Pilebuckery at it's not-quite-finest.
Campo del Cielo iron meteorite. Structural classification is coarse octahedrite. The slice displays the classic Widmanstatten pattern (a.k.a. Thomson structure) found in some iron-nickel meteorites. This pattern results from the interweaving of crystals from two iron alloys, kamacite (low nickel) and taenite (high nickel). The Widmanstatten pattern is diagnostic of meteorites as this pattern cannot be duplicated in laboratories on Earth. To expose this pattern I first sliced the meteorite in half. Using various grades of emery cloth I polished the face of the sliced piece to a mirror finish. After polishing, the surface was etched with a 1:2 ratio mixture of 10% hydrochloric acid and 3% hydrogen peroxide. This creates a strong oxidizer in the presence of an acid, which is able to slowly eat away the iron. The varing rates of corrosion between the different iron alloys (kamacite and taenite) creates the Widmanstatten pattern of inter-locking iron crystals. The lower photo shows the intact meteorite. The middle photo shows the polished slice. The top photo shows the iron crystals that appear after etching.
I think selfies are just kind of odd. I can’t even bring myself to look directly at the camera. (I tried, but the results were: delete, delete, and holyhellDELETE!)
All the rest of the work that actually finishes the job.
Click on the photos to embiggen and show captions.
(Heh…’embiggen’: my new favorite non-word. Makes me giggle like a schoolgirl.)
As the first animated blacksmith I shared here was rather well-enjoyed, I thought it was time to include another - this time two work together to hammer the hot steel much more efficiently. Again made from a set of sequential photographs taken in the 1870s by Eadweard Muybridge (Animal Locomotion vol II, plate 337).
The most natural way of working.
I just about killed myself laughing over this GIF…. maybe because of the shirts you can get at #dirtysmith
Starting sketch for possible auction offering… raising some money for a friend.
He has a shitty little condition called DISH, which is an acronym for… well, I can’t rightly remember all the medicalese, but the ‘I’ stands for “idiopathic” which, in English, means: “we have no fuckin’ idea”. Basically, all of his connective tissues are slowly turning to bone.
I can’t even imagine what that must be like.
If you like, you can see more about him here: Wanamaker Fund
Here are your glamour shots :) After all of the preceding steps, it only took about an hour to make this weld. But this bar is still so far from being done. There is still another day’s work to get it off the table.
(Photos are captioned; just click the photo to enlarge, and they should show.)
One of our truck drivers pulled up outside the shop this morning. He was in one of the small flatbeds and towing a generator back to the rental yard.
Hopping out of the truck, he says: “Hey! Can you weld me a thing here for the chain?” He waved his hand in the general direction of the vertical strut on the drop bumper and went in for a cup of coffee.
I figured he was going to bring back a load on his return that needed some sort of odd tie-down configuration, so I welded a little padeye in the area he indicated.
When he came back half an hour after I finished this little 10 minute job, he tells me: “Oh… this is wrong. I need two, and that one is too far away from the hitch. They have to hold the safety chains for the trailer, see?” He then explains to me about turning radii (which is a word he’s not familiar with, believe me), safety factors, etc. Fuck. I KNOW all of this, but I just let him go on because it’s easier, and he’ll leave quicker. Had he told me he wanted attachments for the trailer safeties, then that’s what I would have given him.
So he left again, and I put them on:
While I was working, I was trying to quell a small wad of bile that the last transaction had produced. ”Oh, HELL NO!” I thought. “He can kiss my bony ass!”
He found this waiting when he came back:
There were a couple of reasons that I elected not to cut this whole section out and replace it with a new piece of bar:
1) It wasn’t bent, and if you can get away with only a single splice, you are MUCH better off. Re-aligning this bar took almost half a day. Between perfect rotation and perfect true plumb, it’s a game of the tiniest increments to do it right. If you have two splices, you have to do that twice. There was only one slightly deformed area, and that’s shown in the third photo. It’s the scalloped shape just above the hard corner, and I pulled that out with a dog and wedge (no heat). The broken weld against the bar is where I snapped the wedge off.
There are two other places shown in the other photos that I used dogs and wedges for alignment. We have a laser, but I like the old school method of stringing. I have an easier time visualizing the corrections I need to make getting the bar straight.
Oh yeah…. the second reason I didn’t replace this section: The original stress crack that started this whole mess was pretty large (It’s in the post from a few days ago). Because it was so large, I think the bar snapped before too much strain was put on the rest of the metal. At least, I hope so. I’m not a metallurgist, but sometimes you just take a flyer on these things. Most of it is an educated guess, the rest of it is “We need that thing back on the job already!”
About a million months ago bitchywelder asked me to post a pic of my 5 top tools to do what I do with metal. Man, this was way more difficult than I thought.
#1- angle grinder: with various wheels cutting, grinding, sanding, wire brush
#2- oxy/ acetylene torch (not pictured): with cutting, welding, and rosebud tips
#3- miller syncrowave180SD tig/ stick welder
#4- air grinders: straight, 90 degree, and pencil: with all the various carbide burrs and sanding discs.
#5- ball peen hammer that I made a steel handle for. Up until last year I only had this and a craftsman masons hammer in the metal shop. They both handled every shaping, forging, and general beating the crap out of something I could throw at them.
One of my favorite quotes is ” a champion billiards player will beat you with a broomstick” I think that applies to a lot of people. It is great to have the biggest, heaviest duty tools and shop, but the tools don’t make the cool sculpture- the operator does.
Oh, good GRIEF! I had forgotten all about this. I’ve had a month or so of vacation and not paid much attention here until the last week or so. I’d better get to picking my own 5 tools…