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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    101

    Default Next Project: Lamp Holder Question

    My wife dragged me along shopping for some solar lights for a friend. I got to thinking a couple of wall mounted units would look nice beside my door, and get rid of the problem of people forgetting to turn lights on for me at night when I come home. I looked around and of course there are none. But, they do have some stainless steel solar powered lights that mount on a little post made from a tube. And, I have a welder. Seems I should be able to do something about this.

    I buy a couple of the lights, at $5 each. They are an stainless head, that sits on a stainless tube which sticks into the ground. The tube is 0.900" in diameter, give or take, with .010" walls. I bought some 3/16" x 2 1/2" 304SS flat bar, and figure I can cut a piece for the wall, and a piece to stand off away from the wall. I also have some SS 1" dia. tube x .035" wall. I figure the .010" is beyond the capability of a Diversion - maybe a Dynasty, but I was too cheap for that. I'm thinking though I should be able to TIG the .035" tube to the stand-off bracket (3/16" on edge) to make a holder for the tube for the light to drop into.

    My question is for welding dissimilar thicknesses, do you go with the tungsten and filler rod for the thicker, the thinner or somewhere in between? My gut feel is the thicker, and apply the bulk of the heat to it, but your thoughts are appreciated.

    Larry
    Diversion 165
    Lincoln SP175T
    Ryobi Drill Press
    No Name Portable band and chop saws
    '97 Triumph Trophy 900 (3 cylinder, hence Triple!)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Mpls, MN
    Posts
    1,790

    Default

    This is not an answer to your question, but you can buy the "dusk till dawn" light sensor switches for under $20 and add them to an existing light circuit with little difficulty.

    That's what I did for our driveway. Our street is pretty dark, so we have those lights on all night year round. It ensures we're not the easiest target for vandals or thieves as they're completely visible all the way to the street.
    Syncrowave 250DX
    Invison 354MP
    XR Control and 30A

    Airco MED20 feeder
    Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 81
    Smith O/A rig
    And more machinery than you can shake a 7018 rod at

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    101

    Default

    True enough Jim, and something I am well aware of. I have probably spent more on the metal than the cost of a sensor. In fact, I used to have a light sensor there with motion detector. Okay, but an ugly unit. When it died, I went to something more attractive.

    However, it would not give me something unique or stretch my skills. It is fun to do things others can't
    Diversion 165
    Lincoln SP175T
    Ryobi Drill Press
    No Name Portable band and chop saws
    '97 Triumph Trophy 900 (3 cylinder, hence Triple!)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Central Fla.
    Posts
    311

    Default

    To answer your question, start your puddle on the thicker and flow to the thinner. That being said, set up for the thicker material and use the smallest tungsten and filler you have available that will do the job.

    I wish you lots of luck with this project cause that's some mighty thin material. I would probably end up with swiss cheese and then end up trying to fill the holes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    101

    Default

    I bought three pieces of the 1" dia. material. One for practice, two for real. Your suggestion confirms what I had been thinking.

    Backup plan is brazing or silver solder, but need to go in to work to do that.
    Diversion 165
    Lincoln SP175T
    Ryobi Drill Press
    No Name Portable band and chop saws
    '97 Triumph Trophy 900 (3 cylinder, hence Triple!)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Mpls, MN
    Posts
    1,790

    Default

    Well, if that's how you want to do it.

    That stamped stuff will be no fun at all. I'd braze it or even JB weld. If you get a puddle started in it, it'll ball up and pull away from the joint under surface tension.
    Syncrowave 250DX
    Invison 354MP
    XR Control and 30A

    Airco MED20 feeder
    Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 81
    Smith O/A rig
    And more machinery than you can shake a 7018 rod at

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Gulfport, Florida
    Posts
    440

    Default

    For only $5.00 each lite are you sure it's stainless and not just colored steel.?
    Bob

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    101

    Default

    Regularly $16, I have no idea why so cheap. Definitely not regular steel, since it is non-magnetic. I thought perhaps aluminum, but too strong and hard to scratch. I checked with a mechanic at work, who agreed stainless. The brackets cost more than the lights. Also, I am thinking I should calculate the electricity used to make them vs. the savings.
    Diversion 165
    Lincoln SP175T
    Ryobi Drill Press
    No Name Portable band and chop saws
    '97 Triumph Trophy 900 (3 cylinder, hence Triple!)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    101

    Default Brackets done, now I need the screws to mount them.

    Well, I got myself the stainless, plus some 309L rod on Friday, and played around today. This was my first time welding stainless, and it worked out okay. However, some time I have to learn how to polish metal - I cleaned it up, but it's not what I would call a mirror finish.

    The first attempt was welding the mid-piece of the bracket to the tube. First side went great, second side I ended up blowing holes. Seems I forgot to let it cool down, and the tube had more heat in it than it could handle. Fortunately, that was a test piece, although I did go back and fill the holes after it cooled - for the practice and just in case, but a lot of grinding would have been needed.

    Second and third ones worked better. I gave cooling time between sides, and focused the heat on the heavy piece, about 1/8-1/4" from the tube, and let the puddle just start to heat the tube up. I do love the control of the TIG! After that, it was weld the stand-off bracket to the wall bracket. The most difficult part was how to hold it in place while I tacked it. Fortunately, clamps and scrap metal can work wonders.

    Learnings? Yes, with a some practice I will be able to weld stainless. I am not happy with the weld quality yet, but these will do for the intended purpose. I got too much heat into the stand-off when I was welding it to the base, cutting down the thickness. Need to move faster or less heat. This was a fairly easy task with TIG, but I don't think I would have attempted it, or got anywhere near as nice a job, with MIG. Oh, and the wife is making noises about some for other people...

    Hopefully, if the rain holds off I get some stainless screws tomorrow, and mount them to the wall.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Diversion 165
    Lincoln SP175T
    Ryobi Drill Press
    No Name Portable band and chop saws
    '97 Triumph Trophy 900 (3 cylinder, hence Triple!)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Gulfport, Florida
    Posts
    440

    Lightbulb I See The Light

    Looks like they turned out all right. And now you will have some light to walk by..
    Bob

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