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HOW TO BUILD AN IRON BALCONY. PART 2: Fabricating the platform and the lower brackets.

Posted by Pedro L. Sánchez on Feb 22nd 2020

Once the plasma has cut the parts, then we are ready to start fabricating. First thing first is to clean up the pieces and void them from burr and dry them up, because they are wet once the plasma has cut them. The beauty of plasma cut pieces is that they should match perfectly the drawings and assembly becomes really easy.

Take a good look at the fabrication drawings and identify all the pieces and put them in separate places. Now start welding them together making sure you follow all the fabrication requirements specified on the drawings.Use magnetic squares to make sure all the precut sheets are perfectly perpendicular and the corners perfectly aligned. This will ensure the end result is good.

First tag weld the platform in its entirety except for the covers. Remember some welds need to be done first before we close it down. Once the platform is completely tac welded and all parameters of quality have been met you are ready to finish weld the iron platform. The next step is to grind down the platform using a 60 grid sanding pad. Do not use stone for it will leave permanent marks on the sheet metal.

Make sure all welds are smooth and the entire platform looks neat from all angles.Now the platform is ready and only thing left is to place it on the rack until needed.

FABRICATING THE LOWER BRACKETS

The lower brackets are also precut in the plasma, and the basic procedure is the same as wih the platform. The difference is that the platform is made of 11 GA metal and the brackets are made of 3/8” thick sheet metal.Remember 3/8” cuts are harder to clean and require different setting on the welding machine. The weld spots are precut by the plasma to ensure full penetration and allow us to grind the bracket smooth without losing strength. Don’t forget to weld both sides of the iron bracket.

FABRICATING THE RAILINGS AND UPPER BRACKETS

To fabricate the railings take more expertise than to fabricate the platform and brackets. Why is that? Because the platform and brackets’ pieces have been precut by the plasma to perfection; while the railings need to be cut by the fabricator. When cutting the railing parts make sure to cut them with a zero to – 1/16 tolerance, to make sure the final size is precisely what the shop drawings read and ensure that at the end the iron balcony looks perfect. Any measurements mistakes need to be solved or the piece discarded and new on cut.

Set up the welding table to the size needed to make it easier to assemble the parts of the iron railings. If the balcony railing includes corner posts, make sure the post cap is set properly. If the railings is a potbellied railings it is important to make sure that the corner pickets are set properly, making sure not to leave a gap greater or equal to 4 inches. This is a very important code requirement.

The upper brackets are welded to the back of the railings.

Install the connectors making 100% sure the measurement is correct, for they have to match the platform holes perfectly. The back plates and the framing reinforcement plates are cut by the plasma, and go along with the balcony.Make sure to make the welds to the required sizes and with the correct settings to ensure a perfect result.Sand down all welds.

This completes the process of fabricating a balcony, now the balcony is ready for powder coating.