Posts Tagged ‘machining project’

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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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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.

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All you really need are 2 points and some leverage.

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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.

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I love the detail, super clean.

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What holds the smokes in you ask? Keep scrolling.

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

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

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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.

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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.

 

I thought it was about time to do some garage interior decorating. We all like comfortable spaces to live in that are littered with pleasant things that surround us. I had a few extra evenings of time in between some of my bigger projects so I figured I would tackle a task that has been sitting in the corner waiting to be completed.

A military friend of mine gave me a couple of worn out tank track sprockets from a Leopard C2 tank that is still in service. The C2 is the Canadian version of an upgraded German Leopard 1 tank. They were built between 1977 – 1979 weighing in at 42.5 tons. They sported a 38 liter Mercedes Benz diesel cranking out 830 HP which was able to push the tank to a top speed of 65 kph. Now 65 kph is the “official” speed however messing with the diesel pumps will push this monster to over 75 kph. If the tank couldn’t catch ya it would get ya with its 105mm rifled main gun. Well you can imagine what that kind of horsepower coupled with that kind of weight will do to a set of metal drive sprockets. These sprockets are equipped with wear marks that indicate when the sprocket is worn out and then requires replacement. I had the sprockets sitting around for awhile during which time I would brainstorm unique things to do with them. I suspect they each weigh around 80 pounds so they definitely have some heft to them. They would work as a fantastic base for a pedestal type of stand, thought about making a coffee table, a bar table with foot rest, plus lots a wacky stuff that would be completely useless when done. As the sprockets got stared at it was noted that there were 12 mounting holes around the perimeter. Hmmm…12 holes…..what else has 12. Case of beer? Yeah ok but so what? Build a beer can holder? Why? 12 inches in a foot, 12 stars featured in the flag of Europe, the Majestic 12, 12 ounces in a Troy pound. What else has 12 holes…this is a waste of time, it’s gotta be almost 12:00 and I have to get a move on. What to build, what to build. What’s the time? I have to get going…

So I couldn’t think of anything so I figured I would build a new shop clock for the garage. What would be cooler then having an eighty pound German tank sprocket hanging on the shop wall? Nothing! That’s why I did it. Obviously weight was going to be a factor. I went to the hardware store but I couldn’t find any picture hanging hooks that were rated for tank sprocket usage so I decided to build my own.

I TIG welded together a simple wall bracket out of mild still and splashed it with spray bomb. The bracket was built to span the 20 inch O.C. wall stud spacing. I was able to bolt the bracket into two studs using six 3” long 3/8” lag bolts. Trust me it is solid. The sprocket is going to hang from the bracket on a couple of ½” studs that were mounted into the brackets frame.

I used a battery operated clock motor therefore battery replacement had to be taken into consideration as a design aspect. The clock is not that easy to take down off the wall for the occasional battery replacement. I picked up a double A battery holder and soldered it into the clock motor which would allow me to remote mount the battery on top of the wall bracket. This way I had easy access to the electrons.

Now that the foundation was dealt with it was onto the actual clock. My instinct initially told me to grind down all the rough edges of the sprocket, clean off the rust, and give the unit a few coats of flat black. But the more I looked at the sprocket the more I started to see lots of character in its present state. I figured why do anything? Just leave it as is. So as far as sprocket prep went, there was none. It got left with rust and all.

The face plate was plasma cut out of  .125 inch 6061 aluminum plate using my circle cutter. I thought it would look great with all the aluminum polished to a mirror finish so this is what I started to do. Once I got through the first 2 stages of polishing I set the aluminum plate into the sprocket for a quick visual. The soon to be clock started to take on more of a mirror look then a clock. The polishing did not blend well with the worn sprocket. I got out the dual action orbital sander, loaded it up with 220 grit paper and in about 2 minutes I had a fantastic orbital brushed finish to the plate. After a second visual, with the plate mounted in the sprocket, it was determined that this is the way to go.

Onto the numbers…I could have just left the mounting holes of the sprocket unfinished however I didn’t want it to look like I just hung scrap metal on the walls. I decided to spin up some aluminum inserts for the sprocket holes. I spun and few samples that had some nice bevels to them but in the end “fancy” was not meant to be. It really came down to creating something that was simple. In the end I spun out twelve 2” diameter buttons out of solid 6061 aluminum round bar. I had contemplated anodizing and dyeing the 3, 6, 9, and 12 buttons a funky color however I wasn’t sure if dyed aluminum would suit the project. I decided to leave all the buttons with a brushed finish.

So with the faceplate install, number buttons attached, and the clock hung it became evident that I made the right decisions along the way. The sprocket adds character to the shop and the choice of aluminum finishes blended well with the history. Now all I have to do is figure out what to build with the second sprocket I have.