Edition 4
Edition 1 | Edition 2 | Edition 3

We finished the last edition of our project bike by mounting our gas tank and fabricating a lower pan to cover the bottom and a small portion of the front of the tank tunnel.

To bring you up to date on what we completed in the last issue here are six photos that walk us through the mounting of the gas tank, and the tank pan, which I think really does a great job cleaning up the area below the tank.

Measuring width
of tank mount

Marking tank mount
for cutting

Making front template
for pan

Fitting the front pan
for welding

Welded in Place

All " Panned and Primed"

This looks so clean that I've decided to go a step further and add some body lines to the sheet metal to make the chopper even more unique.

I'm going to get the lines by using some 3/16" round stock that we'll form to the contours of the tank to define the body lines, then we'll stitch weld it to the sheet metal.

This is a really simple process that has been used by customizers for decades to define and accent body lines and contours. The trick is to form the rod to the contour of the panel and then stitch weld the rod with very small weld penetrations made close together, while continually shaping the rod to the body panel just ahead of the last weld. Great pains should be taken to avoid getting the sheet metal so hot you distort the metal or burn a hole in the tank!

Here are a sequence of pictures that show this technique being applied to the gas tank, oil tank, and rear fender.

I try to make my welds about " apart while I'm forming the rod to the body panel, but after it's all tacked down I'll go back and add another series of spot welds half way in between the existing welds. Grinds those welds down when you're done and apply a little filler to smooth things out.

Notice how the oil bag wraps around the center downtube!

I wanted the oil bag to be removable yet appear to be integrated into the frame.

I've gotten quite a few emails and phone calls from readers with specific questions about fabricating techniques we've show in this series. We've gotten some constructive suggestions on what you would like to see more and less of, and a couple of more with very specific suggestions as to where you'd like me to "stick" sharp pointed tools.

Many of the constructive suggestions were asking for more pictures and less wit, so take notice, we've given you a lot of pictures this issue, with very little wit.

In keeping with the more photo theme #9,10 and 11 are more sculpted sheet metal in prime ready primed and ready for paint.

The sheet metal is pretty much done with the exception of the upper motor mount/coil cover and the seat pan.

We've built a raised aperture for the seat pan to sit down into, we want the seat to look like it's built into the frame rather than sitting on top of the frame.

We saved a piece of our rear fender to use for the seat back because it has the same contour as the fender, it will fit like it was vacuum formed to the fender.

We used a piece of 16 gauge sheet metal for the base cut to fit loosely into the aperture to allow for the. thickness of the foam and . leather.

Photo # 11 shows the opening of the seat aperture.




Photos # 12 and 13 show the seat pan sitting in the seat aperture. I sprayed some orange paint on the base so that it would stand out clearly in the photo's and be distinguishable from the seat aperture and rear fender.

Photos # 12 and 13 also show the raised area of the seat base that accommodates the clearance required for the battery. The seat pan is now ready for upholstery and Guy Tieman from Guy's Upholstery in Mesa Az. is going to build a really wild sculpted seat for our project chopper.

You may have noticed that photo's #11 and 13 already have the motor installed, but before we move on to that, I'd like to show you a little modification we're making to the front downtube.

I'd like to carry out the sculpted or molded look onto the frame to make the 1 " tubing of the frame appear a little more massive and continue the theme we've created in the rest of the sheet metal.

We've taken a piece of 16 gauge sheet metal that you can see lying on the bench in photo # 14 and had it bent to a 60 degree bend and fit it to the front downtube.

Photo # 15 shows the flare after it has been fit and welded onto the downtube giving it a massive "gothic" kind of look.

After grinding down the welds, a little filler, and some sanding and primer, our finished down tube can be seen in photo #16.

It has the "look" and I'm happy with the results, but once again the motor pops up in a photo, so I think it's time to put up the sheet metal fabrication for a while and get the motor in place!

You notice there are no photos of a big burly guy with a show polished motor between a pair of massive forearms gently setting the motor in the frame. The night this motor went in it was just me, struggling and grunting by myself without the benefit of the massive forearms, trying to get the motor in place without screwing something up!

A little tip here: Because I'm usually by myself when It's time to drop in the motor, and not wanting to do major damage I've started covering all the frame tubing around the motor area with that round foam insulation tubing. The same kind you wrap around your water heater pipes.

You can get it in any size, I usually get the 2 ", its slit down the length of the roll and it slips right over your frame tubes, fact is there is still a piece on the frame in photo # 17 where we're mounting the Billet 4 U primary backing plate.

This is a 4 inch open primary that uses high quality Karata components, like, front pulley, clutch hub and belt assembly that not only look great, but are designed just for right side drive applications like ours and with the Rivera Pro Clutch we're using it will definitely get the horsepower to the ground. The assembly came with a nice side belt guard but it lacked any protection from the belt around the front pulley area. I called Todd at Billet 4 U to see if they made a front pulley belt guard for their setup but unfortunately they didn't offer one, so we were forced to do more fabrication if having a front belt guard was that important to us.

Photo # 17 shows the belt guard we fabricated. It hasn't been chromed yet although it looks like it in the photo, I ran it on the polishing wheel a little so I could get a better idea what it would like finished.

Hopefully my last piece of fabrication is my upper motor mount/ coil cover. I could hide my coils somewhere and run long plug wires, but I'm running out of places to hide things and call me old fashioned, but I like the coils where I can get to them on the road if there is a firing problem.

My problem is that most coil brackets/coil covers that mount off the top motor mount stick 2 to 3 inches out from the motor. I want mine to fit as close as possible and I don't want to see a couple of ugly coils hanging off the left side of the bike.

Since I'm running a Crane Hi-4 single fire ignition, I'm trying one of the new Dyna Twin Fire ll coils. It's smaller than a stock coil, rated at 3 ohms, and puts out over 40,000 volts and is small enough I can mount it in tight like I want if I have the right upper motor mount.

Photos # 18 and 19 show the fabricated motor mount and coil cover.

My first thought was to make the coil cover with the intent of chroming it, but I've decided I'd prefer to paint it to match the tank on this bike. The coil cover also has a hidden neutral light and headlight high beam light that can only be seen when your sitting on the seat.

The motor mount coil cover turned out to be a fairly complicated fabrication and unfortunately it would take a complete issue of Build a Bike to go through the entire build.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do about exhaust systems, but I wanted it to be different, loud, and in theme with the rest of the bike, and I didn't want to sacrifice performance! I had a couple of custom exhaust systems in my garage that I could use, so I started trying on exhausts, looking for the right one.

Photo # 20 and 21 are Jesse James Hell Bents and although I like them, there are a lot of them out there!

#22 Wicked Bro's: I like them but they over whelm the bike.

This is a home made set, I call them Streetwalkers, I really like them because they seem to "fit" the bike well and along with some other parts, they're off to the chrome shop, the bike will come down to bare frame for some molding and then the custom paint. Once it's painted it's time for final assembly and the first ride!

Edition 1 | Edition 2 | Edition 3