Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sixty Years of Beer & Smoke

The interior of our new showroom had been run continuously as a bowling alley for 60 years. That’s pretty amazing in itself when you think about it. Sixty years is a long time for a business to survive. I would guess that the interior was renovated once in sixty years. Probably during the seventies in conjunction with the glorious façade project. Judging from the shag carpet and paneling on the walls in combination with the 2x4 ceiling tile the early seventies would be a pretty good guess.

This space was the front entrance to the bowling alley when we acquired the property. The light shining through on the right is coming through the front entrance. The two doors in the bump out on the left are the rest rooms. The far left opening goes into the other smaller building. The wood floor in the forefront is the sub floor that was under the lanes. The holes in the floor were in place for the ball return.

Just like the exterior successful renovations of historic interiors usually begins with removal of the “improvements”. Such is the case here. This is the same room today. The right side of this photo is the same corner that the rest rooms were located. The wood framed floor was left intact and reused but it is now behind the overhead doors. The floor in this room was concrete but in very poor condition. We poured a new concrete floor over the top which varies in thickness from 2.5” to 5” in order to level the floor. The reflective material on the ceiling and wall is galvanized steel siding. I like using this material. Maybe a little too much sometimes but it has great qualities of light and texture. Pair with the right color combinations and it makes for a great space if I do say so myself.

Let’s talk tools. One of my favorite and most practical tools is our ironworker. We picked up this machine about 4 years ago as we were growing into more metal fabrication. This is a 45 ton unit which means there is 45 tons of pressure placed on the punch end when engaged. This unit was made by Metalpro which happens to be a Wisconsin company. They build two ironworkers along with some other fabrication equipment. Ours is kind of an entry level ironworker but it has served us very well over the years.

Basically an ironworker can perform a number of different functions on steel like punching, cutting, shearing, notching and bending all through leverage and hydraulic pressure. We are focusing on the punch end of the machine today for our project at hand. I am in the middle of making a run of Sprint cart frames. Our rear seat support has a series of three holes for the height adjustment. We are using our Metalpro today to punch the three holes.

Here we have two seat supports. The outside shape of the part was cut on a CNC plasma cutter. Another tool for another day. One support has the holes already punched and one does not. I have a steel pattern in which I can easily hammer set a dimple in the steel to mark the center of each of the three holes.

The punch has a sharp point on the end which I place in the dimple mark of the steel. You can see another one of the dimple marks a couple inches down from the one I am ready to punch now. You might have to click on these shots if you want to see the details of what’s going on.

I activate the switch and the punch plunges through the 3/16” steel like butter.

The punch cycles down through the steel and comes back up lifting the steel plate up to the orange (or is that vermillion?) stops which knock the plate off the punch as it cycles back upward. A perfect 7/16” hole in all of about five seconds. Drilling this hole would probably take a minute by the time we drill a pilot and clean off the burrs. So a huge time saver when doing production work.

Here we have it. A right and left seat support with holes now ready to be welded into the frame. OK gang those of you here for a shot of Whiskey are going to have to come back tomorrow. I will say this. It’s much easier to spot in a crowd today than it was yesterday. See you tomorrow.

Have a great day.



michelleblackler said...

Firstly, you guys are gods for what you did for that building.

Secondly, I have a friend who has a Sprint car, I will forward this blog onto him.

Love it, love it, love it

Toddersville said...

Thanks Michelle!

I've been watching your blog. It's been great. Keep up the good work. See you in a couple weeks.