Archive for the ‘Garage projects’ Category

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Garage life continues as blogging life falls behind. I have a choice, either sit in front of the computer and write or spend time in the garage. I chose the latter.

I figured this latest project was worthy of a posting so I dedicated some time getting myself organized in order to show the internet what has been happening in my garage. A friend of mine wanted some “automotive decor” for his office. He had recently purchased a 997 Porsche and I was telling him how I had a stock pile of old Porsche parts that were waiting be built into something. After tossing some ideas around we settled on turning a Brembo caliper and Porsche composite ceramic brake rotor into a floor lamp. He let me have creative freedom with it which was nice.

After many nights of brainstorming how to suspend a caliper from a perch to create a typical floor lamp and decided to try and keep the entire structure automotive themed. I’ve always loved pushrod suspension so I decided I would incorporate it into the design. After designing the control arms and pivot points in a CAD program I determined that I should be able to make it work.

I just started to build on the fly. I began by getting some LED lights from Ikea and machining a 6061 aluminum plate to house them. I then just kept going and working my way backwards until I reached the base. I could write pages on the thought process and the implementation however everyone just skips to the pictures so I’ll spare myself the time.

If something isn’t clear and you want some clarification just shoot me a comment, I’ll be happy to answer any questions. Enjoy the post below.

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So it all started with a used caliper that was taken out of service because of a botched powder coating job from a local company and a Porsche PCCB rotor that went metal on the inside pad. The caliper is half stripped of powder coating because awhile back I bought some powder coating stripper and wanted to try it out so I half stripped this spare caliper. It works really well.

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I started the project from the caliper end. I bought some LED lights, the right dimension, from Ikea. I then dropped some 6061 aluminum onto the mill and started chipping away until I could mount the LEDs to the machined plate.

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This is the final machined plate that the bezels of the LED lights will screw into. In the end I opted to leave the plate as a machined finish.

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The 3 LED lights mounted up well. In keeping with the Ikea tradition I chose to keep the Allen key bolts. As I type this I realize I should have gone to Ikea and obtained some of their “extra” hardware to mount the plate.

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So I have a lot of pictures but can only display so many. I spent some time in a CAD program designing the length, and pivot points, of the pushrod suspension components. Once I had it finalized on the computer I went into production. This is a shot of the fabricated components getting mocked up into a control arm so it can be welded.

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All the welding on the project was done with my Miller Syncrowave 180SD TIG machine.

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Upper and lower control arms got mocked up to check alignment. The knob close to the caliper is a camber adjustment that I machined. In the end I thought it was kinda stupid so I opted to scrap it.

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Brackets are getting built and components are getting tacked into place to bring the pushrod suspension into play.

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Fulcrum brackets got plasma cut out and bushings machined to give the suspension some pivot.

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I set the homebuilt CNC plasma table up for the project. It was so nice to work with. Because I was building the lamp on the fly I was coming up with ideas as the project progressed. I had my laptop out in the garage and CAD’d and cut brackets as I went along. Huge time saver.

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I was going to have to build a custom “shock” to help support the weight of the caliper so I mocked the setup on the bench to get an idea of the weight and travel that was going to have to be dealt with.

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The shock all got built out of aluminum. I needed to machine, and weld, some end caps into the shock tube. I set it up on the lathe as a “poor mans” rotary table and put the TIG torch to it.

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Upper shock mounting was machined into a 6 bolt flange to accept the shock rod and provide some guidance.

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All the components that make up the “suspension” and provide some support to the caliper.

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Never really had a solid vision for the post so I started scrounging for stuff I had hoarded. Located a rear carden shaft off a Cayenne that was the right diameter but required some shortening. I chopped it down on the bandsaw and then remachined and rewelded the ends into a solid shaft.

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Continuing on with the post the lower half was going to require some weight in order to support the caliper and suspension. I had a chunk of 3.5″ Schedule 80 pipe left over from my gazebo railing project. It had some good weight to it and it turned out that it dialed in the “power to weight” ratio perfectly. Plus I love soaking the heat into my welds so it was a pleasure to work with.

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Here the Porsche Cayenne rear carden shaft got mated to the scheduled 80 pipe.

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More progress in fabricating, mocking up, and tacking in the suspension brackets.

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I needed to incorporate a supplied Porsche emblem and was struggling. I dug through the tickle trunk and found a Porsche air cooled 993 piston and connecting rod. Figured I would cut it up and see what I could turn it into.

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In keeping with the Jonathan Goldsmith tradition the “library lamp” required somewhere to place a glass of whiskey so a shelf was in order. Buzzed one out on the plasma table then lined the perimeter with some 1″ flatbar

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Needed to drill, and tap, some holes to mount the piston to that would serve as the background for the Porsche emblem. I wasn’t about to drill schedule 80 pipe by hand so I set it up on the mill to make life easier.

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Mocked up whiskey shelf and emblem to make sure things are going to work, not sure I am totally happy with it.

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With most of the fabrication complete it was time to move onto finishing stage. Most of the components would either get powder coated, polished, or brushed. The powder coated items got glass bead blasting before getting foggged.

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The half stripped caliper need to get all stripped. A soaking in the stripping solution and then a cold water rinse made easy work of it.

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Clean, fresh aluminum is so satisfying.

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The Brembo caliper then got a fresh flogging of red powder coat to bring it back to new,

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Tucked it into the oven at 375 degrees for a 30 minute soaking.

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While the powder coated caliper was getting baked I cleaned, and polished, the caliper hardware.

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The baking is all done and the aroma has filled the shop. “The smell of good powdercoating baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…”

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Time for the “Porsche” to be united with the Brembo.

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Lots of the finishing stage required 3 stage polishing. I always try to find a visual balance among all the components when it comes time to clothe them.

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I wasn’t loving the stark naked aluminum shock. So I risked it all and powder coated the tube matte black then dropped a 1/2″ ball nose end mill into it. I think it was the right choice.

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Yup, the light should be adequate. If not then I recommend sticking to audio books.

Due to the vertical stance of the lamp it is somewhat difficult to get an good overall picture of it. I posted a short video below highlighting the features of the project.

 

Click on the pictures below to see them in full screen.

 

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It has been awhile since I tapped the keys of my keyboard to update the internet world of the going ons in my garage. The molten is still flowing and the chips have been flying. Nothing has stopped in the garage project department.

Lots of things have happened since I last checked in. The plasma table CNC project did reach finished status and is fully functioning. I am hoping to do a post on that little adventure sometime. I have also done countless side projects and even got involved in fabricating components for a 1950s Herschel carousel restoration for the city zoo. The shop has been accumulating some new equipment, lessons are being learned, failures have been had, and progress continues to take place.

For those of you who are interested in a more informal following of my day to day workings you can always follow me on Instagram @gordsgarage.

Today’s post is following the “built not bought” theme. Years ago I rebuilt a 1965 Honda CB160 into a cafe racer. I really enjoyed the build, learned lots, and have been riding the bike now for close to 5 seasons. It’s been a blast and a great commuter. So light and nimble which makes it perfect for the city. Since I finished the 65 Revive project I had been keeping my eyes open for another bike to do. I was leaning towards a sport bike but them I stumbled upon a 1982 Yamaha SR 250, otherwise known as an Exciter. I didn’t have a very clear vision but was convinced I could turn the basket case into something a bit more usable and attractive.

This build was no different than the CB build. Every component was addressed, every bolt cleaned or replaced, every sealing surface received a new gasket, and every metal component got some sort of exterior protection. There were a lot of changes made to the bike and many components replaced and added.The Yamaha got was outfitted with numerous Motogadget components including a keyless ignition system, and all lights were converted over to LED. There is way too much to list therefore I am going to rely on the comments section to answer any questions people may have.

I have jammed in over 65 pictures below  to give you an overall idea of what was involved in the transformation. The project took approximately 7 months to complete. I rode it this season with no issues. It certainly has a different feel compared to my CB160. I will let you all have what you came here for, and that is the pictures. Enjoy! I’m glad to be back.

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This is what I started with. It’s an unmolested 1982 Yamaha SR250 (Exciter). The main things I look for when hunting down a project bike are no broken engine fins, no previous modifications, and no evidence of any bent frames/forks due to accident damage.

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I start with the engine rebuild as the internals are somewhat of an unknown. I never heard this engine run but was told it was in running condition when parked. It stripped apart nicely with no major challenges.

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Once every single engine component has been taken apart it’s time for the cleaning process to begin. The gasket sealing surfaces get taped off before getting sent through the bead blaster.

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Cleaning components is time consuming but also highly satisfying. Getting all the grease and oil off and then down to clean bare aluminum is required for the refinishing stage.

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Once all the components are clean a thorough inspection of everything can be performed. On my previous Honda CB160 build I had to deal with a blown up engine. In the case of the SR250 I was told the engine was in good shape when I bought it. Turns out this was true. There was no damage found on any of the internal components except for minor wear and tear. All it is going to get is a reseal.

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Spent time powder coating the case, jug, and head. Other items received some attention on the buffing wheel. All the external hardware was upgraded to stainless steel fasteners.

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With all components refinished the engine gets reassembled with new gaskets.

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With the engine 100% complete it gets hauled into the mechanical room and put to rest for awhile as I tackle the rest of the bike. Still haven’t heard this thing run yet.

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Moving onto the rest of the bike the frame gets stripped down, de-tabbed, cleaned, and inspected for issues. I decided to get rid of the side stand and only keep the center stand. I also cut off the hoops for the rear foot pegs. I go solo.

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The wheels will be a major focal point. I wanted to increase both the front and rear tire sizes. This required getting rid of the factory sized hoops and lace up bigger ones onto the stock hubs. Only thing salvageable in this picture is the hub.

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I was working towards getting a rolling chassis so all the components required to make this happen were stripped, cleaned, and then baked at 500 degrees in order to cook all the oil out of them before powder coating.

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So both the front and the rear wheels received new Buchanan stainless steel spokes and nipples which laced up the over sized hoops also supplied by the good people at Buchanans. All the wheel powder coating was done in house.

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Here is my chunky rear tire mounted onto the fresh wheel set. I went with a Avon 5.00 x 16 vintage rear tire mounted onto a 3.00″ wide rim. The front tire up-sized to a 4.00 x 18 on a 2.15″ rim.

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Got the rear tire mocked up to inspect for any clearance issues. The over fitment was good. The only issue I ran into was that the cross support on the center stand contacts the tire. This would eventually get modified to gain some clearance. CHUNKY!

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I wanted to make sure my vision was keeping on track so the rolling chassis got mocked up to ensure the lines were flowing the way they were supposed to. The rear shocks would eventually get replaced with new Hagons. I modified the front forks and chopped out 3 inches of travel to drop the front end down. Things are looking better.

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I got rid of the factory foot pegs and spun out some custom 6061 aluminum ones.

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I love the clean look so there are a lot of electrical components to consider and clean up. Since I ride solo I sacrificed the passenger seat area to stashing the battery, regulator, starter solenoid, power supply relay, GPS sensor, and the Motogadget keyless ignition unit.

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Staying with the times I decided to run all LED lights on the entire bike. Here is the non-DOT rear brake and signal light assembly. The signals will get coupled to a Motogadget soft flasher to give a nice blend in/out feature.

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Motogadget M-blaze signal lights got fabricated in on the front. These lights are small but so bright. I machined some bezels to match the same ones built for the headlight mount.

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The front headlight is also a LED unit that has an integrated daytime running light in it. The light pictures is the DRL. It’s stripe feature blends well to match the rear lights. Since I am planning this bike to only be a city ride I opted to sacrifice the high beam. I wired the factory light switch so that the low beak switch controls the DRL and the high beam switch activate the low beam.

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Even the license plate got LED lights incorporated.

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I used a local upholstery shop to custom sew me a full leather seat. The guy was great to work with as I ended up hauling the bike to him during the fabricating process in order to ensure I could build into the frame, and seat pan, all the required attachment points. The rear of the seat cover is attached with Velcro to allow for access to the electricals stashed below it.

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With all the fab work complete it was time to strip things apart and go into refinishing stage.

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All the components that would fit in my oven I powder coated in house. The color scheme included matte black and RAL 9001 cream topped with a matte clear.

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With new stainless hardware and a polished steering head bolt the triples are locking great! In order to bake the powder onto the upper triple clamp I had to remove the the handlebar isolation bushings. These bushing aren’t available separately and require ordering of the entire clamp. I opted to go without the bushings and machines up 6061 aluminum bushings instead. I figured I would get better road feel. The solid bushings have had no ill effects.

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The tank was stripped and the emblem pockets filled. I am not a huge fan of red but I thought the bike required some color. I opted to get the tank and headlight bucket done in Alfa Romeo A289 Rosso red and then cleared.

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There was no way I could fit the frame into my kitchen sized powder coating oven so I had no choice but to source it out to a local company that I have used in the past. The owner, Dean, is fantastic to work with. I had talked to him months earlier regarding the powder. We coordinated it so that we each used the same batch of powder to ensure there would be no color match issues.

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Colors are all coming together just as I planned.

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With all the components finished it was time to start with the reassembly. First thing was to get the SR standing on its own two feet.

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This is the short lived stage which shows all the previous work finally coming together.

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With all the main components assembled it was time to start the tedious task of routing wired and cables.

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There was so much more wiring to complete on this bike compared to my 1965 Honda CB160. This bike has signal lights, and full handlebar switches. Have to start somewhere.

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I just sucked it up and beat my way through days of wiring. Happy to say I nailed all the circuits 100% first time. No blown fuses, no fried wires, no smoke released.

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With the bike 100% complete it is time to clean the shop up and take pleasure in another finished project.

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Since it is early spring and there is still snow on the ground the bike has to wait to get ridden. With the SR in showroom condition I had my brother come by with his photography equipment and we converted the garage into a photo studio.

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The set up is not pretty but the results are fantastic. My brother Brian is a wizard with this stuff.

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My brother is a rider too so once the snow melted we were able to take out the fresh SR250 and run it against the 1965 Honda CB160

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My previous blog post featured a clock I built from recycled material. Turns out I am still feeling the re-use theme and decided to carry it through to the next project. This time it is a rustic kitchen table built from old pallets.

Our household has been in need of a kitchen table upgrade for years. We had gone shopping for plank style tables previously and found things we liked but still had yet to take the plunge. I am not much of a wood worker however I figured that since the theme was “rustic” it would open things up to not have to be perfect.

I liked the idea of basically using garbage to make something cool. I had access to plenty of pallets and although the wood is of the lowest quality you can get I could see some potential. I was up for the challenge of creating something that one would never suspect was build from junk.

The tooling required to handle this size of wood project was beyond what I was equipped to deal with so I needed to improvise. The idea was to build a plank style table in small sections. I wanted to incorporate some metal into the design so I planned to separate the smaller sections of wood using aluminium accents.

The design, and process, is not over complicated however it did turn out to be very time consuming. Prepping pallets into useable pieces of lumber is not a quick task. In the end everything came together and I have picture to prove it. So I’ll stop typing and let the show begin.

The project started by collecting an unknown amount of pallets and breaking them apart. I estimated a couple of truck loads should do it. Turns out I ended up with approximately 20% extra.

The garage floor turned into a war zone as I was de-nailing all the wood, sorting through usable pieces and trimming off bad sections of the pallet wood

I laid out the usable wood to get an idea of how much I was going to need. This is where I required my second truck load.

All the wood then got run through the thickness planer. I varied the thicknesses depending on how much thickness I had to work with. I wanted to mix things up with the look of the table.

After hours of planing I ended up with good, usable, neat stacks of wood organized by thickness. The 2 garbage cans are only half of the shavings I collects from planing.

Next I moved onto the table saw to trim all the boards to just over 3 inches wide.

The idea was to build 5 plank sections. Here I started to jigsaw puzzle the wood together in order to come up with a pattern and sections that would equal 8.25″ wide.

Next came the gluing and clamping of each section.

I only had a limited number of clamps so I was required to wait until each section dried before moving onto the next.

A picture that is lacking for this post is the one where I ran all the glued section back through the thickness planer in order to achieve an even 3″ thickness. As you can see I edged the 2 sides of the table with cedar. Since all the sections are going to get bolted together I cross drilled every plank assembly. The end sections received countersunk holes in order to accept the 1/2″ nuts.

Here everything gets bolted together using threaded rod. In order to add an extra dimension I sandwiched 1/4″ 6061 brushed aluminum flat bar between each plank section.

The idea was to built a rustic table top and not a china cabinet so with the slab complete I proceeded to distress the wood using the pictured weapons.

Time to cover things up. The top received a total of 3 coats of dark ebony stain before being topped with 2 coats of a polyurethane clear coat.

This is what the countersunk threaded rod holes looked like. They obviously required some cover up.

I machined aluminum press in plugs to cover up the hardware and also tie in the aluminum flat bar with the sides of the table.

With the table top complete it was time to move onto the base.

The table base was going to be constructed of metal and was also going to have some curves applied to it. Here I pulled out the homemade metal bender and curved up some .250″ x 4″ mild steel sections.

Using 2″ x 4″ rectangular tube for the base I created some visual lines. I marked the floor so that I could build two assemblies to the same dimensions.

Trying to incorporate different materials and sizes I decided to implement some curved 5/8″ rod. Using a different bender I radius-ed the stock.

Mocking things up it is starting to look like my vision may have some potential.

I drilled holes through my 4″ flat bar in order to thread the 5/8″ round bar through it. The assembly then got jigged up on the bench and ready for welding.

This is what the welded up base looks like. Time to clean up the welds.

With both based fabricated I built some cross supports to help with stability. Everything was made to bolt together.

Since I am limited by the size of my oven for the things I powdercoat in house I was forced to send the table base out to a local company. They did a fantastic job.

Final shots of the completed table set in place.

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So I had a desire to try my hand at a recycled material project. I really don’t know why, just had an itchin’. There has been a local club that has worked at creating a strong presence in the area as a place for anyone to come and participate in building and creating things. They are a fantastic group run by great people. Finding a permanent home in order to work from has been a priority lately so I decided to build them a shop warming gift for when they eventually secure a location.

I have access to lots of pallets and 55 gallon drums so I thought I would integrate those materials into a clock for the new shop. I didn’t have a really firm plan in place other then I was prepared, mentally, to let the fine details slide as I know that dealing with these materials things would not come out perfectly. I wanted to create an old school, vintage/retro, style clock that would be something you may see hanging in an old service station covered in dust.

So the following pictures take you through the process of what eventually turned into a shop clock. It just morphed into what it is today. I think it worked out to my liking and possesses the feel and look I was going for. On with the show.

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Once the pallets were all broken down and de-nailed all the good lumber sections were run through the planner to bring all pieces to the same thickness.

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All the planed boards were then run through the table saw to even up all the widths.

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Four sides done, 2 to go.

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All the lengths now went through the chop saw. Turns out I overestimated the amount of pallets required for the project. I will have extra.

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The dimensioned lumber was glued and clamped. My planer can only do 13 inch wide sections so the clock face would need to be done in 2 sections

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With the sections glued they were once again sent through the planer to flatten things up.

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With the 2 dimensioned sections they were now glued, clamped, and joined as one block.

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Broke out the jigsaw and trimmed out a 16″ diameter section from the glues pallet blank.

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The clock face was going to protrude from its metal surround therefore it needed to have a step cut into the circumference. Please note the quality looking radius guide I built for my router, you can tell I put a lot of time into it.

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Instead of hand routering out a pocket on the backside to accept the clock mechanism I opted to do a cleaner, and more precise, job using the mill..

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Since this is a recycling project I needed to come up with a clock surround. Opted to use the base of a 55 gallon drum. I bent a scrap section of 1″ flat bar and tacked it onto the barrel to act as a plasma torch guide.

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Slicing the base off a drum using the plasma torch takes less the a minute. Using the guide a clean line can be achieved.

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Trimmed off base is going to lend itself perfectly for the feel of the clock.

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Using my homemade plasma torch circle guide I sliced a hole out of the middle of the barrel bottom to allow for insetting of the pallet clock face.

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Here the 2 recycled materials are mated together. The look turned out to be what I had envisioned.

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Here we skip over a bunch of fabrication photos in order to get to this point. I wanted a “wing” type sign look to the whole project. I plasma cut out a backing by hand using guides. Then I fabricated “feathers” out of sheet metal.

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I struggled coming up with a good plan for the “numbers”. I finally settled on sprockets and machined round stock joined by round bar.

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With all the fab work completed it was time to move onto the finishing stage. The clock face received stain to give it a retro type look to it.

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A few coats later it achieved the look I was hoping for.

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The face was going to have the local clubs logo applied to it. I built a template on the computer and then cut out a stencil using my vinyl plotter.

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The logo was going to get airbrushed into the clock face. The stencil gets applied to the face, everything else was masked off, and then paint was applied using an airbrush.

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Here is what the airbrushed logo looks like. The vintage feel is what I was going for.

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With the wood portion complete it was time to finish the metal sections. The “feathers” needed an old school look so I decided to apply a rusting solution to them. Here they all got cleaned and sanded before receiving the treatment.

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Using a solution of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar I mixed up, and applied, a solution to the feathers. it took 2 treatments over 2 days to achieve the desired results.

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Rusted out feathers. Perfect.

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When it came to finishing all the metal everything was hung and then shot with a clear coat in order to preserve all the natural finishes.

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With some assembly complete the project was finished. Overall length is close to 4 feet. 2 mounting holes were drilled into the base at 32″ centers in hopes that if it gets mounted on stud walls 2 studs will contribute to the support.

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The following project is a little bit different when compared to the usual things I post about. Although there isn’t really any fabrication details I am going to talk about it still constitutes as a worthy blog entry and involves the garage and building cool stuff.

At the beginning of the school year I had talked with my daughter’s grade 5/6 teacher and offered to help out with any projects that he may find I was skilled enough to deal with. He had been teaching a renewable resource and a “Mission to Mars” unit lately and wanted to have the students build an electrical generator. He approached me with a set of plans that outlined how to build wind turbines that would power an LED light. After looking through the information I agreed to help out but it would have to be done gordsgarage style.

The plans he gave me, which outlined the build steps, were good in theory but lacked some serious user friendly build techniques. Lots of glue, time, and balancing techniques were used to come up with a turbine that might work but would take a week to complete. I decided to introduce the “lean thinking” philosophy and cut out everything that wasn’t required, streamline the build process, make sure that failure was not an option, that 28 could be built in less then 1 school day, and redesign the project so that the turbines would result in proud students.

As much as I would like to share the original, supplied, design the information is irrelevant. My design involved using cheap, some donated, materials that would provide a well balanced and rigid wind turbine. Using DVDs, recycled plastic tubes, MDF (medium density fiberboard aka wood), dowels, and wood screws made sure the project would come in on budget. In order to ensure the success of the project jigs were built to help the students “measure” and line things up as they fabricated.

The basic concept of the wind turbine is as follows. The turbine has 4 neodymium one inch magnets glued to the bottom of the lower turbine DVD. The MDF base has 4 coils wound from magnet wire that sit just below the magnets. As the turbine spins the magnets pass over the coils of wire thereby inducing a voltage.

So before I get you on board with what I all did I am going to start with the end. In the end the project was a success. Students each created a functioning wind turbine making 28 turbines in total in less then 5 hours. Although some of the turbines required some tweaking in the end to get there “spin”on they all generated a voltage and lit up an LED. I have posted a “how to” video towards the end of this post. I initially created this video as an instructional aid for the adult volunteers that helped with the success of the project. The video is just over 14 minutes long and I am not expecting people to dedicate that kind of time to watching it but it does clear up how all the jigs work and the entire process involved in the build. If you’re a hard core blog reader start by watching this video. On with the show!

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So here it is in all its glory. The wind turbine! Get Mother Nature cranking on this thing and it’s sure to move some electrons. Built from DVDs, plastic tubes, and wood it’s ow budget electricity.

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These are the guts of the system, 4 coils of magnet wire and 4 neodymium magnets get the juices flowing. The center wood screw that the turbine spins on allows for fine tuning of the air gap between the magnets and coils.

The following video gives you an basic idea on how the turbine functions using compressed air to spin it up.

 

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For those of you interested in the nitty gritty details here is the scope pattern I pulled off a turbine during testing phase (ha! I said phase)

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That’s right boy and girls, 1.620 volts! I actually got almost 2 volts out of it with a bit more spin. I never measured the amperage however it would be just enough to light up the LED.

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So on with the stuff I built in my garage. Much of my time was spent fabricating jigs. Pictured here are is mostly fabbed hardware that makes up the magnet wire coil winding machine.

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This is the flywheel for the coil winding machine. It was built from MDF wood to give it some weight to help the spin. It was built to provide an 8:1 wind ratio.The students are required turn the flywheel 25 times for each coil which results in a 200 winding coil. Multiple this by 4 coils per project and 28 projects this wheel was spun 2800 times in 1 day of building which resulted in over 22000 windings.

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This is the completed coil winding machine. The bulk magnet wire roll slides onto the lower right aluminum peg and the wire gets wound onto a bobbin.

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This is the bobbin which the 200 wound coil ends up on. I built is for quick disassembly and reload. If you want the see this machine in action you’re going to have to watch the dreaded 14 minute video near the end of this post.

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The next few photos involve making sure students would have success at using power tools. The MDF base and upper turbine support needed holes. Letting students loose with cordless drills didn’t seem like a great idea so I built this jig to clamp the wood in. The hole spacing, and depth, were all marked out so perfect, consistent, base prep would take place.

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Here the jig is opened up and the wood, and upper square dowel, are clamped in place. Again, if you want to see this in action then watch the video.

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In order to ensure the right size holes are drilled everything was color coded. Depth stops were also fabbed for some of the drills.

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Magnet safety was a big concern for me. I could picture the chaos that would occur if you let 28 students loose with 112 neodymium 1″ magnets. These things will pinch, and break skin, if they snap together. Since all the magnets would need to be handled I built a holder that was parent supervised. Each student could determine correct polarity of the 4 required magnets and then place them in the safety holder while gluing on 1 magnet at a time. This picture shows the internal guts of the holder.

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This is the assembled holder where 1 magnet gets loaded at a time. The center MDF ring then gets rotated to the next detent so the magnet is held for safe keeping.

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This jig is used for gluing magnets and washers onto the upper and lower DVDs. The lower DVD is sandwiched between the red base and upper aluminum spacer. Items can then be hot glued in place to ensure perfect alignment. The red base then gets flipped to provide a different jig for the upper DVD.

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My original turbine blades consisted of 3″ cardboard tubes however I eventually got onto plastic ones. These are the inside tubes of 3M automotive paint protection film rolls. I have friends that apply this stuff so they were kind enough to collect the left over tubes for me. The plastic made way better blades. They were light, clean, and easy to hot glue.

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The long plastic tubes needed to get cut to length and then split down the long way to make 2 halves. I built a wooden jig to aid in cutting the tubes on the radial arm saw.

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This is the jig used to hold the turbine blades in place while gluing on the upper and lower DVDs. Again…watch the video!

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If you’re gonna do it then do it right. I decided to use my vinyl plotter to create some station signage.

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Magnet safety again. Once the magnets get glued onto the DVD base I felt as though kids would be holding a loaded gun. The solution was having each student keep their project in a plastic shoe box during the entire build.

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All supplies were cut to length, counted out, and organized for each build station.

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I had timed myself to see how long it would take to wind a coil. After the calculations were made it would appear that there would not be enough time in the day for each student to wind 4 coils. I opted to pre-wind some coils in order to ensure the project could be completed within a day.

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The day of the build finally arrived. The fabrication shop was set up in the school gym. Stations were created, and run by parent volunteers, for each step of the build process. Here students stated by prepping and drilling the MDF base.

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Station 2 consisted of gluing the magnets and alignment washers onto the DVD.

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Station three consisted of joining the prepped DVDs to the plastic turbine blades.

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Station four turned out to be the magnet wire coil winding bench.

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And station five was where everything came together in the end.

This brings us to the dreaded 14 minute “how to” video. If your interested in seeing how all the components fit together to create a functioning wind turbine it is highly suggested you watch the video. It’s actually not that bad, I’ve got some catchy music and I tried to keep things flowing to prevent boredom.

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Hello? Is there anybody out there? Just click if you can read me…

It has been awhile since I’ve been here. The other day when I opened the door up to this place and flicked on the cyber lights everything still looked to be in order other than the fact there was a layer of dust on everything. I fired up the virtual air compressor and blew everything off, changed the oil and filter in the hard drive, topped up the argon tanks, cranked up the heat, and went heavy on the speeds and feed to get the work grunting. After taking inventory it looks as though nothing much has changed. I guess that’s the beauty of garage life…it goes back to the beginning of time.

For those of you who are regular followers of the blog you may have noticed the postings were lacking for the past 6 months. Truth is I got busy and something had to give. The majority of the past 10 months were spent completing a major basement development. It was not what I consider to be blog material. I was still doing smaller garage projects during that time but I only had so much time to dedicate to things. The blog was not one of those things.

I receive many comments from readers. Some of you were kind enough to express some concern as to what happened to the regular postings. There are many others who are usually in need of help or request services from me. I apologize for my lack of response over this past while to all of you. I needed to make sure I was looking after things at home first and that was all I had time for. Today, though, I am feeling like my old self and ready to get back at things.

As usual there are lots of things going on in gordsgarge these days. It’ll take some time, and some blog entries, to bring you all up to speed. The main project, which many have been asking about, involves the CNC plasma table build. I am thrilled to say that after the basement work was complete I jumped back in, with both feet, to the plasma table build. Ongoing progress will not make its way onto the blog. I was building from the top of my head, it got complicated, I didn’t take pictures, it was very time consuming, and many hours were spent just performing repetitive machining sequences. I am happy to say that I have been able to make my first test cuts this past week and everything appears to be coming together. I will, at some point, feature the finished project on the blog.

This brings me to today’s blog posting. I’m starting of slow just to get things rolling. I did a project for a friend of mine that involved a custom shifter knob, which he designed, for his 911 Porsche. He wanted something unique yet vintage looking for his 1973 SC. He had taken apart an old R12 air conditioning compressor from a different 911 and salvaged the pistons out of it. They are a perfect size to build a shift knob from.

Instead of just plunking a piston down on top of the shift rod he figured a nice wood accent would lend itself well to a retro look. After we tossed some ideas around he/we settled on the following. I think it all worked out to his liking and should he wish to covert back to stock I didn’t modify anything on the vehicle side that would prevent him from doing so. Like the good ole days I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

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This is my friend Jon’s Moss Green Metallic 1981 911 SC ROW/German spec’d Porsche that is getting the shift knob retrofit.

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This is the Mad (Manual-aided design) that my friend provided to me as the official concept design and blueprint. He can draw better than I can.

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We played with different woods, and wood patterns, every time one of us was out at a store that carried project wood. This is 1/4″ maple and oak stacked as a sample.

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The wood, and pattern, that was settled upon was 1/8″ birch plywood sandwiched with 1/4″ solid oak.

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My friend supplied me the wood already glued and in blocks (yes plural, always have a back up plan). First order of business is to mill a flat surface to work from using a router bit chucked up in the mill.

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The wood was then drilled out in order to accept 4mm socket head stainless steel bolts. I use an end mill in order to counter sink the socket heads.

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Next the piston was drilled and 4mm tapped in the same pattern.

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The prepped blank and piston get hitched and are ready to go for a spin.

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The diameter was roughed down to size using a carbide cutter on the lathe.

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The profile was also roughed out using a carbide tip to where the shape was close. The fine dimensions where then cleaned up using sandpaper.

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With the top rough fabricated it was time to direct the attention to the base. The piston required some kind of mounting to the shifter rod. The understand of the piston was drilled on the pin bosses.

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Using some 6061 aluminum stock the end was faced and drilled to the same dimensions as the underside of the piston. The radius side was then drilled and tapped in order to accept a set screw which will secure the sleeve to the factory shift rod.

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Moved onto the lathe to start shaving material off and bring the profile to a clean, light, shape.

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Onto the finishing stage. The piston top received a couple of coats of a polyurethane clear coat to aid in protection, It will hopefully help add some “character” wear as the piston gets some use.

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This is the assembled piston. This photo shows some details that I didn’t cover in the previous build pictures. Mainly the fake wrist pins. The one pin you can see is actually a “nut” that allows the fabbed sleeve to bolt to the piston. The sleeve, which is blurred out, received a shot of primer and the was airbrushed black.

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Installed and ready to synchronize some constant mesh

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As with many of my garage projects this next one started with someone else’s idea. A good friend of mine decided to get himself self educated in luthiering. For those of you who do not know what a luthier is Wikipedia defines it as someone who makes or repairs string instruments generally consisting of a neck and a sound box. It is better known as a guitar builder. He plays guitar and had the urge, and the skills, to be able to build his own electric 6 string.

He had already started his build before he approached me with his idea. He works much the same way as I do in respects to how he stages his builds. Although he had his current project well under way he was already thinking ahead to his second guitar build. For his current build he opted to purchase a pre-fabbed neck. For his next guitar he was planning to custom build the neck from scratch and this is the point where I enter in.

He required a way to cut the fret slots into the neck. Basically he need a high precision miter box in order to mount the neck blank square and then miter a slot to a precise depth using a fret saw. These fret miter boxes are nothing new as there are companies that exist who sell miter boxes specifically for this purpose. He approached me thinking that I may be able to come up with a custom design that would suit his needs.

So one early Saturday morning we met for breakfast and blueprinted out a rough design. Threw some ideas around and I was able to get a solid idea of what he needed the box to do. Best part was that as long as it accomplished the required task I was free to build it anyway I wanted to. I love not being constricted by boundaries. I had planned to combine materials in order to make the visuals worth looking at. I opted to use brass, oak, and aluminum in order to give it a unique image. Guitar building is precise, requires patience, and needs a deep philosophical understanding of craftsmanship therefore the tools that are used to build the guitar should meet the same standards as the luthier possesses. So, like usual, the following pictures take you through the entire build.

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I planned to sandwich the fret saw blade in between 8 sealed ball bearings. I acquired high precision ball bearings used for router bits. The bearings will all get supported by brass spacers. I acquired a small Taig lathe awhile back which works great for small, precision, parts so I spun all the brass spacers out using it.

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This is the ball bearing set up that will eventually get installed into 4 main aluminum supports.

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Time to get the main vertical supports fabricated. Started off with some 6061 aluminum and squared it all up in the mill.

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Milling out slots that will accept the ball bearing assemblies.

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The miter box will require adjustment to accommodate fret saw blade thickness. 2 of the vertical supports were slotted to allow for adjustment.

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Cross drilling and tapping holes to allow for a set screw to be threaded in and therefore secure the ball bearing assemblies. The hole will be hidden on the bottom thereby making the top, visual, portion of the support super clean.

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I needed to secure different widths of the fret board blank into the base of the miter box. I came up with a cam system that would adjust to widths. Here I am spinning out one of the brass cams. Keep scrolling as more pictures will show exactly how this cam works.

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The 2 brass cams required clearance in order to spin and adjust therefore the 2 rear vertical supports got milled in order to allow for cam clearance.

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Time to lighten things up and shave off some excess material. The vertical supports didn’t require all the aluminum they started off with so I shave some off just to give them better visuals.

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Since I was on a roll I thought I would try and prevent things from getting too mundane so I opted to drop a ball nose endmill into the supports to give them a good visual dimension.

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Onto building some feet. They were machined from some round stock aluminum and then milled out to mount flush with the oak base.

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Drilled and chamferred to accept stainless steel hardware.

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Moving onto the depth stop for the saw blade. This will all make sense later. I machined some brass guide pins on the Taig lathe. I built a radius turner for the lather in order to get I beautiful contour finish.

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More depth stop milling.

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Time for another mill clean up.

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With most of the aluminum machining completed I moved onto the oak base. I used a combination of endmills and router bits in the mill. Although the mill can’t even come close to putting out the RPM a router does it still does the job well. Here I drill all the holes in order to mount the brass and aluminum to.

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I hate screwing into wood as it feels so imprecise to me. All the drilled holes received 1/4″ thread steel inserts therefore implementing metal threads.

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Taking the edge of the base using a radius router bit on the mill.

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And here are all the fabricated components that will eventually make up the miter box. Seem a bit excessive considering the tool only has to cut 1 slot.

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The bearing assemblies get secured using hidden set screws.

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These are all the components that make up the blade depth stop.

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And these are all components assembled that make up the blade depth stop.

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Before I go into finishing stage I mock everything up to ensure that it all works the way my brain designed it to.

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The box gets disassembled and then the finishing process begins. The oak base received a couple coats of stain.

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I thought since the miter box was a one-off design I would customize specifically to my friend. His name is Fabrizio and so I came up with an unapproved logo for him. I cut out a stencil on my vinyl plotter so that I could embed the logo into the oak base.

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Using my airbrush I experimented with some colors on some scrap. I came up with a trio combination of colors that would suit the overall appearance of the design.

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Applied the stencil, taped of the remainder, and started laying down the paint.

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Once the logo was airbrushed in the oak received a polyurethane clear coat finish in order to protect both the logo and the work surface.

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All the aluminum received hand brushing using a 320 grit paper.

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Since the miter box required adjustment before use I built in a spring loaded hex key holder. A couple plungers and springs would allow for tool storage in the base.

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This is a shot of me drilling only 2 holes for my friend in his original electric 6 string build. I want to be very clear here that I had NOTHING to do with his build. It was all him and all I simply did was drill 2 precision holes for him. His progress looks fantastic.

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So here I move onto the pictures showing the completed build. You can get an idea of how everything works from this shot. The saw gets sandwiched between the bearing assemblies and then the top brass support of the saw is what contacts the depth stop.

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Here one of the brass cams are evident. The 1/4″ stainless steel Allen head bolt gets loosened and then the cam can be pivoted and locked into place to allow for different neck widths.

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The 2 spring loaded hex key holders are shown here. All that is required is light push in of the key and then a 90 degree turn in order to release it from the base.

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Close up shot of the bearing assemblies.

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This is the depth stop mounted to the verticals.

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Here the 2 brass guide pins are visible. The center screw is used for precision adjustment of the depth height. I installed a rubber protective cap on the end of the adjustment screw in order to prevent any damage to the guitar neck due to contact with sharp edges.

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I won’t go into great detail about how the depth stop set up is done however I will mention this. The stop can be precisely set using feeler blades. The saw in inserted and rested on top of the require feeler blades which represent the required depth. The depth stop is then locked into place.

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You can see the slotted screw in the center and on top which is what is used to adjust the depth stop vertically. The stop is then locked into place using 2 set screws (shown being tightened) that lock into the brass guide pins.

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The screw that is being pointed out allows for adjustment to accommodate different saw blade thicknesses. If only 1 saw is ever being used there is no reason to have to ever need to adjust this after the initial setting has been made. There are a total of 4 adjustment screws.

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Here shows the adjustment and lock down of the brass neck width cams.

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The underside of the miter box shows the aluminum supports. I built the 2 end feet with holes to accommodate screws in order to secure the box to a work bench. The center aluminum “GG” logo plate is simply there to provide support and prevent the oak from bowing.

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For those interested this is the fret saw that is being used for the build.

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This post wouldn’t be complete without showcasing Fabrizio’s first guitar build. The lines and zebra finish are fantastic! At this point the guitar is only mocked up which is evident by missing hardware. Photo credit goes to Fabrizio Tessaro.

And as an added bonus we all get to enjoy a 30 second riff featuring Fabrizio rippn’ on his custom in gordsgarage. NOTE: Do not judge the quality, the session was impromptu and features sound courtesy of a low end practice amplifier with absolutely no consideration given to sound set up.

 

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