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Prototype Completed

I have completed the build. The machine has been tested and can cut up to 1”x10” flat steel, and ⅜”x4”x6” angle steel. It should cut up to ⅜”x6”x6” angle steel, but we didn’t have any on hand, so didn’t test it. Here’s a video of the testing:

I’m working on another, longer post, outlining the whole process, for OSE which should be posted by the end of the week.



I need to catch up on writing about the processes, but for now, I’ll tell current progress.

I’ve got the upper arm and hydraulics installed, and in the next couple of days, I’m going to check the blade gap, and finish machining the lower blade mounts. At that point, I’ll make the tables and clamps for the shear. Then it’s on to testing.

I suspect I’ll be done fabbing by next week.

Here’s a video of it moving:

Machining the space for the half-moons

This was a task which was actually easier than I thought it would be.

To place the location of the half-moons, I used my sketchup model to locate where the center of the arcs would be. The half-moons are cut out of what would be a perfect 5.00″ diameter circle. I then used a pointed tool, mounted in the mill,  to locate the center of the circle, relative to where the center of the blade would be. I then “marked” where the circle would be removed by mounting in the boring head, and setting it to make a 5″ diameter circle. I lowered it onto the piece, and it cut a groove into the metal where the half-moon would go.

The material removed by mag-drill

Before beginning, I removed as much material as possible from the area with a Mag-drill, similiarly to how I did for the space for the angle blade.

Then it was just a matter of boring. Once I started getting close to the line I marked, I began inserting the half moon to see how much more I needed to machine. Once it got really close, I began taking very small passes( .005-) and checking the gap with a feeler gauge set. See this video for a better explanation:

In terms of how deep to machine these slots, they should be between 0.24 and 0.25″ above the bottom, where the blade will go. When both the angle blades and the half moons are in place, the half moons should be slightly recessed, so that the blade sits a few thousandths above the half moons.


It’s been quite some time since I’ve written.

Not too much has gotten done. That’s why.

But things are finally moving.

I’m currently at Factor e Farm, and still getting used to the lack of tools here… Yes, I had been here before, but then, I was making the CEB. That really doesn’t require too many tools. The ironworker, however, is a much more complex machine, so it requires many more tools.

I’ve basically spent the last few weeks being a mechanic and electrician. Things are breaking constantly around here (even more than at Enniss!). I had to get the 3 phase power set up here so I could use the mill to do the remainder of the machining.

I have finished machining the upper arm (blog entry to come). I’m currently finishing it up. I welded the support pieces to the back, and tomorrow I’ll drill the holes for the blades. After that, I’m stuck, as the mills are down.


Leaving for Factor e Farm, car diagnosis and fix

This last week, I’ve been preparing to go to the farm. The main thing that’s holding me back is getting my cars fixed up, as I’m driving out there. I’ll be driving my sebring, but want my mercedes to be driveable as well. I’ll use my mercedes if I fly home to visit for holidays.

My main vehicle is a 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible, and that’s what I’m driving to missouri. I needed to fix an oil leak, and my neutral safety switch.

Oil leak was easy, but the neutral safety switch has me pulling out my hair!! Every time I work on my Sebring, my hatred for chrysler grows.

Heres the problem with my NSS (Neutral safety switch) : Every now and then, when my car is hot and I try to start it, it won’t start. To get it to start, I need to jiggle the shifter between park and neutral with the starter engaged. Sometimes it starts as soon as i shift it, and sometimes it takes 25 minutes. It always starts eventually, even if it means me walking away for a half an hour until the car cools down more.

Since needing to jiggle shifter is a classic sign of mal-adjusted NSS, I figure this is it. However, it could just as easily be some wire that is shorting somewhere. Since the problem only happens when the car is hot, it must be something which is effected by heat (or just about everything).

For a long time I couldn’t find my NSS; most vehicles have the NSS on the outside of the transmission, so it can be removed with a couple bolts. However, for my car, it is inside the transmission. But nowhere online does it say it’s location. I had to purchase the part, and look for the correct electrical connection to find it. Even this proved difficult, as the tranny is 1 yr older than the vehicle, so I ended up getting the wrong part– twice– before I realized this.

The NSS is inside the tranny, and to access it, you have to open up the pan (which has no drain plut), and open up the valve body.

To do all of that would cost roughly $150: tranny fluid + filter ~$50, NSS~ $45, Tranny gasket kit ~$55. It would involve opening up the guts of the tranny.

Given the expense, the chance of messing something up, and the chance the replacing the NSS wouldn’t solve the problem, I decided to bypass the NSS instead, saving me $100.

The problem with bypassing it, is that you could start your car in any gear, meaning if you were parked, you could accidentally run into or over things. However, paying careful attention to which gear the car is in when you start it will remedy this.

I’ve found a couple sites that tell me which wire I need to ground. Now I just need to figure which one is ground. I’ll figure this by testing with some leads.

Machining angle mount- Milling to proper size

Machining down angle mount, at 45 degree angle.

To mill the mount to the proper size, I first had to mount the piece at a 45 degree angle with the table. I had to be a little creative here, as the large piece would hit the machine during travel if I wasn’t careful. I found that since much of the material had been mag-drilled away, I could take up to 3/8″ depth away at a time! This made the process a bit faster. I didn’t remove to full depth yet, as that is something I wanted to do all at once, to insure everything had the exact same height.

I left about 1/8″ clearance for the blade, so it won’t interfere with mount.

After machining at the 45 degree angle, I changed the angle to 50.7 degrees. This is because this is where the blade will rotate to, so you have to insure the blade has full rotation. See this video:

After doing all of that, I machined everything to the final depth.

I found that the slitting saw went a bit deep once more in some spots. However, the variation wasn’t nearly as much as with the flat blade.

I decided there wasn’t enough variation to warrant welding it. I checked by using a blade (because it’s perfectly flat, and heavy enough to not move around), and a set of feeler gauges. I found the maximum deviation to be .0025″. Since the overall clearance between blades needs to be between .007″ and .010″, I machined the depth to .007″, so if anything goes wrong, I have a few thousandths to play with. Since I left .003″ play, and the deviation is only .0025″ I figured this will be OK, as even if the blade warps the mount, it will still be within tolerance.

I should have been a bit carefuler about where I mag-drilled, but it really won’t effect the strength of the piece, and some more of it will be removed when I machine the space for the angle mount.

Ironworker Ready to Ship!

I’m shipping it out today, to be finished in MO.