Friday, June 20, 2014

'Merica, Fuck Yeah!!

I love this gas tank!! Never new the guy who last owned it but I totally dig his choice of stickers. Unfortunately, I need a tank from this model year for my project. To get that crease out, the sticker will be destroyed. Maybe I can work it into the final paint though.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Reinventing the Wheel

I got it in my head that I wanted to try building (lacing) a motorcycle wheel.  The primary reason was because I want to powder coat a set of laced wheels to use on a project.  I absolutely hate when I see a set of wheels that were powder coated (or worse, rattle canned) while fully assembled.  To me it just looks cheap and, if you are going to cut corners like that, why even bother with powder coat.  

Aside from that, I'd also like to have the components be different colors.  Nothing too wild but maybe the rim and hub black, the nipples (uh huh, huh huh) blue or green, and the spokes left silver.  You get the idea.

I have a fair amount of experience lacing wheels.  Granted it wasn't exactly motorcycle wheels....  In a prior life (i.e. throughout high school and for a period thereafter) I used to race BMX and mountain bikes and I even worked for a few years at a bike shop (pedal, not motor).  Even though two broken collar bones, a concussion, and eventually college put and end to that chapter, it's reasonable to say I built quite a few wheel sets during that time.  I'm curious as to how those skills will translate to motorcycle wheel building.  How much different can it be, they're both round, right?

Anyway, I found a cheap wheel at a swap meet to use for the experiment.  It's a 19" front wheel off a Harley something-or-other, I don't recall, but I picked it up for $10.  It's straight, round, and in reasonable shape for the price.  The chrome isn't worth saving but I plan to powder coat it anyway.

Step one was to disassemble the wheel.  I didn't get any pics but it's pretty straight forward.  Just like the bicycle wheels I'm familiar with the hub side of the nipple has flat spots for a spoke wrench and the rim side has a slot for a flat blade screwdriver.  (From prior experience, a custom ground blade works much better than a standard flat blade screwdriver but I'll get more into that when I re-lace them.)  There were a couple of nipples stuck on the spokes but a few squirts of PB Blaster and some time for it to penetrate made short work of them.

Now on to cleaning up the pieces.  Starting with the nipples, I thought it would be easiest to use a method I from another hobby of mine: reloading.  Normally with brass cases I'm preparing, I put them in the tumbler with corn cob media for about an hour to get the really nasty stuff off. Then it's into the second tumbler with walnut shell media for another hour to give them a nice, polished shine.  

For the nipples... forget about it.  I tried both tumblers for several hours and it made little to no difference.  I'll definitely need to find a better method.


The spokes, however, were pretty easy.  I chucked them up by the threaded end in a power drill.  Then, while holding a Scotch-Brite around the spoke, turned the drill on at a modest speed.  This method worked pretty well, you just have to be careful near the hub end of the spoke as it likes to grab the Scotch-Brite and subsequently your fingers.  Seven down, 33 to go....

With the rim and hub, there's nothing interesting to post just yet. I plan to sandblast them just prior to powder coating which will be covered in a subsequent post.