Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cutting the Motor Mount and Being Stubborn

Based on the drawing I made yesterday, I pulled out my handy 1/4" plate of steel and tried to fabricate the rear motor mount plate.

After tracing the outline and center-punching the holes, I started to cut out the perimeter with the sabre saw. Having never done this before, it surprised me that it took the better part of half an hour to just make this one cut. Even with a new blade, the sabre saw cuts through 1/4" steel at about 1 mm every four seconds. I know other people have used a plasma torch to make this go faster, but I was rather stubborn in trying to make this project work with just hand tools. I found that the 18 tooth blade cut faster than the 14 tooth blade, but it still went very slowly.

After another hour, I managed to finish cutting the plate outline with the sabre saw and cut the holes. The 3 inch hole in the middle was a bit tricky since I didn't have a drill press and my hand drill kept wanting to bind.

Here's the completed end plate. I'm going to use a 1/4" thick piece of 2" angle iron (5" long) as a connection between this vertical motor plate and the horizontal engine mount on the driver's side.

Up until this morning, I had been cutting all my angle iron (typically 1/8" thick) with a hacksaw. This took more time, but I wanted to prove that I could do this project with simple hand tools. This morning, after fighting with the 1/4" plate steel for the motor mount, I broke down and purchased a cut-off saw from Harbor Freight for $109. This cuts through 1/8" angle iron like butter and will greatly speed my future cuts as well as save my arm muscle.

When undertaking a project of this magnitude, one needs a certain amount of perseverence (aka stubbornness) to keep moving. Sometimes this leads to faulty reasoning like "I can do this entire project with a hacksaw." In short, one needs to strike a balance between stubbornness and using the available resources to ones advantage. I'm learning this balance all the time.

Next up: smashing the hood and roughing out the rear battery rack.

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