Sunday, August 13, 2017

I spent some time working on the front caliper carriers for my Jetta.  These are Girling 60 dual piston brake caliper carriers.  They're steel, which takes some time to polish up.  The plan is to powder coat these satin black, but I wanted them to be smooth first.

I've finished one so far, here is a comparison with the original piece!

Next I'm going to work on the front calipers.  Here is a picture before any work... they're pretty rough!

Lots of sanding left to do!

Monday, July 31, 2017

A quick note: This is my first post using images directly uploaded to Blogger.  Photobucket has changed their 3rd party image hosting permissions, so I'm going to give this a shot until I figure out a long-term solution.

New Tools!  I picked up a small bearing separator to complete my set, and also picked up an 11/32" combination wrench to complete my wrench set.

I picked up another project for Fort Pitt Classic Cars.  This one is a dashboard panel for a '55 Studebaker pickup they're working on.  The owner wanted these holes filled in, which were previously used for a radio.

I started by tapping it flat and cutting filler pieces for the round holes. I tried to get a really tight fit to reduce warping after welding.

After a bit of sanding, hammering, and filing, this was the result!

Hole #2

And now the hard part.  I had to blend the beads, but didn't have a form to exactly match.  Rather than cut out a larger area and blend in the flat sections, I just decided to match half of the bead and blend right at the peak where the existing hole was.

This was the first attempt, I was not happy with it.  I wanted the lines to match perfectly, and this wasn't it.

I also had to re-think my bead rolling.  I wanted to get laser straight lines, so I clamped a guide to the workpiece.  I could have used a fence, but with this small of a workpiece it could still wobble. 

The 9th piece was perfect!!


Before tack welding it in place, I clamped up a bunch of chill plates to keep it as straight as possible.

All of the welding was done with the part thoroughly clamped as well.

I kept the beads small so they would be easier to hammer back into position after warping and shrinking.

After many hours of sanding, hammering, and filing... it started to take shape!  You can still see a ghost of the seams because the welds have a slightly different harness and don't polish the same as the base metal, but it's pretty damn flat and straight.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

New tools! I visited Snap-on Dan for the first time in many months.  I picked up my first ratcheting screwdriver, it seems like everybody loves these but I've never owned one.   I also picked up another chisel holder for my work toolbox.  The engineer's hammer belonged to my late grandfather, I just transferred it from my apartment to my work toolbox.

This is the primary reason I tracked down the Snap-on man.  They recently released these triple-row socket trays, which have a center row for mid-length sockets.

Previously, I had my last row of 3/8" drive sockets (12pt metric deep) on a standard plastic clip rail, which makes them harder to remove.  I also had my mid-length sockets on a deep row of a standard Hansen tray.

First step: cut off the pegs I don't plan to use.  I don't own any 6mm, 7mm, or 20mm sockets in 3/8" drive and don't plan on buying any.

Successful reorganization.  Now I have my entire 3/8" drive metric socket collection in one organized brick - low profile, swivel, 6pt shallow, 6pt mid length, 6pt deep, 12pt shallow, and 12pt deep.

I visited my grandmother for her birthday, and picked up a few more items from my grandfather's collection.  I found this whole box of vintage motor bearings!  I haven't gone through everything in detail yet, but the few I opened were still in great shape and wrapped in the original VCI paper.

I also found this cool old 115v motor.  I'm not sure what I will use it for, but it could come in handy someday.

And also this gigantic sledgehammer head.  I need to re-handle it, then it will be ready to smash.

To update my last post, the cornhole boards are all painted and ready to party!  My friend Susan did the finish and paint work.

And finally, some more work on the Jetta!  I'm still plugging away polishing my front caliper carriers.  This is pretty time consuming, and takes forever when I can only allocate 2 hours/week to actually work on them.  I really enjoy these little details though, getting everything just right no matter how far hidden it will be on the finished car.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

I picked up another mini project with Fort Pitt Classic Cars and knocked it out over the weekend.

They asked me to take a look at some 4-link brackets on a custom Comet they're working on, and I couldn't help but notice this spliced lower link bar.  I'm not sure who did the splice, it may have been the customer, but I did not like it.  They did a good job welding and keeping it straight, but two splices in a link bar is never a good idea.  In addition, the center section is thinner wall tubing, which exaggerates the sketchiness.

This is a custom project and they're adapting an off-the-shelf 4-link kit.  They asked me to shorten the upper links and panhard bar, which were both straightforward chop and thread operations in the lathe.

Next I had to completely re-make the lower link bars.  To notch the tubing, I mounted a holesaw in my lathe.  I actually used the drop from the panhard bar, which was already threaded 5/8-18, to make a nice stiff mount for the hole saw in the chuck.

Not the best pictures, but you get the idea.

I faced and tapped the opposite end of each lower link bar 3/4-16 to match the threaded Heidts ends.

I didn't snap any action shots, but I also made the bushing ends.  This is all carbon steel A513 DOM tubing, 1" x 0.156" wall for the bars and 1-3/8" x 0.120 wall for the eyes just like the original Heidts pieces.

Jigged up for welding

Tacked.  I decided to let the professionals handle the TIG welding.  I also machined an aluminum plug to keep it round during the weld operation.

The man himself - Bill Lewis.  He's been handling all of my critical TIG welding for years and does a fantastic job.  Generally I have him weld anything structural, anything that must be sealed, or anything that will be very visible.

As I was waiting for the welds to cool, I noticed this little candy dish of gas cups. The dish itself is an aluminum spinning for a production job he was working on.

Welded up.

I didn't have time to wait for the second piece to cool, so I wrapped it in a leather glove for the drive home!


Here is a closeup of my ends vs. the unmodified Heidts ends on the upper link bars.

And here are the modified lower link bars, which won't be used.


In totally unrelated news, though potentially worthy of a brief Wrinklered moment, I made a set of cornhole boards with some friends last weekend.

Fro and I gathered up some lumber - I helped him unload, and he helped me unload.

And we both used my truck.

I've made cornhole boards in the past, and I have never been happy with the hole.  I'm pretty good with the jigsaw, but I have unreasonably high standards.  This time I decided to do things a bit differently.  I turned this 6.00" diameter steel guide on my lathe.

Then I roughed out the hole using a jigsaw so the router bit wouldn't be loaded as heavily and bolted my template to the bottom.

After a quick trim with a bearing-guided trimming bit in my router, I ended up with a perfect 6" diameter hole in the board!


Fro also had some success.  I didn't help him at all, but his workbench turned out great.

So after all of this, I actually managed to make a minuscule amount of progress on the Jetta.  I started sanding the texture out of my Girling 60 front caliper mounting brackets.

Here you can see that the original forged piece isn't finished very nicely.

Still very rough, but getting there!

Hopefully more progress soon!