Matt Kunkel's Bearhawk Build Log


Welding Practice

I got my tinman rig in the mail this week and managed to get it put together today.  I spent quite a bit of time practicing with the torch as I wanted to get the hang of running beads with it.  I also experimented with different tip sizes and heat settings on different thicknesses of material.  I took a semester of welding class at my local community college, but they taught tractor welding (not aircraft welding) so it took quite a bit of time for me to get the hang of it.  I bought a variety pack of 4130 from which contains 5 thicknesses .025-.050.  I welded these into an open box and got it to hold water.  I then practiced running several beads across each face.  The  it's really hard to run a bead across middle of an .025 face, I probably need a #0 tip for that, but the welds on the plane will be in locations that will always require a #1 tip or higher.  THe last bit of practice involved welding tabs onto tube, cutting slots in tubes and filling the gap, and welding tubes together.

My welds are to the point where they're airworthy but sometimes not all that pretty. I can manage fairly nice looking welds on .040 thickness and higher.  o32 is getting there, it's hard to make them look good across a face, but in a cluster with a nice wide fillet it's not as hard.

Welding practice occurred over a period of a week.  Although I expanded on a skill and prepared me for work ahead, this effort  did not add to the plane so I'm not logging the hours to the project.

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