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This week's update: battery box, home-made press, tool chest and go-kart!

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  • This week's update: battery box, home-made press, tool chest and go-kart!

    Well this week I've been working on a couple of odd-ball things. First was a battery box for a 1936 buick sedan. I chose 16 gauge sheet metal as my material and then realized I had no way of accurately bending it. So I had to make a press. The material for the press is channel iron from a hoist used to dump over grain wagons back in the '40's. It is really too flimsy for a press, but I just needing something to bend some sheet metal, not to broach or press bearings. The jack I settled with is a 6 ton jack my friend gave me for helping him with his mustang. I've got a much nicer 8 ton, but even six tons is too much for this little frame.

    The press and sheet metal:

    Bending the lip that hangs the box from some rails:

    The box:

    I forgot to take a pic of the completed box before I gave it back to my neighbor. It got a coat of gloss black, a 2.5" hole in the bottom and a coat of 3M rubberized undercoat on the very bottom and 1.5" all around the sides. That is the area of the box that is exposed to gravel and other road-debris.

    While working on that, I also had some time (while paint was drying and etc) to work on my go-kart. I finished building an engine for it. I'm figuring the paint job is worth an extra 2 HP at least ...

    Last edited by Fasttrack; 08-15-2008, 10:47 PM.

  • #2
    Sorry for the bad pics... its hard to take a good picture of a gloss black item when its dark outside! Anyway, the block is chevy engine orange and the shroud gloss black. The head was shaved and the valves undercut and few other odds and ends done to it in hopes of bumping up power and throttle response.

    Here I started working on the cone clutch. This is a point of pride for me because I thought of using a cone clutch long before I realized that they are very common in machinery. I was hesitant to actually make one because I was uncertain whether it would work practically as well as it seemed it should. When I stumbled across them first in my Pacemaker and then in Machinery's Handbook, I was elated to realize that "my idea" was actually someone else's idea and, whats more, a well researched idea. I found all the equations I needed to plan out the right angle and size to handle the power but still be able to quickly disengage.

    After roughing it out, I cut it off and turned it around to cut the taper and drilled the hole so that the two were concentric.

    The finished female end:

    The interior surfaces are actually much finer than they appear in that picture. The hole is a bit rough since it was just drilled, but the cup surface is actually very smooth. I suspect the material was some form of alloy steel. It was a large pin or shaft of some sort and it machined nicer than mild steel, but required carbide for a good finish. (Or at least a rounded nose and a high speed and feed. It smoked a HSS bit even at a low rpm but the drill didn't seem to mind it too much. The lowest rpm this lathe has is 160 which is what I used for drilling and for the HSS bit. For carbide I think I was running 460)
    Last edited by Fasttrack; 08-15-2008, 10:43 PM.


    • #3
      Cutting the male end:

      And then I decided to fix up that machinists' tool chest that I pulled out of the trash. Here is shot of the original:

      I made a new drawer for it, including the little brass buttons to pull the drawer out. I was glad to have tiny lathe for that. Here it is
      with a fresh coat of paint and the new drawer:

      And here is the new drawer after being lined with felt:

      I had some trouble with the felt on this drawer. I re-lined the others too and they came out nicer. This one you can see how it is wavy in the back. I cut it straight but it stretched in some places while applying it. I used 3M 77 spray adhesive to stick it in place.
      Last edited by Fasttrack; 08-15-2008, 10:46 PM.


      • #4
        Nice work, but I am going to offer you some cautions....

        Unless I missed something tying the two halves of your press "table" together, you have a stack of stuff that could easily go flying. I say that especially since it looks like the whole works sits on rebar pins which everyone knows are made of peanut butter If they bend, then you get hit in the groin or maybe the knees with a bunch of steel. You can tie the two halves of whatever you use for a press table together to prevent it tipping or falling off your pins. Channel iron is a good choice. I would say don't disparage your press. Just a little reinforcement could make it a lot more rigid if you get it done before you bend it. For example, even just a piece or two of 3/8" flat stock welded across the top of your "header" in vertical orientatioin would make quite a rib. Or, for that matter, find a piece of rectangular tubing that will fit inside the channel and weld it in spots all along both ribs on the top channel.

        Second caution.....Check your 2-4-6 blocks and see if they are still square. If they are, set them aside and wipe your forehead as you haven't ruined them yet. Those are *not* press blocks. They are supposed to be one of your nice prestine pieces of tooling kept for layout and fixturing work. I don't know about you but I can't afford to keep buying them at $65 or so per set....for the cheap ones.

        Even if you think you want to destroy them, remember they are cast iron and as Darren (sp?) aka Wierdscience pointed out in the recent press safety thread, cast iron fails suddenly and shatters under pressure.

        You may not think its much force, but its the total force per unit area (pressure) of that whole piece of metal you are bending, re-focused on a much smaller area underneath with that stack of ball busting hardware you have piled up there.

        Otherwise...I have to say very nice work. You are much better than I at fabbing up fixturing. Its the one piece of our hobby I hate....spending several hours to make a fixture you will use for 10 minutes.

        Paul Carpenter
        Mapleton, IL


        • #5
          Thanks for the tips Paul! I hadn't thought about the damage it might do to my 2-4-6 blocks. They were handy and I just grabbed them up without thinking. I do plan on re-inforcing the frame and making a clamp to clamp the two halves of the table together. I wasn't too worried about it for this application. I think in one of the photos you can see a sledge hammer. That was for some precision adjusting. The top piece is very bendy. I welded it on in the "weak posistion" so I could weld some "linear bearings" (aka pipe bored to .625) in place, but after a few bends it was pretty bent. Enough so that the springs wouldn't return the jack back to its original posistion, at which point I would remove the table and blocks and give it a few good whacks. I plan on reinforcing it with an A-frame type deal. Some angle iron welded to make and A, with the vertex at the point where the jack is currently resting. Some square tubing might be a much simpler way to go, though... I'll have to see what I have.

          I know what you mean about spending hours for a ten minute op. Working with my Smithy is very frusterating, especially when trying to use it as a mill. The table is 6" by 8" so it sometimes takes me several hours to figure out how to get my work piece clamped securely and correctly oriented. Jobs that take 30 minutes on a full size machine take me hours... Oh well. I figure its good practice.


          • #6
            " I'm figuring the paint job is worth an extra 2 HP at least ..."

            I thought that only applied to red and yellow flames making the kart/car go faster . Good work.


            • #7
              What sort of go-kart uses a vertical shaft engine? Pics?

              Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.


              • #8
                Hmmm, tool box looks familiar

                Nice work on all the stuff, I also had PC's same concerns before i even got to his post, it will be a good improvement ,
                your cone clutch will be interesting, is it going to use lube?
                I always thought the loose belt drive system as a very dependable clutch system were as the belt is spring loaded for engagement and then has all kinds of slack or free running, I remember our old simplicity lawn tractor had that set up and ran for many years with just a belt replacement or two...
                Would be handy for making a vert. engine transfer horizontal power also? perhaps with aid of some guide idlers?

                Question for anybody who knows the answer, bought my tool box from an old timer, it has a 1944 penny glued to the top, what is the meaning of this? is it a war time thing?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by A.K. Boomer

                  ...Question for anybody who knows the answer, bought my tool box from an old timer, it has a 1944 penny glued to the top, what is the meaning of this?

                  "old timer" still ticking? My guess is you'd have to ask him.


                  • #10
                    Its funny how a mechanism will take you back, The fiat/ferrari Dino uses twin cone clutches inside its rear end, its superior in design as compared to a standard limited slip diff. in the fact that it actually has no clutch packs and instead of still giving the tire with the most load an exit in torque through the clutch pack it actually seeks the wheel with the most load and distributes the torque to it, Ingenious to say the least, and the tire with the least load is still allowed give around turns and such... I had to rebuild one of these units about 30 years ago and took the time to figure out what it was doing with all the mechanisms inside, there were two opposing cone clutches that got forced into receptors --- they were some kind of bronze material on I think the female pieces - perhaps sintered, somewhat resembling an old BMW syncromesh ring...

                    It does make me wonder about your two materials and their compatibility FT, twisting a mild taper fit into each other whilst turning under pressure creates ungodly unit pressures on each part -- hence the reason why they work so well, but also why they will "stir weld" to each other in a split second, Id hate to hear of you pulling into the garage and pumping your forehead through the sheetrock


                    • #11
                      The 1944 penny is a lot tidier and more visible than scratching or stamping the date he probably got it. Considering that it was wartime, the toolbox may even have "followed him home" after the war. uffy
                      Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec


                      • #12
                        The cone clutch will be dry. Its designed according to the info in the Machinery's Handbook for a dry steel on steel clutch. I am worried about it being able to disengage and, apart from the manual transmission that should be able to be popped into neutral even while transmitting torque, it will also have a kill switch that throws the emergency brake on the lawnmower engine. Its the equivalent of an ejector seat since locking up the flywheel could cause some serious damage to the transmission.

                        The go-kart will have a manual transmission and bevel gear to allow the use of a vertical shaft engine. Its not the first kart I've made using lawnmower engines. They're are much more easily found than "real" go-kart engines!

                        My box had pennies glued to it too, from the 60's. Actually it had a dime, a nickel and a penny. I had originally heard that it was the sign of a journeyman machinist. I had heard that they were brazed or soldered on and I thought gluing them was sort of like cheating. Hopefully someone will chime in here ... I thought I heard this on this site but I'm not sure.

                        I've used a belt clutch before but didn't get the "snappy" action I was looking for. It is a reliable method and for light weight vehicles or low speed vehicles where there is a large torque multiplication after the clutch but not so much for the karts I was building. If I used two V pulleys and two belts, it would probably work very well.

                        Anyway, the cone clutch is kind of just a neat experiment. I like to try out new things on my go-karts and hopefully this will give some of the perfomance I'm looking for. Plus it allows for a more compact package.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Fasttrack
                          Somebody remind me not to loan Fasttrack my 1 2 3 blocks!


                          • #14
                            Thats a 2-4-6 block, actually. Paul already pointed out my mistake! It never even crossed my mind. They seem so substantial that I didn't consider what using them as press blocks might do. No damage, yet. (It was a very minimal load)