I finally finished a large project. During the process I was intending to blog about the progress. Instead, I took photos and just let them build up. I’ve got enough photos that it makes sense to break them up into a few different posts. I hope you’ll bear with me.

The goal was to build a large version of the classic wooden Labyrinth game. It’s always been a popular game, and it’s been copied many times, including digital versions for your iProduct.

The first thing I had to do was to sketch out how the frames are going to work. The design requires an outer frame that is stable and hold everything up. Inside of that is a square frame that can only rotate in one direction. And finally inside of that is the final frame that holds the board that can rotate in the other direction. Because of the way the weight has to transfer through the frames, I realized that it had to be a rather stiff material, so I chose some 2″ x 3″ tube steel.
IMG_0610 Of course, the first thing I had to do was to buy a new dry cut saw from Northern Tool. It’s a huge improvement over the abrasive saw I was struggling with before.

IMG_0611 I cut out the steel pieces for the three squares and laid them out on the floor so I knew they would fit. It’s always good to do a quick sanity check before welding things together.  The  outer frame is 8′ x 8′.  I chose that dimension so the whole thing would be able to sit on it’s side on an 8′ trailer.  It’s definitely important to consider transportation solutions before you build something big.  I’ve been able to get pretty creative with moving things around, but a there are always limits.

IMG_0613The intermediate frame needs to have room on both sides for the bearings I had planned on using.  The shafts that will support each successive frame will be 1″ OD.  I think that the double bearings on each side will provide a nice smooth motion.  In thinking about how all of this was going to go together, I needed a way to slide the shafts into place.  I couldn’t weld them, but I could weld a shaft collar to the frame and have that clamp onto the pivot shafts.

IMG_0614While doing the dry fit I also realized that it’d be much easier to drill all of the holes in the material before I do my first welds.  It’s much better to make use of the drill press than to have to hand drill things later.  I used my trusty tape measure, straight edge/square, scribe, compass, caliper, hammer, and punch to locate where all of these holes are going to go.  I had 8 pieces of steel to mark on both sides, and I needed everything to line up perfectly the first time. Punching ahead of time makes it much easier to follow with a pilot drill, and then the final drill bit.

IMG_0635Once all of the holes were drilled it was time to start making those first welds. I’ve always thought that it’s interesting how much work one needs to do on a welding project before you even think about plugging in the welder.

Continue on to Part 2!