Adventure EV

Battery Box Progress

by on Nov.18, 2009, under Batteries, Battery Boxes, EV Land Rover, Fabrication

I certainly expected to learn a lot embarking on this endeavor, and I have.  But something I didn’t really need to learn was that cutting 1.5″ x 15.” x 1/8″ angle iron with a 12″ mitre saw and an abrasive cut-off wheel… takes FOREVER!!!

So far I’ve cut pieces for three of the four battery boxes… 12 pieces for each box, two cuts for each piece, for 72 cuts altogether.  45 degree angles are the worst.  It’s like cutting thicker material.  The wheel just spins round and round… and round… and round before it cuts through.  I thought it would be like butter,  but it’s more like cutting through a can with a nail file, metal dust everywhere.

Cutting Angle Iron

And the abrasive cut-off wheel doesn’t cut cleanly at all.  Every time I complete a cut I have to de-burr, bevel, and smooth the edge with a 4″ angle grinder.  It just gets tedious.  Took a couple of days.  Word of advice, don’t do this without ear defenders and other normal safety gear.  You’ll go mental without the ear protection… and deaf.

I’ve heard of chop saws that use carbide-tipped metal blades that do cut metal like butter… and cleanly.  If I was doing it for a living I’d purchase one in a second, but they’re ex-pens-ive.  Another word of advice, get one of those!

But then it was on to welding, and for some reason welding is far more enjoyable.  I dunno, there’s something about melting two pieces together by brute force… and a lot of electricity… and sparks.

Welding

So after the past couple of days, the two frames below are the result of the fruits of my labor.  And what do you know, they actually kinda fit.  Tomorrow I complete the rear box frame… the big one.  That shouldn’t take long.  The welding is relatively quick and painless.  But I’ve run out of shielding gas… wish me luck trying to find some.

I purchased some thin gauge aluminum sheet which will act as the box walls.  That will be sealed in and riveted, not welded, and I can cut that stuff with electric metal shears.  Hopefully this time it will cut like butter.

Side Box Frames

I also pick up my motor spacer tomorrow…  hopefully.  It’s Taos.  Every time I call to see if it’s done it hasn’t been started.  Life moves at a different pace out here.  Luckily I’ve been preoccupied with the fabrication work, and I haven’t been pushing the machinist.

I dropped my flywheel off earlier in the week to have the starter teeth and a bit of the back side shaved off.  Maybe I can cut its weight by a third.  It’s a heavy bugger, so any weight savings would be nice.  It was a spur of the moment decision, so I failed to weigh it prior.  Oh well… heavy.  That’s how much it weighed.

Maybe I’ll never see my parts again…

For those looking for sources for parts and pieces:

1.5″ x 1.5″ x 1/8″ Hot Rolled Steel Angle – 80 ft @ $87.75 ($1.10 linear foot)

60 sq/ft .040″ 5052 Aluminum Sheet – $140.19 ($2.34 sq/ft)

Purchased at Metal Supermarkets in Albuquerque, NM.  You might find an outlet near you, or you can order online.

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2 Comments for this entry

  • mikefish

    Nice looking boxes! Will the sharp corners be an issue when you go off roading? Hard to tell from this angle, but it looks like the front corners stick out a bit. Does not look like a major issue though.
    Looks like you have been real busy! Cant wait to see the BBB (Big Beautiful Batteries)!

  • jeffg

    Actually, so far the side battery boxes sit exactly as the original fuel tanks would, with the exception of being one inch lower (or one inch taller, whichever you prefer.) And that point is pretty much the bottom of the frame. The door bottom sits higher than the frame bottom, and I’m missing a trim piece (like a rocker panel) that would normally make the tank less visible. At some point, I’ll probably install rock sliders for the side sills.

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