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Average Joe
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Is almost everyone here capable of doing machining work or are you having fabricators make your parts for you?
 

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I think my video series speaks for itself on that subject!
I'm proof that somebody who can only change oil can convert a car to electric.

In short, yes, I use a welder and an engineer to do the hard stuff. I have learnt to remove metal with the angle-grinder though. Man is that fun! Must be the caveman hunter-gatherer in me but the sparks and smoke is great! :D
 

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I agree with KiwiEV, I'm an electronics tech and if I can build an EV, anyone who has a passion to do so can. If you get stuck, just ask, someone out there has the right suggestion to get you started again. There are usually plenty of machine shops around that can help with more intricate items you might need. DIY, save some money and learn at the same time.
 

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I've learned the hard way not to weld and grind in just my boxer shorts, but still my two favorite tools.:D

As far as parts go, just my battery boxes.

Later I'll be fiberglassing for the 1st time as well.
That's quite a mental image.
:eek:

I got a little spark burn on my wrist. I couldn't imagine a worse place - until now.

What sort of welder did you use? Did you find it easy?
 

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Wire feed welder.

While practicing I discovered my artistic side:


Those interested in the above piece titled "Loose Batteries after Collision" are free to submit bids. It took about an hour of having fun by bang testing. That's where you weld some scraps and try to break the weld by sheer force (banging it around on concrete or with other chunks of metal).
Oh my welds are pretty ugly, think scars on Frankenstein's monster, but they should hold. (knock on wood..., er I mean steel).
 

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I plan on doing most of the fab work myself. I am a welder and repair welding equipment as a job so the wireing and electronics should be fairly simple. If I had a machine shop of my own I would make the adapter plate and parts myself...but I don't have that resource so Im plannin to buy one. Welding is fun. One of the best parts of my job is I get to weld with every kind of welding machine you can think of.
 

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I have a well equiped shop and have friends that have bigger equipment if needed.

I did most all of mine myself as well as prep the car before starting, brakes, drive line repairs etc.

I farmed out some welding, that I had jigged up. I don't have a Mig.

Putting new guages in now.

Have helped others get started on their projects also.

Over the last 43 years, I have had most everything come into my shop for repairs or advice. Never a dull moment!!
 

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I got the adapter plate and hub from Electro Automotive but the racks I made myself. I contemplated using somebody to weld for me but after reading a book and Ken Norwick's site http://www.docdockdocuments.com/conversion/Conversion90.htm
I decided to take the plunge and get myself a flux wire welder (this looks like the kind you have Mannyman). Ken tells how he got tired of taking stuff to the welder and paying them every time he wanted a little change made and seeing him succesfully do it...I decided to take the plunge and get this.... http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=94056
on sale from Harbour Freight. A cheap Chinese version of Ken's Lincoln model. After creating a few racks with this, I found that the flux welders work but the welds are very messy with lots of splattr and weld bbs. I took way more time grinding them down and chipping bbs (hence the reason for that tool you see in Mannyman's pic). I soon sold it and graduated to true MIG (metal inert gas) like this one from Harbour freight http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=6271
They also sell the regulator and tank for the gas. The welds are soooo much better and I no longer have to grind and chip bbs. Really..welding is not that hard..it just takes practice and is a valuable skill to aquire. Get one, some angle iron from your local hardware store and a hack saw and start fabricating! Heres my welder...
 

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You know, if I wasn't halfway through the project I would seriously consider getting my own welder.
I think for the next conversion I'll weld all my own battery racks and mounts. Problem down here in NZ is that if the important bits are not done by a qualified welder then they have to be inspected and tested. I'm not sure how they test it. Maybe they yell at it for a while and see if it breaks down? Hehehe
For the next project I think I'll buy one for sure. Just a cheap Arc welder me thinks.
 

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You know, if I wasn't halfway through the project I would seriously consider getting my own welder.
I think for the next conversion I'll weld all my own battery racks and mounts. Problem down here in NZ is that if the important bits are not done by a qualified welder then they have to be inspected and tested. I'm not sure how they test it. Maybe they yell at it for a while and see if it breaks down? Hehehe
For the next project I think I'll buy one for sure. Just a cheap Arc welder me thinks.
I've seen lots of guys use Arc welders too..tons of them cheap eveywhere...I used to watch my grandpa arcweld and he said this is the welder they built battleships with....probably still do.
 

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The more you do yourself, the better. Get a mig-welder, learn to weld, it will serve you well in many other ways. The hardest part is shoe-horning everything into the odd shapes in each different car. By doing you own welding, it makes all the fitting much easier than going back and forth to a friend or paid welder.
In my case, no one had ever done a Toyota SR5 before so the motor adapter was not available and I chose to do that as well. The alternative was to pull the tranny and sent it to ElectroAutomotive so they could engineer it. My attitude is that if you like doing your own welding, you really ought to enjoy machining and everyone ought to have their very own Bridgeport mill to make whatever the automakers won't. DIY!!
 

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I pretty much do all my own fabrication. I mentor for a high school robotics team of which I was formally a member. We got a grant to convert one of our Bridgeport mills to CNC so i spent the summer waiting for that to arrive and installed it my self the second it got there. You can do some pretty cool stuff with a CNC...

For those of you in the bay area there is a place called "The tech shop" you pay $100 a month and they let you use there shop which has CNCs and a whole bunch of cool tools to do these sorts of projects.
 

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Here is two links to my project:

http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/preview.php?vid=1333

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157601920644694/

I fabricated everything myself with the exception of the motor/flywheel coupling. I do have a lathe but I didn't have a way to broach the keyway. If I was to do it again, I could probably make the coupling. Most of my welding was with a wire-feed, but I also did some outside welding with a stick welder. I have a plasma cutter, large bandsaw, and a portable bandsaw, not to mention two forklifts (one electric!), countless jacks, and an engine hoist. Needless to say, I am pretty well equipped.

I almost everything out of steel since my company buys it in bulk and has a lot of scrap. The only aluminum pieces are a few small brackets.
 

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Greetings,

I've been looking to get started on my own conversion and soaking up all the knowledge that I can find on the subject.

My plan is to do all the fabrication myself but the real problem is that I don't have a garage or even a concrete slab to work on. I do however own a wealth of equipment and tools including four different welders (AC/DC 225amp arc box, AC/DC 250amp portable engine drive, Mig spool gun, and Oxy/acetelyne torches). Also have a tig torch and a high frequency unit that I can use to weld steel, aluminum, and stainless steel with. This can be used with the shop welder or the engine drive portable. (would that make five?)

My favorite welder is the mig spool gun for several reasons, first check out:

http://www.readywelder.com/home.htm

Notice that this is a battery powered unit and it has a 100% duty cycle. With it I can weld steel gas or flux cored, aluminum, and stainless steel. The solid steel wire, aluminum, and stainless steel require gas and I have co2 for the steel and argon for aluminum. I haven't tried it on stainless yet as it requires a helium mixture.

So for the price of a cheap mig unit you can buy a real sleeper of a welder. I built a golf cart limo out of a Club Car and did all the aluminum welding with this unit using the 8 volt batteries w/3 in series for 24 volts. I welded for a month and had enough power to ride the stretched cart around for a day before recharging. Sold the limo last year for a 150% profit. Presently I have a Club Car 48v and take the spool gun to weld for my buddy up the road. Most times I'll run flux cored wire but I do have a small bottle of co2 but that means also a regulator/flowmeter and hoses. When I arrive I just flip up the seat on the golf cart, clamp the leads to the posts, and start welding.

I bought the Ready Welder new off an E-bay dealer for less than $400 in Jan, 2005. It was the only option for building the limo since the location where I lived (RV campground) didn't have 220 volt service for my buzz box/tig torch.
So that about does it for the welding, I also have a large air compressor/air tools. Engine hoist, sheet metal brake, lathe/mill, drill press, grinders, drills, and hundreds of hand tools. Plus a Ford tractor w/boom pole and a Kanga mini skid steer.

I doubt that my conversion will pose any problems (other than money).

KiWi,
Check with a trade school in your area that offers courses in welding, maybe at night. Been watching your videos on YT and real impressed. But everytime you stated that a part had to be fabbed by a weldor or the local engineers I thought that you should be doing this yourself and you should.

Fatboy
 

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That is just incredible! I want one!
A completely portable battery powered welder capable of welding anything to anything. I could see myself getting one of those in the future.
I think you're right mate, I'm gonna book myself into a local welding class when it's time to create the next EV. I'll save myself hundreds, maybe even thousands by doing it myself.

That little welder's just so cool. :D
 

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Yeah, it's a quite capable welder and I find myself adding at least one roll of wire to the goods in the shopping cart every time that I go to the store. I did screw up one time in that I hooked it to my Lincoln Ranger engine drive welder and didn't use the suppied power unit for the RW drive motor and electric board. Had to replace them at a cost of $70. Actually the motor is still good but for $20 extra it saved me from having to change it from the old board to the new one. Took about a half hour to change the board and I've run 3-4 rolls of wire through it since then. Plus the suitcase makes it easy to transport.

One of the things that sets this apart from a mig welder like a Lincoln SP100 is that the design of a spool gun lends itself well to welding alluminum. The drive rollers only have to push the soft aluminum wire a few inches instead of several feet to the nozzle/contactor. Unless the welding lead from a unit like the SP100 is held nearly straight the aluminum wire will birdnest (bunch up and bend into a ball) at the drive rollers.

For the money it's the best value.

Another option for welding things like battery boxes is Oxy/Acetylene gas welding. This is the type of welding that was used to weld the frame work in aircraft. As far as price it would cost about $150 for the regulators/gauges, hoses, torch, and googles. Then you would need a set of tanks that you can rent from the local welding supply. It's a little harder to learn but the welds are really nice and strong. Case in point: several years ago my neighbor sold a transmission to a couple of young guys and when they tried to put the driveshaft in it was too long. He got me to shorten and reweld to the right length. When I got out the O/A torch they said that it would never hold so when I gave it to them I said that if they broke it that I'd buy them a new one. After four hours they returned with the shaft still in one piece but the output shaft of the transmission wrung off in the spline. They had spent the afternoon trying to break my weld but broke the transmission instead.

Good Luck,
Fatboy
 
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