Posts Tagged ‘build’


Often I run impromptu sessions in the garage. These times are usually highly satisfying for me as they usually occur when I have just cleaned the shop, everything is organized, and I have available to me the equipment and supplies. Often I spend the time, when I should be sleeping, laying awake brain CADing the next project. The spontaneous projects are great because I just start to wing it and make whatever I have work.

I have a couple of friends that work at the local Audi and Hyundai dealerships in town. The Audi friend is a service manager and the Hyundai friend is a partsman. I figured their desks may benefit from a customized, one off, business card holder.

I scrounged around the shop looking for automotive related parts that I have stashed in various corners. I collected a few components that would lend themselves well to some modifying and decided to build some unique card holders. Below are the pictures showing what I came up with off the top of my head.



Sorry, no shots of the milling of the piston top. The first card holder consisted of a old BMW piston and an aftermarket rear spring lowering perch for a mk4 VW. The piston top was milled to fit business cards and then both the perch and piston were polished.


The polished piston top was taped off and the bottom half was the glass media blasted.


The Glacier White powder coating was fogged on and the assembly was baked.


I plotted out Hyundai decals on some gloss black vinyl to add to the customized look.


Done deal! Quick and easy.


As you may know I am I big fan of retro and vintage styling. I keep the polishing down to a “not so gleaming” level as I think it looks better.


The spring perch height was a little too tall so trimmed it down a bit. The base was cut on the lather in order to ensure it would press fit into the piston base. The jam nuts were left untouched.


I think the style suits a parts persons desk.


My next card holder took a little more machining. It started out with a rod of 6061 aluminum. I offset it in the lather chuck and drilled an off center hole straight through. I have a four jaw chuck that allows me to offset the stock properly however in this case I was lazy and the precision was not required so I opted to just toss a spacer into the 3 jaw. It works.


Onto the mill where I used a ball nosed end mill to cut some slots through the narrow side.


Next I moved onto a section of 1.000″ 6061 solid square bar where I dropped an end mill part way through it.


Next I hogged out a section where the business cards would slide through.


Onto the band saw where the milled bar was trimmed to length using a 45 degree angle.


All the components would get bolted together so I drilled, and countersunk, the hole for the stainless steel fastener.


Here are all the components that make up the card holder. The large valve is from an air cooled Porsche 911 and the the small valve was from my Honda CB160 cafe racer.


The aluminum components received a brushed finish. I like it!


Both valves received a polishing.


An Audi rings decal was plotted and applied. Done deal!


The small valve was secured with a set screw. The large valve was press fit into the aluminum rod and the secured using the stainless steel socket head cap screw.


I hid a GG logo on the bottom of the 911 valve.


155 Title turbo

With the CB160 project complete I find myself floating between universes with no clear direction. I have more of my own project ideas that I would like to pursue but also find myself in idle mode. There is never a shortage of tasks to complete for others and although I have got better at managing the “request” list I figured I would take on a quick and simple project.

The Porsche dealership in the city was in need of some tool room organization and they required some way to store some large equipment items. The dealership is required to purchase, and needs, certain special tools that are available from the manufacturer. One of these special tools includes multiple large metal engine table lift adapters. Basically they are comprised of metal channel configured to adapt to different models of Porsche engines. The cradles sit upon a hydraulic engine scissor lift table and allows for removal of power train units for various models Porsche produces.

The cradle adapters are big, bulky, heavy, and awkward to store and to move. The have leaned up against a wall for years and all the related adapters just get thrown in a pile. Since the dealership is moving into a brand new facility they didn’t what to transfer the “tool pile” into the new tool room. Some means to organize, store, and move the tooling was required.

155 Cayenne cradle

The cradles, and adapters, that require storage are used on top of an engine lift table. Here is a picture of a Cayenne engine and transmission sitting on the cradle that is perched on top of the lifting table. The adapter is the gold colored contraption. Porsche has multiple of these adapted including Panamera, Carrera GT, and Cayenne.

I had offered to weld up an A-frame style cart that would allow the larger cradles to hang. The idea would be to fabricate shelving for all the extra adapters. The only request on the dealerships part was that the cart was painted red. I basically was allowed to fabricate the cart any way I saw fit as long as it held all the necessary tooling.

So I lugged all the engine cradles and adapters home and started to measure and configure in order to come up with a plan. The engineering was far from complicated and the main focus was to make the entire unit as compact as possible.

It seems like it has been awhile since I have posted just some basic fabrication that I do in the shop. To some of you the pictures may be boring. For me I like seeing how others complete some of the most basic tasks and so this is what I have tried to show. It is cool how many different ways there are to go about accomplishing the same thing. The following shows you my way.

155 setting for circles

Setting up my plasma circle guide to do some radius cuts on 8″ mild steel. The radius gets set to 4 inches.

155 spittin sparks

I love watching sparks fly. Some people have a horsepower and torque addiction. For me it’s all about molten metal.

155 rough cur 8 inches

This is the top tray and support for the structure built from 8″ wide by 3/8″ thick mild steel. I wanted to give the tray come nice lines therefore curves are in order.

155 bending edges

The top tray support needs some sides in order to prevent stored hardware from getting away. The sides were bent from 2″ x .125″ flat bar.

155 clamped 4 welding

The flat bar sides were bent in two sections then clamped to the base and welded.

155 top tray

Here is the top tray support completed.

155 cut 2 length

With the top completed it was time to move onto the base. The stock was cut to size. The base was plasma cut out of 10 gauge and the perimeter is 2×4 steel tubing.

155 lower tray

Not a lot of fancy engineering going on here. The base is fairly basic. Just needed to be clamped in place and welded. The base measured 24″ x 60″.

155 caster spacing

I hate drilling for casters. It is boring and time consuming so I decided to make a jig to speed things up. I dialed in the caster bolt spacing into the milling machined DRO.

155 caster template

With the DRO programmed I drilled a template with my caster bolt spacing.

155 drilling 4 wheels

Now that I had a jig with perfect bolt hole spacing I was able to quickly drill all 4 corners of the base for fitting of the casters.

155 base done

Base complete. Nothing great to look at at but it’s functional.

155 clamping uprights

Time to connect the upper tray to the lower base. Lots of clamping and measuring before things got tack welded into place.

155 3D roughed

Here the upper and lower got final welded. Everything measured out square. The Germans would be proud of me.

155 test fit b4 continuing

Before going on I wanted to ensure the cradles would hang properly on the rack. Clearances worked out great.

155 pegs clear

The peg clearance wasn’t left to chance, I calculated it all out before welding on the hooks.

155 middle tray

Last tray to complete. I planned to put a middle tray in to allow for more storage. This one was built from 10 gauge and featured a similar design to the top tray.

155 middle tray test

Test fitting the middle tray before moving on. In this picture you can see the hooks I fabricated to allow for hanging of the engine cradles.

155 middle tray sides

Bending more sides for the middle tray.

155 midle sides tacked

Clamped and TIG welded.

155 fab complete

Completed support. All it needs now is some color.

155 underbelly red

I gave the option of sending out the rack for powder coating or I could just Tremclad it as a cheap option. They opted for Tremclad so although the finish prevents the final product from looking completely pro it was not in the budget. They requested red for visibility so the Fire Engine red got brushed on.

155 Fire Engine red

155 trays

155 Finished cart

152 Title piston

Every once and awhile I will cruise through my blog postings just to take stock of what I have posted in the past and therefore I am able to plan for the future. I am the sole editor of all my posts. I review the post before I publish it, I ensure all the links work, the pictures will blow up to full size, and the grammar and spelling are correct. The reason I am telling you this is because I can’t believe how many spelling mistakes I catch when reviewing my work once it has already been published. So in this posting I am offering up an apology in my obvious downfall as an editor. I will continue to try and improve however I suspect I will always miss a certain number of spelling and grammatical errors. I realize it probably does not bother most of you but it bugs me. There…I said it, let’s move on.

As my blog will show I have spent the majority of my garage time working on my 65revive project. There are still times when I fit in side projects and usually it is something that is functional and not worth posting. The other day I was in need of a thank you gift for a friend who helped me out with a few things so I thought I would build one. I wanted something cool but I wasn’t able to commit a weeks’ worth of time to the project. After some pondering I came up with an idea that allowed the task to be accomplished in an evening yet still have a bit of wow factor. The following pictures will run through the 4 hour build process of what turned out to be a thank you for much appreciated help.

152 BMW piston

Started out with an old BMW piston I had laying around.

152 Initial clean up

I performed an initial clean up on the lathe using 320 grit sandpaper and Scotchbite.

152 Starter hole

Next I moved onto the milling machine to center the piston out and drill a starter hole.

152 Milling slot

Next step was to mill out a slot large enough to hold a stack of business cards. I milled just far enough to allow the pin bosses to act as some internal card support.

152 Trimming base

I needed to build a base in order to seal the bottom off that way if the card holder is picked up the cards won’t fall out the bottom. I rough cut a circle out of .375″ plate 6061 aluminum using the plasma torch.

152 Machined to fit

With the disc rough cut I was able to machine it down to final dimensions on the lathe.I made it to be a press fit into the piston base.

152 Bottom blasted

With all the “construction” completed it was time to move onto the finsihing phase. Here the top of the piston got taped off and the bottom half was glass bead blasted.

152 Top polished

Now the bottom section gets taped and the top half gets a 3 stage polishing.

152 Powder coated

It was time to now fog the bottom with matte black powder coating and slide it into the oven for a 15 minute heat soak at 375 degrees.

152 Completed holder

Finished product. It’s not a work of art but it is functional and kind of cool.

Title bike shop

It has been awhile since I have posted the progress made on the 65 Revive CB160 cafe racer build. Things have not slowed down and lots of fab worked has taken place. It’s a slow, but enjoyable, process and much time has been spent staring at all the angles and mentally engineering the game plan.

Up to this point I had the exhaust under control and it was time to turn my attention to the seat. I was dreading this section simply because there were many factors to consider and everything needed to tie in together. After much work I am happy to say that it appears to all be coming together. I am retrofitting a fibreglass solo seat to the bike. The rear frame hoop was going to need to be build and then all the electrical components would have to get hidden under the seat.

I’ll run you through the details using the following pictures. Much of the fab work never got photographed this time round simply because I was concentrating more on the job at hand then the blog. Anyway…the following gives you the highlights.

Starting mess

This is what I am starting with. Here is what the CB160 looks like, bone stock, under the seat. I planning to cram a lot into this space.

Tank mount has 2 go

The fuel tank mount is going to interfere with the seat placement. In order to maintain the look of the bike the seat has no choice but to tuck up clean to the tank. This means the factory tank mount will need to be relocated.

180 hoop

As I have collected parts for the CB160 I added an 180 degree seat hoop onto one of my orders. I wasn’t sure if I would use it so I decided to trim off the rear frame tabs and tack it into place to get a visual.

180 not working

I think it is fairly evident from this shot that the seat hoop will NOT work. I kinda figured so since the seat lines didn’t appear to be even close to the hoop lines.

Rear hoop template

Looks like I am going to have to try and build a seat hoop to fit. The plan is to bend a section of 7/8 pipe to match the shape of the seat. I needed to build a steel jig to wrap the steel around. I started by building a template of the seat hoop out of 1/8″ MDF

Baking sand

The seat pipe, that would need to be heated and ben,t was going to have to wrap around a fairly tight radius. The idea was to fill the pipe with sand first in order to prevent the pipe walls from collapsing during the bending. Since the pipe would be sealed during the heating process I wanted to ensure I had no moisture in the fill sand. I used some old baking sheets and heated all the moisture out of the sand using my powder coating oven.

Fillling seat hoop

I used a 7 foot section of thin wall 7/8 tubing and welded one end shut. I then filled the tube full using the dry sand.

Compressing sand

The other end of the tube got a 3/4″ nut welded to it. I then used a 3/4″ bolt and threaded it into the tube to compress the sand solid.

Clamped 4 bending

Here is what the bending jig looked like before I put the heat to it. You can see the steel template I built to resemble the shape of the seat. I cut it out of scrap 3/8″ steel plate using the previously built MDF template as a guide. The steel then got tack welded to the bench and angle iron was clamped in place to help hold the steel tube in proper location. The next step was all about the heat. using a oxy-acetylene torch I was able to get the pipe to bend like butter.

Bent hoop

And here you have it, the results of my bend attempt.


The hoop worked out fantastic. The wall collapsed ever so slightly however it will absolutely not be a factor. I was more then impressed with how well the whole procedure turned out.

Plugs and hoop

I trimmed the seat hoop up to proper length and then built some solid steel frame plugs to help secure the hoop to the factory frame rails.

Plugs mocked

Frame plugs in place and ready for the hoop.

Hoop welded

The hoop was TIG welded into place and the frame ground down smooth.

Hoop fit 1

I am fairly critical of my work but in this case I would say the fit is near perfect. The lines of the seat fit beautifully along the new frame hoop.

Hoop fit 2

Another picture showing the fitment of the seat to the hoop.

Rock guard trimming

I had bought a rear rock guard to help keep road debris away from the engine. Before I could build the seat pan the fiberglass rock guard required some trimming in order to allow for pan placement.

Seat pan shape

First step in building the seat pan was to create an initial template using a cereal box.

Seat pan template

Once I had my cereal box template I then cut out a plasma guide template from 1/8″ MDF. Here the template is clamped to the seat pan steel and ready to get plasma cut.

Seat pan bend

Some minor bending on the press gave it the right angle to allow it to snuggle into the frame rails.

Seat pan test fit

The seat pan fitment worked out great. Eventually it will get welded all the way around the frame however more fab work is needed first.

Power distribution mounts

This next picture may not look like much but the work actually took many hours. Much of the bikes life line systems need to be hidden from sight therefore mounting options are limited. Most of the systems will be hidden under the seat. It took hours of staring and planning to come up with a mounting sequence that would work. Even ended up doing multiple “re-do’s”

Power distribution mock up 1

And here is the gist of it mocked up. The components that are now mounted under the seat include the battery, starter solenoid, fuse panel, power supply relay, license plate lights, charging regulator, ignition module, seat mounting posts, and wire management studs. It fits!

Power distribution mock up 2

Here is another angle of the set up. You can se the 4 aluminum posts that support my seat. The posts thread onto 8mm studs and therefore I am able to unscrew them and machine them down on the lathe in order to allow for precise seat fitment.

Power distribution mock up 3

I bought a lithium battery for the bike which allows me to mount it any way I want. Here you can see the power hook ups I built out of aluminum. To the left is the one side of my 2 piece custom license plate light I machined out of aluminum. In a few more pictures you will see what the light looks like from the exposed side.

Seat knob 1

I wanted to ensure I could remove the seat without any tools so I machined this knob out of some scrap I had. It is weighted very nicely to allow for quick spinning on and off.

Lic light and plate mount

Here is the rear underside of the seat pan. The license plate light housing will eventually get powder coated black. The tab to the right of the light is my license plate bracket holder.

Seat support

This is what the underside of the seat looks like. I built steel plates to fit precisely on top of my aluminum posts. The center section is my seat hold down.

Seat fit 1

Here’s an overall view of the rear tail section showing the fitment of the seat to the frame rails, the installed brake light and how the license light and license bracket is tucked up underneath. Super clean.

Seat knob 2

The seat hold down knob sits in the center section and does not protrude below the frame rails therefore is hides out of sight but is still very accessible.

Seat lines

Final shot with the seat mounted, adjusted, and secured with my power distribution hidden away. It was a long process however highly successful.

Title rotor

It’s been awhile since I performed a quick afternoon project but it so happened that one fell into my lap recently. A friend had scrounged up a used LCD computer monitor at his work that he wanted to use as a second monitor for his work station. He works in a shop and has his computer situated on top of a rolling tool cart. Well this monitor that had been dragged out from the bottom of a bench was lacking a stand but otherwise was a perfectly good functioning unit. So the task at hand was to build a monitor stand.

The criteria were fairly basic. Had to be cheap to build, solid enough that the monitor would not accidentally get tipped off the cart, there was no need for angle adjustment and just needed to have the screen set vertically, and the base of the monitor needed to be 6.75 inches from the table height. No Problem! The objective here was to build something quick and cheap and as long as the function was there the fashion would not be a factor.

First up was collecting the materials. Needed a solid, heavy, cheap base so an old Jaguar brake rotor would do the trick. The remainder of the stand would be built from spare metal I had laying around the shop. The design? What design! I decided to let the plasma do the walking and see what shape the stand would morph into.

Monitor and base

No sense in elaborating on the details. The pictures will lead you through the highly complex build as you will see that a lot of time and precision was put into the build . It was a mindless couple of hours in the garage which is just what I needed. The stand turned out great and the function performs to spec. The red wrinkle matches the tool cart and the stand even sports a ”garage” look to it. Mission accomplished!

Fabbing the vert

The veritcal support was made from a section of 5″ x 1/8″ flat bar left over from the fireplace pergolia project. The top was radiused using the plasma cutter. Here a 1″ hole is drilled as to act as the splitting into two legs.

Trimming the vert

Legs get trimmed out with the plasma. I love that thing! Slicing metal helps make up for what I might be lacking in testosterone levels.

Ready 4 tigging

Here I have the vertical support mocked up on a circular base. The clamped angle iron is a quick and easy way to ensure I have a good 90 degree angle. The base was a chunk of steel I had left over from my gazebo table build.

Joined to base

Ran a couple of TIG beads to join the couple in holy moltenry.

Blasted rotor

The old Jaguar rotor got a quick glass bead blasting. The rotor was fairly worn and the ridges were a bit deep however if I cleaned it up then the project would no longer be quick and easy and I would have suffered failure.

Wrinkle red powder

Decided to lay down some wrinkle red powder that I had as extra.

Coated rotor

Here the rotor was coated and ready to get slid into the oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes PMT

Baking the vert

The vertical support was powder coated to match, here the baking session is just finishing.

Rubber base

I didn’t want the brake rotor base to scratch the top of the tool cart so I decided to adhere a chunk of fish pond liner to the underside of the rotor. I used contact cement to secure it. BTW contact cement eats powder coating, who would have thunk.

Rubber base installed

After the rubber base was glued on the edges were trimmed up, came out pro looking. Too bad no one will ever see it.

Cleaning up bolt heads

I had some funky flat head 6mm torx bolts in the bolt bin so I faced them on the lathe to get rid of the production stampings and then gave them all a quick polish.

Monitor base 2

So here you have it, quick and dirty but funtional and having met all the desgin specifications.

Monitor base 3

Monitor base 1

The gate has found completion and now sits hung on its hinges. All the fabricating had previously been completed and all that remained was paint and assembly. As I have stated so many times in the past I always struggle with the painting. I am not equipped to finish my projects properly. On the gazebo railing project I hired out the powder coating and it worked fantastic. Unfortunately hiring out the finishing stage is not always in the budget plus, for me, the money is not as much a factor as the fast I like to perform all aspects of the project myself. I have spent months now brainstorming a paint booth addition to the garage. Hopefully I will find some time over the winter to make the booth a reality. Anyway…for now the gate gets the same finish as most other projects and that is a couple of coats of Tremclad.

 I decided to go flat black this time because I think the flat will blend better with the fence stain. The hinges and latch were all disassembled and everything got wiped down and prepped. Over a period of a couple of days I was able to brush on a couple of layers of paint and then gave it 3 days to cure.

The assembly was straight forward. The hinge plate was bolted to the corner fence post using five 5/16” lag bolts. Before hanging the gate on the fence all the bearings got packed with waterproof wheel bearing grease not only to allow for smooth operation but also to give the bearings some weather protection. With the hinge bearings installed I was able to adjust all the endplay out of both the upper and lower hinge. The operation of the gate is fantastic displaying no binding and very smooth gliding. The weight of the gate combined with the ease of movement gives the set up a solid feel to it.

 The latch was assembled and the striker plate mounted to the fence post. The striker plate need about a .125” of adjustment which was easily accomplisher with a die grinder and carbide bit. The latch alignment turned out to line up great which resulted in no struggling with latching or unlatching.

 The fence boards that were going to fill the center section had previously been painted and pre-drilled. I used some ¼” carriage bolts backed with acorn nuts to secure the boards onto the steel frame.

 So this post is more of a picture post. I do not have a whole lot to say about it all other then it is done. What project I will be moving onto next is yet unknown. I am a bit unsure what I am in the mood for these days.

With the soapbox car complete it was time to get back onto the gate project. It’s already September and I have come to the realization that I have failed at my summer to do list. The fireplace got a start but is not going to see completion this year. The gate does not have much left to complete and I need to get it finished off.

The main frame and hinge assembly have been fabricated and it was time to get some work done on the latch mechanism. This is the point in the project where I struggled a bit. I came up with this really cool idea for a latch. My plan was (yes that was past tense) to built a mechanism driven by a series of chains and sprockets. The idea was to make the outside of the gate look pretty while the backside was going to be a display of mechanics. I had collected and cut apart a few MTB rear cassettes and chainrings. I then bought aluminum turning stock to build hubs for all the sprockets. I had built an arbour, for the lathe, to turn the hubs and then made three test hubs to perfect the design. I had even considered building in a pneumatic actuator to make the latch mechanism operate at the push of a button. My air compressor sits about 12” away from the gate on the inside of my garage. How awesome would it be to have an air powered gate. After I had everything lined up, figured out, and in place the wife caught a glimpse of the design. It turns out that my idea of cool and her idea of cool are two different things, weird huh?

So the plan for the latch is this, a couple of handles that control a sliding latch pin. It’s kind of boring and not all that creative but I have a relationship to uphold. I was going to attempt to put some personal touches into it and hopefully come up with something that was slightly unique with the look of not being store bought.

I really wasn’t sure how I was going to build this; I had given it no thought and had to change the plan on the spot. I wanted some beefy looking handles so I drew out a handle design on a section of .500” steel plate and went to town with the plasma cutter. With 2 handles cut I spent time cleaning up the edges and rounding out the corners. The handles turned out fairly heavy which is what I wanted; they will hopefully give the latch a good smooth feel.

It was time to come up with the internal mechanism. I struggled. I think I have about 12 hours into the fabrication of the mechanism. I realize that when you see the pictures it is hard to justify 12 hours however this is what happens when I don’t know what I am doing. I decided to conceal the latch within the thickness of the gate. To complicate it all I only had the thickness of a rough sawn fence board to work with which is 1 inch thick.

I am not going to give a play by play of the latch build, if you look at the pictures you can probably figure out what I did. The highlights though are as follows; I used a 5/8” keyed axle section that was left over from the soap box car as the main pivot shaft. Everything was built to be keyed to the axle. The spring mechanism was built using a spring from a tilting and telescopic steering column out of a car. The spring had to be cut in half and modified however in the end the spring tension turned out fantastic. It was the right tension to be able to handle the heavy handles and the latch mechanism. The pivot shaft got mounted on a couple of wheel bearings that were punched out of the rear wheels of the soapbox car. The bearings allow for super smooth operation. The latch pin was built from .500” cold rolled steel round bar. I needed something heavy enough that would not bend when the gate gets slammed shut on it. After sorting through the mechanics of it all, making a few mistakes, and redoing a few things the latch came out great. The feel, movement, and tension are all perfect.

It was time to get things prepped for a test fit. I TIG welded on all the hinges that I had previously fabricated. I had fairly tight tolerances in all the bearings and I feared the hinge brackets would warp slightly once I put the heat to them. They actually all turned out great except for one. The bracket warped about .080” so I ended up shaving down one of the aluminum spacers to make things right.

With the hinge on and the latch built it was time to mock things up on the fence post. I squared things up and temporarily mounted the gate into the hole it would eventually fill. The fit was good. I had a slight gap on the latch side however I was happy with it. I live in an area where summer can get hot and winter can get very cold. The frost heaving often causes fence posts to shift slightly. With the gap that was built in it will allow for a bit of movement and hopefully gate alignment will not be too much of an issue season to season.

The gate hinge design worked out great. The swing is smooth and the input effort is low. I would not say the gate is excessively heavy but it does have some weight to it, the hinges handle the load no problem. With the gate temporarily mounted I was able to build the striker plate. I built the plate out of a 3” section of 2.5” angle iron. The 6×6 rough lumber fence post that was going to support the striker plate was routered out to allow the plate to inset and sit flush. I built the striker plate this way in case I ever need to modify it. Like I said previously, fence posts move with the frost and this causing the gate latch pins to not always line up with the striker plate season to season. If I need to make adjustments I can easily do so.

So I am at a point where all the fabricating has been done and it is onto to paint prep stage. I think unit will get a few coats of trusty oil based Tremclad, I am considering going flat black however I am not completely sure yet.