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Old 05-06-2010, 10:18 AM   #51
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Re: Polar Bear 1

WVvan - Yes, a propane torch is enough. No, the metal doesn't have to glow... In fact, the propane torch doesn't seem to get 1/8" hot enough to glow no matter how long I told it there. I think, if I had a hot enough torch to do so, I could get my final bend.

It's very much preferable to dip the metal in water after bending so as to keep the temper of the steel. I don't know if I got it hot enough to matter. I'm new to this, but according to my sources, if you don't do this the steel will want to return to it's original form (spring back) or it might get weak where it's bent and want to snap off. For my application, I'm mostly sure it's not really important, but I was gonna do it anyway.

Is "Big Z", by chance, a Surfs Up reference? Looong smooth strokes, code... you can't fight these big waves!
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:40 PM   #52
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Could you do something else instead of copying the brackets? Like 2 2" brackets in that shape, or one bend not two, etc.

I do think thinner metal would be a better idea since the first bend went so well. Also you can get a mini oxy-acetylene torch. The tanks are a little over a foot high.

Last but not least, do the small bend first... you leave yourself more leverage for the second bend that way.
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:19 PM   #53
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Re: Polar Bear 1

you will need more heat than that propane can do...get ya a bottle of MAPP gas and it might work...better if you know someone with an oxy-acetylene setup...but yea...ya need a good vice..maybe even some pipe wrenches to give you leverage..(thats how I did my awning brackets)

do NOT get glowing steel wet..it becomes brittle like glass...but letting them cool off for a couple min then quenching it will make it nice and tough!...just nuff that it steams off the water for a few seconds...
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85 E250 Turbo 6.9 vegiburner
92 explorer (well the vin tag and body skins are anyway)
09 jeep wrangler unlimted...for walmart wheelin!!

nothing scares my wife like my boredom and a welder!!
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:38 AM   #54
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Re: Polar Bear 1

@jage & @wanderer351 - I think I'm going to take the "build it a different way" route. I can probably get access to a hotter torch, but I'm leaning away from the whole bending thing a bit... not sure yet, I stepped away from that part of the project for a night.

--

Tonight I did something else with the rack. I went to a local shop and tried my hand at some welding. I haven't done it since high school and I've never used a wire feed before.



So on the rack I had to cut off three nuts because the bolts broke off inside. Tonight I welded on a washer and nut to replace what I cut off. My only concern is that the nut is a little thicker than the original... but if that's the case, I can just go get longer bolts.

My craftsmanship leaves something to be desired. Even though my welds were about as sloppy as they come, I wacked em with a hammer and they seem to be pretty strong. I'm going to need to practice a lot more before building anything that will be easily seen. Anyway, I sprayed on some primer before I got around to taking a pic, but you can see my mess (brown) compared to the original look (white):



You guys know you can click all these images for bigger ones right? I try to keep the page load times down with small thumbnails...

Anyway, after welding I hurried home to get to work. Unfortunately, it was pouring down rain so I didn't think it would be a good time to paint. I was having trouble getting around in the garage so I focused on some much needed rearranging and cleaning. By the time I finished, the rain had turned to snow... in May...



I had hoped to get the rack mounted by this weekend, but that's not happening. I need a day or two of painting before I can mount it and I still have to make the brackets. I should be able to get it wrapped up next week though. I thought I'd be working this weekend, but I couldn't turn down an opportunity to spend the weeekend freezing in a tent in the mountains. Seriously, we're going backpacking... and I just couldn't say no.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:05 AM   #55
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Quote:
I thought I'd be working this weekend, but I couldn't turn down an opportunity to spend the weeekend freezing in a tent in the mountains. Seriously, we're going backpacking... and I just couldn't say no.

LOL

next week, declining a 4 nite free stay at a casino with food comped and 100 degrees and hotties at the pool, so i can drive 1000 miles, hit crummy dirt roads, pee in the woods, dance around my wife and dog to move 3 feet inside Wilson, not to mention depleting the Ozone layer with 10mpg...
and have a great coffee at dawn at 8,000 feet
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Old 05-12-2010, 04:27 PM   #56
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Holy lack of motivation batman. So I got home from the woods on Sunday night. I wanted to get the primer done, but I went to grab dinner first. I got home from dinner and post-backpacking food coma had me on the couch until 10p at which time I managed to crawl off to bed for a nice 10 hour sleep.

Last night I got home just as the rain was turning to snow. Today is overcast and still kinda wet. All I've done is walk through the shop and look at things on my way out the door once.

I think I've mostly recovered, but tonight I have plans that will keep me away from painting once again.

Sometimes life gets in the way.
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:59 PM   #57
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Alright, I'm getting my motivation rolling again - finally. I've also been sleeping for 10 hours a night. What's that all about?

So the "sleep in the woods" trip was awesome. We took Polar Bear to the trail head. The trip was fun, but a painful reminder of how I need to insulate the rig soon. It wasn't a temperature problem, it was a dust problem. Dirt roads make for a dirt filled van.


(links to slideshow)

Tonight I got busy with the roof rack. Now, every piece has at least one coating of primer. However, every piece still needs at least one coat. I should be able to get the primer done by tomorrow night.

Here's one last pic from the weekend adventure:



It was kind of a special trip, actually. The girl I referred to as "girlfriend" in the beginning of this build thread is no longer my girlfriend. We made the final decision to end it last night. It wasn't a bad breakup, but I'm kind of missing her tonight. I suspect we'll still go camping together, so it's not a total loss.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:45 AM   #58
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Re: Polar Bear 1

Things are slow going... but the rack is now fully painted. If there's one thing I've learned from this project, it's: powder coat. As much time and paint as I've invested, I really should have just brought it in to be powder coated. I'll do that with future parts.

I had hoped to have the rack mounted today, but it's not. I did get the ladder mounted. Hopefully I'll get everything on this week. I still have to figure out my brackets. Here's the rack painted glossy:



So, when I bought paint, there were 2 cans of gloss and 2 cans of flat. I bought all 4. The plan was to use the gloss as the final coat. I spayed on the flat and loved it. Then I sprayed on the gloss and took this pic. Every spot where the grinding wasn't perfect or there was some other imperfection in the finish jumped out. So, I went back and got more flat.

The upside of going flat, then gloss, then flat, was being able to see exactly where I needed to keep painting. Otherwise, I can't tell how many coats a particular area has. I do wonder if switching paints is in any way bad for adhesion.

After a day of drying, it still chips fairly easily. This is supposed to be "industrial" enamel. I should have around 6 coats of paint plus primer. If this doesn't handle bumps and scrapes a little better after a week or two, I'll probably go ahead and break it down and get it powder coated like I should have to begin with.
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:16 PM   #59
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Re: Polar Bear 1

So I went to lunch today. I gave Polar Bear a good wash then went to grab something to bring back to the office. I ended up parking next to an 88 with a more aggressive lift.



The guy caught me checking out his rig so we ended up talking vans for a while. He's got a line on replacement door seals down in the Springs. I hope the hookup comes through, I got a lot of water in the van at the car wash.
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:11 PM   #60
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Re: Polar Bear 1

I took a few more bites of my wale tonight!

I waxed the top of the van to help "protect" it. I figure it might be hard to wax it after the new rack is on. While up there, I noticed a series of long scratches on the roof. Since I had it painted, it had to have happened since I've owned it. They're big scratches, if I had done it, I would have known it. They've started to rust (deep scratches), so it didn't happen recently. I figure one of the many shops I've been to did it. I'll never know which one. I didn't get a photo of it... I kinda don't want to remember it later.

I got half the rack together and set upon the van. I'm still wondering if I would have liked a glossy finish more. I also painted the bolt heads read and don't care for how they came out. I thought they would be more subtle. I'll either pull them out and paint them white or just paint them black in place.



One of the nuts I'd welded onto the rack always looked a bit sketchy to me. I didn't get a good weld on half of it. I had hoped it would be ok, but it snapped. Once the weaker part of the weld gave way, the rest started to pry off. I think I'm going to try to re-weld it on the van. Getting the rack in place was a lot of hard work.
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