail it is going behind the head rest, but on the ideal tail it cannot be there as there will be fiberglass blocking it :) If I did the ideal shape and a Kamm tail on it I could easily mount the license plate. But if I did a point at the rear I imagine I would have to cut into said point like others I have seen do. I don't think I am allowed to make a plexiglass cover for the license plate to fill in the cut gap in Virginia / MD / DC.


@Grant-53

I haven't done the math yet but it seems the tail would be extremely long using the 4 percent / 7~8 percent grades, or do you only keep these grades till you reach the ideal length? In my case, given the width this would be 107cm.

PeterS 05-14-2014 06:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by elhigh (Post 424081)
The 2014 calls out a range of 70 at 70 on real-world highway runs, it should be very interesting to see what streamlining does for you. It should make a big dent in your current draw while cruising, but you might experience a slight degradation of range due to the added weight.

Unless you're cutting the fat by pulling original cladding. I haven't dug deep into your blog yet. Maybe you'll mention it there.

On the contrary , your range will improve markedly unless you spend all your time climbing steep hills at low speed.

PeterS 05-15-2014 06:27 AM

A question on the Kamm tail ending .

I assume it should be a sharp ending ( unlike Allert's Velomobiel ) but would sharp with a flat or concave end be better or a protruding body section with a thin edge?

Grant-53 05-15-2014 09:30 PM

On a sailplane, the fuselage continues to a point. On your bike we are looking at a Kamm tail about 5" wide and maybe 24" +/- top to bottom. You would likely have three bulkheads including the end panels. By dividing the perimeters of each bulkheads into sections you can determine the dimensions of the skin pieces.

I use cardboard from cereal boxes to make 1/4 scale mockups. Skin material can be made from wire hex mesh glued between layers of .005" tarp plastic.

bschloop 05-16-2014 05:13 AM

I would highly recommend using the strip built canoe method with foam for your tail. This is what I did. it was much easier, and resulted in a lighter and stronger tail than just fiberglass. It was also easier to build than trying to make a mold for one tail.

Burton 05-16-2014 10:25 PM

Is it just me or does sketchup really suck for this type of thing? Back when I was pursuing an engineering degree I had a chance to use EE and it kicked ass compared to sketchup for this easy task.

I didn't feel like re-installing my 3dsmax copy given how huge it is but I have a feeling even it would have been easier to use >_<

I guess if I felt like blowing $500 I could then import a dwg from illustrator into sketchup but it isn't worth it. I think when I go to print this project I am doing it through illustrator and scaling it as needed.

All that said the below has a 4 degree down angle from top and 8 degree from bottom. There are really two bulkheads here, the seat and the lower which will likely be intersected by the rear tire / swing-arm etc. No Kamm shown and I was thinking I might just Kamm the head rest enough to fit my license plate vertically near the rear.

Thoughts? Oh if you can't tell the top profile has the ideal shape. The ribs colored on right are accurate and properly scaled for the degrees indicated, the sketchup stuff is relatively close.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5539/...cb1db57f_z.jpgFirstTailMockup

PeterS 05-17-2014 01:38 AM

I do recommend the canoe strip plank method of construction , if only for your plug. The strips have a wonderful way of lying in a fair curve without any effort from you.

sendler 05-17-2014 06:23 AM

You can curve the side profile as well.
.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...rt-c-9287.html
.
The 8* departure angle might drag on some driveways and 4* looks way too slow along the top.
.
If you are going to do all that with a plug and fiberglass, why not do the nose as well like Ben did and save your $2000?
.
.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/380452-post120.html
.
.

PeterS 05-17-2014 08:48 AM

Burton, are you planning an openable storage compartment in the rear section ? If so have you any idea how it will be arranges and how the lid will work?

Burton 05-17-2014 09:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PeterS (Post 424800)
I do recommend the canoe strip plank method of construction , if only for your plug. The strips have a wonderful way of lying in a fair curve without any effort from you.

Yeah from everything I see this is going to be the method to use for quicker realization of the shape. If done right I will only have to sand twice, once for the general shape, and once to fill holes. Then it is epoxy fiberglass love.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sendler (Post 424805)
You can curve the side profile as well.
The 8* departure angle might drag on some driveways and 4* looks way too slow along the top..
If you are going to do all that with a plug and fiberglass, why not do the nose as well like Ben did and save your $2000?

I thought the side profile didn't seem right either but I was going with what Grant-53 suggested. At this point I can do anything as it doesn't exist yet outside of my computer.

As for the front fairing I already bought it from Vetter and it has been sitting in my living room a while. Good thing I am single lol Vetter spent a lot of time making this thing and at the time I wasn't considering making my own as I have no fiberglass experience and or streamlining experience. That would mean the cost was made up in the time I would have spent making it.

The tail I am making isn't the only one either. I plan on making a vetter tail to get the thing on the road asap. The ideal tail will likely stay on it once it is done though. The idea of leaving my belongings inside a paper shell doesn't sit well with me.

Quote:

Originally Posted by PeterS (Post 424814)
Burton, are you planning an openable storage compartment in the rear section ? If so have you any idea how it will be arranges and how the lid will work?

Right now the plan is to purchase the vetter seat cowl he finished tooling a week ago. It is at his fiberglass guy now if I recall but wont be available for a month or two. It has built into it a recessed section to accept a hatch of some sort.

I imagine you could go with wood here and hinge it to the fiberglass. Wood or metal should be used for the load bearing side of the opening as well as the locking section. The rest could be a foam / fiberglass sandwich and you could get away with it so long as you included mounting points when you made it.

There are notes on each of these images at flickr. Nothing is to scale it is merely to show concepts but if you can't grasp the drawing after reading their descriptions let me know.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2897/...cbb897c8_z.jpgDoor_Latch
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5557/...8a79f761_z.jpgDoor_HingeOp2
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5192/...7a748e10_z.jpgDoor_HingeOp1

PeterS 05-17-2014 06:20 PM

Thanks Burton .

Don't forget to make the wheels easily removable, motorcycle tires really don't last long and if you use the bike a lot you'll change tires often.

Burton 05-17-2014 06:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PeterS (Post 424892)
Thanks Burton .
Don't forget to make the wheels easily removable, motorcycle tires really don't last long and if you use the bike a lot you'll change tires often.

More like don't forget to make the whole tail easily removable. Vetter prides himself in being able to easily remove both front and back fairings and I plan on following the same path.

I have 40k miles on my current bike in about 2.5 years so I know a thing or two about changing tires ;)

PeterS 05-17-2014 06:47 PM

Excellent ! I't's one of those little things I've been thinking about .

BTW, I wish I could afford a Zero, a new one is A$25K in Australia!

Grant-53 05-17-2014 06:49 PM

This is proving to be a global project. The angles I recommend are from the Morelli/ Aptera shape and match those found on vintage sailplanes. The ground clearance, 4" plus, should keep the tail high enough. The latch receiver plate need only be a piece of metal as the locks come in different lengths.
Sendler and I occasionally butt heads which is one reason I always wear a helmet;)

If anyone is interested we have the National Sailplane Museum and the Glenn Curtiss Museum nearby. Curtiss built motorcycles before getting into aviation. It's about 2 hours from Syracuse.

Burton 05-17-2014 08:40 PM

Prepare to but heads some more.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2939/...6883fb02_z.jpgApplying ideal shape to side

Ideal shape applied to side profile as well as top. Interestingly enough the overall angle is close to the one Tom Finch suggested Terry use on his tail.

Burton 05-17-2014 08:52 PM

There should be more than 4" of clearance at the rear given the tail is only going to be about 2 or 3" under the frame of the body, maybe even flush with it idk yet.

It would really suck to drag a tail down hill. Let me do some quick math. Ok it would take a slope of 21 degrees to start dragging tail with the bike not bottomed out. If it was bottomed out it would take a slope of 9.3 degrees to touch down.

Bike bottoms out at 3" off the ground. My wheels are 17" rims so about 14.5" from axle + the 4" from loft.

EDIT: Just realized / remembered the seat cowl Vetter is building angles backward >_< This means the above is wrong as that isn't the final vertical profile. Oh well, getting faster at producing them so.

Burton 05-21-2014 12:34 PM

It looks like there will be a welder in my near future.

Vetter was looking at my bracket concept using only machine screws and said it wouldn't stand up to the forces involved likely sheering while in use.
He said I needs to be welded and to find a welder. Granted he was talking about finding someone who can weld but I have been meaning to learn for a long time now.

So knowing this project might require welding I am actually already a month into research but I think i will pull the trigger shortly.

Going with a green box 250ex and buying a WP20 torch @ 25' w/ superflex cord, stubby lense kit, extra tig 2% ceriated @ 1/16, 3/32, 1/8, gloves, miller 9000 helmet, some filler rod for mild steel 10lbs, water cooling unit (again green box), a tig finger, and a nema 15-50p plug so I can wire up the green box. Comes out to under 3k but close to it >_<

I am likely missing something in the list. I realize I need long sleeves when welding and I should be protecting my neck from radiation as well. I already sent out requests to electricians to get a 15-50p 50am 240v outlet installed outside my breaker box but that will likely cost $350 but I can use it for my bike as well. ^_^

Good times.

Xist 05-21-2014 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Burton (Post 425486)
Going with a green box 250ex and buying a WP20 torch @ 25' w/ superflex cord, stubby lense kit, extra tig 2% ceriated @ 1/16, 3/32, 1/8, gloves, miller 9000 helmet, some filler rod for mild steel 10lbs, water cooling unit (again green box), a tig finger, and a nema 15-50p plug so I can wire up the green box. Comes out to under 3k but close to it >_<

Yet you are not finished...

I did not have any idea welding was that expensive!

jkv357 05-21-2014 01:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Burton (Post 425486)
It looks like there will be a welder in my near future.

Vetter was looking at my bracket concept using only machine screws and said it wouldn't stand up to the forces involved likely sheering while in use.
He said I needs to be welded and to find a welder. Granted he was talking about finding someone who can weld but I have been meaning to learn for a long time now.

So knowing this project might require welding I am actually already a month into research but I think i will pull the trigger shortly.

Going with a green box 250ex and buying a WP20 torch @ 25' w/ superflex cord, stubby lense kit, extra tig 2% ceriated @ 1/16, 3/32, 1/8, gloves, miller 9000 helmet, some filler rod for mild steel 10lbs, water cooling unit (again green box), a tig finger, and a nema 15-50p plug so I can wire up the green box. Comes out to under 3k but close to it >_<

I am likely missing something in the list. I realize I need long sleeves when welding and I should be protecting my neck from radiation as well. I already sent out requests to electricians to get a 15-50p 50am 240v outlet installed outside my breaker box but that will likely cost $350 but I can use it for my bike as well. ^_^

Good times.

Do you have any welding experience? The equipment you listed is pretty high-end for an inexperienced fabricator.

If you are planning to weld mostly mild steel, a MIG set-up is a ton less - and a lot easier to learn. TIG welding, especially on aluminum, is not something you can learn in a weekend.

I would take a welding night-class at a local Technical College if you are serious about welding.

As far as MIGs go, there are a lot of choices for the hobbyist. You don't need a Miller to do good work. Hobart is the consumer brand of Miller, and can handle most anything but all-day welding. I would get a proper MIG set-up with shielding gas and not the flux-core wire set-up.

I'm not a professional welder by any means, but I have done a fair amount of structural automotive MIG welding and some TIG welding of stainless and chrome moly. I have a Hobart welder at home and a Miller TIG available.

I would be interested in hearing opinions from more experienced welders, but it seemed to me that you were looking at equipment that was quite a bit more advanced than what you would need to complete your project.

Burton 05-21-2014 02:40 PM

I don't think it is more than what I need it is likely just right. I figured I would start with mild steel first then transition into aluminum.

The machine is a 250amp AC/DC with enough options where I won't have to buy another machine unless I start to do it professionally.

That is just how I buy things, so they will grow with me and not hinder or limit my ambitions. In the land of welders most will say buy the most you can afford because you will likely regret going small later. I could have used a welder so many times in the last three years for other projects on my ninja 250. To me it is a long term purchase.

I forgot to include an argon tank in the mix which will likely run me $350ish

For this project I likely will not end up welding aluminum but I will likely replace components of this project later with aluminum to save weight as I bring up my skill level. Also I should note I don't need this to complete my project, it is a want not a need, as I can find a local welder to weld up my pieces for me.

And I am sure with a little bit more thought I could figure out a way to do the project without welding even that part. In fact I just thought of one :) A very simple modification too, just make it all one piece instead of a two part bracket system. Of course this assumes a single 1/8 piece of mild steel could live up to the stresses without cross bracing. I will run the idea past Vetter.

PeterS 05-21-2014 06:23 PM

Full protective gear, legs, arms, neck hands, face and eyes Burton. The UV output will give you skin cancer.

Burton 05-21-2014 07:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PeterS (Post 425569)
Full protective gear, legs, arms, neck hands, face and eyes Burton. The UV output will give you skin cancer.

Here is my complete list with prices for those interested. Also I blieve I have everything above but if you feel I should be getting something more than thick blue jeans, a thick long sleeve shirt, and a neck protector let me know.
  • Pass & Seymour 3867CC5 Angle Plug Three Pole Four Wire 30-Amp/50-Amp 125-volt/250-volt $16.77ea
  • TIG Finger Heat Shield $14.99
  • CK CK20-25SF FX Torch Pkg 250A 25' Flex. 3 pc SuperFlex $130.53
  • 2014 Everlast PowerTig 250EX AC DC TIG STICK Pulse welder 220/240 Volt Inverter-Based AC DC $1550.00
  • Everlast PowerCool W300 Water Cooler $397.16
  • CK SGL-KITM Accessory Kit -Stubby Gas Lens. 4GL- 1/16, 3/32, 1/8 $66.57
  • CK T187GC2-3 2% Ceriated Tungsten Electrode Ceriated 1/8" X 7" Pkg = 3 $12.70
  • CK T1167GC2-3 2% Ceriated Tungsten Electrode 1/16" X 7" Pkg = 3 $4.49
  • CK T3327GC2-3 2% Ceriated Tungsten Electrode 3/32" X 7" Pkg = 3 $7.74
  • Miller 256176 Titanium 9400 Industrial Welding Helmet $297.12
  • Tillman 24C Top Grain Kidskin 4" Cuff TIG Welding Gloves, Medium $9.96
  • Weldcote Metals ER70S-2 1/8" X 36" Tig Welding Rod 10 Lbs. $23.33
  • 200cuft tank ~$250
  • Electrician to install 14-50p outlet (since I don't want to be liable for burning the house down) ~$300
  • Total ~ 3081.36

Ok so maybe not under 3k since I need to pay electrician for outlet install lol Wonder if I punch the holes, install the wires but dont screw anything down, install the breaker and simply have him screw them together if it would be far less ? :)

user removed 05-21-2014 07:22 PM

That would pay for 60 hours of my brother (retired welder) working for you. He lives in eastern Va. including all supplies, tig, steel, stainless, titanium, aluminum. Bring the work to him or pay him for half the travel distance at the same rate. He welded titanium jet engine compressor blades for the Navy, aluminum missile containers for the Navy, LNG ship hull sections for NN shipyard, nuclear work also.

regards
Mech

Michael Moore 05-22-2014 12:53 AM

I've got a Miller 250DX and something that size is likely to be as large as you'll ever need.

One thing to keep in mind about welding aluminum is you'll be fully annealed in the area of the weld. Steel is much more forgiving, 1018/1020 (which is all you really need) is relatively inexpensive, easy to find and easy to weld and a steel structure very likely can end up just as light or lighter if you do it right. Plus, if kept below the fatigue limit steel can be cycled pretty much forever where every cycle on aluminum brings it one step closer to failure.

So consider steel for structure and keep aluminum for low-stress parts like fuel/oil tanks, bodywork, etc.

You can buy a fire-retardant lightweight cloth welding jacket pretty reasonably and that will give you arm/neck coverage. If you are TIGing you shouldn't need thick leathers to protect you from molten metal blown out of the weld pool.

I've heard that some of the Miller helmets use a proprietary battery so you might want to check that out.

cheers,
Michael

PeterS 05-22-2014 01:24 AM

Old Mechanic's suggestion is a good one.

I weld and even do OK in some positions but I tend to cut out the steel, dress the edges and do all the prep then take it to my local shop if I need a really neat job. I've found that for complex constructions a model in timber or ply, glued with hot glue is a very good way of assuring I get precisely what I need .

euromodder 05-22-2014 08:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Burton (Post 425524)
I don't think it is more than what I need it is likely just right. I figured I would start with mild steel first then transition into aluminum.

Welding alu is far more involved than welding mild steel.

You can get a lot of work done for the kind of money you'd want to spend on it.

aluminumwelder 05-22-2014 08:38 AM

welding advice
 
You'd be better off posting your welding question on a welding forum like weldingweb.com
there are many helpful people over there.
I have a ton of customer orders to get done so I'll make this quick, I'd spend a LOT less if I were you on welding gear if you only use it occassionally like once a week or less.
alphatig | eBay
ahp alphatig goes on ebay or amazon for $700
ceriated tungstens are ok, but 2% blue lanthinated are much better, especially for aluminum. A $100 welding helmet will work fine, the $300 ones are really not that much better. Heck even a $60 harbor freight one is fine! IMHO.

I have a DVD on basic tig welding I can mail you, just PM me your address.

when I get some time I will watch all your youtube videos and read this whole thread, it's a very cool project. one I hope to do with my zero one day.


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