Over the last few weekends I’ve been teaching myself how to weld (gassless mig). I’ve also been practising a lot as the last thing I want is a shoddy weld to come apart on the highway! The HSBNE metalshop has a range of awesome welders. However, I’m just learning to weld so I bought a cheap unit that I could thrash/abuse without risking damage to the expensive ones.
Learning to weld was actually a lot harder than I thought. I have a lot of experience with soldering and have found the technique and process is the most important part. I found (at least in my experience with my welder) that the welder settings are actually more important than the technique. If you’re just slightly too high you’ll blow a hole right through the material. On the flip side, if you’re not high enough it will just spatter everywhere.
After a lot of test welds and thinking about how the battery cage would fit into the bike I started cutting up steel and welding. You can see my progress in the photos below. I’ll be up front and say this could have been done a lot better. It fits, and all of the welds look strong and solid so I have confidence in it.
I started by making a “U” piece and welding some angled steel on the top to bolt in place. This was measured fairly well but didn’t quite line up so I clamped it into place then welded a flat bar cross section to hold it. This worked well and now fits excellently. Then I attached a U shaped section at 90 degrees that forms the bottom of the battery cage. For the two bottom edges, I used some 90 degree angled steel so it’s easier to attach a tray to the bottom.
The battery cage is nearly finished and is now attached at all of the points it can be. The only thing left really is to install a diagonal piece of right angle steel from the bottom back to the top front on each side. This will help with mechanical strength as the engine use to be a structural part of the frame.
Now I have to work out how to enclose the cage and seal it off from the elements reasonably well. My current plan is to cut a thin piece piece of plywood to fit snugly on the bottom. I’ll probably screw it into the steel, then seal around the edges with a high quality automotive grade sealant. I might add another piece of flat bar in the centre for extra support too. As for the sides, I’m probably going to try to find some sheet metal to wrap around the outside and again, use some automotive grade sealant to keep water out at the edges.