Old dog learns new trick...Welding!

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle Welding, Fabrication and Paintin' started by silverbear, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

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    This tank is going to be nuke proof!
    I wish I had such a skilled tutor as Dan helping me out with the fabrication. He certainly is a master of the craft! Sorry to see that he cut himself. It is all to easy to do when working with sheet metal. At times it is sorta like juggling razor blades.

    Don't forget to cut holes or slots in the tops of the inner supports to allow easy air venting between the "chambers", or else they won't fill and drain easily.

    Thank you for the update!
     
  2. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Gearnut,
    We had given some thought to the supports cutting off fuel and air movement within the tank and figured their being just tack welded at the corners would allow free flow. But why not cut slits from above for peace of mind? Now's the time, so I think I'll go ahead and do that.

    I should also mention that Dan is not real experienced at making gas tanks. He made his first one for his stretch Worksman cruiser out of steel, winging it as he went. It's a nice tank.

    Then a year ago he was kind enough to help me with making a tin gas tank for a cantilever Schwinn, again figuring out how to do it as he made it. We made a couple more of those and then a copper version. It was a great learning experience for me.

    A whole different can of worms got opened up with the copper gas tank we (he and his old helper) made for my Indian Hiawatha earlier this winter.

    And now this. Each type of tank has been made differently in accord with the shape of the tank and the materials used in making it. Dan would be the last person to say that the way he makes something is the way someone else should. I'm sure that others making a tank similar to this steel one for the Panther did things differently and ended up with good looking serviceable tanks... people who have made a lot of them and are far more experienced in working with steel and welding in general. And he would never call himself a welder. He's a tinsmith and a good one, but the skills a person picks up in one craft can often be translated to some degree into another. My own experience in soldering many stained glass windows helped prepare me for soldering up a tin gas tank, even though the materials were different.

    Along with his general experience, Dan likes to make things well and do it once to be done with it, even if things don't always work out that way. In spite of his being a quiet, private kind of guy, he has permitted me to take pictures and be a kind of reporter in his shop.

    If I could it would be great fun to spend a day with other craftsmen here on the forum, taking pictures and reporting on what they're doing. Guys like Sportscarpat, 2door, Gnu, Canonball2, WayneZ, BarelyAWake, Bairdco, msrfan, Mr. B. and so many other bright lights here on our forum. If you ever get a chance to hang out a bit with one of these guys while they are making something, bring your camera along and share with the rest of us.
    SB
     
  3. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    No shop session this week at Tinsmith's as we went to the Design Logic race in northern Maryland today, but i do have a little bit of progress to report and some photos to share.

    A new found pleasure is in being able to weld something up if I need to. Following some ideas from WayneZ I made up my own exhaust manifold for my predator engine. I cut, drilled and ground to shape a piece from plate steel to bolt to the engine and to it welded a 3/4" pipe street elbow and to it welded a conduit union. The exhaust pipe is not shown in the photos, but is a section of conduit bent to shape. Works great and I think gives more power than the flex pipe I was using.
    (cont.)
    SB
     

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  4. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Before our next shop session we need to determine where the bung will be located, the fuel outlet and where the hangers for the tank will go. We taped the top piece of the tank to the rest of the tank and I set the tank into the frame to see first that it is going to fit OK and next to make these hardware decisions. The bung and outlet need to be on the same side of the tank so that it can slide into the frame. they need to go on the right side of the engine since the exhaust pipe is on the left side. If there is ever a leak from the petcock I don't want it dripping onto a hot exhaust pipe.

    Two hangers will go above and I think I'm just using copper hangers for copper water pipe. There won't be any particular weight hanging since the tank will be shimmed from underneath with harness leather. Only one hanger will go underneath midway between the upper ones.

    These are important decisions. Now holes can be made, the acorn nuts can be tack welded into place and soldered to seal them up. I'll first remove the nickle plating with a sanding drum on a rotary tool. Next week we hope to tack the top piece to the main body of the tank and then cut out and tack the bottom piece. This is going to be a great tank unless I totally screw it up welding.
    SB
     

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  5. MEASURE TWICE

    MEASURE TWICE Well-Known Member

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    That routing of the tail pipe is really out of the way snug as I see. Great!

    MT
     
  6. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Thanks MT.
    Ugly welds, but I'm pleased that it works. If anything I made it a little too snug. If you look closely you'll see that I had to trim down a couple of the cooling fins on the head as is was too cramped quarters to get a wrench in to snug down the forward nut holding the manifold to the engine. That or remove the Qmatic clutch to tighten the nut from underneath. I figured the little bit of fin sacrificed wouldn't make any difference.

    I picked up the conduit bender on ebay for five bucks with another six fifty for shipping, then another eight for a cast iron handle from the hardware store. Ten feet of 3/4" conduit was just five bucks. Makes for an inexpensive exhaust pipe. My first try at bending was good enough to use and when I do a makeover of the bike this summer I'll do another one and see if I can get a tighter bend, polish it up like 2door did with his. Learning to weld is opening up new avenues.
    SB
     
  7. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

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    You hit the nail on the head with that statement! ;)
     
  8. MEASURE TWICE

    MEASURE TWICE Well-Known Member

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    I was able to get by for the moment without the welder of mine and made an extension of the rear platform on which I had my remade jack shaft to a dual stacked jack shaft. I got all the belts on, an will eventaully weld the extension to the platform so that adjustment is easier. I can get by for the moment by adding or removing a link on the link belt for two of the longer of the three belts but not the shortest one. There I am going to temporary take a slightly larger or smaller pulley an see about adding and removing links in the belt for that one.

    A funny thing I was thinking what is that scraping sound as I tested without the pulleys on while spinning one of the jack shafts. I had not changed anything I thought. Then I saw the set screw for one of the pulleys I had temporarily loosened to line up the pulleys and saw the end of the set screw hitting a bolt holding the pillow bearing holder. I shortened the bolts with my dremel tool, but as you can see I have some small room for things to fit.

    Got 44:1 ratio for parade speed and once I make a cover to protect from the fast moving 10 inch pulley on the top jack shaft I will start it up again and see how much quicker I can get the clutch fulley enguaged at the 2200 rpm. 8:1 was not good as 2200 was trying to get 20 mph and heated the clutch.

    Should be around 4 mph and max at around 6 mph with the 44:1 ratio. Gonna hafta see about my balance at slow speed and a fish covering for the bike. There is one aspect will have to see as the 10 inch pulley on the top jack shaft will turn between 440 and 700 rpm theorethically. I may limit the throttle to only allow 4mph at the 2200 rpm if it seems to crazy. Then I can't get a speeding ticket! The gyro effect of the big pulley moving fast may help keep the bike upright while riding slow, I hope it does not hinder.

    Later experiment with a dirt bike ratio in the 25:1 range

    MT
     
    #68 MEASURE TWICE, Apr 17, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  9. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Yesterday we made good progress on the gas tank in the Tinsmith's shop. First up I tack welded the nickle plated acorn nuts to the inside surface of the top piece to serve as anchors for the tank hanger bolts. All had been sanded down the remove the nickle plating on the bottom part of the nuts so they will better accept solder later on when we seal them up. Each nut got one zzzttt on opposing sides, so two tacks per nut. I was off a bit on one of them, welding too high up onto the crown which is very thin we discovered... and blew right through it. So that one got cut off, ground down and another nut tacked into place more carefully.

    Next we began the process of tacking the top piece to the sides. Dan tacked the first bit at the tail end where it curls under the rear of the tank. Then we clamped it down midway to draw the parts together.
    (cont.)
    SB
     

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  10. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    So now it was a matter of tacking, making little zzzttts a half inch or so apart from each other and moving the clamp to hold things tight as needed. At one point I was making zzzzzttttts, lingering too long and just giving myself more to grind down later on. Dan set me straight and I returned to neater little zzzttts. Now the top is firmly anchored to the sides. Later on when the whole tank is together I will need to weld each seam so that it is leak proof, or at least as close as I can come to that. It is the goal, to not need a tank sealer inside, even though I'll likely need to use it.
    (cont.)
    SB
     

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  11. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

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    Looking good, silverbear! I know that you are having fun with this one. I bet you are thinking up many other projects that need your new found skills to complete.
     
  12. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    You're going to be so proud (justifiably so) of that tank when it's finished. Keep the progress photos coming.

    Tom
     
  13. Venice Motor Bikes

    Venice Motor Bikes Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles

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    It's looking great! (& I agree with Tom)... That thing should be able to stop bullets! ;)
     
  14. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Thanks you guys. Yes, I'm very pleased with how the tank is coming along. I'm learning a lot from Dan about metal work in general. He's been a good friend and a fine teacher. Last night a storm interrupted the internet so here's the rest of the update.

    Next up we started on the bottom piece by doing the bend at the front underside of the tank. Dan achieved a more gradual bend instead of a sharp one by clamping down a section of pipe at the bend. This way the bend will conform to the shape of the tank. Clever, and I will remember that. With that bend accomplished we set the tank on top and inscribed a cutting line. Dan did the cuts with tin snips, right on the money. A powerful grip is needed to do it this way. With some checking for fit, the bottom piece is now ready to be drilled for hanger mounting holes and the petcock. Next week we'll get the acorn nuts tacked in place, solder them to seal them up, solder the petcock fitting and then tack weld the bottom to the rest of the tank.

    In the mean time I will finish out the hole for the bung and grind out the tack welds smooth to the tank surface.
    (cont.)
    SB
     

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  15. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Using a sanding flap disc on the side grinder I ground the tack welds smooth. In the second photo you can see the gaps between the tacks. When I weld the tank up to complete it, each gap must be filled and each pinhole. The tiniest hole will leak and be unacceptable. Boy, that's something to think about...

    I've included a couple pictures of the bike the tank is being made for. I wanted to show you all my second attempt at an exhaust pipe made from conduit and bent to shape with a conduit pipe bender. I like having the exhaust sound out to the rear. Another nice benefit of learning how to weld!
    SB
     

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  16. thegnu

    thegnu New Member

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    wow SB you got the right guy on the job with you ,Dan is lightyears ahead of me in his skill with metal .that tank is bomb proof now my question are those baffles I see in there?
    Gary
     
  17. culvercityclassic

    culvercityclassic Well-Known Member

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    The tank looks great SB...You guys keep up the great work and the informative post as it helps us all to understand the process and what it takes to build a fine tank like yours.
     
  18. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    SB,
    I'm sure Dan knows this and will pass it on but, when you start to 'connect the dots, the tack welds, you'll want to start on the weld and overlap each one just a little. Alternate from side to side on the tank to reduce the possibility of warping the sheetmetal.
    Good luck. Keep those photos coming.
    Tom
     
  19. fasteddy

    fasteddy Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Just goes to show you that when the right student and teacher get to gether great things happen.
    I can see many trips to L&M Fleet Supply this summer to replenish welding supplies.

    This will be the summer of the welder. Well done Gentlemen.

    Steve
     
  20. tooljunkie

    tooljunkie Member

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    i read when babbit was being poured (molten metal similar to solder)painting on a coat of liquid paper(correction fluid) prevents the molten stuff from sticking to the removeable part.the acorns wont fill with solder if bolt is in it.
    i think this would work with solder.
    when welding,i sometimes have a difficult time with position,i use my tee stand which is height adjustable,to prop my arm on.its amazing how much it helps.i put one foot on the stand to keep it from tipping out from under me.
    my 15 year old electronic welding helmet was about 250.00 to buy.its junk compared to the 49.00 dollar helmet i just bought.the speed it switches is the thing to look for.you just need to compare a few.
    for a few years,i used straight C02 for mig welding,1/2 the price of argon/C02 blends.

    nice work,its great to have a friend with the skills to pass on.my compliments to the both of you.
    i have been trying for years to teach my uninterested son to weld.
    i recently bought a lathe,a little smaller than the one mentioned earlier,teacing myself to machine the odd part.
    its at best -6 feet long.perfect for small,one off stuff.
     

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