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Old 01-29-2013, 05:09 PM   #16
killfile OP
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Originally Posted by dorkpunch View Post
So I'm going through something similar right now and would LOOOOVEEE to see pics of the actual build process. Can you give me more specific info as to what tools you are using? How thick is the aluminum and what alloy? I'm using 20g 5052, which I'm betting is a lot stiffer than what you guys are using... Also would love to know what TIG welder you're using and what you have it set to. I have no idea what I'm doing. Can you tell?
Sorry, hijack off... I just really wish there was a school around here to show me how to do this stuff! Build looks incredible so far!
Not a hijack at all. Love the form that you are going for, but I it looks like you are having difficulty bending those edges down? Might be best started with a hammer and mallet, or a slap hammer and a fixed peening edge? What does the back of the tail look like, is it open or a closed surface?

I'll need to double check this, but if memory serves, 3003 is the best aluminum to work with. It's quite soft and easily manipulated. We aren't using 3003 however, we would have loved to, but we are working with some inexpensive scraps that Nemo acquired. I believe they are from the Raygun Gothic Rocketship. A very cool project if you haven't seen it: http://www.raygungothicrocket.com.

So What we have been using here, I believe is 1100. It's harder to work and annealing the metal does give it more flexibility, which we have been doing. I'll see if I can offer you any more action shots. We also aren't 100% sure of the weight gauge, as the sheets tended to vary. We used the stiffer pieces for the base, which involved less hand shaping and more bending on the break.

I'll also see if Nemo can offer up the name of his TIG machine. I'm horrible at welding, and feel that that is honestly one of the toughest parts here. Griding off a bad weld and rewelding is a huge pain, where reshaping the metal with the hammer is much more doable. I was taught to weld this up using low line pressure oxygen-hydrogen gas. I've gotten a lot of funny looks from knowledgable welders who have said there is "no such thing". It's a pretty amazing process, and I can dig up more info on this if you are interested, but I haven't a single item on this bike. Nemo is a BEAST at welding.

I've got another update ready for ya:

So it's Nemo's shop, and occasionally I show up a little early and have to wait for him. This was the case when he rolled up and snapped this picture. He'd had a long night and I was eager to get into the shop, so I beat him in by about 30 minutes and set myself to as a mobile office to get a little of my own work done before was started hammering and wrenching.



So after tossing the last tank in the rubbish, we decided to start anew, and to do so with multiple pieces, trying to keep the flat portions of each surface and turning down the edges to join. Here I am holding down 4 pieces in place that we have just finished tack welding to check. The difficulty, of course, is the flexibility of chipboard is much more that you can get with the aluminum and many of these pieces put a tremendous amount of pressure on each other. Just holding the pieces for welding was a challenge!



Side shot of the same pieces, roughly tacked up. The bottom of the tank sweeps in to avoid the cylinders, and the tank managed to keep the original lines and hard edges intermingled with the curvaceous form. So far this is looking a LOT better than the flying burrito tank.



Here's an overall shot of the bike at the end of the day. The amount of effort required to hold the pieces in place for welding made the task last a lot longer, and you can see the evening light coming in above at the top of the shop doors. We were pretty happy with this point in time, as the bike was really starting to look like something neither of has had seen before, while still echoing the functionalist elements we had hoped for.



You can also see Nemo's TIG set up on the far table. The welding torch hangs over the table with some pulleys, making life a little easier.

I also love the fact that the bicycle Nemo built is at the top of the image as well. Its made from all found objects, as are all his previous works before this motorcycle. It's also custom tailored to his frame, so you've got to be 6'+ to even been able to ride it. That pretty good theft prevention in and of itself!
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:14 PM   #17
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Thanks for the info! I've heard of oxy-hydrogen welding, in fact my Grandma used it during WWII when she worked building airplane fuel tanks. I've never tried it though... I've been practicing using a TIG welder I scrounged up and I'm getting better but nothing compared to what it looks like you guys have going there.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:51 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by dorkpunch View Post
Thanks for the info! I've heard of oxy-hydrogen welding, in fact my Grandma used it during WWII when she worked building airplane fuel tanks. I've never tried it though... I've been practicing using a TIG welder I scrounged up and I'm getting better but nothing compared to what it looks like you guys have going there.
That's a fantastic history, you should definitely make some time to practice the oxy-hydro welding given that you've already got it in your blood.

Nemo got back to me and i was correct about the aluminun being 1100, actually it was 1100 - H14 .063" thick. As I mentioned it was the scrap from the Gothic Raygun Rocketship that now sits on the Embarcadero. He also mentioned that his TIG is a Miller Dynasty 200.

Here is a picture of the Raygun Rocketship:
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:29 PM   #19
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Not really an update this time, but....

As I've hinted at before, the project is actually finished, I'm just now getting around to posting the steps it took to get there. Nemo, and some of the other artists that share space in the building, are having an open studio show on Saturday February 9th, 6:00 - 10:00pm. If you're in the Bay Area, come check out the finished bike at 305 Center Street in Oakland.

Detail shot teaser of the finished bike:


Here is more info:
http://www.facebook.com/events/316986335080118/

"Open Studio, February 9th
Tired of having all of your art experiences online? Come to Lost & Foundry Studios open house on Saturday, February 9th from 6-10pm to see the works and workspaces of Jeremy Mayer, Nemo Gould, Alan Rorie, and Christopher Palmer.
You can find us at 305 Center Street in Oakland CA (half a block from West Oakland BART). Jeremy has just finished a portrait bust, Nemo has a few new pieces which include a custom rebuilt motorcycle, Alan's got a brilliant Kickstarter project going, and CTP is, as usual, bemusing us all with his brilliance.
Dress in your best warehouse-appropriate attire and come check out what we're up to."

http://www.jeremymayer.com/
http://www.nemogould.com/
http://www.hero-design.com/
http://www.almostscientific.com/
http://ctpdesign.com/

and my favorite part, a little flyer one of them threw together about Nemo's shopcat, Ingot:
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:36 PM   #20
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Very Nice! I wish I had the skills to do aluminum like that. Nice work.

Im local, so if I can, I'll try to make it up there.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:59 PM   #21
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I would love to learn to work ally like that.
Does anyone know of any good books about it?
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:27 PM   #22
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Nice work!

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Old 02-03-2013, 07:33 PM   #23
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I would love to learn to work ally like that.
Does anyone know of any good books about it?
Author Timothy Remus has several that are pretty good. This is the advanced one

There's also a more basic one as well as Ultimate Sheet Metal Fabrication.

I'm just getting started down this path. I don't think any book is as good as shop time beating metal. The seminars by the Gods like Evan Wilcox or Ron Covell are supposed to be really worth the time and money. Maybe someday...
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:15 PM   #24
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Author Timothy Remus has several that are pretty good. This is the advanced one

There's also a more basic one as well as Ultimate Sheet Metal Fabrication.

I'm just getting started down this path. I don't think any book is as good as shop time beating metal. The seminars by the Gods like Evan Wilcox or Ron Covell are supposed to really worth the time and money. Maybe someday...
I'll have to look that book over, thanks for the link.

I took Wilcox's class and he mentioned numerous times that he simply started doing it when he himself started. He didn't take a class, he just tried and tried and practiced and practiced. He then started looking, quite carefully, at all the tanks he could get his hands on. He likens this experience to the same way that classical painters learned their craft. I'll say that his class was fantastic, for a variety of reasons, but the practice and experience are far more important. I would take his class again, if given an opportunity.

Nemo, who's skills far far far outweigh mine in this respect, has taken no classes. He's simply perused the videos on Youtube and tried a lot of the techniques he has seen others use. Over the course of building the bike, and building many of the components multiple times, he was able to get a much better sense for the techniques that work well for him, which are a range of techniques from the videos he has watched. Many of them (mostly the stretcher and shrinker) are not methods I believe he'll use in the future.

I think the biggest things to consider are:
a) this is really time consuming
b) you can almost always rework the metal more.

Knowing this, you might spend a few whole days making something, but you'll be getting better from the experience and you can probably make the next one 2x or 3x faster. Smoothing out the metal with the english wheel and getting a super smooth surface really seams to be quite time consuming, and is usually the second to last phase.

If you're thinking about trying it, I suggest starting with a simple front fender. Take a long rectangle and round the two ends into a half circle each. Pound down the center with a mallet on a sand bag, and you're off to making your first piece. That's the way that both Nemo and I started doing this. You're arm will get sore, but you'll find a smile on your face as you're shaping the metal.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:11 AM   #25
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Thanks for the info and link.
I've been looking at buying some mallets and an English wheel to get started.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:00 PM   #26
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Thanks for the info and link.
I've been looking at buying some mallets and an English wheel to get started.
That's what I did last winter. Bought the sandbag with the mallets. Got a good deal on an offshore wheel where the dies alone were probably worth the price (and got free shipping). I used a TuckPuck for shrinking (which IMHO is as important as stretching). My next purchase is a hand shrinker from Eastwood.

The thing I really need to work on is the gas welding. I can't take the next steps up to seats then tanks without having it mastered. It's tough and I haven't spent enough time at it to get better than about half way good enough. The masters like the Tin Man and Ron Fournier make it look so easy that it's a piss-off.

BTW, great work on the CX, I can't wait for the unveiling. They're a tough bike to make look good IMO but I have a hunch yours is a winner.

Cheers
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:21 PM   #27
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Killfile, that's an amazing looking bike! I might have to come out this weekend just to see it!
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:44 PM   #28
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Sweet!
I've known Nemo for a while, but haven't been to his new shop more than once or twice. I think I'll stop by this weekend. Cool to see his work on a bike.

I took Evan Wilcox's class at the Crucible last November, and loved it.

Evan uses 1100 H-14 at 0.080" thickness. He welds with oxy-hydrogen, and a Victor #2 (I think) tip on a small (J-28) mixing handle. He says that 3003 works just as well, but you can't find 3003 filler rod - only 1100. So, if you're polishing your tank, use 1100 because the welded seams will look slightly different. If you are painting the seamed parts, 3003 works just as well.

Unfortunately, you get a blank stare from the metal yards if you are trying to buy 1100 H14. He buys it from Los Angeles, even though he lives in Ukiah. It is not available in the Bay Area. The only source I found was McMaster. 3003 is much easier to find.

You can weld aluminum with oxy-hydrogen or oxy-acetelyne, but hydrogen is a bit easier. To weld aluminum, you need to visit https://www.tinmantech.com/ and buy Kent's flux. It's the best flux available, and works quite well. Evan claims it's a recipe Kent found in an old Navy repair manual. Unfortunately, the flux puts off an orange flare, and you also need to buy Kent's TM2000 blue lens to weld with - and it costs $200. With a regular 3 or 5 shade lens, all you see is a white ball.

Airgas wouldn't even talk to me about a bottle of hydrogen unless I set up a commercial account.

It's not cheap to gas weld aluminum, but it's pretty damn cool. And you get to hear from lots of people that you can't gas weld aluminum, even though all the old sportscars and every WWII airplane was made that way.

Hijack off. See you Saturday.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:51 PM   #29
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Sweet!

You can weld aluminum with oxy-hydrogen or oxy-acetelyne, but hydrogen is a bit easier. To weld aluminum, you need to visit https://www.tinmantech.com/ and buy Kent's flux. It's the best flux available, and works quite well. Evan claims it's a recipe Kent found in an old Navy repair manual. Unfortunately, the flux puts off an orange flare, and you also need to buy Kent's TM2000 blue lens to weld with - and it costs $200. With a regular 3 or 5 shade lens, all you see is a white ball.
Not suggesting that Kent's stuff isn't the best, but Ron Fournier's works and is a lot more reasonably priced.

An alternative to using 1100 would be to use thin strips sheared from your base 3003 as filler rod.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:23 AM   #30
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Not suggesting that Kent's stuff isn't the best, but Ron Fournier's works and is a lot more reasonably priced.

An alternative to using 1100 would be to use thin strips sheared from your base 3003 as filler rod.
I bought all my gear long ago, and wasn't aware that Fournier was selling his own stuff now. If his glasses work, it's a much better deal than Kent's. Thanks for the updated info. Ron also sells 1100 filler rod, which is also hard to find.

I wondered about shearing 3003, but when welding aluminum, the difference between 1/16" and 3/32" is noticeable. I wonder if it's possible to shear accurately enough?

OK, this time the hijacking is off.
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