If my shop caught fire and I could only grab one tool it would be the Hypertherm plasma cutter. It cuts steel and aluminum like a hot knife through butter. Not only does it work as a standalone, but I can hook it up to the CNC table for some serious patterned cutting. While I replace grinders and other tools without a blink of an eye, I’ll admit I was ready to shed some tears when I thought y Hypotherm 1000 had died — fortunately I was wrong, she just needed some personal attention.
For the uninitiated, CNC stands for Computer Numeric Control. In short, you draw a part on the computer and the computer then controls the movement of the plasma torch or router in order to cut the part from metal or wood.
Some of the things we can use the CNC table for are cutting steel and aluminum parts that will be assembled into items for the boat such as hinges, hatches, toe rails, tanks and such. We also want to use it to make relief artwork from foam that will be used for decorative walls, ceilings and fixtures for the boat. Hence the CNC table will take a plasma torch for cutting metal and a router for carving the foam.
We added a 3D printer head to the table and have used it to fashion parts for the ROV. It’s really endless what possibilities you can do with a CNC table. We’ve only just begun.
“Give me five minutes, and I can teach a monkey to wire weld.”Anonymous
We now operate two welders.
Welding aluminum was once considered beyond the ability of the do-it-yourselfer. Not anymore! I’m always learning as I’ve even “welded” plastic.
“Give me five minutes, and I can teach a monkey to wire weld.”
I heard those words over ten years ago from a foreman at S&H Trailers in Madill Oklahoma. It was still a leap of faith when I decided to build a welded aluminum boat. I had only done some stick welding many, many, years ago and I was never very good. But I am ready to say now that perhaps monkeys can do this. I believe I now have a good grasp of MIG aluminum welding, at least what I need to know for my specific project. So I want to encourage you on your aluminum welding project. It’s not really that hard, or as I’ve been told, “It’s just like hot glue except sparkier.”
While the metal lathe is most likely the least used tool in our shop it is one of the most indispensable for making parts with o-rings grooves, the odd PVC fitting, a perfectly round hole in a jig or for just polishing a cylinder.
We started with a Mini-Lathe and used it to turn aluminum parts over 6 inches in diameter, and cut stainless steel V-groove wheels. Now we’ve moved up to this Grizzly.