I’m welding! I’m a welder now!

Well, ok, i’m a pretty poor welder, but i’m only making oversized jacks, not bridges, so i’ll take it.

I am making an oversized game of Jacks.  Originally i thought i could use some steel rods, someone suggested tire irons and i picked up a 3/8″ threaded rod (Home Depot trip #1) to try out.  After i talked with Tom and Rich a bit they suggested that i use Carriage Bolts instead of a bare rod.  This looked great because the carriage bolts have a nice rounded end that help make the object really look like a jack.  Ok, materials were set, so i ran to Home Depot (trip #2) with Matt G.

After returning with a set of 6 bolts to try things out with, Tom came up with a nice jig for me to use with slots for the 4 bars and a vertical hole so i could stand the bolts up.  We dug through the scrap wood box and found a good piece and a few minutes after i plugged in the table saw, i had the channels cut out.  Next up was the center hole.  Rich gave me a quick tour of the drill press and we found a good hole saw to use and then my jig was complete.

Now onto the welding!  Rich set me up with our MIG welder, which is pretty much as simple as it gets.  Lay out and secure the pieces, put the clamp on one end, point and pull the trigger.  We quickly had our first jack.  At this point in my career as a welder, i am a firm proponent of the “More Weld” school of structural engineering. I know some of the academics in their ivory towers may frown on this, but I’m ok with that.

Jack and Jig
With the proof of concept ready, i headed back to Home Depot (trip #3) to get a couple boxes of bolts.  After returning to the space, i cranked out 8 more jacks, low-efficiency assembly line style.

We had some fun tossing them around the space.  They make a great sound when you roll out a pile of them and look great bouncing off the cement after being flung 15 feet in the air.  The other folks at the space had a good laugh at my ridiculous build.

We’re going to have a test game with the jacks at the space on Tuesday.  I’m not entirely sure how many of these things someone can pick up quickly, but we’ll find out soon.  Why am I building an oversized game of jacks?  Well, that’s a bit of a secret for now.  :)
Jacks and Feet for Scale