In preparation for my journey through Smasher Canyon, ye humble smythe reasoned to forge a codpiece for me mighty steed.  This is especially important on the breed I got, since her tender bits is made of Aluminum, or Aluminium, if ye prefer.  Anyway, since aluminum is so much softer than steel, it’s not really a good metal to use to bash against rocks or what have you, like we are wont to do…  Yeah, there’s no way I could do this whole piece in olde English…

There’s not much to this project, so today’s post will be short and metallic.

To begin with, I crawled under the Jeep with a ruler and a measuring tape to get an idea of how much material I was going to need, only to find out that I had almost all of it already (this was a new experience for me, and I think I rather like it.).  I picked up a few feet of 3″ x 1/4″ flatbar and got to work.

First thing I needed to do was get a blueprint for the skidplate, so I popped some calculations into my copy of ManualCAD and here’s what I came up with:

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For today’s project, we’ll need 4 pieces of steel to create the backbone of the skidplate.  Below you’ll see three 9″ x 3″ pieces, and one 8″ x 4″ piece.

IMAG0018To make my life easy, the 3″ pieces were cut from 3″ flatbar, and the 4″ pieces from 4″ bar.

It was literally a few quick cuts with the chop saw, and I was ready to start welding.

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I used this saw to cut the metal.  It has a blade for cutting metal, but I don’t think the saw likes cutting metal very much.  i don’t think it’s going to last too much longer…

The tricky part of building this skidplate was finding the right angles to connect the bottom plate of the skid to the axle tubes.  I ended up crawling back under the Jeep with an angle finder and my ruler to find the right angles to weld the plates at.  PROTIP:  Use a protractor to find the angles on the axle.  Don’t be an idiot like me.  They’re literally, like, a dollar at the grocery store.

At any rate, your humble blacksmythe managed to calculate the proper angles required to make the metal connect correct.

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Angle…angle…tack…tack…WELD!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

IMAG0021 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>>So, here’s where I pause again, because things get kinda tricky at this point, and I seem to have missed the opportunity to take a couple of pictures here.  I really need to get better about taking pictures…

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I used a grinder to cut out the plate to fit around the axle tube for when I weld it in.  The angled pieces are honestly just free-handed.  I knew where I wanted them to be, so I marked it and planned on scrapping a couple pieces until I got it right.  Turns out I got it on the first try.  The triangular filler pieces were just cut from scrap, dropped in place, and then welded up.

After that, I took the tiger disc and the angle grinder to it and cleaned up all the welds on the bottom side, so that they wouldn’t snag on anything out on the trail.

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It ain’t perfect, but it cost me $30 in materials…

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Topside of the skidplate just after paint.

Welded in!

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Here’s a shot of the skid plate the day after I made it…  I guess it was worth the time I put into it.

This axle won’t be under this Jeep forever.  I already have some plans for what to do next, but until that time, this will be an excellent addition to the Jeep, especially out here in the AZ desert.

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