Monday, March 31, 2008


Friday I stopped in at the welding shop down the street from where I work. As mentioned previously, I have a driveshaft out of an old Dodge Dart that should make for a couple of nice U-channels for the sculpture once it is cut in half lengthwise. They said they could do the job for probably fifteen bucks, which sounded fine to me. They also advised that it would save me a few bucks to cut off the ends of the shaft myself beforehand, which I knew wouldn't be a problem.

Last night I headed out to the garage, sawzall in one hand, camera in the other. I didn't figure there'd be much to photograph, but I know sometimes I find the unexpected in a project, so why not?

RBS Drive shaft dismantling

Here we have the dismembered front yoke for the drive shaft. I cut it close to the weld, so close, in fact, that I ended up cutting into some of the weld itself, slowing the job down a bit. Not really a problem overall, however, and I was pleased with the relatively quick job (as well as all the noise and smoke I was able to make with the sawzall). I was pleased, that is, until I looked at the drive shaft and saw this:

RBS Drive shaft dismantling

What? What is that? There's another shaft in my shaft?? Why is that made like that? I didn't know they made 'em that way! Shoot. Now how am I gonna - how is that going to affect cutting the shaft in two?

I looked at the shaft some more and it appears the second tube is held in place with a surrounding piece of rubber. I'm guessing it's a sort of elastic damper, but if you know any better, please feel free to enlighten me. This may surprise you, but I've never cut a driveshaft up before, so I've got a bit to learn.

In spite of the weirdness, I needed to carry on. It was growing late. I picked up the sawzall and went at the other end of the tube.

RBS Drive shaft dismantling

Here's a view down the shaft from the rear of things. Inside you can see the light ring where the inner tube is fixed at the far end of the shaft. I believe it's only about twelve to eighteen inches long. It's pretty stout stuff - about the thickness of water pipe.

I tried to think of a way to remove the inner tube, but my brain was pretty tired and nothing came to me. I put the shaft in the car and shut the lights out in the garage for the evening. I can only do so much thinking for one day, and my time was up.

Today I took the whittled-down shaft to the shop. Not great news. Apparently, it's not going to cost me fifteen bucks, but thirty-five or forty. I guess that inner tube adds to the labor involved. He said, "Well, do you want us to do it?" I said, "I need it done, and this is the only way I know how, so yeah."

I hope all my "cheap" ideas for this sculpture don't turn out being this expensive!

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