Brutus: The CB550F Cafe/Gravel Runner Build

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by JB2, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    The Tiny Techs worked a good long day in the shop today. :wings

    Probably only took 8 times as long working with them as opposed to working by myself. :snore
    But where's the fun in that! :beer
    #61
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  2. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    JagLite, I noticed the Techs were busy. I'm digging the new redhead! :D
    #62
  3. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    Okay, so it's been hit and miss so far as shop time goes over this holiday week and weekend. Last weekend I boxed up the fenders, chain guard, and other bits and headed to Kip's to blast them.

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    This was my first time using glass beads. I've used silica, black beauty and even walnut shells once but never glass beads. I have to say that I really like the profile the glass bead leaves. Unless you're sanding to make it extra smooth you can paint right over it after a good cleaning. This is the air-cleaner cover. Since it shows with the seat up I did run 80 grit over it before painting. It's nice to paint over clean white metal. No, that is not a sock-puppet holding the cover. Tip of the day; Use your old socks for disposable gloves. I'm almost Polish and I wear athletic socks exclusively. :lol3 The great thing is once they're taken out of service I use them for handling clean metal and they work great turned inside-out as polishing rags.

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    And here's the battery box with a coat of etch primer.

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    And here's the three pieces painted after two days of drying, ready to go back on the bike. These pieces required nothing but blasting and painting so I painted them the evening I got home from Kip's. The other pieces all require welding and filling before they are ready to paint. I'll post those separately when they are nearer completion. Also note a new bag of side cover grommets. I've been replacing all the hardware and rubber bits as I go through each assembly on the bike. When next winter comes along and I'm rebuilding the motor and painting the frame it should be like taking a year-old bike apart.

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    Between opening gifts with our daughter and granddaughters and son-in-law and all the meals and them saying overnight I did manage to get out in the shop even if just for minutes at a time. The Brutus project scored big, BTW. There was a set of new Maier side covers, a set of OEM mirrors, a chain and sprocket set and most importantly an owner's manual and shop manual. I normally start a project with a these two items first. However, since the first stage hasn't revolved around things you'd find in a book I jumped into it without them. Now that the fabrication part is winding down I'll be getting into the mechanical restoration of the bike and will need them. Thanks dear. :feelgood:raabia

    So Brutus also gets permanently adopted into the family with the addition of his very own Battery Tender leads. In this photo I have reassembled the air-cleaner, wiring and battery-box. I'm waiting on a new battery strap and some other parts like a new Uni air-filter and tune-up parts.

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    Out with the old and in with the new. The new Maier side covers are made of a more flexible plastic and are thicker than the brittle factory pieces. The ones that came on the bike are cracked all over and I'm surprised they've lasted through all the mocking-up. Now they are retired. Taps please.

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    And with new Maier side cover installed it also gives a clue to what the finished bike will look like. I'm painting the side covers black to emulate the oil-tank on a pre-unit British bike. They will have gold "Super Sport" scripts added after paint.
    You can see the Battery Tender is blinking green, that means it is 80% charged after only 45 minutes of being hooked up. It's awful tempting to go riding... :lobby

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    And here's the left side. Note the new shock hardware. I have this thing about rusty, damaged, mis-matched and wrong hardware. From first glance I want this to look like a factory, one-off custom... at least from 20ft anyway. :D

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    The coming week and New Year's weekend will see a lot of effort being placed into welding and finishing the fenders, smoothing out the chain-guard and prepping the new side-covers.. I'll post a series on each unit when they get to the "ready-to-paint" stage. Maybe next Sunday.

    Stay tuned.
    #63
  4. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    Hmmmmmm....

    Sock puppets building a custom bike...

    I see possibilities there :hmmmmm

    Great suggestion for old sock use!

    I'm with you for having the correct bolts, nuts, and hardware in excellent condition.
    Little things like that are often only noticed subconsciously at first but they can make a huge difference in the overall feeling we have when looking at a bike.
    Like new tires. It amazes me what a difference looking at a bike with fresh tires on it compared to a bike with older tires... even if the older ones have zero miles on them.
    I noticed that yesterday when a new rear knobby arrived and I put it next to the new knobby I got for the Rickman several years ago that has not been used.
    Tire shine and treatments just don't bring back that "new" black.

    I wonder what the car concourse show people use on their old tires?

    Brutus is looking great! :wings
    #64
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  5. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    Jag, Thanks. Been using the sock trick since I was a kid painting bicycles. Regarding hardware; I have seen on several occasions bikes that were drop dead gorgeous from 25' but had really crappy hardware or a sloppy wiring job. The details count. Same on the tires. I can't wait to lace up some new rims and shod them with some good tires and brakes. At that stage of the build it will be almost Spring and closer to being able to ride it. :thumb
    #65
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  6. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    To finish up the weekend I prepped the fenders and chain guard for a coat of etch primer to the underside of each piece. The CRC Brake Cleaner I'm using to flush sand and oil residue from the seams of the overlapping parts. Eastwood also sells a product that works equally well. I think it is called "First Clean". I spray directly into the seam all around each brace. While the cleaner is still wet I air-blow the hell out of it. I usually have to repeat the process three or four times to get a clean report and then do it one more time just for good measure. This is the first go around on the rear fender. You can see the crap running out from under the brace.

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    The reason I'm priming the undersides is because everything is now raw, white metal. If I touch the underside during the finishing it is guaranteed to rust. I have that effect on metal. :D What I'm doing here is marking the new reinforcement for the rear fender. I want primer in areas that will be exposed but not where I'm going to weld. Etch primer will contaminate the weld so I'm taping that area off.

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    Taped off, ready to prime.

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    Same for the from fender.

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    Prime and untaped the rear...

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    ... then the front.

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    The chain guard didn't require any welding before doing the finish work so it got primed on the underside entirely.

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    Where the new fender braces are being installed it will be two pieces of bare, white metal together. Common sense says it's a quick rust-out in the making and that conclusion would be correct. In the collision trades we use a copper based, weld-through primer to recreate the factory corrosion protection. I'll be using it during the assembly of both fenders. Hopefully the sheet metal will last another 40 years when it is all done. :thumb

    Everything is almost ready to start welding again. Stay tuned.
    #66
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  7. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    Fantastic instructional build pictures. :clap
    Most of us just hack and weld, then spray bomb the parts without knowing about the how and why of proper prep. :dunno
    Thanks for teaching me how to do it right... next time! :gdog
    #67
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  8. Wildebeest90210

    Wildebeest90210 Long timer Supporter

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    Of course JB2 could have used the Nickel town customs seat loop kit as recommended by Ichiban moto for an adjustable solution.

    #68
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  9. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    Man, I should have taken the quick course before I did all the fitting and welding! :doh

    Wildebeast, keep an eye on me before I make another mistake! :thumb

    Subscribed! :lol3
    #69
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  10. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    I've been following Ichi from the beginning and enjoying the humor immensely.

    My favorite is his take on the typical custom bike builder's shop video:

    #70
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  11. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    So the New Year's weekend came and went. There was a lot of activity and the weather turned really cold so not much progress on the Brutus project. This coming weekend is supposed to be in the 40's on Saturday. With a little auxiliary heat I can finally get some welding done. I got a package from 4into1 on Saturday and it contained a few needed items to return it to a running motorcycle like an air-filter, a battery strap and some battery vent tubing. More tune-up and maintenance items are also coming but this buttons up the electrics thus far. I know this part of any project is akin to brushing your teeth or shaving but hey... at least I something done. :D

    Ditching the old and probably stock air-cleaner...

    [​IMG]

    ... for a new UNI filter. My first UNI. Always had K&N's but thought I'd try one. They don't tell you that they don't come oiled nor is the filter packaged with even a one-time-use portion of oil. SHEESH. Order oil.

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    I buttoned up the rest of this by adding the battery vent tube, a new battery strap and a releasable clamp for the Battery Tender lead. The lead tucks in nicely in the pocket behind the battery and is completely hid with the side cover on. Damn that frame needs painted. Next year... next year.

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    I did spray the weld through primer on the fender bits that will be welded soon. This is the product. Almost any welding supply or automotive store sells a similar product. They also make one that's almost all zinc and it's aluminum in color... it sucks. The copper enriched version actually works well and is weld friendly.

    [​IMG]

    I taped off the fenders in the area left bare after spraying the etch primer. The only areas getting this copper coating are where two pieces of bare metal will be sandwiched together. It may seem like a lot of fuss but it is your only chance against corrosion.

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    The first thing I'll do is button or plug weld the sleeve into the fender. Here it is clamped up.

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    I would have liked to set up some heat and finished welding last weekend but other things going on prevented it, plus is was bone chilling cold. Waylongway might enjoy my cold shop. :lol3 Heat next year for sure. Welding next weekend... fingers crossed. :thumb
    #71
  12. nuggets

    nuggets It's all my fault...

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    I like it! Good update. :thumb
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  13. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    Another cool event happened over the weekend. It was a visit down memory lane for me and an exchange of ideas with Makr. He mentioned doing the bodywork on his Beemer project in glass. A few e-mails later and we took an hour on New Year's/Friday afternoon for a live conversation. I have worked on a few Bonneville projects and they all involved fiberglass design and... uh... dare I say fabricating? :D After talking to him and reviewing his project I don't think the way I built the Ophir Warrior will work for him. He's already working with foam for a buck station and I'm not sure if anything we talked about will help him. I do admire the "I want to learn how to do it and do it myself" attitude of almost everyone here and Makr has that spirit in spades.

    I had to build the bodywork for the Ophir Warrior without foam per the owner's request. Plus we were incorporating a stock front fairing and a 'Busa tail section. This build is posted on my website but is currently not live. JB3 is refitting my old website templates to work in Word Press. Eventually it will all be back up but in the meantime I'll share a few pics of that build. I shared a lot more with Makr but I don't want to stray far from the Brutus project or ruffle the feathers of Wildebeast. I'm like him in the regards that I want to see stuff that is happening now... so I'll keep it short.

    The Ophir Warrior started life as an '05 GSXR1000 that has been raked, stretched, lowered and turboed. None of the stock panels fit after the rake job. The owner had already mounted gauges and electrics on the dash pod. Raking the dash pod was out of the question. Working in foam around the finished motor was a no-no. So filling in the gaps with new bodywork was a lesson in thinking outside the box. I also had to make the bodywork one time. There was not enough time to make a mold and then mold a part. Time said I had one shot to make the bodywork. That's it. Here's what I started with.

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    I ended up making wire forms out of 1/4' steel rod. The forms could then be removed from the bike for laminating keeping all the crap off and out of the mechanicals.

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    As an added bonus the owner provided an aftermarket 'Busa tail section. Probably an Aritech piece. The only thing I used from the tail piece was the hump. Here's some of the laminating in process.

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    Here it is at about 75% completion. The foot wells and belly strip are still to be formed in this photo.

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    There is a seam between the tail section and the side fairings. As you can see I like things very tight.

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    There were some awful close tolerances to deal with. Also note the thickness of the glass. You can't run flimsy glass at Bonneville. Ask anyone who has. :lol3

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    But in the end everything came together very well.

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    As fate would have it he never made it back to Bonneville... yet. An engine failure and his wife passing away pretty much put the Ophir Warrior in mothballs. I can only hope that one day Paul decides to run again. When he does I will be there with him.

    [​IMG]


    Makr, I sure enjoyed the phone call and reliving the spirit of the people who show up at the salt flats. You are one of them. I also admire your craftsmanship and look forward to seeing the Alpha finished.

    Okay, enough reminiscing. No more blasts from the past I promise, only more Brutus! :thumb
    #73
  14. nuggets

    nuggets It's all my fault...

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    Even better. :bow
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  15. DRjoe

    DRjoe Long timer

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    Cool
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  16. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    Beautiful bodywork!
    I hate working with glass but it is a good way to make things.
    It is not at all easy or quick to make it look good and be strong.
    You did great! :clap
    #76
  17. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    JagLite, Thanks. It's not that I mind working in glass. It can be a lot of fun to design and create. Strength comes in layers so that's easy to achieve. The negative side is the one everyone else remembers after they've worked in glass... the itching. A couple things I've learned over the years. First, when you're dusting yourself off with the air-blower direct the air off the skin not into the skin. Second, take a shower when you're done but jump in with the water on ice cold. After you rinse off turn up the heat. Maybe I'm just conditioned but using these two simple tricks I've got over the stigma of working in glass. Another thing I've done when possible is to work outside while shaping and sanding. Keeps the crap out of the shop. I like a clean shop. :thumb

    Nuggets and Drjoe, Thanks, this project was one of my favorites because it contained so many challenges. Some of those were apparent when we started and many others cropped up during the process.
    #77
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  18. DiggerD

    DiggerD DougFir from SuperDuke Days

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    JB2..thanks for your post...don't want to hijack too much.....but on the GSXR glass body work you made....did you start with sheet stock over the steel rod frame?
    I don't even know if there is sheet stock in fiber glass...as in flat, hard sheet, not just flexi cloth with out resin, if you follow that. I guess I could look in McMaster-Carr...
    I like the frame work idea...just not sure how you did the rest of the glass work.
    Any good sources of how to make a fairing like this?
    Playing with an idea of a rally fairing for my XRR...sometimes I rather build myself than buy $$$$.
    The side panels can be made from a sheet stock...well, that is what I am thinking.

    I have a fiber glass fairing on my KTM 08 990 SuperDuke from Hot Bodies that I picked up on E-Bay for $150....Lite and it has held up well. I can pick it up with one little finger. It was made as race glass, and I had to make a head light support and frame work to support it all. Fun project. Very pleased with result.
    #78
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  19. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    DiggerD, no problem on the hijack... it's all bike building right? :D I used sheet aluminum(like they use to wrap windows and door frames on residential construction) to cover the form before laminating the glass. The aluminum sheeting is easy to form, readily available and fairly cheap. Let me see if I can add you on the conversation I had with Makr. If not I'll send some pics from home this evening. You're right though; the glass did not go directly on the form.


    ***UPDATE*** DiggerD I was able to add you to the conversation so give it a look over and see if it answers your questions.
    #79
  20. DiggerD

    DiggerD DougFir from SuperDuke Days

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    Thanks for the adder to conversion JB2. Have always wanted to work with laying some fiberglass. I got a little in with my SuperDuke fairing. Even used some kitty fur so I know what that is. Bondo with fiber strands to give a more ridged body to a patch. The race glass body was, well race glass and built to race, not look at. A buddy of mine was a body man and supplied me with material and guidance. He kept on saying "You are not done yet." I did not think I could have got it looking as good as it came out. Sure is nice to see real quality craftsman ship.
    #80
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