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chris58 04-19-2016 01:20 AM

Automobile Manufacturing Processes
Hi all, I'm just about finished completing my final wiring in my 58 and I'm up to the point of running a battery cable from the trunk to the front of the car.
The cable will run to a positive distribution post with other wiring.
What would be the minimum amperage requirement for this cable, will fuses or circuit breaker be required etc.
Thanks Chris.

chris58 04-29-2016 04:15 AM

That's pretty much the way I've gone Dave. I had the electrical contractor at work make all my cables up and he said that they were 3awg. Beautiful job, all silver soldered and heat shrink wrapped and the best part was it cost nothing, bonus.
He said that cable would be more than enough.
I'm still not sure about the whole fuse thing.

Scott, with the battery ventilation I'll be using a sealed battery in a vented battery box as to be legal I need to do this.

I've decided to run the cable on the underside of the car and secure with rubber lined p clamps the whole way along, it will be wrapped in cloth electrical tape and fed through condute so hopefully safe and secure enough.

On a sidenote Dave, I watch the video earlier, I take my hat off to u guys back in the day, I've worked in some nasty conditions in my time but that's very impressive.
Cheers Chris.

simplyconnected 04-29-2016 05:08 AM

Chris, #3AWG is good. I would run it inside the car but outside is ok if not exposed to road debris and salts. One advantage in using wire is, you can 'train' it around corners and bends so it conforms with the body.

The main aisles in the DIF had steel tiles in the cement. The floor sweeper was going around the clock but if I stood in one place for five minutes and took one step away, the fly ash would show where I was standing. Man, that stuff burns if it gets in your eye. It also ate through the paint on cars in the employee lot outside. All the houses around The Rouge were black with acid rain and their brick mortar on nearly all the houses was loose and coming apart.

We used to get "Rouge rain" meaning, a lot of times it was only raining over The Rouge. You see my avatar with the smoke stacks... that was no joke. The Power House, foundries and all the steel operations; they all produced a lot of smoke. Yes, we had precipitators that caught most of the solid pollutants but it was a losing battle.

Another danger was carbon monoxide gas. It's odorless, colorless and our lungs absorb it 25X faster than oxygen. It's produced by UNburned gasses from any fire and it burns a pretty blue. CO is heavier than air so it settles in low places.

Coke dust is 99% carbon and it conducts electricity like copper. We used to open all the panels and control room doors weekly, just to blow the coke dust out. Many times an electrical panel would simply fry because it was filled half way with coke dust, short circuiting terminal strips of 250 Volts DC inside. - Dave

chris58 04-29-2016 08:25 AM

All good Dave with the wiring.
Haha I love hearing about the old stories of the old foundries.
Probably pretty lucky most old foundrymen lived past 40. I know all my old teachers when I was at university are all gone now, old foundrymen unfortunately.
Conditions these days are pretty good, I know when I first started they were pretty tough, been on fire or hospitalized a few times but they were probably still better conditions than back then.
It amazes me with what they did with what they had.

simplyconnected 04-29-2016 03:46 PM

Chris, did you ever experience what happens when molten metal is poured onto water?

Everyone knows that molten iron is hot but somehow they forget how heavy it is.

When molten iron is poured onto water the whole thing explodes with a violence that literally rocks the earth as pieces are rocketed everywhere. If a small piece hits someone it will knock them down and then burn them up.

The first time for me was when they poured slag into a railroad slag car that had a small amount of residual water. It immediately creates steam with a heavy weight of metal on top. It sounds like someone lit a cannon. Steam always wins, even in small amounts. - Dave

Joe Johnston 04-29-2016 04:35 PM


When molten iron is poured onto water the whole thing explodes with a violence that literally rocks the earth as pieces are rocketed everywhere. If a small piece hits someone it will knock them down and then burn them up.
It is unbelievable how much force a bit of water has under molten iron. My very first butt chewing was because of this after being transferred to the foundry to drive a fork truck. One of our jobs was to coat pig molds with a muddy slurry (burlite or something like that) for our iron pourers to scrape the slag off the ladles or empty their ladles into at the end of the pouring line. I set some wet pig molds in place and fortunately the iron pourers caught it and I was soon chewed out! Once they realized I was just transferred into the dept and did not have any safety indoctrination for the pouring area, everything changed, but I certainly never did that again.

All this old foundry talk brings back memories for me too and makes me appreciate all over again getting an apprenticeship in their Pattern Shop.

simplyconnected 04-29-2016 05:30 PM

I love the Pattern Makers. They are a great team of highly skilled tradesmen who love their job and are more than willing to answer dumb questions from idiots like myself.

Joe, our bricklayers numbered in the hundreds, forever relining entire furnaces down to ladles with brick and sand runners with refractory. They gas-fired their work for many days before introducing molten metal.

Our core rooms were much larger than the pouring merry-go-round lines. Automatic hot boxes injected sand and baked many of the cores, then they were placed on a monorail that dipped each one in refractory slurry. Then they were baked again for long periods of time to ensure moisture content was zero. We went through mountain ranges of silica sand and C02.

Foundries have a distinctive odor that hangs on to everything you wear. It's not offensive but I can still smell it years after working there. The work is hot, dangerous and much of it requires brute strength. For those and many more reasons we only allowed women to work in the lunch room and only for a few hours per day. The ladies were driven in a protective panel van to and from the lunch room. The rest of us had to wear fire retardant clothes, hard hats, respirators and safety glasses/goggles.

We also had Gas Men whose job it was to check levels of carbon monoxide particularly in low places. For example: If a shakeout buried the conveyor (tripping the overloads) under the line, the gas man was the first one down. (He also checked for rats.) Then the Cleaners would form a bucket brigade to remove enough sand so the conveyor was visible again. Then the Electrician would reverse-forward-reverse-forward in a 'rocking' motion to free the conveyor. Dust was so dense I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. Add sweat to that heat and don't chew gum. The crib handed out flashlights to anyone who asked.

The Rouge made well-rounded journeymen because of the different work in different plants. For example, the electrical wire we used in the foundry was totally different from wire used in assembly. Plants that spot or stick welded used huge conductors. Many of the welding machines and transformers were water cooled as were electrical cables feeding spot welding on robot arms. For cooling, we used recirculating mill water. - Dave

chris58 04-29-2016 06:21 PM

Dave I have had a couple of quite nasty experiences when water meets metal, unfortunately both ended with a few of us in hospital.
First one was when an induction furnaces lining failed whilst melting 4140 steel at around 1680c. Induction furnaces have a copper coil from top to bottom with water runs constantly through for cooling, metal penetrates the coil and BANG, big hole in the factory roof and it's raining steel, good way to lose all your hair.
Second time was we were pouring a casting that weighed around 800kg, common practice with these large moulds was to stand on top of the mould and look down the feeder so to know when the mould is full, in this case the feeder was around 6 inches in diameter, I was looking down and not knowing that one of the moulders had left a massive clump of wet glue on the core it exploded, 2nd degree burns on arms, face, neck and down my throat, even had burns on the inside of my safety glasses, very lucky.
Me along with 2 others in hospital, one moulded punched and fired on the spot.
Your definitely right about the smell, all the catalyst and binders in the sand gives a very unique smell, one you never forget.

simplyconnected 04-29-2016 07:31 PM

Chris, you're lucky to be alive. In retrospect, we call those 'battle scars'. Some suffer more than others and I guess if you come out unscathed with all your digits and limbs, it's only by the Grace of God.

In the Stamping Plant, it was common to see people reporting for work with fingers missing, or a guy carrying his lunch bucket under half an arm. Ford gave them a job for life, regardless of who was at fault.

I remember 'lunchtime' in the iron foundry... one line worker was sleeping on the 'return side' of a conveyor belt as it slung underneath. Makes my skin crawl just thinking of it. He never was injured, though.

When people see cars they never know any of the back-stories.

BTW, the steel you made is what we call 'aircraft tubing' and it is one of the few steels the US military approves for manufacturing M16 guns.

I have limited induction heating experience aside from case hardening camshaft lobes. In Manufacturing Development, I used a very old 15K~ motor/generator that screamed. I made a ring of copper tubing that surrounded a slowly rotating camshaft on a vertical axis. I drilled holes in the coil of copper so it would cool the cam lobes (and the coils) as they heated.

It was fascinating to watch the lobes turn cherry-red with nothing touching them but a spray of water, then index to the next lobe.

chris58 04-29-2016 08:21 PM

Unfortunately Dave it comes with the territory, 20 years over furnaces your bound to be on the wrong end at some stage.
The 4140 we made were generally castings that were designedf or hi stress environments, castings ranging from 1kg to 6-7 tonnes, lots of variety.
We probably produced over 200 different variants of iron and steel ranging from automotive, mining and offshore oil and petrochemical made in anything from 1020 mild steel to super duplex stainless steel.
Unfortunately all these companies no longer exist.
Fingers and hands are pretty common, I still don't have much feeling in my left ring finger after having a glowing hot brass bar go through my glove severing nerves and the main artery in my hand about 3 years ago, boy did that make a mess haha, still finding blood at work.
Your very right about people not understanding what goes into producing the stuff that people take for granted. Everything from household appliances to public transport. It doesn't matter how much you try pretty up a foundry it's still a foundry!
Induction hardening machines actually operate on the same principle as induction furnaces, creating a magnetic field which heats the metal.
Induction hardening relies on dwell time to determine harndness depth followed by a quench of either water or aqua depending upon the material.
I spent 4 years in a heat treatment plant after the last big foundry closed down.
We specialized in flame and induction hardening, honestly probably the most enjoyable job I've ever had. Flame hardening very large castings is definitely a sight to see.
Unfortunately pretty much all this type of manufacturing is gone now, very sad actually.

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