Usually work the last two hours of day. Slow, but looks like the first four pieces are about ready to tack and weld. It' s gonna be a shocker when that price tag comes in. The undertank pieces will be overlapped, especially on the backbone area, double welded on opposite sides bringing the gauge to double 16 gauge and giving a double bead. Just thought of that a couple days back, why butt the joint? Not stock, probably lose capacity, won't know how much until it is filled, if ever. The welder thought the shaping was very cool, for whatever that's worth, thought it was a viable project.
IMHO, at this point, would I have done this if I had known how difficult the project? I'm very stubborn, that said, keeping track of the expense, and can report that buying a pre-manufactured tank likely would have been cheaper. And, at this point, unless you are a qualified metal shaper, welder with equipment or access to same for free, and so on, the task is very consuming. Life's a journey, always imagined riding behind a very cool one off aluminum tank, hope this is it.
Yes, from a totally rational point of view, it might make more sense to buy a tank.
I've completed a bunch of projects that ended up costing more because I did it myself, but the satisfaction is worth every penny (in most cases).
I've really been enjoying watching this project.
Looking at McMaster-Carr's site, 0.063" thick 3003 aluminum in a 24x36" sheet is $33.22. It seems a lot of mistakes and rework is possible considering the cost of materials. For me, this would be an opportunity to practice and improve my mig (GMAW) welding aluminum skills. In for a penny, in for a pound. But, that is me.
FWIW, I have about four (or six?) books on sheet metal work and (eventually) intend to make some items. Your tank tank is a challenging item, but it looks like you have a good approach. From what I have read (all book learning), a rawhide mallot is a very useful tool for sheet metal forming.
The home build aircraft types have some online information about aluminum sheetmetal forming along with the tinmantech.com website (which seems mostly about welding). There is also a metalshapers.org website, but I have not found that especially useful. However, you may. A decent torch to anneal the aluminum after working and figuring out the annealing technique is also useful. I will be following your project with interest. Good luck!
As for the cost, everything included, the planisher, the metal, wood, resin. The metal at a homecenter or hardware retail was around $10 sq. ft., online around $5, but find a local commercial metal wholesaler who will sell to the public, cost dropped to $2.90 sq. ft. COD for 40sq.ft. at the dock. The more you buy, the easier for the supplier, i.e. no cuts, the cheaper it gets. Shopping works.
I will say, everything learned thus far about this material has been a steep curve. Can't just go git aluminum and start making a tank. Just cutting it was an education. Making the buck was a long tedious task, not yet to my liking. The bottomside plug was a mystery until I remembered old plaster casting trick, alluded to by others, which I had never before tried. Those who have retired, worked with their hands their entire lives, used to making stuff, have skills, (Napoleon Dynamite) have projects to keep them busy in their twilight. Like a long ride, with a clean tank. Anticipation, a joy unto itself.
We had a visitor in my welding class the other day--a local fabricator who makes Moon-style tanks for vintage Top Fuel dragsters. He gas welds the tanks, which the sanctioning body prefers, as the weld area is more ductile and less likely to rupture in the event of an actual emergency.
He says the key to it is the right filter in the welding goggles. The right filter will show a color change in the flux at the right puddle temperature, apparently.
Not being an advanced enough welder myself, I did not inquire further. But I do want to try making a tank someday to go with my Blinged-out (alu parts) Airhead.
Haven't slowed down, only spend the late part of afternoon, and real fussy about making sure it's strong enough, have made more than a few trys at various parts which didn't make the grade. Some of drops can used on the gussets and mounting points, the rest marked up to learning and recycled.
Here's the last try at the rear bump out with no cuts. One piece better for the rear double post mount. Welder will probably tell me to take a hike. Looks like a jigsaw puzzle. Hope it works out, guess we could get some of the cream stuff if it doesn't. Like a long ride, oops, think that was a wrong turn.
898, I'm really curious.... are you "annealing" this material as you work it? It really improves the form-ability of all metals, but especially aluminum.
Put some of your "scrap" to work and give it a try.... it will take a bit of experimentation (which you obviously love) and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Here's that link again > [url]http://www.tinmantech.com/html/aluminum_alloys_continued.php[/url]
Lew, just pounding it into shape. I did heat up a piece, but then you got the problem of holding onto the hot piece, pounding on it, holding to the form, heating it some more, pounding it again, and so on. Pain in the ___. Just pounding does away with the torch, open flame in garage, and so on. Thanx for the tinman info, great stuff. Got enough metal to make it over and over, might even make the right side again as I don't like the two pieces now. The fewer inches welded, the less time for welder, the less cost.
[QUOTE] ... then you got the problem of holding onto the hot piece. Just pounding does away with the torch, [/QUOTE]
Let the piece cool [B]before[/B] you wail on it... .. it doesn't need to be hot when you work it. Annealing "softens" the metal so you can form it more easily.... I think you owe it to yourself to try this 898... it really [B]is[/B] the "trick" to panel forming. And it will allow you to realize what's in your head (concept wise) without fighting the material. It's a lot more gratifying, not to mention [B]encouraging[/B], when sh*t starts to work the way [I]you thought it would[/I].... Just sayin'.
Torch in the garage...? Same as working with sharp tools. Just be careful... . . [img]http://boards.core77.com/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif[/img]
Annealing is the hot ticket (pun intended).... it REALLY makes the process work. Again, it's akin to working wood with sharp tools.
Oh, I thought once it cooled off, it assumed its previous state? And one of the properties of 3003 said it was non heat treatable? Which means it can't be re-tempered? I just figgered pound it out, keep the grain as rolled, keep thickness close to 16 gauge as possible. So now will give a piece a try. Thank again for checking in. That's why I posted this, even if it crashes, I may learn something.
"Annealing" [B]is[/B] [I]technically[/I] "heat treating". You are using heat to change the molecular structure of the aluminum; in this case, it's ductility (softness). It's generally at a lower temperature; aluminum anneals around 75-775??F. Also note that the whole sheet does not need to be raised to a uniform temperature simultaneously, it can be done in small sections.
"Heat treating" as referred to in the (3003 material spec) means that the material can not be [I]significantly[/I] hardened/strengthened, or the chemical make up of the material changed, by elevating it's temperature to an extreme degree. Other aluminum alloys [B]can[/B] be altered (i.e. like for aircraft landing gear forgings (2000, 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000 series alloys))
3003 hardens as it is formed, and needs to be frequently annealed to "re-soften" it so that it can be formed. If you don't the material only becomes harder and more brittle ... prolly not so good for a motorcycle tank.
Found this on YT; another technique, more predictable than using the soot method; coincidentally, the material in the video is 3003.
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QPe6rBPOnx0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
[B]Tempilstik[/B] temperature indicating sticks. You can probably find them at your local welding supply outlet. They're available on eBay too. $5-7
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/WIMqVIM39I0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Used a propane bottle torch today, and it worked quite nicely, finished kind'a lining up the first pieces, think the welder will probably go ahead with it. Started on the front pieces. Thanx for all the help thus far. Really worked out with the heating, and shout out to beater also.
Recall that some British panel beaters (aluminum body builders) wipe a bar of lye soap on the aluminum when it gets too hard. They then heat it until it starts to look charred. After it cools down, it is back to its original soft state and unlikely to tear or crack. Hope this helps!
I just heat it until my HF glove starts smoking, then let a cool off a little, and it seems to take a good bending at that point. Thanx.