I want to make a towing handle for the ex-pat X-air for when I do eventually manage to get it to France. The one I had made for the Savannah has proven to be very useful and effective and even though I might only have the X-air for a few weeks or months, being able to move it around using a towing handle will be equally valuable.
I bought the steel tubing for it a few weeks ago and tried to get someone to send me the measurement across the X-air’s forks so I could go ahead, but without success, so although I can’t fabricate the complete towing handle in advance, I can make a start, albeit a small one, while I’m hanging around at home, by attaching the handle to the main bar. So that’s what I did today.
I bought a cheap mini Chinese electric welder some time ago but apart from doing a test weld on an old mower blade, I haven’t had the chance to try it on anything else. So welding the towbar’s handle would be my first real test. I started by setting up my Workmate in my workshop with a thin plate of metal on its worksurface to which I clamped the two pieces of tube that I wanted to weld after I’d cleaned and prepared them and then I got started.
The next few shots show the final results after I’d (ahem) cleaned the welds up a bit to make them as presentable as possible.
I learnt a few things along the way, mostly from what went wrong.
* Work in good light. I didn’t and ended up with some welds on the metal above or beside the joint and not on the joint itself. You need to see clearly where the end of the welding rod is touching the metal to be joined when you strike the arc.
* Don’t turn the current up too high. I got frustrated and did so while trying to get the arc to start and quickly burnt a hole through 2mm wall tube even with a small diameter welding rod. My little welder goes up to 200 amps. I reckon that’s enough to weld a plate on the side of a ship. 60 amps was plenty.
* When you’ve started welding don’t stop. If you do it’s hard to get a nice clean restart on the line of the weld. I might go back later and see if I can over-weld and clean up the joints I did today.
I’m afraid that the results leave a lot to be desired so I’ve still some way to go before I’ll be able to produce decent quality welds but what I’ve got will be perfectly OK for what I need and won’t look too bad with a coat of paint. It’s just a pity that I can’t do anymore without the measurement that I need as I’d have liked to see the whole job through in one go. That makes cleaning the cars the next Covid-19 job 😉