Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ladle Stand

Strange as it may seem, I find assembling the ladles from Walthers' Electric Furnace to be very relaxing. It's a quick project that lends itself well to watching a ball game or race. Yesterday, I had two ladles done to the point of puttying, filing, and sanding (in other words, removing the seams and making them round), and was thinking about spouts. Most of these ladles will be assigned to the Open-Hearth Furnace I'm planning, and it occurred to me that sooner or later I'll have to make some stands to hold them. So, I grabbed some "H" beams, some sheet stock, and my circle template and got to work.

I started by making the ring, using my old circle template to scribe-n-snap two concentric  circles out of .030 styrene.  I added reinforcement and "H" beams where the ladle actually rests. I need one ladle to catch slag from a pour, so I made the legs on this stand fairly short. I made a base large enough to hold such a heavy load, added gussets, and ended up with this:

Gussets have always been a bug-a-boo for me. Making a quantitiy of identical piece was time consuming with a lot of wasted parts. I use the NWSL Chopper II, and its angle plates won't let you get in close with small parts. So I came up with this jig to hold my gusset stock accurately and securely. It is a .040 styrene rectangle with perfect 90° corners. I then cut a slot perpendicular to the top edge that was long enough and wide enough for the cutter's blade. The slot looks a little wavy in the picture but it is straight. This jig is designed to make gussets out of 1/4" wide stock, so I glued two 1/8" strips parallel to the top edge, exactly 1/4" apart. (Notice the lines to the right of the slot. The first one is 1/4" from the left side of the slot, and each succeeding line is 1/8" more. This allows me to make different length gussets.) Below that I glued two more strips 1/4" apart that were 45° to the  slot. Finally I glued that small triangular piece to give the proper exposure to the cutting blade.

Next I aligned the jig by putting the blade in the down positon and sliding the jig up so the left side of the slot was tight up against the blade, then taped everything securely. Then grab a piece of 1/4" strip.......

 .......and place it in the lower slot.  And CUT!

 Flip it over and CUT AGAIN! 

Now I'm left with this........

.......which I align with the 1/4" mark, CUT!......

.......and finish with this.

OK, a few observations. First, I am very pleased with the concept of the jig, and see many more of them in my future. However, if you look closely you'll see not all of the gussets are perfectly symetrical. I think the .030 thickness is enough to deflect the blade a little. Also, it seemed the slower I made the cut, the more likely it was to be off. So, in the future only use .010 to .020 strip, and make quick cuts. I might redo the stand with thinner stock.


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