Posts Tagged ‘metal fabrication’

 

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My latest garage project is coming to me through a series of connections and it involves a restoration project. My cities living history museum has an on-site workshop that is run by volunteers. The workshop is historic type wood working shop that does lots of repairs and building of historic items for the museum/park. One of the larger projects undertaken by the shop has been a full blown building of a 1920 carousel including all hand carved horses.

Doug, the gentleman that heads up all the volunteers and also appears to coordinate practically everything to do with the projects, gave me an inside look at both the shop and some of the major projects that have been completed. The vintage level that the shop works on is truly inspiring and goes to show that machines can’t always substitute for human talent, effort, and ingenuity.

This brings me to my own little shop and the project it has recently seen. The historical park has many vintage pieces of equipment some of which has been donated. They had acquired a Champion Blower and Forge Co. drill press dated from the early 1900’s. The drill had found itself a home in the wood working shop but was only there for decoration as it was not in a useable state. Through a series of connections I was able to contact Doug and meet with him to discuss the future of the drill press.

What the museum wanted was to be able to get the drill to a functioning state so that it could be used as demonstration in the museum’s workshop. After performing my initial inspection I was fairly certain I could get the drill back to working condition again however I had one main concern. The concern revolved around restoring it so that it would be historically correct. I like building things, I like spending time in my shop, I like planning my projects, and I like researching my projects BUT…I do not want to commit to the amount of time it would take to research the historical accuracies nor do I want to be burdened with the time consuming task of trying to collect potentially unobtainable items. Since this is a volunteer venture I also have to consider the budget. It was agreed that the drill would not have to be historically correct. As long as it was in a functioning state and that the overall image was maintained then I was free to modify, and repair, as I see fit.

The good news is that I wasn’t under a time crunch. The museum, being mostly outdoors, shuts down for the winter therefore I had up to 5 months to get the project complete. As long as the drill was ready for opening day in May I was free to take my time.

Onto the details. The Champion Blower and Forge Co. drill press that I am dealing with is Model 101. I found a date stamp on the drill chuck and it read June 1907. I am not going to give a history lesson in this blog posting. I will refer you to Mr. Google should you have any questions. I will, however, tell you a bit about how it operates.

The drill press is hand cranked and only has one gear ratio. The length of the crank arm can be adjusted and therefore I guess you could say that the mechanical advantage can be altered. The unit is equipped with a flywheel in order to add some inertia to the monotonous cranking of the handle. There is a cam lobe cast into the drive gear which activates a cam lever which, in turn, ratchets a lever onto a downfeed gear. This allows the drill bit to feed down between 1-3 teeth, depending on adjustment, with every turn of the crank arm.  I have included a video in this post which will probably do a better job at explaining how the unit operates.

There is much that I can say about both the drill and the restoration process. All the components had been gone through and either repaired or reconditioned. Some small hardware items like screws, ball bearings, and a spring were replaced. I have not included all the details of the repairs in the posting but instead just chose to highlight a few. If you have questions or want specific information just ask!

On last note before I move onto the good stuff. Much of the hardware that I required for the build was hard to find locally. McMaster Carr is a United States hardware supplier that has a massive selection of parts that are of interest to me. Unfortunately McMaster Carr does not sell, nor ship, to Canadians. Fortunately I have some good friends in the right spots that are willing to help out. Jason who happens to follow my blog was able to help me out. For those of you who are not familiar with Jason I would highly recommend checking out his blog as he does some really cool wood related projects. Not to mention he is an equipment junky which I can respect. You can see all his stuff at his blog The Gahooa Perspective. Anyway, Jason offered to put an order in for me and ship it North my way. Very much appreciated Jason, thanks!

I opted to split this project into 2 separate posts. This post includes the nitty gritty parts of the restoration. Part 2 will include the finishing process which will be available at a later date.

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Here is the condition of the drill press before any work was performed. Previous work had been done as was evident by weld repairs that were painted over.

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I am including this shot only to show the right side for reference purposes. As I scoured the internet in my research it was helpful when I was able to view as much detail as possible. Here is my contribution.

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First order of business was to photograph everything before disassembly. Second order of business to to rip and tear and break everything down to individual components to allow for cleaning and inspection. Most of the components came apart with little effort. There where a few parts that needed some persuading however I think the drill and I developed a good working relationship. It had initially expressed some dislike of what I was trying to do but I had assured it, as gracefully as I could, that I was here to help and not to harm. We were able to reach a compromise and at that point I think we each developed a healthly respect for one another. From then one we had a common goal and became good working partners. I would like to be able to call this press a friend.

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Here is some evidence of previous repairs. The support that holds the table assembly has been previously broken into multiple pieces. As much as the brazing repair looks excessive I commend whoever performed to repair for a job fairly well done. If you saw the bore of the broken component you would know just how many pieces it was broken into. It was a jigsaw puzzle to repair.

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This is the cam arm that converts movement from a vertical plane to a horizontal plane which then activates the down feed ratchet gear. It too has been previously broken and repaired with both brazing and welding. There were some cracks that were still evident so I will end up doing further stitching.

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Once I evaluated the condition of all the items I proceeded to get everything to a workable state. I started by running everything through a high pressure hot water parts cleaner to get rid of as much grease, oil, and old paint as possible. Then most components were transferred to my blast cabinet and cleaned up using crushed glass media.

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The drill press table had been previously drilled through. Being cast I was nervous about how I was going to repair this. I had TIG welded cast previously and had good success. My main concern was being able to match the material finish.

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I filled the holes using a 309 filler rod which works great for dissimilar metals. You can see that cracking on the top of the weld is evident. I am hoping that crack is only a flesh wound and has not penetrated deeper.

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I had knocked down the protruding portion of the weld and then set the table up on the mill in order to machine it using my facing mill.

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Here is the end result after machining and some sanding. The table is perfectly flat however the repair is evident, I kinda expected it would be. I am not sure how I am going to deal with this yet, I have some ideas. Time will tell which solution will prevail.

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The drill press had a previous repair done to the wooden handle on the crank arm. I felt as though the press deserved something more then low budget fir. I opted to machine out a couple of oak handles using classic handle styling by giving them a slight taper.

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Roughed out and sanded oak handle.

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You may have noticed that the drill press only had 1 handle originally and that I had machined 2 handles. This is because I opted to retro fit an upper handle onto the top down feed gear. Of the drill press models that I researched I saw numerous models equipped with this upper handle. The purpose of the handle was to aid in rapid vertical feed of the drill chuck when setting up the material for drilling. The 101 model I was dealing will had a hole in the casting of the the upper gear that allowed for a handle to be added. I am unsure if a handle was there as some point or if it did not come on this model. The provisions were there so I opted to add my own handle assembly. I wanted to keep all my “gordsgarage” manufactured components looking as though they were original so I built a simple arbor for the upper handle. This is the start of the arbor before the final machining took place.

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Here is the final machined upper handle arbor. I needed to cut it in such a way that it would clear the down feed ratchet lever.

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One of the more crucial repairs involved the drive gear . This is the gear that is turned directly by the crank handle. The problem was that the gear had worn on the shaft and therefore the teeth would no longer mesh due to misalignment. The gear is cast with no inner bushing. Since the shaft that it rides on inspected to have some wear it was fairly minor. I opted to enlarge the bore of the gear in order to accept a bronze bushing.

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Here is the bronze bushing that I machined down in order to fit the gear and the shaft.

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The bronze bushing then got press fit into the gear. I made the bronze bushing a very tight fit on the shaft knowing that once it was pressed into the gear I would be able to hone the bushing for a precision fit. Happy to say my gear teeth meshing issue was solved and the gear alignments were perfect.

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The next few pictures show some random repairs. On the right is shown the cam wheel that rides on the drive gear and activates the cam arm. There were a couple issues with it. First it had a flat spot on one side most likely caused by it’s inability to turn freely. The second issue was that the securing screw, for the wheel, could not be tightened since it would not allow the wheel to turn. What the manufacturer did was thread the screw in loose and then mushroom the back side of the treads in order to lock it in place. The problem using this method of securing is that it does not allow for disassembly for maintenance or repair. My solution involved machining a new wheel that was equipped with an inner bushing for the wheel to rotate around. This way the allen head securing bolt can be tightened properly and also removed at a later date if needed to. NOTE: I realize the allen bolt I used is not period correct. Fortunately the drive gear blocks it from sight.

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Next challenge was to address a one-time-use crush sleeve. The sleeve on the right was used to keep a couple of securing pins in place. The securing pins connected the drill chuck shaft to the down feed acme shaft. One-time-use is the issue and unfortunately for me I was second in line. I wanted to find a solution that would not only look similar to OEM equipment but also allow for disassembly. I machined a bronze sleeve and installed a 10-24 set screw. I opted to leave the outside of the sleeve untouched therefore keeping its worn looking exterior. Again I realize the set screw does not fit with the time period. It’s my project and I can screw with it if I want to. That’s just my one cents.

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Just like the cam wheel the cam lever also needed to be able to turn/pivot on it’s securing fastener. The cam lever pivot was originally made from a 7/16 bolt shown on the right. If this bolt was tightend it would not allow the lever to pivot. In order to keep the bolt “loose” but prevent it from backing off the threads have been flattened. This is visible by looking at the deformed thread 6 threads from the end of the bolt on the right. I am not huge supporter in this securing technique and therefore a solution would be required. The second issue was that the female threads that were cut into the lever arm securing bracket were cut at a slight angle. This caused issues with proper lever alignment. My solution invloved building what is visible on the left. It is a bushing that is secured using a 3/8″ square headed (keep the vintage look) bolt. Not only did this allow me to tighten the bolt, it also allowed a better quality pivot, and it repaired 90% of my lever alignment issues due to the fact I eliminated using the angle threaded original hole. Got all that? Didn’t think so.

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Another challenge involved the down feed 5/8″ six turn single start acme rod. The drill appeared to have sat for awhile in unfavorable envirmental conditions a therefore the threads suffered some corrosion. I opted not to reuse the orignal shaft but instead build a new one. I began by obtaining a new three foot section of 5/8″ acme rod, cutting it down to size, building up a portion of it with the TIG welder and a 309 rod, and then machining it down to match the spec of the original rod.

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In this picture the corrosion of the original threads are evident on the bottom shaft. I am happy to say that the female threads were still is decent condition and that the new, replacement, shaft threads perfectly into its counterpart.

Below is a 32 second video showing the mocked up drill press in action. Normally I toss in some generic music to help pass the video viewing time but in this case I opted not to. The reason being that the pure mechanical sound that this drill press makes is symphonic. I almost think the mechanical sound of the unit working in harmony is the best part. I’m considering making a 3 minute recording and put it up for sale on iTunes. Coming home after a hard days work , sitting in your Lazy Boy with a set of headphones on, and entering an oasis of non cyber stimulation would be well deserved for those in appreciation of such mechanical bliss.

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The last 2 pictures show the mock up stage. Do not look too hard at the assembly since I purposely did not assembly everything 100%. The securing pins below the bearing assembly are just loosely fitted in order to allow for easy disassembly. At this point though the fabrication and repair have all bee completed and I am happy to say that the drill performd very well. I have never had the opportunity to use on of these drills in it’s original state so I can’t comment if my rendition if better, worse, or the same however I would have no hesitation in guaranteeing all the work I performed.

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At this point the drill will be completely dissembled and the “finishing” process will begin. I’ll save all those details and pictures for a later date.

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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.

 

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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.

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

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

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

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Done deal! Quick and easy.

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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.

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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.

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I think the style suits a parts persons desk.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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Both valves received a polishing.

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

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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.

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

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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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I have a lot of interest in simple, mechanical, things. Something that requires an energy source and that does not involve electricity or fossil fuels is always super cool to me. Water wheel fed saw mills, steam powered work shops, bicycles, yo-yos, fully manual lathes, a hand saw, and the list goes on.

This is what brings me onto my next project which is a slingshot. Now I have to mention that I am not a hunter and I typically have no desire to kill anything except the occasional mosquito. I really know very little about slingshots and I suspect there is an entire world surrounding these simple devices that I know nothing about. I just happen to think that the simplicity of a slingshot is pretty cool and the transfer of energy that it is designed to deal with is intriguing.

I have had an idea in my head for a very specific style slingshot for quite some time now. The design is fairly detailed and it will take some dedicated AutoCAD time to come up with a workable design. I had never built a slingshot so I thought that a practice run might serve me well and that way I will have a better idea of how to build my final design.

So over the last couple of weeks I milled away aluminium and spun it down to my desired sizes to finally come up with a practice version of a gordsgarage slingshot. I did not start with any specific design in my head. I built it as I went along and it turned into what it is simply by chance. The morphed design worked out well in the end and I am pleased to say the slingshot is actually functional. I have had multiple test firings with it and it appears to work as designed.

So as per usual the entire process is documented in picture format located below. There is one video included in case you are interested. I also included a picture gallery closer to the end. I had too many pictures to post so I condensed a bunch of the final shots into an album.

 

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The project started off by obtaining a slingshot band and some ammo. I have plenty of loose ball bearings kicking around but I figured I would go genuine.

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Onto the fabrication process. Like I said…I didn’t have a plan in place so this is how it all started. I knew that I wanted finger holes so I made the slingshot to specifically fit my hand.

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I measured the OC (on center) point of my fingers on my left hand as well as the diameter of my middle knuckles then I started to drill some holes in some 6061 aluminum.

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With the holes milled to fit my fingers I started to shave of extra aluminum.

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The final step in the finger holder was to mill a tab tab that would eventually slide into the handle assembly. Here one corner of the tab was cut, just needed to finish off the left side.

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I didn’t have a clear vision for the “yoke” of the slingshot but I had a general idea. Since I didn’t have any round aluminum stock large enough I decided to machine something out of .375 aluminum flat bar. I started with a 4″ x 4″ section and mounted it to a lathe arbor.

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I included this picture because it shows the 4″ diameter I am shooting for. 5 minutes on the lathe will bring it from 4 corners to pi.

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Getting closer to my final dimension. Makes me wonder if there is a mathematical term for a square with rounded corners.

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So with my 4″ circle compete I set things up on the milling machine to hog out a center, offset, hole with a hole saw.

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Back onto the lathe I switched out the 3 jaw chuck for the four jaw and dialed in the center hole. With a boring bar I cleaned up the previously cut hole to dimension.

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Now I am back onto the milling machine where I needed to position the part precisely in the chuck as the next step involves drilling symmetrical holes.

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I had a plan in my head that was BrainstormCAD’d at around 2:30 am on a sleepless night. It involved drilling a stepped hole in order to secure the slingshot band this way making the install look super clean. It is rather difficult to put into words so I will just mention that the design actually worked.

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Here is my progress so far. I post the picture to help illustrate the order in which things are done.

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As you can see from the previous picture the handle is nothing more then a 1.250″ chunk of aluminum stock. It is time to start working it over. I need to fit the finger holder into the handle. Instead of milling a slot out I figured I would remove a bunch of the excess material with a drill bit first. I don’t think people appreciate the cutting power of a drill bit enough. Perhaps now would be a good time to reflect on their abilities.

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With the holes drilled I then dropped in a .375″ end mill and hogged out the remaining material.

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Here I am able to test fit the finger holder and it just happens to slide in perfectly. Amazing what can happen when you use math.

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I needed to secure the finger holder to the handle so I set it up in the mill then drilled, and tapped, 5mm holes to accept stainless steel allen head bolts.

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I needed to flush mount the non-yoke into the handle. Since the handle had a .375″ slot machines to accept the non-yoke I need to mill off a flat section in order to close up the visual gap that would have been evident with a radius.

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I have some ideas in store for the base of the handle. As I plan to build multiple options I decided to drill, and tap, a 6mm hole into the bottom.

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The handle was looking rather plane being just round and smooth. I thought I would give it some grip by dropping in a .375″ ball nose endmill 60 degrees apart around the circumference.

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The ball nose machining gives the handle both a functional, and visually pleasing, aspect.

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With the 3 main components completed it was time to enter into finishing stage. I had contemplated anodizing certain components but in the end I thought that a brushed look suited the project. The finger holder was cleaned up using a die grinder and sanding wheel.

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Here are the 3 main components cleaned up with a brushed finish.

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With the main slingshot machined it was time to start on the handle bases. Like I mentioned earlier I installed a 6mm thread into the base of the handle in order to accommodate different bases. I had many ideas to build however I decided to limit myself to just three. Here is the start of the first base. It is a chunk of 2.50″ round aluminum that will eventually be turned into a 9 round ammunition holder.

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Onto the milling machine where 10 holes where drilled, 9 of which will accommodate the 3/8″ ammunition.

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Since I am planing to hold the ammunition in place with 1/8″ rare earth magnets I cross drilled the previously machined holes so that I could epoxy the magnets in place.

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With all the crucial angles machined I cleaned up the visuals on the lathe.

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Here I sat down at the sunny kitchen and epoxied all the 1/8″ rare earth magnets into place.

The video posted below shows the loading of the slingshot ammunition into the holder. The ammo can be loaded from either side and the magnets are plenty strong enough to keep them in place.

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The second interchangeable base would be nothing more the an over sized hook attachment to allow for a caribiner to hook onto. Started off with 1.250″ aluminum stock and trimmed the sides flat.

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Dropped a 5/8″ endmill through the middle to make room for a caribiner to clip onto.

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Moved onto the lathe to clean up all the visual lines. Gave it s tapered finish.

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Rough machining completed of the caribiner end.

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As another option for a base I decided to adapt a triple blade carbon arrow head onto the end. At first I was going to pass on this idea as the arrow heads are rather sharp but when I discovered I could buy protective pods to prevent any unwanted injury I figured I would go for it.

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This is the first, and second, stage machining of the arrow head adapter. The center hole was drilled and tapped to accept the threaded arrow head. The outer three holes were machined only for cosmetics.

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The arrow head adapter was tapered down on the lathe to give it a more stealth look.

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All the components of the slingshot received a brushed finish. The finishing touch was the glass bead blasted gordsgarage “GG” gear logo. I created a .900 inch diameter logo on the vinyl plotter, applied it to the handle, taped up the rest of the surrounding areas and then shipped it to the glass bead blast cabinet for some etching.

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Here are all the machined, and finished, components that make up the slingshot prior to assembly.

The following gallery displays the finished product. If you click on a picture you will be able to cycle through all the remaining pictures at a decent resolution. The gallery shows multiple combinations of the ends. The ammunition holder can be used on it’s own or coupled with other options. Check out all the pictures to get all the details!

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Awhile ago my daughter asked me if I would take her to a certain bath products store so that she would be able to purchase some bath soaps and lotions as a mother’s day gift. This year she showed some initiative in getting something organized for mother’s day so I wasn’t about to deny her some transportation in order for her to execute her plan. When we got to the store I browsed the shelves while my daughter spent all her time smelling every product and deciding what her mom would like the best.

As I enter any retail store I can not help but become obsessed, and fascinated, by the marketing that businesses implement in order to get their products sold. I find it interesting that the cost of a product can drastically increase based on how it is packaged and marketed. It sometimes seems like the substance of the product is irrelevant but if you can make it visually, and emotionally, appealing then people will want it and want to pay for it.

This brings me to my latest garage adventure. I always build things that I find interesting to me. I do not sell my products and certainly do not put any value on them. However I decided that I would take a relatively simple object that I have built in the past and enclose it in some custom packaging to give it a more finished appeal. I would use the marketing technique that we are bombarded by and use it to my advantage.

So this post is not so much about the item as it is the packaging. I won’t go into detail on the specifics since this post is packed full of pictures. There no excuse for you not to know how I did what I did. But I will mention this. I used a new finishing technique that I recently obtained. It is a black oxide finish used for steel. I originally bought the product so that I would have some way to protect the tooling that I sometimes build. More on this later in the post. The second thing I should mention is that this build includes, wait for it……….wood! Yes I know we are all here because we like shiny things. No need to worry or get your end mill in a tizzy, I am not converting. I had an idea and I thought that I would put Mother Nature’s finger print on the project.

The project revolves around building another bottle opener out out of a Porsche 991 GT3 spark plug. I recently obtained 6 of these plugs and therefore I am making a limited edition run of 6 openers, all slightly different. This one is 002/6. Here we go…

 

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So the project started off by cutting off a section of 7/8 cold rolled steel approximately 5 inches long

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Next the chunk got spun down to a .748″ diameter

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Moved onto the milling machine where each side had .130″ shaved off using a 5/8″ end mill.

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Rough milling of the head of the bottle opener

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Time to cut the slot for the business end of the opener. I use a 3/8″ end mill. I eyeball the angle and the depth.

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Chewing out the slot.

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Completed depth achieved. Those bottle caps don’t stand a chance!

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Carved a thumb rest in using a 3/4″ end mill.

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Jumped back onto the lathe where the opener received some cosmetic touches. I cut a couple of .040″ deep grooves spaced apart the same distance as the green lines on a Bosch spark plug.

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Here is the roughed up opener just before its tail will get chopped.

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With the excess material removed the opener head got drilled and threaded with a M12x1.0 tap.

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A little more chamfering and clean up and the machining is complete.

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Done deal, onto finishing stage.

So here we come to the part in the show where I use a black oxide finishing technique. There is a lot that can be said about this however Mr. Google already has it outlined so I will not go into specifics but I will highlight a few things. Black oxide finish is used for a number of reasons. It provides mild corrosion resistance, it gives the steel a certain appearance, and it minimizes light reflection. I started to use the black oxide for its corrosion resistance properties however in the case of this project I am using it strictly for aesthetic purposes, it gives a retro/vintage feel and look to the product.

Black oxide treatment is a chemical process that is typically done hot, around 285 degrees Fahrenheit. However there are other processes that use lower heat as well there are room temperature applications available. In my case I am using a room temperature black oxide kit that I purchased from Caswell Canada. You can visit their site if you want more information. The process is simple. I glass bead blast the part, dip it in the black oxide solution for approximately 30 seconds and then I drop it into a sealer. Because I am using this treatment solely for its appearance I skipped the sealing stage in order to keep the worn and retro black look. I included the following video to show just how quickly the process works.

 

 

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Finished with a black oxide treatment.

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This spark plug has approximately 15 km worth of combusted German petrol, Nitrogen, and Oxygen. Normally I’ll clean the plug however in this case I wanted to keep its authenticity so I opted to leave the sweet smell of carbon connected.

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Completed opener attached to the Porsche 991 GT3 spark plug.

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Onto the packaging. I wanted to try something new and decided to take a chance on machining a wood/metal case for the opener. I started of by machining a couple of aluminum arbors in order to clamp a chunk of mother natures fibers into the metal lathe.

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I am planning on using a hardwood for the case but wanted to ensure my method was going to work before attempting the final product. I chucked up a chunk of 2×4 and spun it down to a cylinder to confirm the success of the plan.

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I purchased a 3/4″ cove bit for a router and chucked it up into my ER32 1/4″ collet on the milling machine. The milling machine doesn’t turn the same number of RPMs a wood router does however the test cut on a scrap 2×4 proved to work

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With my R&D complete it was time to move on and build the case out of good wood. I made my way down to a local wood finishing supplier and dug my way through piles of hardwood. Where I feel perfectly comfortable going to a metal supplier and others don’t I felt awkward shopping for hardwood which I know nothing about. I had to Google FBM (foot, board measure) to figure out how to buy this stuff. Anyway…I found a section of Walnut with a beautiful grain that would work for the project.

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I rough cut the Walnut on my table saw and then moved onto the milling machine to clean all the edges, and dimensions, up. Normally I like to use the proper cutter, speed, and feed, for the proper application. In the case of my wood creation I decided to wing it and use my metal CCMT indexable cutters. Turns out they work great! They are not worthy of a finishing cut but that is what sandpaper is for.

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Once done on the milling machine I was now left with 2 identical sections of Walnut; 1″ thick by 2″ wide and approx. 7.50″ long.

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I needed to join them as one solid block so that I would be able to machine them down. Since the ends would eventually get cut off I used carpenters glue and stuck them together.

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With the 2 halves clamped into a block I needed to find the center. Most people would just “X” the end however I wanted to be as precise as possible. I squared the block up in the mill vise and then used the center finder to locate the middle.

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I dropped a 1/4″ endmill into both ends in order to locate the center line of the block.

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I love it when a plan comes together. Holes are perfectly centered and ready for the arbors.

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If you noticed in the previous picture of the arbors, they were both machined with a centering pin which was intended to drop into the center holes of the Walnut block. This way the arbor was sure to be centered. Both end arbors were then secured using #6 wood screws.

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The Walnut is chucked up in the lathe and ready to get spun down to size using, again, a steel CCMT metal cutter.

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I started of with a 2″ square section of wood which needs to get cut down to a 1.250″ cylinder. I learned fairly quick that the depth of cut can be greatly increase when shaving Walnut.

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Here I am half way through cutting and inspection of the process proves to be working. All 4 corners are cutting evenly indicating that the centering job of the wood on the lathe was fairly accurate.

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Here I have achieved my 1.250″ diameter. a bit of 320 grit sandpaper cleaned the finish up real pretty.

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I’m not going to get into detail here as what I am doing will become evident as you read on. I needed to trim the end diameters down to a small dimension. Using a part off blade worked perfect to complete the task.

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Here the completed rough machining has been accomplished.

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The end of the wood that were glued, and that the arbors were screwed into, have been cut off. The wood was then sanded, along the grain, by hand.

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Next step was to set up on the milling machine and pocket out a section for the bottle opener to sit in using a 3/4″ cove bit.

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As you will see later the case will stay closed using two 1/8″ rare earth magnets. Each wood half received a 1/8″ hole on 1 end to accept the magnet.

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Here are the two completed halves all sanded and ready to accept a finish.

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In order to give the Walnut a protective coating I brushed on a film of clear satin polyurethane. Once dried the finish was smooth sanded using 0000 steel wool.

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With the wood complete it was time to step back into my comfort zone a machine some steel end caps for the case. Here I am starting off with a section of 1.500″ cold rolled steel. It will first get spun down to a 1.250″ diameter.

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With the diameter reached I then hogged out the internals using a boring bar.

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Here are the 2 rough machined end caps.

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Onto the finishing stage. Both caps were glass bead blasted and then treated with the black oxide finish. Obviously the right cap is in its bead blasted state and the left cap has been treated just as the bottle opener head was.

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I wanted to add a personal touch so I opted to incorporate a logo. I cut out an end cap vinyl stencil on the vinyl plotter.

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Next it was centered, and applied, to one end cap. The rest of the cap was taped up to protect the black oxide finished from the bead blasting.

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1 minute in the glass bead blast cabinet and then the decal, and tape, removed revealed a gordsgarage logo. What I like about this technique is that there is no evidence of a depth difference between the black oxide finish and the bead blasting. The logo feels completely flush on the end cap.

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Time to jump back onto the wood section. The 1/8″ rare earth magnets, that I spoke of earlier, got epoxied into the ends of each half. I am hoping it is obvious what theses magnets are for. The idea is that they will keep the case “locked”. The magnets will attract themselves to the opposite half steel end caps. The 1/8″ size turned out to be the correct choice as they do the job of keeping the case closed but aren’t so strong that it makes opening the case feel like it’s sticking.

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The machined end caps also got epoxied onto the opposite ends of the magnets.

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And now there is nothing left to say. Mission accomplished. One 991 GT3 bottle opener with custom case is complete. What is ironic is that the case took 4 times as long to build as the opener.

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I am thrilled with the retro and vintage look of the case. It’s all about the packaging!

 

 

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