A new cutting-edge tool supports automotive restoration projects
Although my main source of income is to own and operate a retail auto repair shop, it really only exists to allow me to pursue my true passion which is manufacturing and restoration.
Although we had to temporarily put the Puma EV car project on hold that I spoke about last week, I just got a new tool in the workshop that will help me with this build when we get back on the road. This is a computer controlled plasma metal cutting table made by a company called Langmuir Systems in California. (Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation from Langmuir Systems for this mention).
A metal cutting table uses the same computer controlled technology that is used in 3D printers and moves it around the metal cutting environment. Where 3D printers are additive devices – in other words, they add material to create a part – a cutting table removes material to reveal your part. Plasma cutting uses accelerated flows of plasma directed at an electrically conductive material to cut them efficiently. Combine a small plasma cutter with a device that can move the cutting head in an exact tool path, and a whole new world opens up for the hobbyist. Only a few years ago, such capacity was only available to large production facilities that could afford these machines.
The tool I own is the entry level machine from Langmuir Systems, which has a cutting area of approximately 0.65 square meters. I added the company’s optional water table to capture dust particles and contaminants. Documentation from the plasma cutter manufacturer claims that their machine can cut steel up to 16mm thick. The company calls this product a personal CNC plasma table, and after spending the hours to assemble the machine, I can see why. The translation I deciphered from their advertisement is that I will never be able to start a full-time business cutting metal parts using this device. But whatever, I’ll be gentle with it. It’s a fantastic machine for its price.
The first piece I designed and cut out was a small panel for my Ferrari Project 308 rebuild series, cut from 16 gauge sheet metal. You would think the two-dimensional design would be easier than the three-dimensional design. for a 3D printer, but my simple part took many hours due to machine quirks and painstaking configuration adjustments. Hope I move on to more complicated designs and parts soon. One of the first useful parts that I plan to make is a two-piece adapter plate that will allow me to mate the Nissan Leaf electric motor to my Puma transmission. From there it will be used to build battery cases and a host of other mounts for our Puma EV project.
Your automotive questions, answers
I have a 2016 Toyota RAV4, which is currently stored in my friend’s garage, and no one is driving it. My friend started the engine every 2-3 weeks and ran it for 10-15 minutes. Someone said it was a wise thing to do, but I’m not sure. Could you please clarify this for me? My friend says the car battery is almost dead now. The car could stay there for another 6 to 12 months. What’s the best way to store it? Does the engine have to be turned on or can it just forget about it? I would really appreciate your help. I don’t know much about it.
If this was a situation where you were preparing the vehicle for an extended rest period, I would have some suggestions for you. However, being halfway through your storage period will result in another response. Basically now that you’re here, leave it. In other words, stop asking your friend to run the engine for 10 to 15 minutes. Vehicles must be driven for there to be any real benefit. Unless your friend can put it on the road for an extended commute, sitting and idling does nothing but contaminate the oil with unburned fuel and put excess moisture in the exhaust. . Your choices are to have your friend take it out on the road for at least half an hour on the road, or just let it sit and face the consequences once you’re ready to put it back in service. If the latter is the only answer due to lack of insurance, have it towed when you are ready, have the battery replaced and have the vehicle professionally inspected completely so that the brakes can be checked. , tires, suspension and replace all necessary fluids.
Hi Lou, maybe you can help me. I have a 2010 Audi A4 that I bought in the US 10 years ago. It now shows signs of rust coming from under the paint in four areas that are well documented. The former body shop rep at the local dealership even pointed out two areas that I was not aware of. The car has not been subject to any bodywork in these areas. The car is guaranteed for 12 years against rust. The new body shop manager contacted Audi Canada and said that since the car is from the USA Audi Canada is not responsible for the warranty and I should try a dealership in the US. United. me, Audi would pay a percentage of the repairs and that would cost me probably $ 1,600. Looks like I’m out of luck. Can Audi be selective about its warranty repairs? Thanks for any ideas you may have.
Desmond R, Ottawa
Before COVID-19, multitudes of shoppers north and south of the border still tried to exploit dollar differences by shopping cross-border. The strength of the Canadian dollar against its US counterpart has always dictated the way vehicle imports and exports flow. Either way, one way for manufacturers to discourage cross-border shopping is to limit warranty repairs to vehicles purchased in the same country as the original sale. Not all automakers have these policies, but European automakers with higher vehicle depreciation in the United States are seeing more people looking to take advantage of them. The policy of all US counterparts towards Canadian manufacturers is designed to protect their respective markets.
My thoughts are that with the borders currently closed, Audi Canada may be open to hearing your argument that you cannot visit a dealership in the United States. Call them directly; Is it worth it.
Lou Trottier is the owner and operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. A question about maintenance and repair? E-mail [email protected], by placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.
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