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How to Create the Project You Dreamed Of - Keeping Things Straight and Level



Kevin is working on some plant climbers made of 1" solid steel rod that will break up the space on a client's expansive backyard walls. He bent the ends, then is welding tabs on the ends so he can attach them to the client's block walls. In this how-to video, he's laying out the parts and getting everything flat, level, straight and square. The yard is about 30 feet deep, and there will be three of these grids installed across the wall. Kevin says, "You want to start out true and build from there," something that is true of every project to ensure that you create the project that you dreamed of building. You don't want to put a project together, weld it, take it to the site, put it up on the wall, find it isn't straight, and then have to take it down again. So it's important to make the piece true. The first task is to make sure that your work table is flat and true. Your workbench surface needs to be flat - not perfect to a hundred thousands of an inch, but it can't be leaning or uneven. The next thing is to make sure the table is true not the floor but to a level. You place a level on the table and check it side to side and front to back. Now you know you have one surface you know is flat and can go from there. Next Kevin shows the 90-degree welding clamp that he uses to hold the pieces once he has them square while he's welding. In this case, he also needs to make sure that the installation tabs are true so they are flat against the wall when he installs the grids. He shows how he uses a small magnetic level to make sure the tabs are level. Now he can put that 90-degree welding clamp onto the work and line everything up. Now Kevin knows it's going to be true when he tacks everything together. Once you know your project is true, you can tack it together in a couple of places, remove the welding clamp, flip it over, check it in a couple of places with your square and your level, pick it up with a hoist, simply look at it and do anything else you want to do to make sure you don't have to take it down right after you installed it. Kevin's small magnet level is a Flange Wizard tool that Kevin got at one of his favorite Web sites, pipefitter.com (http://www.pipefitter.com). The tool has some strong magnets on the bottom and an adjuster so you can set it to your preferred angle. On the back is chart detailing roof pitch, so you can get your angle just right. Kevin says it's a handy little tool you can stick in your pocket, but just don't leave it stuck on something, as you'll forget it and leave it somewhere. Finally, he shows you the finished product, installed.

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