Good breakfast, and it’s off to the airport in Tulsa. Last decent food until I get where I’m going. Airport food leaves a lot to be desired, and it doesn’t contain very much roughage (important to someone my age).
The drive to the airport is uneventful, except for this nagging feeling that Man wasn’t intended to fly.
Get to the airport, and park the pickup in the “Long Term Economy Parking” ($6/day). I hope it will still be there when I return.
NOW IT’S OFF TO THE TERMINAL:
Check in goes ok, at least they didn’t lose my reservation. (A good sign)
Next, its the TSA screening. Ooooomph! It’s where you get inspected, infected, neglected, and rejected………All goes well!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Apparently I pose no threat to Aviation.
These things are NOT meant to fly.I mean, it’s counterintuitive. That’s one heck of a lot of dead weight. How can it get off the ground????? I’m hoping the guys that built it, the guys that maintain it, and the pilot, all had, or are having, a good day.
Breakfast stayed down, and the plane stayed up. KEWL.
Now it’s time to find some food. I tend to eat by the clock, and it’s WAY past lunchtime.
I’m strolling around like a tourist, and I see a fast-food Italian place. I figure I’m in the land that Sinatra, and his buddies built, so the Italian food has got be good. My logic proves right………very good Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti. Excellent.
Full gut. Made it this far in one piece. Things are looking up.
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Time to move on.I got mixed feelings about this. Sure….I got here safely, but the odds are starting to build against me. (Remember I’m in Vegas, so I’m thinking about odds). Every time you step onto another plane, you’re one step closer to……………………………….. Ya know.
Now it’s off to get the rental car.
I finally find where you’re supposed to get on the shuttle that takes you to the rental yard. NO SHUTTLE.
I’m looking around for ANY kind of vehicle that has the rental car company logo on the side. Nothing.
About this time, I notice this lady.
40’ish. Dressed like a hippie (more like a refugee from the 1960’s actually). Carrying a needle point decorated backpack thingie.
She’s running around poking her head into a few of the rental car shuttles parked at the curb.
Voice like a pail full of gravel, and exaggerated fast movements. Tweaker/drinker, either one probably applies. And constantly laughing weird like. Kind of person that makes you very nervous to be around.
She comes up to me and asks if I’m waiting for the ************car company shuttle.
“Yeah”, says me. (Kind of leaning away from her to get out of the danger zone).
She says that she’s found out that their shuttle only runs on the hour.
Oooooomph!!!!!! (Things had been going pretty good up to this point, this should have been a clue)
So, I digest this new information.
She comes up with a solution. “Split ya for a cab”. The idea is to take a cab to the rental yard.
I agree. (I’m still trying to stay out of the danger zone, slightly bent backwards at the knees).
$21 fare to the rental yard, which is about 2mi from the airport. (I figure it’s Portland I guess, and it wouldn’t do any good to kick about it). Besides….my half of the deal only comes to around $10. I can live with that.
We get to the rental yard BUT THAT’S NOT THE WHOLE STORY.
All during the trip Tweaker Chick is looking at her smart phone while giving directions to the cab driver. (Google maps I guess)She’s thinking that all cabbies are crooked I figure, and is verifying that we’re not taking the scenic route to the yard.
By now, the cab driver dood is startin’ to get a bit ruffled. He’s not happy. AND he’s not too conversant in English.
At this point, the dooood is looking straight ahead, with a clenched jaw. I can sympathize. (I’m in a strange town, sitting with the Tweaker From Hell, and don’t have a clue as to where I’m going……gotta trust somebody. It might as well be the doood who’s driving the cab).
The guy gets us there. An honest man. Gotta trust people sometimes, they’re mostly good people.
I get out of the cab, and notice my shoulders are sorta shrugging real fast, and my arms are twitching a bit. Been sitting next to Tweaker Chick too long……it’s rubbing off.
There’s a line about 5 people deep at the rental counter, and Tweaker Chick is starting to come unglued. I mean seriously unglued. She’s spouting off about lousy service, never going to use this company again, etc……….
Add to this……….. There’s a couple at the desk now. Typical PNW (Pacific Northwest) types. Wholly holistic, and a Holy PITA. The car doesn’t allow for the proper car seat installation. The car doesn’t sync with their electronic (?) device (not sure about this, just overhearing the conversation here). Did I mention that the husband doood has a weird kind of Samurai pony tail, and a impeccably groomed beard. The wife is beside him with their child in one of those slings that smashes the kid’s nose against its Mother’s chest.
They go through 2, TWO!!, cars before they settle on the right one. Probably a stinkin’ Subaru (Feel the love).
Lola Granola……….. she’s the gal behind the counter. Smallish, long hair, with an aggressive look on her face.
We (Guess I gotta say we,,,,,Tweaker Chick is standing off to my left, slightly behind me) finally get to the front of the line.
Tweaker Chick: “Honey,,,,,,,,,,(something or other about the general things she’s unhappy with)”
Lola Granola: “My work rules say that I don’t have to serve anyone who makes me uncomfortable”
Good God Almighty, I’m at the head of the line, and Lola is getting ready to walk off the job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m not gonna get my car!!!!!! There ain’t anybody else behind the counter but Lola.
Tweaker Chick: “Well, um um um (lotta “um’s” goin’ on here)”
Tweaker Chick takes a chill pill, and Lola does my paper work for the car. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At this point, I’m not even slightly concerned that the quoted car rental rate has climbed from $168 to $311. Added insurance, rental car tax rates (Thank you Portland), etc. I am not about to make Lola uncomfortable. I let it ride, surrender my credit card, and head on out to the car feeling very relieved to be outta this asylum.
Last thing I see in the mirror is Tweaker Chick with her needlepoint backpack.
Survival of the fittest.
The Long Drive
I follow the signs on the surface streets that guide the way to I-205. It hooks up with I-5 for the trip North to Washington.
I’m about 2 blocks from the entrance ramp, and I’m stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I have no idea what time it is (my watch is still set to Tulsa time), and it’s looking like it might be getting dark before long.
Get on the highway at last, short drive (in bumper-to-bumper traffic) to the I-5 exit. I-5 isn’t too much better, but at least it’s moving along at a fair pace. Sure seems like there’s a lot of people living around here.
Get a ways down the road, and decide it’s time to stop for something to eat, toothpaste, and toilet paper.
The toothpaste is a fair enough “buy”. Can’t take a big tube of toothpaste on the plane (TSA). I suppose the toilet paper takes some ‘splainin. I’m getting older, my butt has started to get a bit tender, and I don’t know if Jimmie has the soft stuff at his place……………….nuff said.
Back on the road. It’s dark now, or almost dark.
By the time I get to the right exit off of I-5, it’s totally dark. The rest of the trip is on some of the curviest two lane blacktop on the Planet.
Somewhere along the way, I stop to pick up a 12 pack for when I get there (This is the Slagpit Bash). Almost $16 for a twelve pack of beer. These folks sure put a heavy price tag on a few brewski’s.
Now I get lost. YA KNOW I HAD TO GET LOST. It was inevitable.
There’s no real description for getting lost, after all how can you describe what you don’t know…….HOW TO GET WHERE YOU’RE GOING.
So, I finally get to the right place. AND BREAK OUT MY SUDS. I DESERVE IT.
What I didn’t deserve was the kindness of Jimmie (our host).Although I had called ahead (where I could find cellphone service), and said “Y’all go ahead and eat because I’m running WAY LATE”, Jimmie saved my supper, and his wife reheated it so I could eat it.
The First Day
I got the bunk bed above the “garage”. This is a toy hauler.
About 3:00AM on Saturday, I gotta get out of bed. There’s a ladder that you climb down/up. Had to pee (lot of beer on Friday night).
Apparently I missed the 3rd rung, and fell like a sack of potatoes 🙂 . Hit one of the guys on the way down. He was sleeping in a folding cot near the foot of the ladder. WHAM!!!!!!!!!!!!! Almost smack dab on top of Scott. Bent the side rail on the cot. Asked if he was ok, dusted myself off, and went on outside to pee.
Tweco Fabricator 211i
One of the guys recently bought a Fabricator 211i to see how he liked it. He brought it to the get together for us to check it out.I found it to be an excellent machine (and it comes with a free cap 😀 ). This is hard for me to admit, I’m not fond of inverter technology. I don’t believe it’s as robust as the old transformer machines.
A couple of us played around with the stick mode. I found it to be buttery smooth. Smoother than my Ranger 250 GXT (my most “advanced” machine).
The arc force control makes it childs play to do out-of-position welding with 7018. The puddle literally sticks where you want it to. Absolutely amazing.
The guys wanted to see how well it did with the MIG process, and switched out the leads for a gun.
I’m not a MIG guy, as a lot of people know. First off…..I mostly work outdoors, and the breeze blows the shielding gas away. Second…..I’m old fashioned, and prefer stick for most of what I do. The only wire welding I do is with Self Shielding Flux Core Wire.
Scott literally had to force me to try the MIG setup. I probably run about 3oz. of solid wire in a year. It just isn’t my thing. And because it isn’t my thing, I’m not too well practiced at it.
Did some short circuit transfer. This got me sorta used to pushing the puddle. For those unfamiliar with the terminology…..Pushing involves placing the electrode (wire) ahead of the puddle, angled away from the puddle, and allowing the puddle to follow along. Dragging involves placing the electrode (wire or stick) ahead of the puddle, angled towards the puddle, and allowing the puddle to follow along.
Short circuit worked very well, especially considering I don’t do it very often.
Next it was on to spray transfer. This is in the higher power range, and develops a great deal more heat, which gives better penetration on thicker materials. This is something I’d never done before.
This is a cover pass over a weld I made in the root of the joint. I’d imagine this was about the 4th weld I’ve ever made in spray mode. 3/8″ plate. Dunno the settings (Scott was doing the settings, and telling me to try a bead at different settings). We just kept running various settings to see which ones I liked, or could do well with. I’d have to ask him what the particular setting was. Anyways…..this machine can make a non-MIG dooood look good 🙂 .
The main thing I had to get used to, was keeping the proper stickout. You vary your stickout until you get that cool hissing sound with no popping. And man, does it run HOT!!!!!!! For S&G’s I switched around to dragging the puddle, and the heat was so intense that my left hand fried 😀 .
Wish I would have taken more weld pics, but 3 of us were doing one weld after the other, and things were moving fast.
If I didn’t already have a machine which fills my needs, and was starting out, I’d seriously consider this baby. It’s simple to dial in, and it’s powerful.
Some folks chatter on about short duty cycles at max amps. For the average guy, this is just plain ol’ stupid. A 20% duty cycle at max, is generally adequate for most types of small fabricating jobs in a job shop environment, or a hobby environment. Two minutes continuous welding is a long time for many applications.
This unit set our guy back about $800. That’s not bad. My little Lincoln 225 AC/DC crackerbox set me back about $600 back when I bought it quite a few years ago. Compare the available power, available processes, and do the math.
I still don’t trust an inverter power source, and I feel that todays machines rely too much on electronics. At this point, considering I’m already fully tooled up, I wouldn’t buy the machine. But, like I say, if I was starting out…I’d give it some serious consideration. In fact, the inverter seems to be taking over the field, and will probably be all that’s available after a while.
Anyways, you have my opinion. And I got to say, it’s mostly favorable. You need to actually try one out to form your own opinion.
Thanks Scott. I would never have had the experience had you not brought the machine to the Bash. I view MIG in a different light now. Thanks again.
The Watering Hole
Suppers were provided by Jimmie, and Mrs. Jimmie ( 😀 ). Rest of the meals were done at the local bar and grill. Great food dockside. This is a fishing community.
Nice simple bar.Kitchen is out back, and the prices are reasonable. Portions are HUGE. ( I did take issue with the French Dip sandwich at $8, but I don’t eat out often, and forgot how expensive restaurant food is )
Some cool pictures on the wall.For someone who comes from a landlocked state, the drive from Jimmie’s shop to the grill never ceases to amaze me. Lottsa water out there.The onshore winds were running between 50-60mph this particular day according to the weather report. It sure felt like it 🙂 .
Jimmie’s got it goin’ on 😀 .
The balance of the first day was spent playing with his toys, and telling tall tales.The shop is tight, and crowded. But there isn’t one unnecessary piece of equipment in the place. You’re looking at a highly diversified job shop which can handle almost any type of marine fabrication/repair demand for the local fishing industry. How Jimmie keeps ahead of the work, I’ll never know. It’s a challenge.
After another great supper………Fried Battered Halibut (had been stored in the freezer direct off one of the boats that had been up to Alaska), and Curly Fries. I don’t normally do seafood, but this was GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Early rise, and it’s time for day two.
The Plasma Table
Our Jimmie put this together. Totally off-the-shelf electronics, components, and software. Nothing proprietary.
Non proprietary, he explained, allows you to get away from overpriced kits. It also makes for faster, easier repairs when something goes South. I feel his logic is absolutely spot-on.
You’re looking at TOTAL setup (including accessories like router, scriber, acetylene torch capability, and rotary axis) for around ten thousand dollars.
The cutting power comes from Hypertherm, the Powermax 85 http://www.hypertherm.com/en-us/Products/Handheld_cutting/Systems/powermax85.jsp
The combination of plasma, and oxy-acetylene, gives a wide range of cutting capabilities.
It was a treat to watch the system in action.
Very clean cuts.The oxy-acetylene performance is phenomenal. Some 2 1/2″ stock.With the rotary axis, it is capable of automated welding when shafts need to be built up. Very cool.The router opens up another dimension. Combine it with the rotary axis, and you have one KEWL TOOL.
The metal work is straightforward, but has to be executed with skill.
All framing has to be square/plumb/flat. Tubing is a mix of 3″x 3/16 wall, and 3″x 11ga wall.The water tray is fabricated from mild steel. Overall dimensions are roughly 6 1/2′ x 12′ (allowing for handling full 5′ x 10′ material). The baffles on the tray floor are support for the water level air bladder. The cutouts allow water/air to move freely inside the bladder.The bladder (as I call it) is simply an upside-down steel box capable of holding air pressure. This allows the operator to control the water level inside the tray. An excellent explanation of the principle
A box within a box.Sitting just under the surface of the water.The inverted box provides support for the cutting grate. Notice how the strips are bowed. They are bowed to prevent damage when making straight cuts across the material. At no time will a strip be entirely under a straight cut line perpendicular to the long side of the tray. I truly believe Jimmie is one of the best fabricators I’ve seen.
Now For Some Sight Seeing
These are short visits for all of us. Four days, greatly reduced by travel time. So you’re only actually looking at about 2 1/2 days schmooze time all told, considering the wasted time traveling.
I sandwiched in about a couple of hours sightseeing while the rest of the guys fooled around at the shop, and rifle range. Roy tagged along for the quick trip.
The Astoria -Megler Bridge
Coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I have a thing for bridges. Always imagine how it must have been to be one of the crew that built it. Dangerous, and something to be proud of. To Read More About the Bridge
There’s the usual tourist stuff nearby. The Columbia would have been an interesting walk-thru, but I had limited time, and didn’t care to part with $12 for the privilege. Maybe next time. To Read More About the ColumbiaMy main focus was the bridge, and the shipping in the area.Was a couple of hours well spent. You only go around once in life, take the time to experience it.
Back at the Ranch
We get back, and head out to find the guys at the rifle range. Missed out on some shooting, and got there about towards the end of the day. Still had a great time though.
These guys have enough guns to arm a medium sized Third World Country.Even brought along a chronograph thingie 🙂 . Handy for measuring muzzle velocity.The .50 costs about as much as a 6 Pack every time you pull the trigger. Some expensive ammo.
So, let’s make some noise!!
I don’t do that much shooting. Not that good at hitting anything. They usually slap something in my hand and say “Here, try this” 🙂 But generally I do allright, and sometimes I’m POSITIVELY EPIC!! 😀 Had a VERY good day with the .50 🙂
BACK TO REALITY
So, Monday morning comes around (they always do), and it’s time to make tracks for home. Seemed like a blink of an eye since I just got here. Way it goes.
Some goodbyes till next time, and onto the road to Portland.
The rain came back on Monday, and the highways were slick. Some poor fellow had a bad day by the looks of it.Got drier the further I got towards Portland. Some nice country out there.This being the PNW (Pacific North West), there’s always some logging going on. Looked to be a fair sized storage/shipping facility somewhere near Portland.Now, here’s something you don’t get see every day. An old Erie crane.And another thing I definitely DON’T SEE EVERY DAY 🙂 SOMETHING I’VE NEVER SEEN IN ALL MY BORN DAYSHeard the PNW was a little touchy feely about things, but this is too touchy feely. Little poop baggies, geeeeeez! THE THING EVEN HAS A LOCK ON IT. NOW, WHO IN GODS NAME, WOULD WANT TO STEAL WHAT’S IN THAT LITTLE BOX?????
AND SOMETHING I JUST FLAT WON’T SEE AGAIN IN MY LIFETIME
Now, I know these people feel good about this. They probably think it relaxes the passengers coming through the airport. Kind of a New Age kinda thing.
But, I’m about to get on an airplane that might well go down in a fiery, twisted, ball of flames. I tend to think about these things. A little airport music isn’t gonna make me feel any better. Gotta say though……..the fella sure looked wrapped up in what he was doing.
Very nice airport BTW.And TOTALLY holistic.Guess it’s a bit expensive to get in touch with your inner self.
That’s about it I guess. Been sitting in front of this puter for a few days now, to get this all down, and I’m getting a bit tired. About as tired as I was when I boarded the plane for home.
Got a window seat on the final connection.