by Ron Johnson
My army tank welding project: Right after I got into MIG welding as a student I was watching the movie Patton. I started sketching out an army tank with common items used. I drew in various size nuts for the drive wheels and rollers. Flat tool box chain for tracks. Pan/round head bolts for hatches and lights. A nail for the 50 cal M2 machine gun and 1/2" pipe for the gun barrel. That Monday I went in and told the instructor that I had an idea for a project I wanted to do. He ask what it was and then I told him; I want to build a tank! He got a shocked look on his face and exclaimed he didn't have room for that kind of project.
I laughed at him and then showed him a sketch of my 14"L x 7"W x 5 1/2"T scale model army tank. (It weighed 10 pds when finished). I also had figured my cuts and bends for the 12ga metal. He laughed and explained I had him for a minute, because he thought I was talking a big tank. He gave the green light and I went to work.
It took 16 hours for me to get everything bent and welded out and put together on this army tank. The turret turns by hand. The antenna is a oxyfuel rod. The tow cables are 1/16" with quick splice and will hold 100 pds. I used a magnifying glass to do this.
Several times I polished the metal with a straight grinder using 80 grit, then 120 grit and lastly 220 grit flapper wheels. I had to think several steps ahead to hide welds, determine where I needed to grind before the next weld etc. I finished it off with several coats of clear.