Kevin Mark Klughart
PhD, PE, JD, MIP, LLM
Patent Attorney / Engineer
One of my jobs in the family is to wash the dogs! I try to do this weekly, weather permitting. I used to just grab the dog in question and wash them on the ground, but after years of this it was clear my back needed a better solution. This turned out to be a dedicated Dog Washing Station! Made completely of aluminum (with the exception of wheels and plumbing fixtures/valves), this has proven to be a great tool to do the job. You can see below some of the features of the station, including overhead water supply (with several valves for pre-wash, shampoo application, coarse rinse, and final rinse) as well as a lipped area in which the dogs stand/sit.
The platform is made of aluminum diamondplate and the perimeter railing is formed from 18-gauge square aluminum tubing placed two-deep. The eyelet in front can be used to tether the dogs, but I've found it isn't necessary with our dogs. Note the back of the cart has some aluminum pipe that has been bored out with a lathe to accommodate shampoo bottles and other tools such as brushes and toenail clippers. Also not seen are two vertical drains on the back of the unit to permit water drainage. The whole unit has a 1-inch front to back pitch to aid in water drainage.
What I have found with this unit is that washing the dogs is much easier and my back doesn't suffer. Also, it is possible to walk around the Dog Washing Station to get on all sides of the dog, which is important since sometimes they tend to want to stand/sit in one orientation.
As to the construction details on this unit, it might surprise you. The majority of the work was done with a Millermatic® 350P MIG welder running 0.035 4043 wire. Bead cleanup was performed with a Miller EconoTig®. Since the EconoTig® is limited to about 165A in AC mode, it was all this machine could do to work the long aluminum seams on the cart, especially given that it is only a 20% duty cycle machine. The Millermatic® 350P had no problem in doing the bulk of the coarse fabrication, and did quite well welding the 2-inch pipe for the shampoo bottle holders. Pulse mode on this machine can really give TIG welding a run for its money as far as weld appearance goes.
One note on this project. In retrospect the hardest part of this project was using the EconoTig® to weld the 11-gauge aluminum diamondplate for the top platform. At 165A, this machine pumps just barely enough current to do the job USING ARGON SHIELDING GAS. Recently I had the opportunity to TIG weld using pure helium. While the arc is noticeably less stable than using argon, the heat transfer is significantly higher for a given weld current. So, the message here is that if you run into a situation where your machine needs a little more heat transfer, try using pure helium or an argon/helium mix. Make sure you adjust the regulator flow to compensate for the lighter gas! You might be surprised at the results. An additional benefit of this approach is a more fluid weld pool...
After the dog washing it is time to pile into the truck for a walk in the park!
Kevin Mark Klughart
Registered Patent Attorney, USPTO
3825 Leisure Lane, Denton, TX 76210-5589
tel: 800-353-1211 / 940-320-0580 - fax 940-320-0581