Homemade rock sliders

ADVW/Liam

Adventurer
How hard can it be? I decided to give it a try. I recently bought a Hobart Handler 140 from Northern Tool and Equipment, and decided to put it to use. I went to the local metal supply, and bought 30 feet of 1/4 inch thick 2 inch square tubing. I know... way overkill for this application, and probably too heavy for most.
I started the build in my two car garage, forcing my wife to park outside for a few days. She's a trooper, and did not complain at all. IMG_1007[1].jpg
Unfortunately I had a moment of cranial-rectal inversion and decided to use my grinder and half a dozen cut off wheels to make my cuts. None of them are exact, but they are close enough. I later realized my skill saw on the shelf is quite capable of handling a metal cutting blade, and would have made life much easier.
I decided to cut the ends of the sliders at a 45 degree angle, and space the two bars at about 2 inches. IMG_1009[1].jpg
This is still a work in progress, as I ran out of time over the weekend. I'll post more pictures as I finish them up.
 

AaronK

Explorer
That's a good chunk of steel. Any idea what the final weight will be?

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ADVW/Liam

Adventurer
IMG_1029.jpgThey're probably about 50+lbs each. They're big, ugly, and will probably save me in a side impact!!! I hope to have them ready for paint by Friday. I have some overtime to back out at work, so that will give me a perfect chance to work on them. I'll get more pics of them later.IMG_1031.jpg
 
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Loubaru

Adventurer
How do you like the welder and how much experience do you have? I think that is the same one I have been looking at.

I have a friend (free) electrician and an oversize panel so was thinking about getting a 220 but it would be way overkill for me considering I haven't welded in ~10 years and only have a few hours practice.
 

drsmonkey

Observer
I have a friend (free) electrician and an oversize panel so was thinking about getting a 220 but it would be way overkill for me considering I haven't welded in ~10 years and only have a few hours practice.
I'm no pro, but I have a 110v welder that I have used a lot at home because I lack a shop. I also have used a 220v Hobart quite a bit at my brother in law's shop. Your experience isn't a factor, I find it much easier to weld anything thicker than 14g with the bigger machine. The only reasons to get a 110v welder are if you plan to do a lot of light sheetmetal, you want something light and portable, or you can't get 220v service. If you have the service, and a shop that has a floor that you can roll a welding cart around on definitely, go for the 220v machine.

Sorry about the thread jack.
 

ADVW/Liam

Adventurer
I learned to weld in high school (2 years of Agg Mechanics) back in 96. I have been welding off and on ever since, but I am not a professional. I agree with the other post about getting a 220v machine, but I am stuck with using 110v, as I am welding in my garage, and I just don't have the room for a large setup, and don't want to pay in electrician for a 220v outlet. I bought the Hobart 140 about a month ago, and went through the sample spool of wire quickly. I bought some 3/16" flat steel strips from Tractor Supply, cut them into three inch long strips, and started to weld them in a v formation, like angle iron. I practiced with that until I ran out of the sample spool. By then I was back in the game, and was welding quite well for an amateur. I bought a 10lb spool of Hobart .030 flux core (same as the sample spool) and don't see myself running out any time soon. Next spool will be something different, but I have to do more research first on the best wire for the money.

I welded the rock sliders pretty much non-stop, and never had a hiccup on the machine, with an exception of wire feeding problems. The wire would get stuck in the welding tip, and cause it to get tangled in the feed drive (or whatever it's called). I think I've got that ironed out by fudging with the settings, and extending my hold off while welding. I am convinced the feed problems are a user error, and not a machine issue. The machine never cut off due to overheating, but I was only welding 2-3inch passes, stopping only to reposition or remove flux.

I'm very happy with the welder, and recommend it to anyone who welds as a hobby, or just wants to build stuff. The thickest I would weld with the machine is 1/4, which is the max it is rated for. I used three passes on the structural parts of the sliders (the part that extends to the frame of the truck) but only one pass to join the two bars together, and weld the caps on.

You get what you pay for, so a $100.00 dollar machine will weld like a $100.00 machine (Harbor Freight). The Hobart was about $550.00, and does a great job, for my purposes. I'd love to get an ESAB Rebel that will do everything, but I cant justify spending the $1800.00 for a hobby. The ESAB will get you a TIG, MIG (and flux core) and Stick all in one package, but after spending the $1800.00 there is not much left in the dollar hopper for stuff to weld on.

Good luck on your welder search. The craft will comeback to you after a few hours of practice.
 

ADVW/Liam

Adventurer
Almost there...

Did some more work on the sliders this weekend. Got them pretty much done, but I think I'll add some gussets to the plate mounts. Everything is 1/4, but I'd hate to have the mounts bend and damage the truck. After the gussets are added, it'll be time to prep for paint, add some self etching primer, and satin black rattle can. IMG_1071.jpgIMG_1072.jpgIMG_1073.jpg
 

ADVW/Liam

Adventurer
Paint Prep

Fabrication is complete! I finished them up last night, and now I have started to prep the metal for paint. I blew through a few flap disk, 80 grit and 120 grit, pretty quickly. I need to rethink my approach to prepping the metal. I believe I need to use a wire brush affixed to the grinder to remove all the black coating / surface rust from the metal before I go to the flap disk. I'll go back to the 80 grit then 120 grit. I might go a little smoother than 120 to get a more polished look, and to get rid of all the scratch marks. After that, it'll be time for some self etching primer, and then satin black. I'll post pics later.
 

ADVW/Liam

Adventurer
DONE!!!

So I got them bolted on, and threw a few welds in for good measure. I'm hesitant to weld them completely, so the welds were kept to a minimum. I only welded the bottom of the mounts to the frame, to keep them from pulling away when the weight of the truck is on the sliders. I still may weld them on the rest of the way, but I'm not sure yet. Drilling through the frame and the mounts were a pain, but good old Harbor Freight saved me with a $30.00 close quarters 120v drill, and a step bit. I was watching a few milling and lathe videos on the interweb, and noted they were using a center cut mill for making pilot holes. I might try that next time I'm drilling through steel, if it will even work in a drill motor, to make life easier. It looks so easy when used in a lathe or a mill, so I think it'll work in a drill motor too.
 

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AaronK

Explorer
It'd be really hard to drill an accurate hole with an end mill by hand. Plunge cuts with a milling machine work because the machine and work are fixed. It'd walk all over doing it by hand

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ADVW/Liam

Adventurer
It'd be really hard to drill an accurate hole with an end mill by hand. Plunge cuts with a milling machine work because the machine and work are fixed. It'd walk all over doing it by hand
I didn't think about that. Would a center punch not make enough of a notch in the steel to hold the end mill in place?
 

ADVW/Liam

Adventurer
Thanks! I put them to use this morning... sort of. A guy turned into me and bounced his stock Rubicon bumper off them. Part of the plastic from his bumper hit my door. A little rattle can on the sliders, and a little buff work on the door, and you'd never know I was hit. I'll post pics later.
 
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