• Thinking around corners

    rawe11/22/2015 at 19:34 0 comments

    Some partly finished sub-projects are in progress. As a major workshop re-arrangement is planned (big milling machine incoming :) and it will take some time, this post sums up the current status.

    For the frame parts, a negative frame/assembly support was build. The single struts end in an plate with two screw holes to mount towards the frame:

    A form was build to recreate the frame struts:

    Reinforcement was added to the outer part (not shown here). Frame parts still to be build...

    The rear corners are one of the main parts that attract rust on all of these vans:

    There is a company that sells re-build corners. They are good quality and fit, but two corners would cost half of what I paid for the van, and I want to push my metalworking skills, so...

    The traditional way to create sheet metal car panels is by stamping. As I got no big hydraulic press there must be another way...

    After obtaining the corner dimensions and some math voodoo, we got a slottet piece of paper...

    ...that assembles into something threedimensional after application of some tape:

    It is possible to scale this up:

    ...and build a gigantic paper-mache/oregami-van. Not.

    As I've got an A4 paper printer only, multiple pages with the right pattern were printed and taped together:

    It is possible to transfer the lines to a sheet of metal by application of acetone. As an solvent, acetone dissolves the laser printer toner and lets it stick to the sheet of metal by some pressure (rubber roll):

    A wooden support structure helps to bring the sheet in form:

    Cutting in progress:

    Tension belts are used to bend the sheet of metal in place, MAG spot welding is used to fix the sheet in place:

    The Argon gas bottle was empty after a first WIG test weld to adjust the current for best results, so I had to stop for the day and take a ride to the hardware store for a refill. Filling the gaps with TIG welds, grind and beat the surface flat, bend over the edges etc. is planned next.

    Updates on corner-rebuild can be expected in the next weeks. As usual, I am low on spare time, the daytime job, friends and other real life stuff need attention, too...

  • TIG welder update

    rawe04/26/2015 at 15:55 0 comments

    The hose package of my "new" ESS TIG welder gives electric shocks and the trigger makes bad contact, which leads to the power relais flapping around and the circuit braker triggering.Initial state after removing the tape which held it together: Damaged insulation, bad solder joints, missing insulation/hose too short. Previous owner: electronics engineer and prof. welder !?

    After shortening the inner conductor (open crimp connection, cut away a few centimeters re-crimp):

    Switch reattached (original solder joints were broken, insulation damaged; note additional rubber protection):

    New tape applied:

    The "Welding Basics & How-To TIG Weld - Livestream" video (two parts) from Eastwood Company is a nice intro (1h) into basic TIG welding:

    The biggest (kinda idiotic) issue was to "find" the switch which enables the local current setting pot on the welder - d'oh! Enlightenment ;)

    (yes, next time long sleeves/lab coat)

    First impession: Yep, TIG welding enables precise control of heat input/location and welding pool. This is an improvement (precision-wise) over MIG/MAG. Great :)

    To try out the TIG welder (never used one until now), I created a small cube out of two U shaped 1mm thick 3x9cm strips of metal:

  • Suddenly, A Wild L319 Appears!

    rawe04/13/2015 at 08:24 0 comments

    This one is/was a fire truck with a big gasoline engine. You can tell this based on the motor hood (additional cooling slots, (closed) hole for water pump), the flippable stairs on the side and the flat rear.

    Other news:

    • Sping just came around the corner = time to work on the vehicle itself, at least if there is some spare time friends, family and job do not require...
    • I just got two professional grade somewhat hacked/modded 1980s/1990s TIG welders with lots of accessories (pressure regulators, hose packages etc. and a giant bottle of Argon...). They got electronic high frequency starters and one of them gives nasty electric shocks combined with low output power and a rusty enclosure... so I have to fix them / clean them up. After that it should be possible to do fine precision work (e.g. 0.7mm sheet metal butt welding for skin parts).
    • Acquired a set of nice additional head lights which mount next to the original ones right and left of the bonnet, 55 bright Watts each :) (the original head lights are about as bright as a flashlight with dying batteries...)

  • ebay 3.83 eur roof rack and two memes

    rawe07/20/2014 at 14:49 0 comments

    hmmm... yo dawg, I herd you like roof racks, so I put an roof rack on your roof rack so you can transport while you transport:

    so lets check if it fits...

    seems comfortable...

    • We need to replace the roof window (which is ugly an does not fit the van anyways...) with a flat/sliding one to make the roof rack fit.
    • As the roof rack is 140cm wide and 50W Solarworld off-grid 12V solar panels are 680 x 680 x 34 mm two of these fit in the roof rack side-by-side :D
    • We need a ladder.
    • The mounts of the roof rack do not align with the inner support structure, so we need to modify the roof rack mounting points to hit the support structure, drill holes, add big screws, voila roof rack mounted.

    ...but as the roof rack is not prio 1, it was put in the basement to wait until next winter for some indoor-metalwork&solarpanelmountbuild-fun.

  • start of metalwork on the van itself...

    rawe07/20/2014 at 14:29 0 comments

    In the following picture, the parts painted with rust protection primer were completely gone due to rust and are replaced now:

    The edges of the part that holds the number plate needed replacements, too (again, see areas painted with rust protection primer):

    There is no way to replace the support structure with the outer sheet metal parts in place, so they need to go:


    It is obvious that parts need to be replaced...

    (some numbers are wrong in this sketch!)

    After the 3rd iteration...

  • "free trailer" + 1 day work = free rear axle and springs

    rawe07/20/2014 at 14:05 0 comments

    A farm nearby had a "trailer" to give away. It turned out, that the "trailer" in fact was an L319 pick-up cut in half! Time to rescue the useable parts...

  • leaf spring and hood

    rawe05/26/2014 at 19:27 0 comments

    The rear axle was a bit heavier than thought, so back on wheels we rolled it into the garage...

    What happens if you really need to lift something heavy? The local hardware store does a "next 3 hours 20% off" campaign. I've never seen the hardware store that crowded: Cars all over the place, no shopping carts left - did we miss the zombie apocalypse warning in the weather forecast? Anyways, a nice way to get stuff for online prices, but without shipping cost

    After disassembly, rust removal, painting, lubricating and re-assembly one leaf spring look nice again (red stuff on the right one is just dust), the other will follow soon:

    The original color of the van (under the heavy layers of paint) is a special mercedes mix, so we picked the closest RAL color. The hood (again after rust removal, rust protection primer and final color), looks quite nice (upper trim strip not mounted yet):

  • getting the rear axle out

    rawe05/02/2014 at 21:41 0 comments

    The following image shows one of the locations which are damaged by rust. We need to replace parts of the outer skin and support structure.

    To get better access to these locations, and wait with this until the welding and metal work skills got better, we decided to get the rear axle out.

    The rear axle is mounted on flat springs. There are 16 screws which mount them to the chassis and two dampeners. The dive shaft and break needs to be disconnected, too.

    We used a moveable car lifter to support the differential and move the rear axle around.

    We had to saw off a part of the exhaust pipe, because some genious screwed and welded it together instead of just screwing it. D'oh!

    Over an hour of maneuvering later... Success:

    Hover-Van, Hover-Van,
    Does whatever a Hover-Van does.
    Can he swing from a web?
    No, he can't, he's a van,
    Look out, he is a Hover-Van!

  • what happened so far...

    rawe05/02/2014 at 20:34 0 comments

    In the summer of 2012, we stumbled upon a nice project to get into car stuff: an MB L319. So heck, we just bought it.

    It was used as a delivery van for heavy stuff for some years, then modified to a camper and used until 2007.

    It was possible to drive it home on its own wheels, which was an adventure by itself: It began with a tow-start, on the highway parts of the roof paint splattered off, sand-like rust particles trickling down everywhere, the smell of diesel, deep rumbling noise caused by the vibrating massive wood furniture - all this while traveling at maximum speed of ~40mph...

    The starter does not work and there is a lot of rust damage at the inner structure and shell because there were holes in the roof at some time in the past. Due to all the rust and the damaged wood floor, we ripped that all out back home.

    Winter 2012/2013 came, and the L319 went into hibernation, covered by an big old PVC advertising poster for glasses.

    Time to get a welder and more tools (all bought broken and then repaired to learn how they work), practice welding etc... In 2013, not much happened on the car itself, except on the back doors, where we started first tries in metal work and painting.

    Initial condition on the lower/innser side of the back doors:

    some welding later...

    The spot welds were grinded down, the surface leveled out by lead body work.

    An improvised spray booth out of foil, tape and the garage door...

    ...gives quite nice results for the rust protection primer:

    Out of personal reasons (finished B.Eng., new flat, ...) and other projects (replacing the cylinder head on an BMW which was really interesting by itself, ...), nothing more happened on the L319 in 2013.

    Winter 2013/2014 came, and the L319 went into hibernation.