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I destroyed my customer’s project

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  • I destroyed my customer’s project

    I had a guy bring me a small whisky flask belt buckle and ask me to modify it to mount on his Harley. He said it was stainless and supplied the stainless bolt to be tacked on the back side. I spooled up some stainless wire and went to work…….whoops, that’s not stainless. Blasted a pretty good hole in it with the mig. It appears to be about 18g aluminum that has a chrome finish. I used a dremel cutoff wheel to clean up and stainless wire brush to prep for tig. Got the hole filled, customer found an aluminum bolt to tig in place. This is such a small job I couldn’t hold the bolt in place to weld so I rested a piece of one inch angle on top to keep upright while welding……..crumb……that didn’t work either, too much weight, should have known better, fell through the weld puddle.
    So now the project is completely ruined. After 40 years welding I have never left a project in ruins and don’t quit know what to do next. My customer says he is not angry but disappointed, regardless I have to make things right. So, what is my next step? Do I buy him a new flask and send him on his way ($30), get another and try again? I am not very confident now that I can achieve the desired results and honestly don’t want to throw away any more time and money. I really hate to be selfish at this point but I am just not used to not being “the guy”.
    Most importantly I want to leave this with my customer being satisfied that I did everything within my ability. And what about being to tell between aluminum and stainless? It looked hard like stainless (the finish) felt heavy for its size and a magnet wouldn’t stick to it. Does my customer bear any responsibility? It was sold to him as stainless and that is what I was told.
    TB 302
    Sync 250 DX
    MM 180 Auto
    Lincoln tombstone
    Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway

  • #2
    Sorry to hear of the grief you are going through...

    Sounds like it might be diecast zinc/zamak/potmetal.... with a flash nickel plating..

    the answer might be to epoxy it to the bolt with a flexible epoxy like 3M 2216

    Last edited by H80N; 02-04-2015, 08:54 AM.

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    • #3
      Definately NOT stainless, but Diecast, so your Not going to weld to it. HN's suggestion to epoxy it is a much better idea.


      • #4
        Looked at some online and they do state Stainless.

        Since it is designed to be put on a belt perhaps some type of leather attachment that fastens to the bike.
        Ed Conley
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        • #5
          I feel for you - I would feel terrible if that happened to something I was repairing.

          If it were me, I'd have to buy him a new one and then epoxy it or leather wrap it as stated above.

          Or go with the stainless version.
          "Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance." ~George Bernard Shaw~

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          • #6
            I'm with Dave. I understand how you got off-track, but the welder is supposed to be the expert here, that OR say he doesn't know how it will work out and that the customer is taking a chance on the operation, which might not work out. If I'd neglected to tell him that up front, I'd buy him a new gizmo. It's like Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson each taking ownership of the last-play snafu at the Super Bowl even though they could legitimately have put most of the blame on the offensive coordinator who called for the particular play. That gentleman also accepted the blame, but we all know that he had a whole lot to do with getting the team to that game in the first place. Same with you; "owning" this bad outcome does not reflect on you when you do good work 95% of the time.


            • #7
              I did not take any pictures but have attached a picture from the web of a new one. My customer wants to mount this just above and between the cylinders of a Harley to an existing bracket. I am not a big fan of JB Weld, personally have never had any luck with it at all. I am afraid that the vibration from the bike will shake it loose. After the zap with the mig (before destruction) I did explain to him this would either work or not but didn't go into detail that it might be completely useless afterwards. I have explained to him that I would be posting on this forum to get ideas and that the conclusion was die cast. The question whether I should have know the material better hasn't come up.
              This is not a big ticket item so it won't hurt me to replace it and I have no problem doing so. Even though I would like to see him get what he wants, he may have to budge a little on placement and attachment.
              It may not matter much at this point as he hasn't responded to my texts or call for two days now. When I suggested epoxy or leather strap his response was "the bike is just too clean for that", I even suggested a polished stainless clamp, he didn't like that either. I know he wants what he wants but as we all know the customer doesn't always have good ideas. I'm sure all of you have heard it before "well, all you have to do is.......".
              A big thanks to everyone who chimed in, the customer is not responding. Means to me he either can't or won't. Will post anything new that happens.
              Attached Files
              TB 302
              Sync 250 DX
              MM 180 Auto
              Lincoln tombstone
              Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway


              • #8
                Metal Puddler, Dont feel to bad, this is one of those things that are hard to weld, one time I was fixing a door handle for my neighbors door wall and the part went from something that had a shape to a Blob on the table that resembles excess solder on the floor from welding a pipe.

                Die cast is heavy and feels like steel so you were led to believe it was stainless, you then tried aluminum and it fell apart.

                I agree, I wouldn't even try epoxy, tell him to drill it and bolt it.

                I have repaired items made out of zinc that are thicker than what you had to deal with, I use a R-1100 aluminum 1/16" diameter, the trick is to go in hot, dip the rod and let off the pedal, wait 2-3 seconds hit it again and wait 2-3 secondsand repeat until done.

                I dont feel this method would have worked in you situation because the wall thickness of the flask was to thin

                You dont owe him any thing more than a ( Hey, I thought it was stainless too because of the weight. )

                All of us veteran welders have been caught off guard on things like this.


                • #9
                  I destroyed my customer’s project

                  I agree with Portable Welder, there's a old saying that fits me well.
                  "One day I'm a Hero & one day I'm a Zero"
                  I've been both very often. So if we're willing to except being a hero we need to except being a zero. None of us are perfect were just trying to do our best.


                  • #10
                    After not hearing from this guy for almost a week he showed up at my shop with a small piece of aluminum plate and bolt. Drilled a hole and tapped it for the bolt, ran the bolt through the hole just far enough to weld and cut the head of the bolt off. Now he has a plate with a stud in it that he can epoxy to the sleeve and install on his bike.............Life is good again
                    TB 302
                    Sync 250 DX
                    MM 180 Auto
                    Lincoln tombstone
                    Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway


                    • #11
                      "Bikes too clean for that", as he is trying to get a pot metal belt buckle fastened to it...people are funny.