Archive for the ‘Metal art project’ Category

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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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One day I had an idea, went into the garage and built it. The End.

Not sure what more I can say about this post. I thought it would be cool to make more of an unconventional themed oil filled candle. I figured a spark plug lends itself well to a flame theme so I went for it. A day in the shop landed me a double scaled spark plug candle.

The entire plug was made from a single piece of 6061 aluminium and done to scale. The specs are as follows. Overall height 7.750”, spark plug maximum diameter 1.460”, oil chamber volume .68 cubic inches, 100% cotton wick, 99% pure paraffin(e) lamp oil, burn time approximately 2 hours.

So here we go…

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Project planning began by recreating a spark plug scaled 2:1 in a CAD program. This is what I referenced to for all the machining dimensions.

 

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The actual hands on portion of the project started off with a 6.5 inch section of 1.500″ 6061 aluminum.

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Using various cutters I was able to build the first have to my CAD specs. It is starting to look fairly authentic.

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Onto the milling machine where the wrench hex was milled into the plug.

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The first half worked out as planned, here’s hoping I don’t screw up the second half.

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The threaded section was spun down to spec before the threading began.

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A 2:1 scale of the threads turned out to be approximately 10 tpi. I re-geared the lathe for the proper pitch and set up the threading tooling before cutting.

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Time to drill out the oil chamber using a 9/16 inch drill bit to a depth of 2.800 inches.

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With the chamber drilled I machined in a shoulder to allow for the wick holder to rest on.

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The completed spark plug worked out great. Next step was to machine a mounting base, a wick holder and a ground electrode.

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With the wick holder complete I gave the spark plug a test drive. Turns out it actually works!

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To make the plug look more authentic a ground electrode was required. I came up with a few ideas before settling on using a .250″ stainless steel round bar. I trimmed .400″ of the round stock down to .120″.

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Next step was to get some heat into the round bar in order to give it a 90 degree bend in the vise.

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With the bend complete all that was required was trimming up of the electrode length to spec.

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In order to fit the ground electrode into the plug a .125″ hole was drilled to allow the stainless pin to rest into.

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Here are all the fabricated components including the base. I opted to keep the base super simple in order to not distract from the spark plug.

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And so this brings us to the part of the show which displays some of the completed shots.

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Very happy with how the hex turned out, as well as the rest of the machining.

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A few notes on the electrode. The spark plug gap is NOT to spec. It would not work out without smothering the flame therefore I opted for a visual pleasing gap which is a bit larger. Second thing to note is that different wicks and different oils burn differently. Some give off more carbon the others. In my case the flame has no visible black carbon however the bit that is present gets deposited on the stainless electrode. I like to think of it as a clean burning eco friendly oil candle. Third thing I decided on was to leave the finish of the electrode rough. I had contemplated polishing it but I thought the rough look gave the candle a bit more character.

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So I made the mistake of purchasing a 36” slip roll capable of handling 16 gauge (at least that’s what is advertised, I haven’t actually tried it yet). The mistake being that I am in a serious state of running out of shop space for equipment. The machine actually sat in the middle of my shop for a good 4 months until I finally decided it wasn’t going to find a home for itself. One Saturday I just sucked it up and built a steel frame for it and added some wheels so that I could stand the unit up on end and roll it into a corner.

Anyway…this post isn’t actually about the machine but more about just messing around with random stuff. I figured I should actually try out the slip roll since I paid money for it. I did not have a current use for it, only brainstormed ideas where it would be required at a later date. I plasma chopped a chunk of 20 gauge sheet metal out and set it up in the slip roll. The intention was just to watch the metal bend, be satisfied, and then recycle it.

Well the bending and satisfaction part worked out as planned but the recycling was harder to do. On a side note…I am a sucker for scrap metal bins. I know of multiple good bins in my area which I frequent. I have access to lots of brake rotors so I exchange what I take with rotors. The bins get paid out to whoever owns them based on weight therefore I make sure I leave more weight then I take. The point being that I feel sorry for scrap metal and find it hard to watch it go to the recyclers. I want to save it all and build it into something cool. Well I have learned that I am only one person and that I can not save all the metal on my own. I try to frequent the bins less often as I find the less I know the better off I am. The whole point of this is that I couldn’t bring myself to scraping my slip roll sample.

So this post is how I couldn’t let go of a chunk of scrap sheet metal. After I inflicted my Big Brother powers and forced the steel to comply with my agenda I took a second look and figured I may be able to turn it into something useful. The following pictures take you through an impromptu garage session. Meh.

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So this is how the unplanned project began. I simply wanted to see a section of steel get bent in my new 36″ slip roll. It started out so innocent.

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Once the steel was bent I figured I would weld it into a tear drop shape and then trim the top up, free hand, with the plasma cutter to give it more of a unique shape.

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This is what the shape came out to be.

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The time came to transform the tear drop cylinder into something more than just a shiny piece of metal. I used some ER70S 3.2mm TIG filler rod and started twisting it up and tacking it on.

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Just kept bending, twisting, and welding as I went along.

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Finally decided I was finished once I had a fairly uniform design built.

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Next I spray bombed on a clear lacquer finish to give the bare steel some protection, and shine.

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As you can see from the foliage poking out the top I recycled my steel into a vase cover. I used a glass cylinder with the proper diameter which slid perfectly into the tear drop as the holder for the water. My creation is simply a facade for the murky water that will inevitably appear.

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Personalized it with a gordsgarage decal.

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A friend of mine that works at the local Porsche dealer has been harassing, yes harassing, me to supply him with a gordsgarage automotive themed item for what seems like an eternity. My friend, who shall remain nameless, came to me with a Porsche PCCB center lock brake rotor that was taken out of service and requested that it be converted into a clock for his man cave. I said I would see what I could do.

As cool as clocks can be they always seem to be the default fab item for anything that is round. Brake rotor clocks have been done, and overdone, time and time again. If I was going to build a clock it needed to have a slightly different style then most. Even at that it is hard to come up with a truly unique way to display seconds that tick by.

The one thing I had going for me is that ceramic brake rotors weigh a 3rd of what cast rotors do. This will allow me to be able to tack on a bit more weight and still allow it to be hung on a wall. I’m not sure I am totally thrilled with the end result but the feedback I received from others appears that the design meets a certain amount of approval. It serves its function and fits into its environment as designed. The following post takes you through the build process of my version of a man cave brake rotor clock.

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The project revolves around a used Center Lock Porsche PCCB rear brake rotor. Because of the center lock design the holes, where the wheel bolts would typically go, are now equipped with red anodized wheel lugs.

Since I wanted to build something more then just a flat hanging rotor attached to a wall I started off by machining some pivots out of 1.75″ solid round 6061 aluminum. First order of business was to drill, and tap, an 8mm hole.

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Onto the milling machine where the center section got hogged out an inch deep and the width of the rotor.

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The beauty of swarf makes up for the waste it becomes.

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Test fitting of the rough machined rotor clamps prove to fit perfectly.

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To secure the clamps to the rotor a couple of 1/4″ set screws were fitted into each clamp.

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To complete the pivot assemblies a couple end caps and center spacers were spun out on the lathe. I opted to keep all the angles, and design, fairly clean and simple with no added cuts or highlights.

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These are the rough machined pivot assemblies that will get clamped onto opposite ends of the rotor.

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Next it was time to move on the steel work and fabricate the actual wall holder. The rotor pivots were going to require a bushing to help provide the support. A couple of spacers were cut, and faced, from some 2″ seamless tubing I had remaining from my metal bender rollers I built.

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Each bushing received a 3/8″ hole drilled only through one side. Keep scrolling, the reason will be revealed.

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The pivot bushings required some support. I wanted to keep things simple and clean without making the unit look messy or chunky. Not to mention I needed to keep the weight of the entire project as low as possible. I opted to bend some 3/8″ cold rolled rod with a radius that would visually match the brake rotor.

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I sketched out the rotor on the bench to aid in the mock up. This way I could ensure that my clearances would work and that my center line would actual be centered.

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Since the rod support required something to actually be attached to I trimmed up a 19 inch section of 3″ x 1/8″ flat bar. I plasma cut the ends to get rid of the corners.

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I was kind of stuck for creative ideas to attach the rod to the wall support plate. Usually I like to get creative with sort of thing. I decided on keeping the brake rotor the main focal point and opted to fabricate some clean and simple support rods from some 7/8″ cold rolled.

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Concept revealed. Mocking up the components before putting the TIG to them.

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Everything was tacked and final welded. Time to move onto to the other parts of the project.

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The clock face was sliced from a sheet of 6061 aluminum using the circle guide for the plasma torch. Ironically this is the same sheet of aluminum that I cut my German tank sprocket clock face from years ago.

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To clean up the plasma cut, and to ensure the face was perfectly round, the aluminum was mounted on the lathe and trimmed up.

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The PCCB rotor hub has two 8mm holes threaded from factory 180 degrees apart. With a couple of spacers I would be able to mount the face to these existing holes. I programmed in the proper spacing on the DRO for the mill and drilled the face for mounting.

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Here the entire project was mocked up to ensure everything would fit. It does.

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Onto the art work for the clock face. I decided to build a tachometer themed time keeper. Using a combination of Draftsight, InkScape, and vinyl plotter software I came up with this.

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I vinyl plotted the entire face on black vinyl first to ensure it would work the way I wanted it too. I then printed just the “redline” section on red vinyl.

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It’s always so satisfying when I start to peel back the transfer tape to reveal the vinyl. I wasn’t sure what color background to use. I thought of powder coding the face white but in the end I opted to stick with a brushed finish. I think I made the right choice.

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Here is the completed clock. I use continuous sweep movements for my clock motors which not only gets rid of the “ticking” but also gives a more precision look to the second hand.

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Time to move onto the hub side of the rotor. Since this clock is going in a “man cave” I thought I would personalize it for Mike. Started by slicing out a 7 inch diameter section of mild steel to be used as a mounting for more vinyl decaling.

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Porsche uses a 5 x 130 wheel bolt pattern. Using the mills DRO I marked all the mounting holes and then finished them off on the drill press.

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Building using math is so satisfying as things always fit together perfectly.

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The time has come where all the fabrication work is complete and it’s time to move onto the finishing stage. I removed the hub from the rotor and chucked it up in the lathe in order to clean the finish up using Scotchbrite.

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Tractor Red powder is incredibly close to the same shade as factory Porsche red brake calipers. Since I know Mike likes red I figured using the color was a “no brainer”

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The rotor mount was wired to one of my oven’s baking racks and then fogged with the powder.

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With the pivot mounts sealed using silicone plugs it was time to bake the powder coating at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

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Here are all the components that make up the project before the assembly phase begins. Everything was either powder coated, polished, or brush finished.

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The hub side face received a personalized Mike’s Place decal so that you knew exactly where you are.

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The contrast between the red and the brushed finishes looks good. I was happy that the pivot still works with the added thickness of the power coating.

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Rotor mounted up and centered just waiting for all the guts to be installed.

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The clock face gets mounted using a couple of 5mm black socket head cap screws. Even though the screws are placed a bit far apart they still help give the clock face that”gauge” look. In order for the clock battery to be replaced the face will need to be unbolted from the hub.

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Since the rotor was mounted on a pivot it was important that all visible angles would look good. I like all the nice, clean, lines of the cross section.

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The rotor lugs were originally anodized red from the factory. Since the finish on them was slightly worn, plus the shade of red would clash, I decided to strip them of the anodizing and give them a brushed finish instead.

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I try and add a “GG” somewhere to my projects. This time I applied a decal on the inside where the only time anyone will see it is when the clock motor battery needs to be changed. In this picture the mounting spacers for the clock face are evident.

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Work on the homemade plasma CNC table continues to make progress. After hours of machining I finally have the Z and Y axis all mocked up and in an operating state. I often find that sometimes I need to shift gears slightly just to keep things interesting. Quite often I enjoy sneaking in side projects to break up the action a bit and keep the creative juices flowing. In the case of the plasma CNC build I was at a good stopping point to step away for a couple weeks and doing a few side jobs.

For 5 years now I have been walking into my daughter’s school to pick her up and for 5 years I have been staring at the same “remove your shoes” sign perched at the entry way asking people to do their part in keeping the school clean. The other day when I saw the sign, again, it finally dawned on me that there has to be something better and perhaps it was time for an upgrade.

The schools in my area operate on a tight budget and there is typically no money to be spent on “frivolous” items, especially “remove your shoes” signs. I talked to the principal and asked if I would be able to donate a couple of new signs that would replace the old ones. She was happy to accept the offer.

So this is where one of the side projects come in. I didn’t have a clear game plan and all the ideas I generated started to get to complicated and expensive. The one aspect I did know is that I was going to give my new shop equipment, a vinyl plotter, a workout and use it for all the art work. I decided to just head into the garage, see what metal I had laying around, and start cutting and welding.

I finally settled on a chalkboard/sandwich board retro theme. Everything was going to go black and white to give it a bit of an old school look. Since there are 2 main entrances to the school I offered to double the recipe and build two signs at the same time. As usual the documentation of the project was done in picture format and is available below for your viewing. I am happy with how they turned out and I am even happier that I completed the entire project “in house”.

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This is one of the original signs that I have been staring at for the past 5 years. Although effective, and polite, an upgrade was in order.

 

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Started by building the blank slates. I had some scrap 10 gauge mild steel so I carved out a couple chunks with the plasma torch. Starting size was 14″ x 21″.

 

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90 degrees can be boring so I bent a section of round bar to act as a plasma guide and gave the tops an appealing curve.

 

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To give the sign some depth, and to avoid sharp edges, I added some 1″ flat bar to the perimeter. It all got TIG welded into place on the back side.

 

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I didn’t know what to build for legs so I just started to bend 5/16″ cold rolled steel and eventually came up with this design. I have no pictures to showing the machining of all the mounting pegs. 2 pegs are built to support the sign and the other 2 accommodate the feet. The pegs were cut from 5/8″ cold rolled, drilled and threaded on the lathe and then cross drilled on the mill.

 

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All the support pegs were neatly TIG welded into place. I love TIGing!

 

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These are all the rough sign components that have been fabricated. I will not explain the details since the remaining pictures will clear it all up. Onto the finishing stage.

 

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The dimensions of the sign were determined by 1 thing, the size of my powder coating oven. Before I started the build I measured the oven to see what I could fit in it. It turns out a 21″ tall sign will give me approximately 1/2″ of clearance in the oven. Here I am wiring the sign to my oven rack to get it ready for the powder fogging.

 

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Sign was coated with a matte black powder coat and is now ready to get baked at 375 degrees PMT for 15 minutes.

 

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Matte black sign finished baking and hung for a cool down.

 

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The legs were coated with White Glacier Full Gloss to give them some contrast.

 

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Here the 2 blank canvasses are set to accept the artwork.

 

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Using a combination of Draftsight, Inkscape, and WinPCSIGN software I designed the main artwork. The idea was to go for a chalk board/sandwich board style design.

 

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The decals were cut out on my vinyl plotter using white vinyl. The decals were then prepped and transfer tape was applied.

 

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My daughter had requested happy faces and I didn’t want to disappoint. I sliced a couple out of yellow vinyl, they are approximately 9″ x 9″.

 

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Final product. Decals applied and legs bolted on. Clean, simple, and hopefully, and effective design.

 

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I think the white legs with the white decals was the way to go. I purchased the stainless steel feet and added a rear cross brace between the rear legs to help with stability. An interesting build fact is that I calculated the angle of the sign so that it would be perpendicular with a persons line of vision at a viewing height of 5′ 6″ from 7 feet away.

 

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The happy face satisfied my daughters request. I also figured that because the entire sign was donated I was entitled to give my blog a free plug. If the school doesn’t like it they can peel the decal off.

 

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156

Hello cyber world, it’s me Gord, haven’t checked in for awhile so I thought I would poke me head in and say hey! Has much changed out there? Is the information still free flowing?

I am not much of one for excuses so I find it is best to just come clean. I haven’t updated the blog since April 1st. Garage projects, family, work, and life, continue to trickle along. I made a conscious decision to let the updates slide for a bit in order to allow me to focus on higher priority items. I have received many comments that I have not responded to. When I started the blog I set a goal of responding to every comment that ever was sent my way. I have let this slip therefore…I am publishing an official apology to the following people; Dustin, Tony, Darcy, james a, Larry, howder1951, forhire, mikesplace2, jason k, jason, and Luis. You have all sent me comments that I have failed to promptly respond to. After this post is published I will continue to get caught up and work through the responses. I beg forgiveness.

As far as actually projects that have taken place I still managed to keep the pictures snapping. I have very few of the actual build process but I have shots of the finished projects. So in staying with the picture theme I will let the photos, and captions, do the talking. The following is some of what I have worked on during the past 5 months. Here we go…

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I stumbled upon an ad for this barn find 1965 CB160. the guy wanted $100 for it. I was all finished my own CB160 build but figured a parts bike may come in handy down the road.

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As I stripped it down it turned out that the bike was actually not a 160 but instead it was a 125. Oh well, still had some usable parts.

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This is what I was left with as far as usable used parts. What is ironic is that the fuel tank knee pads of my Cafe CB160 both had slight tears and were the only sub-par part I never replaced during the build. The barn find bike pads were in very good shape and so they ended up being the only parts that found their way onto the Cafe racer. I figured I got my $100 worth just in the tank pads.

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This ended up being my garbage pile.

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I ended up having to perform some shop clean up. I had this old welding gas gauge that had been kicking around for years. As I cleaned up I tossed it in the garbage. 5 minutes later I saw it staring at me with a tear in it’s eye. I couldn’t turn my back so I retrieved it from the trash and gave it some special attention.

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First order of business was to strip it down and separate its anatomy.

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Next all the brass and chrome spent some time getting massaged on the buffing wheel.

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A couple scraps of steel were plasma cut to size.

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Used the milling machine to drop an end mill in and achieve a 2″ slot.

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1/4″ NPT fitting was welded in along with a vertical support.

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Some sandblasting and flat black powder coating cleaned things up.

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The plastic gauge face was polished up using the lathe and some plastic polishing compound.

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Next marrying of the two components took place.

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And finally I was left with a business card holder that gave a welding gauge a second chance on life. I ended up giving the card holder to a parts person friend of mine.

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Sometimes I blog about my outdoor projects, no it’s not metal work but it still provides a certain level of satisfaction. The city property right next to my property is where the community mailboxes sit. I take care of it as it were my own and make sure the snow stays clear the surrounding area is taken care of. Most people access the box from the road and not the sidewalk. The cheap sidewalk blocks drive me nuts and I figured it was about time to volunteer some community service.

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It took an entire weekend but with help from my neighbor we were able to lay down a 7 foot paving stone pad that allowed access from both the street side and the the sidewalk. The neighbors were appreciative and the paving stones look much better. By now the grass is filled in and things are back to normal.

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The next set of pictures involve a long drawn out project that has been on my list to complete for years. Unfortunately it isn’t actually finished yet but it is getting close. It all starts with an idea, some aluminum, and some stainless steel.

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I’ve had this idea to build a fully machined, double walled, vacuum filled “thermos”. I researched insulating properties and determines that a vacuum filled unit is more efficient then an argon gas filled one. Here the machining of the caps begins.

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Next was onto the top and bottom flanges.

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Holes were drilled in order to clamp the assembly together using stainless steel fasteners and 5/16″ 6061 aluminum rods.

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Sections were milled out to reduce weight and create a cool design.

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More holes milled to accept the connecting rods.

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The two stainless tubes were faced on the lathe.

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The assembly was clamped into the mill in order to take measurements for the connecting rods.

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And here is a poor picture of the unfinished thermos. The unit was assembled in order to be leak tested. I wanted to ensure liquid would not leak into the vacuum chamber. Turned out it was sealed perfectly.

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Everything was then disassembled and polished.

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Time to pull out the anodizing equipment. Here is the power supply I use for the process.

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All the aluminum parts got thoroughly cleaned.

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And into the acid bath for a 2 hour soaking.

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After anodizing everything received a dip into orange dye.

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And here is were the entire project went sideways. Something happened with the dye job. Things got blotchy and the dye was very uneven. I am still currently working on a repair/solution.

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Here is the final shot I am posting. These are the flanges, and lid, with all the o-ring seals that keep the liquid, and vacuum, contained.

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Moving onto shop organization. My metal inventory was getting a bit out of hand so a weekend was spent cleaning up the metal racking. Soooo nice now, what a relief.

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While anodizing my thermos there is time to kill as processes process. As I stared around the shop looking to pass the time I thought I would play on the lathe. I turned out this 6061 aluminum bottle opener.

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Since I still had more time to kill I found an old ammunition shell so I machined, and press fit, a bottle opener head into it.

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I was just starting to get good at this. I built another one but before I machined it I pressed in a .500″ solid brass rod into the center. The brass rings not only look cool but it also gives the opener some good weight.

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Why stop now? Lets go with an automotive theme shall we?

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It took 3 pictures to show this one off. I built this for a friend of mine.

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I am not a smoker however I figured those who partake would probably appreciate an emergency cigarette with a nice cold one.

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The smoke fits comfortably and protected inside the opener.

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Let’s do the next one out of steel shall we? Perhaps drilling some holes then pounding in some .250″ copper might be in order.

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A bit more milling and then a session on the buffing wheel turned out this version. I’m telling you the ideas are endless!!!

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Time to switch things up. This one is steel and works great.

156-044

All you really need are 2 points and some leverage.

156-045

Time to give the bottle openers a rest. This idea came from the opener with the hidden cigarette. I call it my 5 shooter smoke holder.

156-046

I love the detail, super clean.

156-048

What holds the smokes in you ask? Keep scrolling.

156-049

There it is, a pocket size smoke holder made for a friend of mine.

156-050

Okay…no more openers or smoke holders. This next one is a little project I have wanted to try for awhile.

156-051

It is my version of a classic “yo-yo”. I am familiar with the pro units and their construction however I wanted to give the amateur something cool to play with.

156-052

This “yo-yo” worked out great. I think there are more in my future.

So this sums up a bit of what has been going on in the garage for the past 5 months. I still have a list of bigger projects that I need to continue with. My 1935 CCM bicycle weighs heavy on my mind as well as my aluminum furnace. I figure that as long as I am building in the garage I am where I belong. Till next time…hopefully sooner then 5 months.

Title vase

Being the start of summer holidays my wife and daughter were getting set to head out of town to visit some family. I am staying behind since work is very busy this time of year and therefore vacation time for me will have to wait. As they were doing their final packing in order to be ready to leave early next morning I skipped (literally) out into the garage and decided to whip off a quick build of a host(ess) gift for them to take.

I had no preconceived ideas, or plans, so I just wandered for a bit to see what nothings I could turn into somethings. A couple years back I acquired about 200 feet of aluminum flag poles from a business that was getting rid up them. I have no use for this much tubing but it was good, clean, heavy wall aluminum for free, how could anyone possibly say no? So I figured I would dip into the stash and steal 10 inches worth, funny how that didn’t really seem to put a dent in the pile.

My plan was to build a custom aluminum cylinder style flower vase to accommodate a few fresh cut flowers. The interesting part of the vase was not going to be the design but instead the finish technique. I had come up with, and performed, the technique once before in the past and it worked well so I thought I would repeat it on a flower vase. As usual I’ve turned the post into a picture book so find your comfy spot and let’s begin.

Vase base cut

The “flag pole” vase was going to need a base. I had a crushed chunk of 2.75″ aluminum that had enough meat on it that I could machine it down to a useable dimension. I love building stuff out of junk material.

Vase base machined

Here the base is half done on the lathe. Just need to flip it around and clean up the other side.

Flag pole clean up

Here is the section of flag pole that is getting the end chamfered in order to weld the base on. Normally I use a steady rest when machining something this long however my rest was about .250″ too small for the pipe. The machining was not required to be precise and therefore hanging it off the chuck worked fine.

Vase ready 4 welding

Here is the base is mated to the cylinder and is ready for welding.

Welded base and body machined

With the base welded in place the vase got remounted into the lathe and the weld, and cylinder, were all machined down clean.

Vase 3 stage polish

Next it was onto the buffing wheel where it got put through the black, brown, green stages of buffing.

Finishing 1st step

With the vase all polished up it was time to start implementing the finishing technique.

Finishing 2nd step

Next step involves using a quality automotive flexible vinyl fineline 1/4″ tape. I apply a pattern to the body of the vase making sure I finish were I started. I then use a different vinyl tape to seal the top and bottom. It is important to trim the top and bottom tape with a sharp knife in order to get a clean, crisp, edge.

Finishing 3rd step

3rd phase involves about 1 minute in the glass bead blast cabinet where the exposed polished sections of the vase get pummeled.

Finishing 4th step

Nothing left to do now except strip the tape off and clean it up. I probably should have water tested after the machining phase just in case however I am happy to say I tested after it was all finished and it does hold water.

Vase rim

I kept the rim polished.

Vase body

Whole project took about 1 and a half hours and involved no out-of-pocket expenses. Just enough time left to slip it into the suitcase.