Notes from Windward: #70


Welding Wall-E's Bucket

Opalyn gets Wall-E ready to work


Wall-E under the "Bridge" awaiting
repair of the front bucket

     Now that I have a few days that I can spend in the shop, Wall-E trundled over to the welding table and dropped off his bucket for repairs and reinforcements then returned to the Bridge for a new coat of paint.

     The paint is a new line of Rust-Oleum‒Farm Equipment. Since Wall-E had been painted most recently with Allis Chalmers Orange I decided to stick with that color instead of going back to the traditional Oliver Yellow. I would have had to use John Deere Yellow or Caterpillar Yellow if I wanted to use Rust-Oleum and we already have at least one yellow tractor on site. I was able to go online and order the paint for pickup at the local Ace Hardware store‒thanks, guys!

painting everything I can reach

     The seat that Aidan and I made was easily removed and I broke out a 2" paint brush and put two coats of Allis Chalmers Orange on most every surface I could easily reach.

     This task was easier because of all the housing units that were removed to access the engine. I painted the radiator cover along with the fan shields before reinstalling them with new bolts.

Wall-E's radiator shield
all nice and orange

     Between coats of paint, I would head over to the welding shop and work on the bucket.

the broken bucket brace

     When Wall-E first arrived I noticed that one of the ribs supporting the bucket had broken and the weld (repair) had failed as well. So with the bucket upside down, I drilled a hole through the broken rib and through the bucket. The Plan was to use a bolt to pull the brace into place, and then reweld it to the bucket.

      The first bolt I used to bring the rib back to the bucket snapped so I got a bigger bolt and used a sledge hammer to convince the rib to little avail. Next I broke out the oxygen and acetylene (oxy-acetylene) tanks and lit the torch. Heating the rib and pounding it into place proved successful and I used a bolt to hold everything in place as Walt welded the rib back into place.

     This is an example of "progressively getting a bigger hammer." When we need to hammer something, we don't start out with the 10 lb sledge with a three foot handle. We grab the smallest appropriate tool, and scale up as needed. In this case since the 1/4" bolt failed, I upped the ante to a 3/8" bolt backed up by a small sledge as a "pursuader."

that's me reinforcing the broken brace

     When that still didn't produce the desired results, Walt suggested that we use the "hot wrench" and fired up the oxy-acetylene torch. That did the trick, and soon the broken brace was right where it needed to go.

the rewelded brace

     Since one rib had failed, I decided to reinforce each of the other ribs with additional welds.

adding to the other welds

     Wall-E has lots of earth moving ahead of him and to keep his bucket in good shape I used hardening rod to reinforce the outside and inside of the bucket. This added metal will bear the brunt of the wear caused as the bucket slides over dirt and rocks.

adding protective beads to the underside of the bucket

     When you work with a stick welder or cracker box, there is no protective gas surrounding the molten metal. Instead the rods are coated with flux which forms a slick, black coating called slag when it cools. I'd weld a bit, then grab the chipping hammer and remove the slag. When complete, either a wire brush or a hand grinder with a wire wheel would clean the rest of the slag from the welds.

     Wall-E got put back together and the bucket reattached but when I was painting the bucket two more cracks made an appearance. Better to find them now than later after they'd grown larger.

two more cracks to deal with

     Wall-E headed back over to the welder so that we could repair and reinforce the support brackets where they connected to the bucket.

     Welding complete!

     Wall-E got a final coat of paint, bolts tightened down, and his name stenciled on.

Wall-E gets his name stenciled on

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 70