When building anything in this world that has equal and opposite sides, the best way to proceed is with a piece of equipment called a jig. Jigs, which are usually made of metal, are quite time-consuming to build. But they make a world of difference in product. Why? A jig allows you to place everything in the correct spot and line everything-up perfectly — every time. Though I am not using one to create my project, I’d like to offer a few tips before we get back into the build.
First and foremost, make sure everything is square and level. If you do not have these two things off the bat, everything else will be off . . . one corner too long, one corner too high . . . and your whole build will be twisted. The simplest and easiest (and cheapest) way to build a jig is with 2x4s and plywood. This will allow you to get precise measurements as well as accurate level readings. For everything. Now, to the actual build.
Where I last left you, nothing was really finished. There was a square made of tubing welded to two straight pieces of tubing, and we’d made an aluminum computer box. It has been a long time since then (real life issues occasionally come first – Ed) and now, as can be seen here (above), the project is nearly finished.
“What have you done to it?” you may be wondering.
I’m glad you asked!
First off, I welded an additional piece of tubing between the two pieces of 36” tubing in order to finish the base. Then, in order to weld bolts for the table uprights, a piece of angle iron was welded to that additional piece of tubing. This both leveled-out the rig and provided a secure flat surface to weld bolts to.
Speaking of bolts, that was the next thing to go; just small coarse thread bolts. Finally, to finish off the front for now, I cut two, 27” pieces of angle iron and drilled a hole in them.
Now, ORIGINALLY, the seat I was going to use was a 2011 Lajoie racing seat. That got removed from the idea in order to be used for real racing (what was that we said about real life issues? –Ed). So the search started for a cheap car seat. Instead, a shop owner’s generous donation of a broken computer chair fit the bill quite nicely. Seeing as I am a cheap penny pincher, free is good.
Anyways, this allowed some lee-way in other areas, such as creating an adjustable pivot bracket that would allow anyone to adjust the tip of the chair from leaning way back to sitting straight up. In order to do this, some extreme modifications were needed to make the bracket work. First, two washers were welded to the bottom side of the original seat bracket to keep the bolts holding the back rest in place from backing themselves out. Then, several hours worth of grinding were done to clean up the welds and the original paint on the bracket. After this, I welded a small piece of square tubing to the bracket to fill-in space so that a piece of large round tubing could be welded on top of that. This would be the seat’s pivot point.
The process above was/is very important; probably more important than any other part of the build. Without it, no one could sit in the seat, or remove the seat in order to move the entire rig.
The final step of the seat installation was the pan brackets. Two pieces of 3” angle iron (with a rather large hole cut into each them with a plasma cutter) were welded parallel to each other, with the same pipe placed on the seat bracket welded inside of them. A section of smaller pipe was then pushed through all the pieces of welded pipe, finishing the seat installation.
With the seat in place and the main base of the rig complete, the next few steps were mainly cosmetic. The desk for the monitor and wheel is really the only difficult piece left to build, which we’ll tackle in the next installment of this series.
To finish this article though, I will give you the current numbers spent (time and money) on the build. Keep reading with us and come back next week for the next installment. Until then, cut straight, weld hot, and build it right.
Hours: Roughly 30 hours.
Cost: $40 (plus $140+ in donated materials)
At roughly $20 an hour, a professional builder’s current invoice price would be over $700.