New tank inspired by Silverbear and Tinsmith

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle Welding, Fabrication and Paintin' started by timboellner, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. timboellner

    timboellner Member

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    After reading about Tinsmith's and Silverbear's tank project, I thought I'd just got to get in on some of the tank building fun.
    All it took was the inspiration.

    My particular desire was to create a tank that will sit on the top tube, but
    also look level from a side view, much in the way of a flat track motorcycle.
    This will involve using a design incorporating a tunnel on the underside of the tank. The tank will not ride atop the bar like the kit's peanut tank. It will straddle it.

    I work out of a metal shop where we fabricate ductwork, and still do all the layout by hand. I learned a good bit over the years. I drove in on my day off to use the jump shear and bending brake. It's so much easier when you have the right equipment to build something with. It cuts down on time and you don't need to improvise with using what you've got .

    I found several sheets of both heavy gauge copper, and several made of brass.
    I opted for the brass for my first attempt at this new found obsession.
    For about a week I made sketches of tanks that would not be too complex for a first timer.
    I mocked up the tank using some corrugated plastic. It;s just like cardboard.

    Any way I got busy cutting it and bending it that was the easy part.

    Soldering it became a challenge because it needs to be held tightly together
    to keep the seams closed. Clamps and a good piece of 1/4" x 3" bar stock allowed me to apply pressure to the joint while I cooked it together. I used a propane torch, low heat and 95/5 plumbing solder. I did use a a large electric iron to do a little bit of touch up, but I really needed the ability to heat beyond the scope of an electric iron.

    Here's some pics so far. It's the top and 2 sides, and front and back.. I'll work on the bottom this week if time permits. I know it will need a buffing on a buffing wheel before I
    get done. I had to use fine steel wool to get the laquer off it that was on it .

    I tested what I have for leaks and it's good. I've sweated plenty of copper plumbing pipe, this isn't a big stretch for me.

    Here's some pics, I am open for comments and suggestions concerning
    putting any kind of final ornamentation or trim etc.

    Thanks for viewing,
    TiM
     

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    #1 timboellner, Feb 20, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011
  2. chainmaker

    chainmaker New Member

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    Nice Tim... looking good!!! Still in Mass.

    Cheers
     
  3. culvercityclassic

    culvercityclassic Well-Known Member

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    Hey Tim... nice job on the tank. Th 95-5 is the ticket and holds up well. Can't wait to see the finished product.
     
  4. azbill

    azbill Active Member

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    looking very nice !!!
    gonna make the bike unique when it's done (^)
     
  5. timboellner

    timboellner Member

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    #5 timboellner, Feb 21, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
  6. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Very nice work! Brass kicks ass! I'll be following your progress. Keep those photos coming...
    SB
     
  7. Tinsmith

    Tinsmith Member

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    Tim, Looks like you have it well in hand. Excellent job! Dan
     
  8. timboellner

    timboellner Member

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    Dan, thanks for everything..you are a true craftsman..
    What did you use for a bung on the tank outlet?
    I'm thinking of coming out of the tank with a brass 90 degree elbow, but unsure
    how to securely mount it. I was thinking of drilling the tank bottom and inserting the ell, then possibly threading a brass nut on the inside of the tank before soldering in.. What do you say sir?
    TiM
     
  9. Tinsmith

    Tinsmith Member

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    Tim, I returned a message but it didn't show here. Oh well, so much for my advanced computer skills. We used a threaded flange that SB came up with, but absent that, I was going to do exactly what you are considering. I think it will work well and stiffen up the connection. When I finish the current project, I want to make a saddle tank for the chopper bike I am currently riding and get rid of the kit tank. Keep at it, I'm looking forward to seeing what you end up with. Good Luck, Dan
     
  10. timboellner

    timboellner Member

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    Had the day off so I laid out the tank bottom and tunnel for the underside.

    Pretty challenging to figure out how much pitch I would need on the undertube to make the tank sit almost level but slightly sloped
    to the back end to drain toward the gas cock.

    The difficulty lies in figuring out where to put the 1/2 inch lap joints so that when it gets soldered up I will have access and a way to get to all the joints
    effectively to produce a good leak-proof seam that I can clamp while I cook it together.

    It not only has to look good but more importantly has to be strong and leak-proof.
    I did recheck what I have already done and found a tiny pinpoint hole in a corner (circled in sharpee). I'll hit it again and recheck it.
    Here's the pics of the bottom and tunnel layout.

    Tomorrow it gets formed on the bending brake and possibly soldered up.
    Thanks for viewing.
    TiM
     

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  11. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    Lookin' good Tim
     
  12. timboellner

    timboellner Member

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    More progress on the tank today.
    I got the bottom pieces cut out and bent.

    I started soldering it together but after several hours of working on it
    it got put away for the night.

    Getting things just right really gobbles up your free time.
    It is frustrating and difficult work soldering pieces together that are tough to get a clamp on while you are trying to hold the torch in one hand, the solder in the other, and manipulate in all the nooks and crannies.

    I have learned when to quit for the day.

    Now I understand why home made custom built stuff could never sell cheap.
    It's a lot of thinking, doing, and re-doing.. You guys ought to understand the concept by now.

    I won't give up or give in..
    This #%^[email protected] thing had better not leak!

    Maybe it'll be done next week end.

    Here's a couple of pics.....
    Thanks for viewing,
    TiM
     

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  13. culvercityclassic

    culvercityclassic Well-Known Member

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    That looks real good so far, you have taken on a project with the tunnel layout and install. Remember when you are completed people are going to want you to make them one. And best of all they won't want to pay a fair price for your custom work.

    I just make em for my bikes and if someone wants one...just buy the complete bike... :)
     
  14. Tinsmith

    Tinsmith Member

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    Tim, Wonderful work Bud. SB and I spent a good part of today in my old shop bending up metal again. He's making his first tin tank for the cantilever frame and I'm putting one together out of copper. Although the pattern work is done for this particular tank and it's much simpler than what you are doing, you are correct about the amount of time it takes, and you and I have most of the equipment and experience to do this. Like you, it'll get done one way or the other, but it's slow. The goal here was to see if it can be done with simple tools that most guys could get their hands on, and the more we work on it, the more it seems unlikely to me. You can cobbble up a homemade brake and buy a soldering iron or torch, but as you have found, getting the thing fitted together just to begin soldering is a great challenge. That's why we have stayed with the flat sided tank for this build. It's not as pleasing to the eye, but easier to assemble. Anyway, I'm sure SB will have a few pics and descriptions of what took place today. We didn't get as far as I thought we would, but we have fun, and he does good for a "real old" guy. Keep at it, your doing a good job. Dan
     
  15. timboellner

    timboellner Member

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    Thanks guys..
    A little encouragement goes a long way.
    I got feeling like maybe I got in over my head.

    I think there is a certain amount of passion you need to have to keep you driving through a project....from conception to fabrication, then dealing with
    all the complications that come up along the way..

    I do stuff like this just to see if I can do it.
    TiM
     
  16. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Well, if I'm a full fledged geezer, Dan's a geezer with training wheels, doing his best to catch up. Ha! Yes, we had a good work day and learned a few things along with making progress. Maybe next time we'll be done. Dan will anyway. Yes, it does take longer than a person would think and I believe Dan may be right about doing this without some of the tools might be pretty tough. The burring tool and some kind of brake for bending are pretty important. On the other hand the results are real nice and I would like to be able to make more of these tanks. We'll see. Like you, I have to finish the first one before getting ahead of myself. I'll get to work on our thread tomorrow and will post some photos of progress.
    Keep those photos of your work coming, Tim. Good going...
    SB
    You're coming right along on your tank. You're right about the holding things together while trying to solder at the same time... not easy. But if you do a second tank it will probably go better than the first one. The cantilever tank Dan and I are working on is still evolving.
     
  17. sportscarpat

    sportscarpat Bonneville Bomber the Salt Flat record breaker

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    Hi Tim,
    Nice tank build. I have to agree about it being difficult to hold things together while welding or soldering. I fought my first few tanks, then delt with warpage from heat. When I build tanks now I clamp and tack as I go while working off a good solid table. I finally built a nice little tank jig and wonder now how I built tanks without it. It gets easier after you build a few.
     
  18. Tinsmith

    Tinsmith Member

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    Pat,
    Looking at the quality of the tanks you are building I was pretty sure you had a jig setup. Whenever we have a need to make multiples at the machine shop we almost always set up some kind of jig. Actually the steel tank I'm making for my worksman was easierr than the sheetmetal/copper tanks we are attempting now. Like you I clamped then tacked the steel tank together and went from there. With these sheetmetal tanks holding them together so they can be soldered is more challenging. Especially on these cantilever tanks with no straight sides. Trying to get the flange down tight the the adjoining pieces so it solders correctly is hard. You can tack solder and then run the bead over them, but there are always some that pop loose because the heat from the iron gets to them before you have moved the iron to that spot. I'm sure it's gonna be an issue with the copper. Although I haven't worked with copper for probably 15 years or so I do remember the difficulty I had holding all the joints together while soldering elsewhere on the piece. Copper just transfers heat so well that you have to get it to temperature and then move on quickly. We will likely see how well we can get the copper tank clamped and blocked up to solder next weekend. Dan
     
  19. sportscarpat

    sportscarpat Bonneville Bomber the Salt Flat record breaker

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    Tinsmith,
    Tanks are definately a challenge. I have developed a system to build them rapidly so I can make a buck selling them. I get requests for one-off designs all the time and always decline. I have so much time into my designs and tooling and it is specific to my tanks. Building a different design at this point is just not economical. If you focus on a couple specific designs and sell a few you can afford to develop the necessary tooling to build more.
    Good luck
     
  20. timboellner

    timboellner Member

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    Tonight I got finished soldering it up.
    Wow that was a lot of seams to do.
    It all fit together really nicely.

    I have finished buying all the fittings including the gas cock.
    It will be coming out of the bottom of the tank and turning 90 degrees into the valve.
    I pressurized it with air and found that I have 3 tiny pinhole leaks which I will fix tomorrow.
    Next I will be working on the mounts.
    No pictures till it's cleaned up and done.

    Filled it with water and measured it at 1 gallon, minus 1/2 cup.
    This sucker wont need refilling nearly as often.
    Later,
    TiM
     

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