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Thread: seanmurphy265 Project 3 Almost Summer contest - Condenser Rack

  1. #1

    Default seanmurphy265 Project 3 Almost Summer contest - Condenser Rack

    This for a chain dollar store. It's an elevator condenser rack 8'4" tall. The beam is a w6x9, the tube is 4x4x1/4", the angle iron is 3x3x1/4", and the gussets are 1/4" plate. This is made to their specs not mine. They gave me the drawing and I submitted a bid and won.

    This is actually the top.


    I used my Imig 200!


    The dimensions were from the center line of the beam.


    I really needed a third hand!


    I had to jack it up! I can't pick up the rack! I have it to where I can slide it on my trailer.
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  2. #2

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    All for tubes squared and tacked!






    I have to turn the closest baseplate around... I had a brain fart, but it's only tacked! The beam is fully welded, but everything else is tacked. I will finish everything up tomorrow and spray with cold gal.
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  3. #3
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    Heavy Duty! Looks nice, congrats on winning the bid. How do you like the new Tweco gun? I bet the extra length comes in handy on a big/tall project like that.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rambozo View Post
    Heavy Duty! Looks nice, congrats on winning the bid. How do you like the new Tweco gun? I bet the extra length comes in handy on a big/tall project like that.
    I like it and the extra length comes in handy, but you have to keep the cable from binding. It was worth the investment, because I was doing a lot of tacking, and moving the welder gets old. I'm anal retentive and refuse to pull a mig welder by the lead.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanMurphy265 View Post
    I like it and the extra length comes in handy, but you have to keep the cable from binding. It was worth the investment, because I was doing a lot of tacking, and moving the welder gets old. I'm anal retentive and refuse to pull a mig welder by the lead.
    Yeah, I had a little MIG cart that I kept a dog leash on to pull it around without pulling on the cable.
    With as small as the inverters are getting I wonder when there will be a backpack MIG? There is a gas powered backpack stick welder for the truly mobile.

    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  6. #6
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    I was going to suggest putting a rope parallel to the welder lead to pull the welder around but you beat me to it Rambozo.

    I like the portable stick welder. The generator takes up more space than the welder. I bet it takes the lion's share of the weight on that backpack too.

    Nice project, Sean. I can't even imagine how you got it square and true all by yourself.
    Is it OK to want to break something just so that you can weld it back together?

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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by undercut View Post
    I was going to suggest putting a rope parallel to the welder lead to pull the welder around but you beat me to it Rambozo.

    I like the portable stick welder. The generator takes up more space than the welder. I bet it takes the lion's share of the weight on that backpack too.

    Nice project, Sean. I can't even imagine how you got it square and true all by yourself.
    Well it took some time! I started with the beam squaring and welding that first. That became my working point. The tubes were pre-cut by the steel supply (so I could haul them), and they were all cut to the same exact length. It was a matter of getting everything aligned to the beam, and then making sure they were true with a level. I have found that if you start off out of square (even if it's a little) usually it will get worse as the project moves along.

    I have to finish welding this morning, and I'm sure that it will un align itself before its all done.

    I have to invest in a larger mig welder soon! This project has bumped the limit of my Imig 200 in duty cycle. The material thickness is perfectly within the limits everything is 1/4" accept the base plates.
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  8. #8

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    I got it in place this afternoon, and I have to go back tomorrow to anchor it and paint.

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  9. #9
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    Did you figure the price out from the number of inches of weld?
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rambozo View Post
    Did you figure the price out from the number of inches of weld?
    No, I figured up the price of material x .50 which ended up only covering the cost because the height was not very clear on the drawing. Also the dimensions were center to center instead of being outside to outside. I ended up with almost 20' of drop on my beam. I have 16 hours of building, weld, and clean up time. I still have to anchor, paint, and weld the condensor unit to the frame. I will probably have 20 hours total before it's finished. Gas in my truck, welder, mig gas (ran out), welding rods, grinding disk, and paint. I did a little guessing, with a hint of what do I need to make this job worth my time. My total will be $1,100.00 by the time it's finished. Weld time was slow because I kept bumping the duty cycle on my mig welder. I would stick weld while the mig was cooling off. I will take home $1,500.00ish after it's all said and done. I still have two more projects to left. I have to make some parking lot bollards which I figured too much material!!! So I actually bid more than I should have and made up for the material on the rack. You live and learn, but just make sure you always have some wiggle room.
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  11. #11

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    Here is the finished product.
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  12. #12

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    Looks like a decent job.

    did you use your little bandsaw to make the cuts?

    Any chance of future work at other stores?
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  13. #13

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    I ordered everything pre-cut, but I ended up using a cutting torch because the beam was cut short.... The rack was no problem, I also made some parking lot bollards, indoor bollards, and two door frames. The door frames have been an absolute PTA.... I have built them before, but I have never installed them in an existing building. If I ever do them again, someone else will take the tin off the inside and outside of the building before I start. I have no intentions of ever working with this company again. I built the door frames like the job superintendant said, and had ordered the 8" channel pre cut to what he originally said. One of the doors is a 10' garage door and the tells me that he needs a 2' header after I have the frame laid out ready to weld. I had to add some of my 4x4 tubing drops to make the header. I also asked about the sheet metal work around the doors (I do not do this kind of work) and he tells me the door guy trims that out. He comes back later and asked me about the door trim, and says the welder always trims out the door. I never submitted any sheetmetal in my bid. Now I am going back and forth with the project manager and the superintendant, the project manager tells me to take care of it. I have no clue about triming out doors, and now I'm pissed! When we went over the 10' roll up door he said that he would take the double door out. Come time to install the frame I have to take the double door out, which added about 4 hours to my day because I do not have those type of tools. Everything has been vague and nothing is specific; now I kind of see why. Some of the other contractors have said that sometimes you do something one way, and then the next time you have to go back and redo what you have done. I have about $2,000.00 tied up in this job, and I do not have the money or the time to be jacked around. They get you by the balls and begin to squeeze them by subtily adding things that were not discussed in the begining. Then they say take care of it so the superintendant will OK your bill getting paid. I'd rather stick with small jobs!
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  14. #14

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    Sounds like the kind of job you take a torch with you when you go back to after not getting paid...
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  15. #15
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    I've learned that with most jobs you need to get everything in writing and have the drawings approved before any work begins. Verbal agreements are never good with new customers. Specifying what you will not do is almost as important as what you will do.
    Last edited by Rambozo; 10-08-2012 at 11:19 PM.
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  16. Default

    too bad it had to go that way but they're not all like that; you might try assembling the involved parties in one place at one time and see what you can work out. wait until you get on a job that runs a year and they're taking 10% retention out of every draw, then they really got you. there's good money in miscellaneous metals but you need to know what your scope of work is ahead of time, in addition there are things that are expected to be done by the sub by default. guess you were lucky no one asked you about pumping concrete in around the frame. next time figure more money; by the way, why throw your money away by having your material precut. get, or use if you already have one, a good oxy/acet kit. i cut that light stuff with a #3 tip. very small kerf then a light grind. when all's said and done no one will know the difference.


    just noticed the condenser frame; did you cope the i's?

    i started reading the post about the issues with super and p/m. i should have started from the beginning.
    Last edited by fdcmiami; 10-08-2012 at 11:43 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanMurphy265 View Post
    One of the doors is a 10' garage door and the tells me that he needs a 2' header after I have the frame laid out ready to weld. I had to add some of my 4x4 tubing drops to make the header. ... I also asked about the sheet metal work around the doors (I do not do this kind of work) and he tells me the door guy trims that out. He comes back later and asked me about the door trim, and says the welder always trims out the door. I never submitted any sheetmetal in my bid. ... Now I am going back and forth with the project manager and the superintendant, the project manager tells me to take care of it. ... he said that he would take the double door out. Come time to install the frame I have to take the double door out, which added about 4 hours to my day because I do not have those type of tools. Everything has been vague and nothing is specific; now I kind of see why. ... Some of the other contractors have said that sometimes you do something one way, and then the next time you have to go back and redo what you have done.
    Classic scope creep, unfortunately. Are they doing it on purpose, or are they just disorganized? When the project manager tells you to "take care of it", can you bill him by the hour for work that you didn't bid on, like removing the double door that someone else was supposed to remove?

    BTW Welcome back, FDCMiami, haven't heard from you in a while.
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  18. #18
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    Yeah, that sucks. Might be worth your while to do some studying on project management techniques if you plan on bidding in the future on large'ish projects with many moving parts. It's a hassle but sometimes you need to do the project management in order to protect yourself. I'd much rather just do my own job but on the bigger bids, if no one does the proper scoping and management of the deliverables, its the little guys who get the shaft.
    Is it OK to want to break something just so that you can weld it back together?

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  19. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by undercut View Post
    Yeah, that sucks. Might be worth your while to do some studying on project management techniques if you plan on bidding in the future on large'ish projects with many moving parts. It's a hassle but sometimes you need to do the project management in order to protect yourself. I'd much rather just do my own job but on the bigger bids, if no one does the proper scoping and management of the deliverables, its the little guys who get the shaft.
    that's a pretty interesting philosophy you have there UC; hope it works out for you.

    at the risk of getting flamed i would like to suggest something, too late for this matter but maybe someone else will benefit from it. if i were building this in my driveway (or anywhere else for that matter) i would have built it one of two ways. 1. i would have built the framework for the legs, first one end, and then built the other end on top of that. trying to true up 4 by 4's that reach eight feet into the air is way to hard. one inch; one degree; .017. if you simply framed them by tacking a temporary piece of angle to the top and bottom, then built the rest and then stood them up it would have gone much better for you.

    2. second way, and this is what i would have done; i would have built the I beam frame first (coping the I's) then i would have built the two ends off of the top of the frame. it is so much easier to work when the components are laying flat.

    you made a number of serious errors on this job, just accept the fact that you were a little unprepared , learn from it and move on.
    '
    Last edited by fdcmiami; 10-10-2012 at 12:05 AM.

  20. #20
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    I've been burned too many times on too many different things. I'm done with agreements, everything moving forward, strangers to family (especially family) will be done with a signed contract.

    Last deal sucked so bad it inspired a pair of tattoos to remind me.

    As for materials pricing, my father taught me a long time ago, round up, then estimate 1.5x that cost. if you can 'just' get three pieces out of a stick of wood or length of steel, then figure you need two sticks.

    I factor in consumables on what I think I'll need, a bit over or under balances itself out in the end.

    Labor I routinely screw myself on, but I charge between what's fair (high side) and what I can get (low side) and figure a bad day in the shop is better than a good day at work
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