This is my first ible and only my third welding project... ever. Please know that I am *very* aware that my welds need to improve. I just choose to improve as I make things, rather than with a bunch of throw-away welds. Besides, knowing that I will be sharing these projects with the Maker community is incentive to get better fast! :)
I have a small garden in my yard that I water by filling large pots with water and letting it percolate through tubing to soak the ground over time. This has worked pretty well (until I broke my pot last week) but I wanted some more visual appeal to the garden. Also, we planted a grape vine and wanted a trellis. Seemed like a great way to break in my cheap-o welder ($69 from Harbor Freight), so here we are!
Step 1: I start almost every project with some time in Sketch-up. It serves several major functions for me and is FREE to boot! Just follow the included tutorials, they're really good.
Why Sketchup? First, it is a super-simple way to create 3-D versions of what is in my head and iterate on them in quickly and cheaply. Second, once I get the model done, I can pull pieces off of a copy of the finished model and use the dimensions tool to give me cut lengths. Within about an hour, you can try and fail several ideas and then come out of the session with a cut-list.
It is NOT good for everything. Freehand drawing in Sketchup is a nightmare... so choose your tool, but get a plan made!