Project: RoboButler 3000 – Part 2

My task for this week is to finish off the frame, and get it cleaned and painted with something. The frame is mainly there to hold the motors, batteries, and a club maté crate.


Day one began with preparing a cut list, and using my Evolution RAGE saw to chop a LOAD of 20mm box section to size:

I then chucked together a quick mockup by balancing everthing on top of each other, to try and remember how it goes together.

My next step was technically to weld everything together. Unfortunately there was an issue here, I’d bought myself a No Gas MIG welder and all the PPE, but i’d never actually welded anything. I took an hour to chill in my lounge and watch YouTube videos on how to weld.

I did a few test welds on some leftover box section, and while my welding was crap, it seemed good enough to hold together when whacked with a hammer multiple times, so I figured time to go!

I welded together the 3 basic subframes, the top and bottom of the crate holding box, and the ‘spine’ that holds the batteries together.  The welds were getting better as I went along, which made me happy.

Next I put the ‘ribs’ down the middle of the bottom crate holder. As they’re only for the crate to rest on, they don’t have to be massively well welded, which is lucky because I completely failed at clamping them properly, so they’re a bit crap. Note to self: Buy more clamps.

I welded the spine to the outer edges of the base frame, and was in the process of filleting each rib to the spine when my welder cut out. Turns out these things only have a 20% duty cycle and it had overheated! I took it as a sign to pack up for the night, as I needed to acquire an angle grinder anyway to clean up the top welds before attaching the base frame to the top frame anyway.

On the plus side, the measurement for the club mate crate were correct, so it’ll fit!

The next day I added the uprights, and welded the base plate and top plate together.   I started by grinding flat the welds in the corners on the top and base plates, so I had a flat surface to weld the uprights to.  I then welded the 6 uprights to the top plate (as its far lighter), then welded that assembly to the base assembly.

I went round and cleaned up the welds all round, and started grinding the accessible ones back to make the joints as flat as possible.  Later I found out why my final welds were so crap.  I’d turned up the wire feed speed while testing, and forgotten to turn it down again later, so the wire was ‘stubbing’ and I was getting an irregular arc.  The joys of Flux-Core Arc Welding!

Plan for next weekend is to get the frame sanded back , cleaned off, and get the frame painted.

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