…and who knows how many more to go. I finally completed my tractor canopy project a few days ago, and today, I uploaded the third and final video to BitChute. I shared photos from each stage of the construction on Hive, so feel free to check those out and see what notes I had to make for this project. The whole process, from design to finish, took eight days, though it was spread out over the course of a year, owing to more interruptions than I care to count. Still, this project shouldn’t have even taken eight days, since I had other setbacks that kept me from working from morning till night on the project, such as running out of shielding gas, getting frustrated with my extremely unforgiving touch-start TIG machine (which isn’t a real TIG machine, it’s a SMAW machine that can do GTAW), and not having the slightest clue what I wanted to use for the actual canopy part for the longest time.
Now, for those of you wondering why I didn’t just buy a canopy, there are two reasons: first, they are not cheap, second (and this is more important), I need a canopy that doesn’t stick up from the roll-bar at all, otherwise I’d have to remove it before parking the tractor. As it is, if the garage door drops down while I’m in the process of backing out, the roll-bar will tear off the bottom of the door – and yes, I did learn this the hard way. I don’t think I ever mentioned that before. Regardless, I started off with a little announcement about this project, before sharing any documentation of the actual work.
On Day 1, I made some quick sketches of what this thing was supposed to look like: https://hive.blog/diy/@steampunkkaja/diy-tractor-canopy-day-1
On Day 2, I went through the actual design process in Autodesk Inventor: https://www.bitchute.com/video/9DmV1NG3KC6m/
On Day 3, I cut, deburred, and laid out the square tube stock for welding. I would have started welding as well, but I had no gas: https://hive.blog/diy/@steampunkkaja/diy-tractor-canopy-day-3
Days 4 and 5 were combined into a single post, because reasons, but you get to see some nice weld beads – at least, as nice as I can get with my cheap equipment and sub-standard skills: https://hive.blog/diy/@steampunkkaja/diy-tractor-canopy-days-4-and-5
On Day 6, I posted photos of the final assembly and uploaded the metalworking video to BitChute. This was also my most popular post by far, and was the sign I was looking for as to which direction I should take my blog: https://hive.blog/bitchute/@steampunkkaja/diy-tractor-canopy-day-6
Two-and-a-half months later, I showed off the frame in place in a video that I shot at my dilapidated shooting range. This is relevant, because one of things I use this tractor for is mowing that field. I didn’t have time that particular year, so you’ll see how bad it gets: https://www.bitchute.com/video/ejYq7JkROhf2/
Four months after that, I re-visited the shooting range to take some measurements of the area where I wish to re-build the shooting gallery. I plan to build something much more substantial than I ever had before, this way I can practise traditional archery and pistol shooting along with rifle and crossbow shooting. There were a few small trees in the way, but I managed to get what I need and draw something up: https://www.bitchute.com/video/evfRJVvuLzC1/
I still continued to post pictures of models, both physical and virtual, for the next year, before I finally got round to resuming the tractor canopy project. Granted, I had other metalworking projects in the mean time, but didn’t bother to document them, because reasons (mostly client confidentiality). On day 7, eleven months after day 6, I cleaned up the frame, prepped it for painting, then primed and painted it: https://hive.blog/diy/@steampunkkaja/diy-tractor-canopy-day-7
After leaving the painted frame to dry overnight, I finally finished it on day 8, capping off the open ends of the tubes, fitting the frame to the roll-bar, and fitting the canopy (a vinyl tablecloth) to the frame with hook-and-loop (“Velcro”) fasteners and brass grommets. This was a rather involved process, and while I tried to cut down the video as much as I could, it’s still an hour long. At least it’s finally done: https://www.bitchute.com/video/A8RPsV6hkDUe/
The next day, I mowed the field where the shooting range is located. The sun was rather unpleasant, but that vinyl tablecloth blocked roughly 90% of the light, so I’m happy with it. I had worried that I might need a liner, and I can still add one if I so choose. The day after mowing, I cleaned up the area round the old shooting gallery, removing the small trees and cleaning up the area enough so that I have room to work. Since digging holes is strenuous work, especially in Pennsylvania soil (better known as solid rock), I’m going to save that for a cool day – so, at least a month from now. The process of bringing my shooting gallery vision to life will be the second part of the second episode in that series, and after that, the fun begins!