1 2 3 4
BirgerBuilder Reader
7/20/19 10:32 a.m.

Ok, that's helpful...

I'll turn up the heat and try to shoot a video of just the arc/ puddle. I do know that in the third video, I didn't get a good puddle going before I started but that was more the exception.

My issue seems to be that when I get the puddle hot enough, it seems to burn through almost immediately after. Not so much with a thick plate on the table but when trying to join 2 pieces, nearly every time. Should it be that difficult to walk that line and I just need more practice? Or, could there still be something wrong with my set up making it hard to control?

BirgerBuilder Reader
7/20/19 2:58 p.m.

Holy flickin shirt balls guys, I got it figured out!

So I started out just trying to make a puddle, no filler, like TVR suggested. 

Nearly every time, it wouldn't stay stable, still was full of contamination, even without filler. 

You can see 4 passes of it, in the picture below.

But! what's going on in the very last weld, on the left side, Clean Metal! what was different there? 

I held the torch close, like really really close. If the puddle hadn't sagged because I was running too hot it would have touched, close. 

So, I gave myself a bit more stick-out, so I could try running that close again. No change. 

Then, I cranked the argon from the recommended 17 CFH to a whopping 30. AND...


After that I messed around with cup sizes and fiddled with the gas a bit more. Seems like on my machine you need, ~28 CFH and the largest converging cup you can get away with.

Not sure why I need so much more flow than the charts say but I am so happy to know what the problem is. Turns out, when you have air mixed in with your shielding gas, you can 'almost' get it to weld, but only if you run the torch so hot that everything falls apart. 

I may try some longer cups or maybe a glass lens but loooooooook!

I joined two pieces! And it doesn't look like dog turds!


AngryCorvair MegaDork
7/20/19 4:41 p.m.

So lemme sum this up:  bigger cup size, more stick out, and better protection led to more effective coupling?

BirgerBuilder Reader
7/20/19 6:13 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

stick out didn't really matter, Upping the flow rate to way above what my chart says was the real ticket. Just ordered a Gas lens set for hopefully even better coverage!

TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
7/20/19 8:15 p.m.


barefootskater Dork
7/20/19 8:43 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

So lemme sum this up:  bigger cup size, more stick out, and better protection led to more effective coupling?

Quoted because I can’t upvote more than once. 

BirgerBuilder Reader
7/21/19 7:00 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

So lemme sum this up:  bigger cup size, more stick out, and better protection led to more effective coupling?

Lol, I was so chuffed about finally getting the welder to work that I let the joke go right over my head. 

AWSX1686 SuperDork
7/22/19 8:42 a.m.

Glad you got it figured out! I can't wait to get a TIG and give myself the same frustrations. 

BirgerBuilder Reader
7/22/19 10:46 a.m.
AWSX1686 said:

Glad you got it figured out! I can't wait to get a TIG and give myself the same frustrations. 

Yeah man, If you have that friend near by that can come over and set up your machine for you it should be painless. I asked all around and couldn't find anyone in my circle who knew how to weld Aluminum. If I had, I'm sure they would have been able to use the machine for 30 seconds and say, "It's not Shielded well enough, turn up the gas"

BirgerBuilder Reader
7/30/19 2:29 p.m.

Went to the beach for a few days, had to fix my wife's daily (Honda engineers, you can get bent) and back to work finishing the winged structure.

First, I made the motor mounts adjustable for belt tension. I used a bolt, through a threaded aluminum post which moves the motor into place. After that, you can tighten down the bolts through the back to lock it in place. 


Next, I made some tabs to hold the wires from the window crank.

My welding still needs a lot of work, but at least I am learning now.

And then I drilled a ton of holes in the wing supports for future feather attachment. Below, you can see both the tabs for wires and holes drilled/ coming back together.

I also added studs to mount the lower window crank, but I will likely do these over so that the whole assembly comes apart together.

And that's how it sits for today. Next, I need to make 2 brackets to hold the upper crank at the right angle and hopefully hold the pulley in place as well. I just got the drive belts from McMaster-Carr this afternoon so I'm eager to get it all back together and test it out. 


GameboyRMH MegaDork
7/30/19 3:31 p.m.

Just got caught up, lookin' good! My only suggestion is that when you get the wing base finished (mechanically), you should add plenty of speed holes. This will both lighten it up and improve airflow for comfort.

BirgerBuilder Reader
8/2/19 3:29 p.m.

I've been working hard on this project lately to try and get it off my plate.

Here's today's update. I made a simple bracket to hold the second crank in place.

I was going to make 2, but it's fairly stable with just one so we will see,

And it seems to work pretty well! It's slower than I expected so I may swap out the 12 RPM motor for something a bit faster. I'll probably wait to see how difficult the finished product is to move.

Next, I did some updating and modifying. I had welded another tab onto the L- channel that was built to hold the feathers.

However, on one side in particular, it was beginning to bend, I think, because I ran into it, and I wanted something stronger. So I replaced them with C-channel and added extra structure.

I set these inside the C-channel where the rotational pin goes and welded them in.

It was going pretty well till I ran out on Argon. But they should be strong enough.

Next up, wiring!  Oh, and the wife has been busy with making feathers...

BirgerBuilder Reader
8/7/19 1:43 p.m.

Well, I spent a few hours yesterday and the whole morning working on the wiring, not that I have much to show for it.

First, I installed the limit switched on the arms. I didn't have any rivets or screws small enough, but some 3/32 filler rod bent into a staple worked a treat.

These were "crimped" onto some L shaped tabs which I forgot to take pictures of, after I installed them.

After testing that they worked, I tidied up the wires and ran them through the arms. Too bad I forgot to add two extra for the lighting.

Next, I found this lovely bunch of wire which I believe was ripped out of a late 80's car-phone that had been installed in my 87 RX-7.

And it had all the wires needed plus two extra for any incidentals.

I also got the small rocker switch I ordered the other day. And I put those two together.

Then, I drew a wiring diagram. put it all together with temporary clips, made sure it worked, got ready to install plugs and clean everything up, then came down with the stupid.

For some reason it took me way longer to figure out how I had done it the first time than it had taken me to put it all together in the first place. I don't know what happened to my brain but I rebuilt it again and labeled my wiring diagram properly the second time.

Anyway, I ran out of time with only one plug left to go. Here's the mess in my garage. Hopefully, I will get the belts and faster motor I ordered soon so that I can have a finished working prototype and the wife can start making it look cool.

BirgerBuilder Reader
8/9/19 2:43 p.m.

Finished up cleaning up the wiring, and got nearly everything installed. Then I realized that I didn't include the switch for the LEDs in the disconnect.

So, I had to de-pin all that and use a 6-pin instead. These cheapo amazon plugs are not great for that and it took me way too long to get everything apart.

Fixed, and much neater now.

After that, I ran the wires for the LEDs up the arms and tested them.

They are... fairly bright. can't wait to see what 20 of them looks like.

For now, it's time to take it all back apart. I needed to add two tubes to hold the 'horns' on her back. I already made them up and drilled them the right size to accept some 1/2" CPVC, so I just need to weld them on.

Not great welding, but man, so improved. I just filled the argon bottle up again and it seems even easier to weld now. Without changing anything else, I was able to turn the gas down to 25 and still get great results.

I'm thinking that used bottle did have some contamination and it's just now getting flushed out. I was able fill some pretty large gaps and puddle control seemed magically easy today.

I also added an extra support because the one side was living where the crank cables wanted to be instead. Again, super easy welding with only my lack of skill slowing me down.

I'm almost to the point where I can hand it back to the wife and not have to be involved anymore.

Not that she hasn't been busy too...


BirgerBuilder Reader
8/16/19 2:47 p.m.

After getting everything back together, and doing some more testing, I was noticing a lot, like A LOT of pulley wobble. So I tried to trace down the problem.

First I made a second bracket to try and stabilize everything better, it didn't help and now I see why.

Yeah, those are supposed to be, like, aligned. Also, preferably closer together.

So I cut both brackets in half, lined the pulleys up straight, and welded the brackets back together.

Now it works like a champ, nice and straight, even when I tighten the belt down really well.

So now we have a nearly finished product, which means, it's time to hand it back over to the wife and I can get back to doing race car things with my race car friends.

I think, she'll be able to make it look Okay.

AngryCorvair MegaDork
8/16/19 3:42 p.m.


BirgerBuilder Reader
9/13/19 2:12 p.m.

So, I've been 'out' of this project for a few weeks and now I've been suckered back in.

The wings look awesome, but they move too slow, painfully slow. I agreed with the wife on this front and ordered a bigger/ faster motor.

yup, that ought to do it.

however, there is no room for said bigger motor, so lets get all Binky and make a bracket.

Simple enough.

Cut and trimmed. Also, very pleased with myself for measuring the holes, doing the maths and cutting them on the mill with no template, then having them turn out, oh so right.

Here you can see the required flip to make the motor work in the small space.

Next up, I need to remake the top pulley, since it is somehow way off center, resulting in variable belt tension as it rotates. I'll make this pulley bigger while I'm at it because it could still move faster and, well, we have the torque.

I also need to strengthen the bracket with a cross bar to keep flex down. And... now that i have this huge motor, one battery isn't gonna cut it anymore.

When you try to run it now, it hits the current limit and shuts the battery off. I measured with the multimeter and found .4 amps when running, well under the batteries 2.4 amp claimed limit. however, motor start-up shows a quick spike of around 2 amps so hopefully running 2 batteries in parallel will fix the problem. If not, I guess I will need to figure out some type of soft-start switch.


BirgerBuilder Reader
9/13/19 3:07 p.m.

Oh yeah, and here's what the wife has accomplished since I stepped out.

In the video, you can see just how slow the small motor is. This is after I switched from a 12rpm motor to a 20 rpm. you can also hear it struggling under load when you are close to it.



CharleyK New Reader
9/13/19 4:33 p.m.

Wow, just wow, that's really impressive.

BirgerBuilder Reader
9/16/19 2:01 p.m.

Well, the big contest is on October 5th and her application is in.

Now it's time to finish up all the quirks and get this thing working reliably.

After I installed the new motor, the pulleys were no longer aligned so I had to move the bottom pulley out. Instead of changing it's design, I drilled and tapped holes in 3 m10 bolts to use like leveling legs on a dishwasher.

I also turned a new top pulley that is both larger and properly centered.

This got everything running much smoother and faster. However, as I mentioned before, the small battery i was using, would cut out under the larger motor's load.

I ordered a speed controller with a built in soft start. I wired it in just before the motor and tested it out. It worked! however, only in the up direction...

I assumed the problem was that you couldn't run the current backwards through the speed controller (It was wired in after the switch that changes the polarity)

So I cut the wires apart and wired the speed controller in before the switch, so that the power would go through the soft start first, then go to the switch to be sent to the motor either normal or reverse polarity.

That's when the weirdness starts... Now, it works in either direction, but only once. So, you can turn the battery on, flip the switch and the motor will run (either way). however, after it his the limit, or you stop it manually, when you try to run it again, the battery cuts out...

This happens if you try to run it one way, then the other, or if you try to run it the same way twice. For some reason, you can't run it a second time unless you reset the battery?

So I'm super confused and I have a second battery coming in this week, I will wire it in, in parallel, so that each battery should only use half the amps. I hope that that fixes it but I really want to know what is causing this weird issue?

Well, here is a kind of jerky demo of the improved speed of the wings that is sort of ruined by the fact that the belt is not tight enough. Making a new tensioner bolt is next on the agenda.

AngryCorvair MegaDork
9/16/19 2:06 p.m.

the lighted feathers are so cool!

BirgerBuilder Reader
9/16/19 2:29 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

the lighted feathers are so cool!

Thanks, I showed the wife how to solder, and she did most all of it. And burned herself pretty good 3 times along the way.

nderwater UltimaDork
9/17/19 7:36 a.m.
BirgerBuilder said:

Oh wow, that turned out awesome!  It's huge!

BirgerBuilder Reader
9/17/19 1:44 p.m.


This morning I made a tensioner bolt and didn't take many pictures of the process. I cut a slot in the bottom of the bracket and welded a small piece of aluminum rod that was drilled and tapped.

Here is a 'bigfoot quality' photo of the installed bolt.

The sharpie circle under it is where I welded in a small landing circle for the bolt to rest in and it seems to do the trick.

I also moved some of the wiring around and made a second battery holder for the left side, still awaiting second battery.

It seems that leaving the battery on, rather than using it a second time, is the culprit of when it won't work. The why is still a mystery to me.

Well hopefully the second battery fixes it or else she's gonna have a 15 pound lawn mower battery on her back.

Oh, and she was accepted into the NY comic-con regionals. She told me that she doesn't really want to win because then we have to go to Chicago for Nationals.

BirgerBuilder Reader
9/20/19 2:51 p.m.

Well, the big day is fast approaching and we already know that traffic/ human crowds are going to be a huge issue.

So she rented a storage locker that's a block and a half from the convention center and we will be able to store everything there and walk back and forth. Never having to attempt to move our borrowed cargo van around the city during the convention will be a big plus.

But, we still need to move everything on foot...

Let's build a loot crate. My son helped a good bit during the process.

started with a 3x3 frame then decided we could get away with 2'x3' if we take a few things apart.

Casters were stolen off of my brother's engine hoist. If you're gonna leave stuff at my house, I'm gonna use it.

Nearly boxed in.

And structuarly, she's done.

And lastly I added a handle.

I need to put sides, a door and a roof panel on it. The wife is supposed to look for sheets of corrugated plastic today. They will be super light and water proof if she can find large enough sections of them.

Oh yeah, and the second battery arrived yesterday. I charged it up... and Berk-all was different. still the same problem as before... I'm stumped.

Whatever. angry I stole a 12v sealed battery from the kids motorized scooter, and hooked it up. Works great, plenty of charge, fits on the panel. She'll just have to lug the extra 4 pounds. 

After all of the upgrades, the whole winged contraption went from 16 pounds to 21, so worth it, I guess.



1 2 3 4
Our Preferred Partners