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BrandonS

Brandon's Bluebird Project

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5 hours ago, RandyWanger said:

Love the car! Not many in Europe that I know of. When's the first Ring trip? ?

 

Thanks, I feel super fortunate to even have it. I was REALLY wanting to make it down this year to run it stock, but life just took up too much time. I’d say realistically, probably early summer since I’d like to have the swap and such sorted out. Do you ever make your way over this way to run on the Ring?

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1 hour ago, banzai510(hainz) said:

I ran my 78 3liter on the Ring

whats the offset on those rims?

 

I haven't actually measured them to verify, but the ad stated +24.  Based on the other two sets of wheels I have, I think it will give me good clearance.  I'm thinking of running 225/45r15, but am not sure if they will physically fit.  I'll throw the wheels on and do some measuring eventually.  Worst case I'll go with 205/50.  The Riverside offsets in the chart below I got from an old advertisement and took the closest stated offsets to what I was measuring on my wheels.  The Watanabes I measured by hand so that may be one or two millimeters off, but close enough to get a good idea.  The "difference" numbers are the difference in measurements from the new wheels that I inputted in the top left of the spreadsheet I had made.  It just allowed me to quickly see what I was working with when I was looking at wheels.

 

ns5TqMB.jpg

This is the fitment with the Watanabes and they had 175/40r14 stretched over them.  I would have liked to use these since they are so wide, but the selection of 14" tires is dwindling daily and the offsets just don't work unless I want to stretch tires and not have any traction at all.  With the Riversides and running 185/60 I can just about fit a finger between the fender lip and the tire.  So it'll be super super close and I may have to go with whatever tire runs the narrowest.

 

xLKovZW.jpg

zu6v1au.jpg

Edited by BrandonS
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On 11/16/2018 at 4:23 PM, BrandonS said:

 

Thanks, I feel super fortunate to even have it. I was REALLY wanting to make it down this year to run it stock, but life just took up too much time. I’d say realistically, probably early summer since I’d like to have the swap and such sorted out. Do you ever make your way over this way to run on the Ring?

 

I've not been to the ring in years. Last time was over 10 years ago in a JDM DC2. I had tinnitus for weeks after and the car wasn't even stripped out. I'd love to do a road trip in my Coupe, but it's in pieces in the garage. Maybe 5 years time I will.

 

If you ever find yourself in London, let me know. 

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?

 

Small things, but things I like.  Really looking forward to this winter.  We'll be moving in a couple weeks, then it's on like Donkey Kong.

UdzV3Cm.jpg

 

Wheels went well for a test fit... definitely not keeping them white.

rj8CKA8.jpg

 

Also @heywier427, I did some premiliminary measurements and those axles look like they may be super close to the correct length.  I'm thinking I may try to work something in that direction.

Edited by BrandonS
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Well winter has pretty much gone ? and I've gotten nothing done.  The engine block was dropped off 3 weeks ago at the machine shop and when I went in earlier this week, they still haven't gotten to it.  Without knowing the game plan for the block, I'm up the river as far as ordering parts.

I did however finally decide on a suspension setup.  I kept going back and forth on what I wanted to do.  I went from Koni race front/QA1 coilover rear, but I'm super matchy matchy in my head so I couldn't do it.  I even called BC Racing to get directions/dimensions to retrofit their S13 stuff.  It would have all worked great, except the rears were going to be too long.  I also considered going w/ CXRacing, but lack of guarantee of quality... I just couldn't do.  In the end, I went with what I had always been floating around in the back of my head; air.

 

Initially, I was going to go it alone, but needed a few things cleared up before settling on a setup.  I really don't want to do things twice, it's just not the type of person I am.  So before ordering from places all over the web, I decided to shoot Phil at @twistedimages a PM on Facebook.  He answered very quickly, was very knowledgeable, and a very nice guy.  He verified a few things for me and also gave me a few recommendations.  In the end, I ended up piecing together a system, but he was more than willing to work with me on that.

 

The overall plan is that I want to have my cake and eat it too.  I want to be able to air the system down and make it stiff, but not sit at a ridiculously low stance when I do it.  I also want to be able to air up and have a comfortable ride.  I believe pairing the air with the Konis and at least a coilover setup in the front will accomplish both of these things.  Also check out below for my plan for the controller setup, because that's a huge portion of this plan.

 

Rc6eK3R.jpg

In the end the setup should look like this for suspension:

 

Front:

I'm going to utilize my existing 200SX struts w/ coilovers already on them

Koni 8610-1436 Race inserts

UAS AeroSport Bags

 

Rear:

Koni 1186-8041SPORT // From a Mustang, but came across them on E30 groups.  For my car I'll have to get a new bottom bushing or put a new pin in the trailing arms.  If memory serves me, the bushing is 12mm on these, but my 510 is 16mm.

Slam Specialties SS-5 Bags

TwistedImages upper/lower bag mount kit

 

Air System:

Viair 480C

4gal Tank

AccuAir VX4

 

Controller:

So this is where it'll get a little more interesting.  There are off the shelf systems, but I want a little more than they offer so I'm going to go it alone.  The plan is to go with an Arduino Mega and write the software.  I have pressure sensors for each bag and one for the tank, as well as, height sensors.  I utilized BMW/Mini headlight leveling sensors because they are readily available so if one craps out, it'll be easily replaced.  

 

The overall plan for the system will be to have set presets.  At first, I want it to be controlled with a single push button.  The thought is a long press will air out or go to previous ride setting, obviously based on what state it is in when you do that.  Then if you click it a number of times it'll go to that preset.  1 short click, preset 1, 2 short clicks, preset 2, etc.  Super easy.  Down the road I'm thinking I'd like to make an app and use an old Android phone via bluetooth.

 

So the reason why I am making my own is that I also plan to incorporate stepper motors onto the tops of the Konis, front and rear.  This setup would give me control of both rebound stiffness as well as spring stiffness.  It'll be a bit of an undertaking, but I don't see it as nonviable by any means.  It's just reading sensor inputs, actuating valves for air, stepper motors for struts and monitoring the sensors to make it all come together.  Fairly straight forward.

*I know, not a Mega.  Nor is this the setup I will run.  I was just playing around.  It's fairly easy to read the sensor and "actuate" the green/red LED based on the height sensor and if it needs to go up (green) or down (red).  This is very similar and programatically much the same as actuating the valves, minus the circuity involved to do so.

hSlqj0F.jpg

 

So small update, tons of words, and no actual work, but this is where I'm at.  I've really been toiling inside over what do do for the suspension and it's nice to have a path forward.  I still need to pick out brake calipers front and rear (still considering Wilwood Powerlites) and also determine what I'm going to do about the trailing arms and axles; I think I'm going to end up moving the hubs in 1" or so.  At this point I think the engine going in will get pushed off until this next winter, but I think having things how I want them and doing it once is more important than finishing it quickly and it being a forever project with changes along each step.

Edited by BrandonS
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His twisted images 510 build is on here in pretty decent detail as well if you haven't read his thread.

 

Looking forward to watching this part of the build.  I'm just starting out in arduino so iam always interested to see what car guys do with it.

Edited by Lockleaf

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Well project was set aside for a little.  We got to meet our second daughter on March 21st.  Work has a nice paternal leave policy so I've been busy helping my wife at home.  I also took an additional 2 weeks to start on the Bluebird's suspension.  Well, I got to spend the first week of that fixing my Mini.  It's clutch started slipping so had to fix that along with some other maintenance issues I've been waiting to get too and quite a few that I found along the way.  Ordering parts for more things really drug the whole process out, but at least it's done now.

 

b8ulxKu.jpg

 

So onto the Bluebird.... I finally am starting to feel what I'm visualizing in my head is going to work out.  I want to narrow the rear slightly so that I can fit wider tires more easily, but that means coming up with a solution for axles.  I'm still am planning to run the R160 VLSD I got.  With the lack of tire I can fit and the VLSD being a first gen unit with 4 spider gears it's worth a shot.  I just can't see stealing $2000 at this point from say the motor to get an R180 setup. 
 

In any case, I spent many, many hours sorting out a plan for this rear end.  I went back and forth with going VW CVs and welding bits together as was discussed earlier in the thread.  In the end, I just dug into online parts specs and tried to come up with a solution.  It basically boiled down to finding a hub that was 4x114.3, was on a drive axle and accepted a 24 spline axle.  After going through vehicle after vehicle and looking up axle spec after axle spec, I found these.... hubs from a Mazda 323 BD.  And boy do they fit nicely 😄 and since I plan to fab up my own rear trailing arms these will work out perfectly.  Instead of worrying about a weld holding or being 100% true I can just disassemble the axles and have the middle section shortened and resplined or order shorter axle shafts to go in the middle.  This will be make for a much cleaner, reliable, and simpler setup all around.  🤘

 

Hopefully this helps others if they want to run these differentials.  With some different bearings maybe they'd even fit the stock trailing arms.

 

Lv2iMbI.jpg

 

uR4McYj.jpg

 

And then my rotating assembly showed up as well 🤘 😁 Eagle Forged Rods with Carillo Performance Pistons.  The machine shop got back to me and the engine was only .07mm out of round in the cylinders.  So minimal wear, but they had recommended just going to .5mm over, which is the first oversize available.  The head checked out fine so looks like it's all a go for the engine.

 

kTfjEt3.jpg

 

Over the past couple weeks I also sat down and ran numbers through calculators, played with dynamic weight calculators, piston sizing options front and back, etc and worked out what I think will be a super nice brake setup that will be biased nicely for my car while also allowing me to run my 14" wheels I still have and like.  I'll share that in the coming weeks when the parts start to arrive, but for now I'm really hoping to get started on the suspension in the meantime as I don't need to wait for the brake parts.  We'll see, I have a lot of things bidding for my time, but I'd love to get the suspension and brakes done, hit a few car shows and enjoy the nice weather before winter returns.

Edited by BrandonS
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I suppose I'll update the thread; I've been just putting everything on Instagram (@brandonmakecar).  I've finally gotten a ton measuring done, research done, ordered parts, and have 99% of what I need to get the suspension and brakes done.  

 

For the brakes I had to make some concessions on rotor size as I really want to be able to run my 14" Riversides.  This took a lot of measuring and parts chasing to arrive at a setup that would fit inside of my 14" wheel and then also I had to work out the distance for the rotor placement depth wise.  In the end, I'm going with Wilwood Dynapro 6 piston calipers over an 11" rotor and then for the rear I'm going with Wilwood Powerlite 4 piston calipers modded / a built in parking brake mechanism over a 10" rotor.  The biggest dilemna here was working with the piston sizes between the two so that I arrived at a good bias built in that would only require minor adjustment via a proportioning valve.

 

So since I got everything piece meal and didn't get a kit I have to sort out how to make it all fit together myself.  First up was to make a caliper bracket.  Really the hardest part of this was just getting the measurements for mounting bolt placements.  This was a bit rough since everything was on a different plane and it wants to move around while measuring.  I also really wanted the caliper to sit vertical to the ground.  It bugs my OCD when cars have a calipers mounted at wonky angles.  I sorted it out pretty quick and got the front done a couple days ago.  The final product was cut from 10mm steel. 

tIcVUUl.jpg

4BovzZP.jpg

Bracket all done, save for some final finishing up on the edges with a belt sander.  They were still rough from the raw cut.
RAHwOFG.jpg

Since I swapped out the non-adjustable Tokicos the car had in the strut tubes for Koni Race, the top threading was different.  This meant I had to sort out new tube nuts for the camber plate's spherical bearings.  Some super easy measuring, a little bit of googling, refusing to pay what the Cusco ones cost, more googling and then BAM they show up in the mail.

To get the electronics on this, I think I may end up running the nut up the strut's threads a bit to sink the adjustment down more, but we'll see where we are when I get there.  That's an easy kill.


VmEMvq5.jpg

 

MOPcD3S.jpg

 

It all came together pretty nicely and all the measuring worked out 😄

3VPkQT9.jpg

So then obviously I have to see how it would sit "aired out."  It's definitely not laying frame, but it looks decent.  Noway could I drive it like this without a ton more camber.  Plus I'm not really going for super low.  I want this to handle very well and also be able to adjust to a comfortable setting when crusing.  That was the whole intention of the air.

 

meBKkhO.jpg

 

EVkKTb1.jpg


Then the other set of wheels I picked up on eBay have a chrome finish with corrosion below it.  It doesn't look so nice so while I redo those, I figured I'd take care of it.  The course of action will be to sand off the chrome, flatten the spoke faces and then polish (pretty much look like my Riversides are in the above picture).  I'll then paint just the insides of the spokes in a dark grey.  Should look pretty nice when finished.  The bolts have also been stuck so I've been slowly working on drilling those out.

 

Removing the bolts...
uAiZ8dn.jpg

 

EnvN4CX.jpg

 

Right down the center

THS8sru.jpg

 

The pitting chrome....

e6kkECH.jpg

 

Sanded off.  I have a little bit to go then I'll do finer grits and polish to see how it comes out.

EBleoxs.jpg

 

ZJNrj2C.jpg

 

And then finally, onto the next project.  Going to fab up some adjustable lower control arms and then some adjustable TC rods.  I'm really trying to not mess with the actual car or parts on it, so I'll make these from scratch instead of cutting up the arms I have.

 

Wt100hU.jpg

 

Edited by BrandonS
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don't the German cops give you a TUV shakedown. Car being modded or lowered to much. Muffler ect.….

I heard them doing this more often in Germany.

 

My cousin has a od VW and he says he has to runs what it came with like points. I told him to convert it to electronic ignition? WTF

 

Or since you under the US military your exempt.

 

In Germany one don't see to many people working on cars in garages. Its actually very clean in their garages unlike in the US its a big junk pile

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On 10/11/2019 at 6:56 PM, the510keeper said:

Wow this coupe is sweet. and the workman ship looks great

 

Thank you, I was beginning to think I was doing something horribly wrong with noone chiming in.  Hopefully I can keep the quality to a point it doesn't detract from the car.

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20 hours ago, BrandonS said:

 

Thank you, I was beginning to think I was doing something horribly wrong with noone chiming in.  Hopefully I can keep the quality to a point it doesn't detract from the car.

 

Your car is beautiful and your build is awesome.  There just doesn't seem to be much traffic on Ratsun these days.  : (

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On 10/9/2019 at 10:14 PM, banzai510(hainz) said:

don't the German cops give you a TUV shakedown. Car being modded or lowered to much. Muffler ect.….

I heard them doing this more often in Germany.

 

My cousin has a od VW and he says he has to runs what it came with like points. I told him to convert it to electronic ignition? WTF

 

Or since you under the US military your exempt.

 

In Germany one don't see to many people working on cars in garages. Its actually very clean in their garages unlike in the US its a big junk pile

 

Without being too long winded, yes I go through a TÜV but it isn't do for 2 years and I've gotten lucky for the last two.  My next one will put me close enough to my move date that if they don't like it I'll deregister the car and put the L series motor back in.  I will have to reinstall that motor to meet import rules.  The two TÜVs I've done so far though, they haven't had a problem with anything and that's with the coilovers on it, the 2.5" exhaust I made, and 200sx/DR30 brakes up front.  The inspector was actually super stoked to see it and had his friends kid take pictures because "this is the only time you'll ever see one."  It was a good experience.  This is another reason I"m trying to not change anything on the actual car.  I'll do the same for the wiring so I can have 2 harnesses that will work with the inside wiring for both engines.  The cops, well they aren't all over like in the USA.  They also don't randomly pull you over.  The Bluebird isn't super loud, it doesn't sit very low now and won't with the air suspension on so there really isn't anything visual or auditory that would trigger them to look into things further. 

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On 10/17/2019 at 8:05 PM, carterb said:

 

Your car is beautiful and your build is awesome.  There just doesn't seem to be much traffic on Ratsun these days.  : (

 

On 10/18/2019 at 5:37 AM, BrothersGarage said:

I think there are just a lot of people who lurk, but this is a great build for sure!

 

Thanks guys! Hopefully I can do the car justice in the end.

Edited by BrandonS
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All I got done today was playing with the different wheel sets with my camber tool and a measuring tape.  Trying to figure out what control arm lengths would put each wheel in the useable range for camber and fit so I know what useable range I need to build into them.  It's a bit of a PITA to get it all situated for measuring since I had to disconnect everything to be able to move it around.  Still not sure why it took so long other than sometimes I get stuck in a circle of doing the same thing over and over when trying to figure things out, instead of making any real progress. There’s still plenty of space for the bags, but depending on the control arm length dialed in, I’ll have to watch bag clearance and adjust with the camber plates. In the end, I was expecting the Watanabes to not be usable after the brake swap, but with some camber I might be able to get them to work.

 

Sorry for the cell phone pic, didn't feel like running inside for the camera. 

 

LOUrqaF.jpg

Edited by BrandonS
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Can you just make them adjustable length?  Then they can be fine tuned in place and changed in the future if you change your setup.

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On 10/30/2019 at 2:31 AM, Lockleaf said:

Can you just make them adjustable length?  Then they can be fine tuned in place and changed in the future if you change your setup.

 

That's the plan actually.  I already have the heim joints, adjusters and weld in bungs.  Since my wheels have such a wide range of offsets I needed to make sure that I build them to the correct length to allow an adjustment range that will work with each wheel.  The Watanabes will be close.  It's hard to pin down since small lengths in a control arm or camber make a huge difference in fit.  I'm really hoping they work simply because they are my widest set of wheels.  I'll see once I get the control arms cut out and tacked together and can test fit them in the car.  I started on that today and hopefully can work on it tomorrow as well.  I also need to order the ends and bar stock for my TC rods; I spent the other day sorting that out as well.

Edited by BrandonS

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Well got underway on the lower control arms and they seem to be coming together fairly well.  They aren't anything fancy, but they should give me the adjustability I need.  To finish them up I need to order some new balljoints with a slimmer boot profile.  I also spent a couple days ago going through tie rod ends for sizing to use for my TC rods.  I'll order them in the next couple days with the ball joints.  Then with those items and the control arm tacked up I can attack working on some adjustable TC rods.  The plan is to just use some bar stock, a lathe, and a mill.  Slowly, but surely I'll get there or I won't 😂  I'm beginning to get use to seeing my car on jackstands.

 

Measured everything a billion times and got the layout down.  Everything lined up so I was pretty ecstatic 🙂

 

LcWfNMK.jpg

 

All tacked up!  The weld-in bung seems like it'll fit just fine so that's good.  I'll add some more sway bar lines once they are in and I can determine where the hole for my TC rods will go and also where the hole for me height sensors will be; those two things will take them being on the car though.

xHP07Iz.jpg

 

This should be about what they will look like finished.  

Ze3qVFr.jpg

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Not sure if anybody will read this, just look at the pictures, or scroll past my thread, but I'm going to put my thoughts down.  If anything it'll let someone tell me where I may have not thought something out or later on maybe it'll even help someone with their project. Seriously though, I'm up for discussing shit in here.  More minds are better than one and I know for sure I don't come up with the best ideas.

So today I got one finished up.  I went ahead and just started over so I could address a couple things I didn't like on the one above; mainly do to my own lack attention to detail.  I switched up a few things with the order of assembly and paid a bit better attention to fit and finish.  I'm by no means a fabricator, but I at least want to give it my best attempt.  In the end it's just some time and sheet metal.
 

This time around, I moved to created the top plate first as a whole unit before putting the sides on.  On the previous version I had welded in the strengthening plate for the swaybar area after the sides.  It just didn't give good access to make for a good weld IMO.  Also, below you can see the piece of sheet metal coming out the side from the ball joint.  This is just a quick mockup so I could get the side notch placement right.  This will be the attachment for the TC rod.  The final version will be made from plate steel.  For the TC rod I have some 25mm chromoly round bar stock that'll get milled into a clevis on one end to attach to the arm and then be turned down and threaded for easy adjustment into a ball joint attachment in on the chassis side.

Here's what the "top" assembly looks like with the balljoint "inside".  Not that it matters at all because you can't really see them when installed, but I wanted the balljoint inside of the control arm just to clean it up looks wise a little bit.  I'll swap the gawdy hardware out for some appropriately sized/spec'd button head allen bolts.


j2hR3vs.jpg

 

So then really after this point, all that was left was making the sides.  With the mocked up TC rod attachment point I was able to cut the side of the arm out and notch it prior to welding it on, which worked out well.  Also, I worked on better forming this time.  The first version ended up with the very end of the control arm being bent down from me using it to pull on to form the metal around the end radius.  Honestly, the 2mm drop that was on the non-load bearing tip didn't matter, but it bugged me non-the-less.  This time I just paid a little bit more attention to detail and it all ended up square and flat.  Just like most you guys, this stuff isn't my day job so it's a figuring out/learning process and I'm OK with that.  As long as the results are improving in the end, progress is being made.

 

So here's what I ended up with...  I'll be happy if the other side turns out this well.  I think they look the part and even though it doesn't matter, clean up the packaging of the front suspension a little.  The only thing I'm missing on them at this point is two holes in the bottom plate to access the swaybar bolts with a socket (easy fix) and more importantly a tab to mount the height sensor arm to for the air suspension.  Once the arms are installed on the car, I'll sort out the bracket for mounting the height sensors then I can sort the tab location on the control arms for the sensor.

u3gj2yS.jpg

 

eiCzu6O.jpg

 

In this picture you can see the edge of the swaybar area strengthening plate extending into the inside ball joint bolt holes.  This is because the top part of the ball joint is not flush.  The front bolt holes are thicker on the ball joint since the front bolts thread into the ball joints.  Extending the swaybar area strengthening plate also served the purpose of leveling out the ball joint underneath.

 

qNWVlx8.jpg

 

Here are the final results... I didn't check what the camber was, but it's much more than I'd normally run.  This was with the arm extended and the camber plates adjusted to center the air bag in the strut housing.  The arm could probably extend farther, but I like to keep 1.5x the thickness of the heim joint threads threaded into the fasteners for safety.  To make sure I can easily adhere to this and before I do final install, I'll mark this point so I can visually see it; either paint the threads red or score the threads.  This picture was with the 15's I got..... and STILL need to freshen up.

0WntAXM.jpg

 

 

Edited by BrandonS
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Just read your entire thread... really, really nice!

 

Looks like you have some pretty good skills. I'm surprised by your welding technique too. 

 

Kudos on this project, thumbs up👍

 

 

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6 hours ago, Rat-a-tat-Dat said:

Just read your entire thread... really, really nice!

 

Looks like you have some pretty good skills. I'm surprised by your welding technique too. 

 

Kudos on this project, thumbs up👍

 

 

 

Thank you.   Any suggestions on the welding; I'm always down to try and get better at things.

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This is one of my favorite cars on Ratsun. Nice work on the control arms. Your TIG welds look great, I can see good penetration on the back side of the joints. I started TIG welding a couple of years ago and what makes my welds look good is making sure everything is super clean, a tight fit up at the joints, and lots of practice. Since I don't weld all the time when I have a welding project I find, or make, similar type joints from scrap and practice a bunch before I start welding on my actual piece. Keep up the nice work!

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