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"Built Dam Strong!"

09 November 2015

My first safety sticker!

I actually appreciate site orientation. They tell you were the portajohns are  very important.

OSHA classes still suck, though.

06 September 2015

Funk-y Fresh Fab: Rebuilding the Front Shock Towers

The previous owner of the car had decided to hack the tops of the shock towers to clear his fairly terribly made camber plates. Here's a view from the bottom with the metal I welded in place and the Chedda's Auto adjuster plate in place:

As you might be able to tell, I needed to trim it back so that the shock rod would actually fit:

All cleaned up and much more structurally sound:

Funk-y Fresh Fab: Preparing to mount the lexan windshield!

Here is a rundown of another completed task on the Funks' 1G CRX H-production race car!

Running a lexan windshield safely requires a good bit of preparation and some reading of the rules. After putting our heads together, Ed and I figured that we could run the three required 1"x1/8" aluminum support straps from three of the original window trim holes, if we could figure out a way to put an easy hole with threads in those spots. Good thing someone can weld! heh

Object lesson: Think ahead a few steps and possibly save some time!

I decided to make block off plates with welded on captive nuts to cover the trim holes and provide an easy way to essentially bolt the windshield in place. I cut off six pieces of 1"x1/8" plate . . . but I should have drilled the holes in them first! LOL!

 Oops! I got them drilled and cleaned up:
 It didn't take long, but, I definitely could have saved a few minutes had I simply marked the holes and drilled them before cutting each plate off the longer piece.

Then I threaded a nut onto a bolt to hold everything in place while I tacked the nut to the plate:

Three REALLY solid tacks should never break:

First one done:

I caught one of them while it was still glowing:
I have some pretty cool ideas on finishing this part of the build, but, that's all I've got for now.

Funky Fresh Fab: Installing Lexan Windows

Yes, there hasn't been a post in a while. Yes, some of you are annoyed. There is a lot going on besides me having the time to sit down and type blog posts. But, you readers have spoken and I will get back on the train and do this again. Anyway . . .

Last I left off, I had just finished the dash. Ed mounted the Traqmate display on a spacer:

The next big task was prepping the rear window for install. It's a molded sheet of lexan, which Ed decided to use Dzus fasteners to hold around the sides. I made a spacer to hold the Dzus tabs in the right spot. This was pretty easy. I chopped a piece of steel to get the right drop:

Then welded on a longer piece:

How it's used:

I discovered that I could use a magnet to hold everything in place long enough to tack the tabs in place:


Now it just need support:

Close up:

Measuring for the support straps:

Now, on to the front! I opted to use existing bolt holes to locate the three required straps:

I also came up with a pretty simple way to hold the bottom of the windshield in place. I made squares of the aluminum:

After cutting them out, I superglued them in place so that they support the bottom edge:

03 August 2015

Dangit, Beaver!

Yeah. I'm slacking with the updates. Oh well. Deal with it.

Anyway... Don't you just hate it when you run out of juice when you're almost done?

02 April 2015

More Funk-y Fresh Fab: Modifying Chedda's Auto Camber/Caster adjusters for a sandwhich plate.

Yeah, I know. Some of you are going to freak out about this. Get over it. There are two reasons why this is happening:

1. The previous owner of the car decided to hack the top of the shock towers to fit really craptastic ho-made plates. While the design of the suspension places less load on the shock towers than your typical coilover later model suspension or even crappier later model strut junk, this is a race car with very thick torsion bars and shocks valved to control the rid. If the top of the shock tower moves, that means the shock is not actually able to properly dampen the suspension. This is not ideal. I will be addressing the shock tops on one of my next trips up to see the car.
2. It is what the owners want.

Now that that explanation is over with, lets get on to the pics!

Making  sure everything is centered up:
The X-axis on my DRO is . . . strange. I think I have it figured out, but have to go through the heavy Engrish again to figure out how to change a setting.

And, for the record: No, you cannot have too many machinist scales. There are three on hand with another spare somewhere.You can be pretty effing precise with good eyesight (and/or good magnification).

Once I determine center on the X-axis, the center finder is used to find the edges and use the DRO center function to find the exact center of the side, where the clearance hole for the tap will be drilled.

Without moving anything,the center drill is installed into the chuck and the spotting hole is drilled:
 This prevents the drill bit used to actually drill the hole wandering around, making it much more precise.

Here is the drilled and tapped hole:
 The threads are M8x1.25. This size was decided on as it is a substantial enough bolt/stud in order to withstand the anticipated loads while not being so large that it would compromise the strength of the adjuster base plate.

As a side note, while Chedda's Auto makes some bang-on totally awesome parts, I absolutely detest SAE hardware on a metric car. Chedda, if you read this, please, pretty please don't use SAE fasteners on stuff? It is super annoying.

Next up on the list is actually making the sandwich plate. This will be bolted in below the shock tower sheet metal and provide excellent triangulation for the weakened shock tower top. (It will still be weakened after it is repaired, compared to unmolested sheetmetal.)

After the sandwich plate is figured out, the next thing on the to-do list is fix these splitter mounts:

The mounting holes are backwards. *sighs* It is an easy enough fix, but, well, DUH!

31 March 2015

Tool Review Tuesday, 06: Grizzly 8-piece Single Cut, 1/4" Shank Carbide Burr Set

 What is it?

Grizzly's 8 Piece Single Cut Carbide Burr set, for NON-FERROUS metals, mostly aluminum.

 Product website:

Not sold on Grizzly, similar sets available all over.

What does it do?

Grinds aluminum quickly and with a good finish, without clogging up the flutes of the burr.

Notable Observances: 
You MUST use single cut burrs for aluminum. Look at the large flutes:

The large, wide flutes evacuate the large chips easily and also allow for a better finish. Using a double cut burr on aluminum will just gum it up, heat it up, and end up pissing you off.

Using lube helps. Beeswax if you have it, WD40 if you don't.

These are 1/4" shank burrs. Wimpy 1/8" shank burrs and tools need not apply for efficient material removal. Dremels suck. Buy a used hanging motor flex shaft grinder. You will thank me later.

The eight piece set (the one missing is on my grinder on standby, so, you don't get to see that one) has a comprehensive amount of shapes:
The shanks could be longer, but then you would have to pay a LOT more. Overall, this is a very balanced set. 

Here is a blog post about porting Honda oil pumps using this very set:

-Was inexpensive
-VERY efficient material removal with minimal clogging and excellent surface finish
-This set runs well and is pretty true

-Grizzly only carries wimpy 1/8" burrs now

Is it BBA (Beaver Built Approved)?

Yes. If you have a grinder that can use 1/4" shank burrs effectively (it needs torque, not silly 35kRPM speed), these will make porting oil pumps or bulk material in aluminum heads easy, controllable and inexpensive.

26 March 2015

More Funk-y Fab on the Funks' H-prod 1G CRX

This past weekend I made it back up to Massawhosetts to get some more work done on the Funks' 1G CRX they will be running in H-Production.

First up on the agenda was building a dash to hold the four selected gauges: oil pressure, oil temp, water temp, and a fancy datalogging dash thing that I am totally forgetting the name of the brand right now. Oops. Anyway, after a bunch of figuring, I got to work on making a fairly complicated piece of aluminum. It turned out well, as you will see. So, follow along!

Here's the victim in question:

These are the collected gauges, not including the fancy dash thingy:

Even if it is a crap drawing, it is still best to make one for reference:
 I changed the measurements quite a few times, had Ed climb in and out of the car several times, then commenced the first part of the process: C.A.D. (If you aren't familiar with C.A.D., read this: Cardboard Conundrum)

I love, love LOVE making cardboard templates before committing to more expensive materials. here's the template marked up for trimming:

Testing in situ:
 With Ed's approval on the height and spacing of everything (he will be the primary driver of this vehicle, though Steph is going to wring the wheel on occasion, too), I started the layout on the aluminum:
 After triple checking everything:

Quadruple checking the layout versus the CAD template (because I REALLY like to make sure):

I first tried to cut the piece I needed out with the fancy Bulldog Biter:
 It turns out that the aluminum was slightly too thick to work with that, so, Ed fetched some metal blades for his jig saw and I smoked through the rest of the cutting. Then came the annoying part: bending the top. Of course, I couldn't just make it easy on myself with one simple shape. I had to have different levels for each part of the dash, which meant I had to use a completely different setup for bending each part! Oops.

bending requires lots of clamps and creativity.
 I didn't get a lot of progress shots of the bending because it required two people and all hands to do everything. I would so love a large finger break for these kinds of things. Oh well. I managed pretty well, I think:

I wasn't particularly happy with this uneven and large radius bend:
 That was solved with flat stock, a hammer and clamps:

 Much better!

I had to notch the bench in order to clamp things :

I tightened up the corners on this part, too:

 Final check before welding:
 Ed and Steph were very happy with this!

Since I bent the end of the dash inwards, I could have made a really complicated trapezoidal piece of aluminum to fit the odd shape formed, but I chose to simply knock the corner off with a flap wheel so it was perpendicular with the bent part, making the piece I needed a very simple rectangle!
 Before tacking, I matched the radius with the patch:

I also tightened up with corner joint with some careful love taps:

Gotta clean aluminum before you weld it!
The sheet I was working with had some gunk on it, but it actually welded pretty darn clean. 

Tacked up and ready to go:

The other side was super easy:

Then came the nerve wracking part! I had Ed climb in the car again and we figured out where the holes for the gauges should be.

  The idea is to have the oil pressure gauge and warning light on the upper left of the steering wheel, the oil temp and water temp in the middle of the wheel, as they are not something you really need to watch too closely in the corners and then have the dash thing with the progressive shift light on the right just below the windshield.

Once we decided on the final positions, it was a simple matter to hole saw the spots:
 With a little bit of file work later, BAM! Gauge in dash:

 With the fit confirmed, on to the other holes!

 And here is the final product, ready for mounts to be made:
I like it. Ed and Steph love it. It is light, very solid, functional and even managed to look good! Steph is planning to pain it flat red. I usually flat black everything, but I think flat red will match the car better and it should also absorb less heat, which is a good thing in a race car.