18 May 2011

LCU 1616 - optimum welding conditions

Next time you're complaining about a long day at work,
come on over and help me out!

whatcha doin?
just hanging out, welding

This was a tricky job.
It sounded easy,
"just need some caps and check valves welded,
than a couple plates welded for fuel containment, 
both sides..."

easy side

No problem, with a handful of guys.
But solo it was a little tough.

One side is easy as its next to the dock.
Until the plates need to be welded...

balancing act

If you look carefully,
there's a blue strip down there.
That's some foam thats on a plastic dock float.
I got to stand on that thing while stick welding that outside seam there.
This was the easy side!
It wasn't that bad until a ship would go by.
I ended up welding a piece of angle iron to the side of the boat to rest one foot on,
it was ridiculous in a challenging way,
like welding on the side of a truck while you're riding a skateboard next to it.
I'll tell ya it makes stick welding on land seem too easy!

The other side isn't as protected.
 (windward side, the other is the leeward side)

Hmm, something just doesn't seem right here

I tried the dock/raft/boat but it wasn't happening.

Ok let's back up a bit.
The first step I thought maybe just a temporary railing was all that was necessary.

trusty pipe

It was fine for the cap and the valve.

shot taken by temporary firewatch guy

After you realize the 1/2" pipe is strong enough,
its really not that bad.

new fuel inlet

In fact I believed there was a possibility that a boat wasn't even needed.
(the other side was actually trickier for the fitting as the dock was in the way)
My wife came down and took a couple action shots.

Posing with LCU 1616 
If you look close enough you can see me, chillin.

Here's a real posed shot.
It is required to wear safety equipment,
a lifejacket and hardhat,
but it doesn't seem right to weld in a plastic jacket.

really posing here

Anyway after the plates were all fit,
I realized to do a proper welding job I needed the raft.
Than after trying it out it was too crazy,
so a scaffolding was rigged up.

6" of security

Thankfully I'm under 150 lbs,
so a 4x6 was all I needed.
Welding isn't the tough part,
its welding while sparks fly in your lap thats the tough part.
Its important to not stop though, try to run through the whole stick.

Probably why all my workpants look like this!

holey work pants

No I'm not gonna show you a pic of my legs...

The first part of the job was was cool.

what was left of the original house

The owner/captain wanted to enclose the wheelhouse.
This thing is going to Panama,
and they wanted to have an AC unit installed.
Some sliding door frames were figured out...

sliding door frames

With some skin...

It was a relief that the door actually slid!


Everything looks better with paint and glass.
This is the step that my personal projects usually lack.

paint and glassed up

There was a bunch of other hidden work inside,
and the owner/captain was unusually happy.

Besides the fact that the original house was shaped like a parallelogram,
was 99% of the work was done onsite.

perfect welding conditions

A good day for sailing,
usually isn't a good day for MIG aluminum welding!

sailing vs welding

They were so happy
 they wanted to make the new wheelhouse look like a japanese pagoda.

Somethings missing...
This part haunted me for a while.
It looks easy, a 12" overhang with a slight angle...
but there is a peak in the center so everything is warped,
besides the fact that the actual roof is not square.

So after alot of subconscious planning...
Fortunately I was able to figure this out at the shop.
A wooden mockup was made and the whole thing was built on it.

nevada, where are you?

While building this,
I had some freaky recollections about an old friend, Nevada.
He was a top student in High School,
went to try out for the Navy Seals or the Special Forces, I forget,
and he totally lost his mind, just snapped.
I met him in Ventura somehow,
and while he was one helluva sketchy dude,
he was a hard worker, and was almost like my bodyguard, like a pitbull.

The reason why I'm bringing him up,
is that at night,
he would wrap himself in aluminum foil,
cause he believed he had a chip implanted in his body!
(at night he would really start trippin!)

scurvy bunch
Nevada is the dude in the center,
NOT in the orange shirt, 
even though he matches the description better...

Its amazing how my mind strays while I'm working, and typing.

I was very relieved that this thing fit.


Especially since the whole (3) Panamanian crew was watching me and a helper install it!
They were just waiting to watch an accident.
I had to cut a couple cutouts along the left corner and center there with a grinder,
which is a recipe for disaster.
(2 were on the deck, one was when it was up there!)
It was like they were watching an Indy race, just waiting for an accident.

let's get outta here.

So now I've got to get back in the shop.
It seems so easy to weld on a table, inside.
Also my concentration level,
it's like shifting gears from overdrive to neutral.

LCU 1616
So this thing worked either in Japan or Vietnam hauling stuff around,
and now its going to Panama to haul dirt and equipment.

this is a sistership LCU in action.

LCU 1627

now what.



  1. the men in their ghost recon suits came and snatched him up because he forgot to set the extention cord wrapped to the shop light wrapped to the box of empty aluminum cans above the door, booby trap. they even took his toilet paper.
    i do miss him though.

  2. Actually I took his toilet paper,
    he always got the good kind!