Posts Tagged ‘Porsche’


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


Installed and ready to synchronize some constant mesh




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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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”


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.




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…



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


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


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


Rough milling of the head of the bottle opener


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.


Chewing out the slot.


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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.




Finished with a black oxide treatment.


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.


Completed opener attached to the Porsche 991 GT3 spark plug.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


Here the completed rough machining has been accomplished.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


Here are the 2 rough machined end caps.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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








In the past I have done work for some local automotive dealerships in the area, one of them being the Porsche dealer. This time they had an in house project that they wanted some help with. The annual new car show is coming up and the Porsche dealer wanted a mildly modified vehicle to be able to put on display.

The vehicle to be used is a brand new 2015 Porsche Cayman base model. I am not sure of all the modifications that are planned for it however the one that concerns me is the color of the brake calipers. The dealership determined that they wanted the Cayman to be outfitted with a set of calipers to match the Porsche E-Hybrid line up of vehicles. The Panamera E-Hybrid and 918 Spyder come specially equipped with bright acid green brake calipers.

Normally I would shy away from work like this due to the fact that I am not a professional and that things could potentially go wrong. I explained this to the management of the dealership and made it very clear that “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”. Since the car was an in-stock unit and didn’t actually belong to a customer I felt a bit better to try it out.

Due to the fact that the brakes are somewhat of a safety item it was up to the dealership technician to perform all the mechanical work. The dealership would be responsible for removal, dis-assembly, reassembly, and re-installation of the components. It would be up to the service department to ensure the safety of the vehicle. I was only going to be responsible for the color and that was all.

It sounded like everyone was on board so the plan went ahead. I had always wanted to try my hand at powder coating calipers and here I finally got the chance. As usual you can follow along by scrolling through the pictures below. In the end everything worked out fantastic and the dealership was happy.


This is the 2015 Porsche Cayman that is going to receive the transformation.


The base model Cayman is identified by the stock black brake calipers. The S models come with red.


The calipers were removed from the vehicle and disassembled, by the Porsche technician, before they were passed onto me. Here they are stripped of the pistons, seals, dust boots, bleeder screws, and transfer lines.


Some people may consider this step a bit excessive but this is how I do things. The caliper piston bores need to be sealed off from glass bead blasting and powder coating. I want to ensure that nothing, unwanted, gets inside the calipers. Instead of masking off the bores I opted to machine aluminum plugs to make the sealing 100% secure as well as provide nice clean, crisp, lines. I had to machine a total of 8 bore plugs.


This is what the completed plugs look like. There is 1 set for 1 front caliper and 1 set for 1 rear caliper. Best part is that they are reusable.


This is how the plugs fit into the calipers. They will work for both glass bead blasting and powder coating.


Since the calipers have been in service I wanted to ensure there were no oils or contaminants on the surface that will destroy the powder coating. I baked the calipers at 500 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours to burn everything off. Once done baking the black turns to burnt brown.


Next step was to plug all the orifices and ship them into the blast cabinet to strip the old coating off and give the surface a bit of a rough texture to allow the powder coating to latch onto.


You can see how well the aluminum plugs work in protecting the bores.


Here are all 4 calipers blasted, cleaned, and ready to be prepped for the fogging.


Using silicone plugs I block off the brake pad securing pegs and bleeder holes. The surfaces that get bolted to the steering knuckle get taped off so that no powder gets applied. Clamping the brake caliper to a steering knuckle with baked plastic in between is not a good idea.


The person that was in charge of commissioning the work wanted a green powder to coat, something similar to E-hybrid calipers. I ordered, and sprayed, a few samples to allow him to choose what he wanted. In this picture the top and bottom colors are what was ordered, The middle color are the 2 ordered colors mixed 50/50. The Neon Yellow (bottom color) was what was chosen.


Here the Neon Yellow gets fogged on and ready to get baked at 392 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes PMT.


Fresh out of the oven, the picture doesn’t do it justice.


I had explained that I can apply “Porsche” decals to the calipers BUT…they are DECALS! They are not nearly as durable as the factory Porsche crests but it is what I have to offer. They accepted the durability downfall and so using my vinyl plotter, and gloss black vinyl, I cut out factory dimension decals. I had measured placement of the old emblems before I glass bead blasted them.


All the bleeder screw and brake line holes were cleaned up using and chamfering bit to ensure clean, easy, assembly.


Once again you can see how well the aluminum plugs worked. They is a slight bit of over-spray on the left bore but not enough powder build up that will impact the dust boot installation.


Completed calipers with decals applied ready to be returned to the dealership for reassembly and installation.


Here the Porsche technician is reassembling the freshly coated calipers.


Front calipers ready to go. No issues sliding the seals and pistons in. The dust boots settled in with no problems.


Calipers installed and ready to be bled with fresh Super DOT 4 brake fluid.


The decals look factory! Just don’t put the pressure washer to them.


Brakes bled, wheels mounted, vehicle roadtested, calipers pass! The Neon Yellow certainly stands out. The dealership is happy with the work, and the color, so I guess it is all good in the end,



I’m a bit overdue for a blog update. January and February have been busy as I find myself in the middle of developing my basement. It’s taken this long to start construction as I had submitted, over the years, multiple requests to the boss of the house to develop part of the bottom floor into a machine shop. Even though I had followed proper request procedures my application had continued to be denied. It was only until now that I chose to accept my failed dream and therefore blue printed the space out to be a bedroom instead. I am trying to find the silver lining surrounding my defeat, I need more time.

As far as the CNC plasma table build goes it is still active but did slow down a bit. Good news is I still have the enthusiasm to see the project to completion. I have all the material sitting on the workbench for the next stage. I hope to be back on it in a month or so.

Around the holiday break in December I had a few hours of spare time so I cleaned up the shop area. Once everything was put away and swept up I looked around to see if I could scratch a creative itch I had. I found a used, but still decent, clutch disc out of a Porsche laying in a pile of junk. I set it on the bench and stared at it for a while. I wanted to build something, didn’t want it to take too long, and wanted a decent satisfaction level to result from my efforts. A Porsche technician had given me the disc and so I thought I would give it back to him but in a different state. Decided I would fab an old school shop clock, the following is what I came up with.


Started by ring rolling a section of .250″ cold rolled steel


I band sawed 12 little sections of .500″ cold rolled round bar then cleaned them up on the lathe. Each one received cross drilling on the mill.


Next they all went back onto the lathe where they where all threaded .250″ deep with a 6mm tap.


To ensure all my number markings would be spaced properly I created a paper template using a CAD program. The ring, with all the .500″ markings, got locked into place at the proper spacing.


Next the .500″ markings got TIG welded into place.


Here is the completed ring. I hid the closing gap of the ring inside one of the steel markers.


Onto the face of the clock. I trimmed out a 13″ disc from a chunk of 10 gauge steel. Machined a center bushing in order to allow for a clock motor to be mounted. Then I ring rolled some 1″ flat bar in order to give the perimeter a more finished look.


Clock motor bushing was TIG welded into place.


I wanted to ensure the clock would hang flush against a vertical surface. A section of flat bar was welded into place to allowing for mounting to a wall.


Here is the finished fabrication work. Next step will be the finishing and artwork.


Old school Porsche meant going with a red a white theme. The clock components received powder coating.


Here the clock face receives a 20minute bake session.


The artwork was going to be applied in the form of a vinyl decal. I downloaded the proper Porsche font and designed the look of the clock face using Inkscape .


I cut the 1 piece decal out using my vinyl plotter.


With the decal applied all that was left was component assembly.



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

Title Motogadget

Over the past numerous months I have wasted too many hours trying to come up with a plan regarding the CB160 instrument cluster. It is not as easy and straight forward as one may think. I am torn between keeping the factory headlight integrated cable driven speedometer and replacing the instrument, and headlight, with an aftermarket assembly.

Here is my dilemma; the factory speedometer is just that, a speedometer. I would love to have a tachometer paired up with the speedo. Second issue is the speedometer drive cable coming off the front wheel. I am working toward a fairly clean looking bike and I have a hard time coming to terms with that speedo cable drooping towards the front hub. I realize I have a brake cable too that shows however that one is a keeper. In the case of the speedo cable there are options. The third issue is the factory gasket that seals the factory speedo into the factory headlight. The one I have is in average condition considering it’s almost 50 years old however it is far from perfect. New ones can’t be had. I could come up with a different solution however this is one more reason to explore the aftermarket option.

I feel as though I have looked at every aftermarket motorcycle gauge that exists. I am now very familiar with the fact that Harleys only need a tach that reads to 8000 RPM, knowing that I can usually figure out that I am on the wrong website fairly quickly. I have a lot of criteria that needs to be met in and aftermarket unit. First it needs to look retro, it also needs to use an electronic speed sensor and not a mechanical cable driven one. If the speedo is analog it cannot read too high, the CB160 maxes out around 130kph and therefore a 200kph+ gauge would not “fit” the bike. The engine revs to 10500RPM and therefore if I find a tach it would have to fit that range. Proper size is an issue as it needs to suit the bike as well as depth is a factor.

I had looked at the German built Motogadget gauges awhile back but as soon as I saw the price I promptly exited the website. Well it turns out that after exploring all of the other options out there it was time to reopen the Motogadget site, take a deep breath, and continue to keep an open mind.

As I continued to research it would appear that the Motogadget line of gauges fit most of my crucial criteria. I was able to get a tach unit with an electronic speedo. Now I realize that the electronic speedo goes against the retro look however the display is dark and very inconspicuous. The digital speedo solves my problem of having too high a max speed showing which is what I would have with an analog gauge. The second thing to consider with the Motogadget tach is the available RPM ranges. You can purchase 8000, 10000, or 14000 rpm units. At first I considered the 14000rpm option thereby allowing me to use all 10500rpm the engine was designed for. After further thought I decided that the 10000rpm option would be the way to go as I would be able to use the entire RPM range of the gauge and the giggle factor of watching the needle whip about was too much to pass up. That would mean I would be 500 rpm short of redline but sacrifices sometimes need to be made.

This brings me to my 3rd crucial necessity in a gauge. The electronic speed sensor signal. The CB160 did come with a mechanical cable drive off the front wheel. As I mentioned I want to do away with the cable. So in order to keep a clean look to it all I started to explore GPS based sending units. There were three that I looked at, the SkyDrive, one that VDO gauges distribute, and the Veethree. There is too much information for me to cover so I’ll jump to the end. After much research and many emails I was unable to determine if the Motogadget gauge would work with a GPS based sender. Even after all the research it still came down to a gamble. The worst part is the gamble included a very expensive gauge that would become useless to me if I couldn’t get the electronic speedo to work. Anyway…more on all this later.

It finally came down to crunch time. Either I needed to stick with the stock set up or suck it up, roll the dice, and order up some components to see if I could make things work in my favor. I decided that I would put some more wear on the Visa card and therefore place some orders. Even though I was prepared to commit, my problems were still not over. It was clear that there are not too many reputable suppliers of Motogadget products in North America. I could find no one that I felt comfortable placing an order with. I opted to visit a local Harley Davidson dealer as they were listed as a supplier. They were able to supply me the gauge, special ordered, however based on their estimate they provided it was clear that I was being taken advantage of. I continued my online search. Just when I thought I was going to have to place an order with a “questionable” supplier I stumbled upon Revival Cycles. Fantastic! Revival Cycles is a smaller custom motorcycle shop based out of Austin Texas. I enjoy dealing with the smaller shops as the people who work there are typically just as passionate about bikes as I am. They perform modifications similar to what I have got myself into as well as they supply parts including Motogadget. Plus their pricing on the gauge was more than reasonable.

So the order was placed with Revival, the communication was great, the transaction smooth, and the product showed up right on time. I had also ordered the Veethree GPS sender from a different supplier. Once I had both the gauge and the sender in my greasy hands I was able to see if all my research, and gamble, paid off. Well read on…

I do not typically do product reviews on the blog however I am making an exception this time. The reason being that I could not find the information out in the cyber world that I am providing here. Some of the information, and repetitive looking pictures, that are to follow may not be very exciting to many of you. What I am trying to accomplish is the relieve others of the painful amount of research that I forced myself to undergo. I am not going to cover everything, there is to much. If you have questions or want clarification just send me a comment. Specs can be found on the manufacturers website. The pictures will do the explaining. I also included a couple of fun videos just to try and some excitement to an otherwise mundane picture posting.

Motogadget gauge

Motogadget’s Chronoclassic 2004060 gauge featuring a 10k RPM scale, dark display and polished rim. There are 2 LCD options available, green and dark. Motogadget states that the dark may be hard to read in direct sunlight. I opted for the dark in order to hide the fact that I have modern technology on the bike when there is no power. The gauge incorporates 4 lights. Turn signals, high beam, neutral, and an optional red that can be tailored to your needs. I believe the red can also be programmed as a shift light, I still need to read up on this.

Veethree GPS

Veethree instuments GPS speed sensor. The company is tailored more towards marine applications. This particular sensor they offer is a 8/16 pulse sensor which is similar to standard electronic speed sensors. The sensors can be wired either as an 8 pulse or 16 pulse depending how 1 wire is connected. The company states the gauge can be mounted in multiple directions and even under dashboards. In my case the sensor will be hidden under the seat cowl section.

Gauge back

The rear of the gauge is easy to work with. It comes with three drilled and tapped 4mm mounting holes. The harness is hard wired into the back of the gauge and incorporates 2 connectors to hook up to the bike harness.

Gauge width

The width of the gauge was a another crucial feature for me. I need a shallow gauge and at just over 1.250`deep the Motogadget should fit nicely.

Backlight display

This shot is taken purely to demonstrate the backlight. It’s a clean white light with just the right amount of glow. Ignore the LCD display as it is overexposed purely due to the photography. The LCD is very clean to read.

Hacked test wiring

Since I wasn’t sure if this was all going to work I decided to wire the gauge and speed sensor up to a standard 12V power outlet plug. This way I could drive around in my car and test the gauge, sensor, and functions. The computer functions of the gauge are accessed through a momentary switch connected to ground. I used a window switch I had laying around as my temporary “select” button.

Motogadget tripmeter

So here we go. The following wack-o-pics is demonstrating many of the gauge screens in the order they are displayed. Primary screen consists of 2 line display. Top is always speedo and the bottom can be changed with a push of the button. I am pleased to say the speedo works great with the GPS sensor. It took some work to get it calibrated. The Motogadget is designed to be able to enter in wheel diameter and pulses per revolution. It also has a separate function that allows you to put it into self calibration mode. This consists of driving at 50kph for 10 seconds. In my case I used my Garmin GPS and set the vehicle cruise control to 50kph to perform the 10 second calibration. After calibrated the Motogadget speedo reads identical to my Garmin GPS. This is the first screen showing the bottom display with the trip meter. Easily resettable by holding the selection button down for a couple of seconds.

Motogadget odometer

Next menu selection is the odometer. Not too much to say here. When I initially hooked up the GPS sensor I had the gauge calibration wrong therefore the speed indicated approx. 250kph when I was only going 30kph. So needless to say the odometer racked up the mileage quickly. There is a function for resetting the odometer to 0.

Motogadget trip time

3rd menu item is trip time. Again resettable just like the trip meter by holding the selection button down for a couple of seconds.

Motogadget voltage

This menu item makes me giggle. I am thrilled to be able to monitor system voltage. The Honda CB160 has an archaic type charging system. I have been very carful when adding non-factory electrical components to the bike to ensure that the electrical system will be able to handle the load. With the Motogadget I am able to monitor the charging system, this is the screen which most of my riding will be done with.

Motogadget air temp

There are optional sensors available that are not included with the gauge. This one obviously being air temperature. I haven’t decided if I am going to add one yet. The gauge can be programmed to switch from Celsius to Fahrenheit.

Motogadget oil temp

Next optional sensor being oil temperature. I won’t be adding this one.

Motogadget oil pressure

3rd optional sensor is oil pressure. The gauge can be programmed to switch from Bar to PSI.

Motogadget accel and decel

This function is sort of cool. It measures the speed of acceleration (+) and deceleration (-). It works purely off the vehicle speed sensor and reads in meters per second squared. The gauge can not be switched to G Force however mental calculations aren’t bad. 9.81 m/s2 is the speed of gravity and therefore equates to 1G.

Motogadget tach

If you choose to the engine RPM can also be read from the second line. Not nearly as cool as watching the needle whip about.

Motogadget average speed

Here the average ground speed is recorded during all trips since last reset. Again, reset is done by holding the selection button down for a couple of seconds.

Motogadget 0 - 100 time

Here comes the fun part. 0-100kph acceleration times. When this menu item is selected you can have the gauge automatically time your 0-100kph. With the vehicle at a standstill holding down the selection button for a couple of seconds puts the option into “ready” mode. Once the gauge senses vehicle speed the timer starts and then automatically stops at a 100kph. The time is then stored.

So this brings us to intermission where the half time entertainment will begin. Just for kicks I thought I would video some 0-100kph runs. I built a very crude holder to mount the gauge and a GoPro video camera to and then took the setup out in a couple of vehicles to see just how well this Motogadget function works. So let`s start first by watching a couple videos, I`ll then recap. BTW, turn the volume up and open the videos up to full screen. You`ll want to watch the LCD readout of the Motogadget gauge, having it on full screen helps to see it. I will apologize now for the glare off the gauge glass. I did what I could, it`s not great but it works. One thing to note about the speedometer in the 2 videos is how smooth the reading is. I like that the speedo cycles fast and clean through the speeds and doesn’t jump in increments with quick acceleration or deceleration.

Crude GoPro mount

This is my crude mount I whipped together as fast as possible. This way people won`t get nauseous from camera shake.

So there you have it, a brief demonstration of the 0-100kph feature. Now wait! DO NOT send me any comments about how the feature isn`t accurate. I know the Porsche does not do a 2.8 second 0-100 (it is spec`d at around 3.5) and I realize the speedo starts to register late after the launch. Here is the issue (I think)…the Veethree GPS sensor samples every 1/10th of a second therefore the accuracy that would be required for fast runs just isn’t present with the GPS setup. I would be interested to know what results could be had from the same tests but instead of using GPS use a factory electronic speed signal or the magnetic reed switch the Motogadget is supplied with. Anyway…I didn’t purchase the gauge for the 0-100kph function and will only use the feature for fun so the decreased performance I get from using the GPS is not a factor for me.

Motogadget max speed

The last 4 menu items consist of a memory function which stores maximum data. In this case the maximum speed is displayed and stored until it is reset.

Motogadget max engine speed

Here you get maximum stored engine RPM. I have yet to hook the gauge up to the tach function. I suspect the 838RPM that is stored here was from factory testing.

Motogadget max accel

Maximum positive acceleration. Like I mentioned earlier 9.81 m/s2 is equal to 1G.

Motogadget max decel

Maximum negative (braking) deceleration. There is one more menu that can be added which is a gear indicator. It displays gears 1 to 6 on the left hand side next to the ground speed. This feature is added using the parameters setup menu. What is cool is that this function is pure mathematical as it calculated the gear based on ground speed and engine RPM, no external input to the gauge is required.

Motogadget set up menu

So up to this point all the user functions from the home screen have been covered. The following pictures all show behind the scene sub menus used for customizing and calibrating. To enter this menu the selection button needs to be pressed for around 3 seconds. Once in this menu the selection button is again used for navigation and programming. I am not going to cover everything in the next few pictures rather I’ll just offer a brief overview of what is available.

Motogadget screen set up

The SCREEN menus allows the user to turn off or on any of the main screen displays. For example I will not be installing an oil temperature sensor therefore I can turn that display off allowing me to cycle through only the menu items I choose. This menu also allows you to add a second trip meter if desired.

Motogadget LCD setup

This menu allows the user to change the contrast of the LCD screen in steps from 0 to 6.

Motogadget motor setup

The damping menu allows the user to fine tune the analog pointer. If the analog indicator is oscillating strongly the damping feature can be changed in steps from 1 to 9.

Motogadget parameters

This menu allows the user to enter many different parameters. There is a total of 9 submenus in the parameters feature. One includes setting wheel size and number of impulses per wheel rotation. In my case I didn’t have to mess with this as my GPS is dead accurate independent of gearing and wheels. Other items in the parameters section include tach programming, speedo km or miles, gear indicator teaching, redline teaching, and gauge software info.

Motogadget sensors

This menu allows for customizing of all the sensors displays including bar or psi, Celsius of Fahrenheit. You can also choose how many digits you want displayed.

Motogadget reset

Here the master rest function can be accessed. In my case I will perform the complete reset once the gauge is installed and the bike is ready for the road. I suspect I will need to reteach my GPS speed input.

Veethree mount

Mounting of the Veethree GPS speed sensor will end up in the tail section under the seat cowl.

Motogadget cluster mock up