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BrassBuilder
04-28-08, 04:05 PM
OK. Just got back from a doc appointment. Here is my current project. It is a M915A1. It is a military version of a semi truck. I work for the South Dakota National Guard full time in the supply room. Our shop has a contract to rebuild something like 40 of these. After finishing up my last project (m416 1/4 ton trailer), I was going to build another trailer. But the truck was too good to pass up. The mechanics are stripping these down to the frame and gutting the cabs completely. It is really easy to get measurements. :) The scale is 1/8. The truck is approximately 32" long.

Here is a pic of the real truck.
20037

I am going to break this down into multiple posts so I don't get so many pics stuck in one post.

Right now, I am focused on the engine. This is a Cummins 400. As it sits, there are about 400 pieces in the engine if I count every nut and bolt that will be installed into what is done. I figure I am about 1/3 of the way done with this. I have the electrical and fuel system to make yet.

As it sits, the engine weighs about 8 pounds. The block is solid, but I may hollow it out if I think it gets too heavy. My plan is to finish the engine, then model the transmission, and move to the cab after that. The rest I can get once the state is done with the contract. I can see the rest of the drivetrain while the truck is put together.

The pics include:

Left side of the engine. You can see the aftercooler housing and tank on this side.

Right side. The pipe runs all the way down the side. It bends down into the engine at the front and runs into a block on the back. Still need to fabricate those.

Front of the engine. I also have the harmonic balancer mostly done, but it is not in the pic.

Another pic of the right side.

This is the die that I had to make to stamp out the bottoms of the valve covers out of thin copper. Starting at the top is the jake brake housing that sits right under the valve covers. The die is below that. To the right is the punch. To the right and below is the raw stamping and above that is a finished stamping.

The last picture is of the three finished valve covers. I have the front one installed on the engine in the previous pics.

More to follow.
Mike

BrassBuilder
04-28-08, 04:11 PM
Onto the cab. This is all built out of brass and copper.

The left side. I don't have the door built for this side yet.

The right side. The door is mostly built. The machinist at work is helping me design a working door latch for it.

The dash panel with the defrost vents. The vent holes were milled with a 1/32" milling bit. I think I broke four of them by the time I got done.

I don't remember the exact size of this, but I think it is around 5" wide and maybe about 4" deep. It is big.

Mike

BrassBuilder
04-28-08, 04:15 PM
The frame. This is built out of steel. I think it was 20 gage or so. The parts are showing some surface rust and I really need to get this primed. But I have more parts to install before I do that, so I'll just run it through the sandblaster sometime. The frame is approximately 30" long.

The front of the frame.

The center part of the frame.

The rear of the frame.

The step going up into the cab. I am not happy with this part and will remake it later.

The cab sitting on the frame mounts.

Mike

BrassBuilder
04-28-08, 04:19 PM
Stuff I forgot to post with the cab.

Here is the radiator. This all bolts together just like the real one. I still need to figure out a way to make all the individual fins. The two big tubes down the center may or may not stay. I want to put individual pieces in to represent the tubes, but I am not sure the radiator will be solid enough. It may twist a lot. The two big tubes gives it stability. I am contemplating on making the fins out of .005 copper or brass and photoetching them. I figure there will be about 500 pieces in the radiator alone. Wow.

The grille. Another part that I am not happy with. I may remake this later. It was my first attempt at forming metal. It was OK for a first attempt, but the quality is not where I want it.

Mike

BrassBuilder
04-28-08, 04:24 PM
As the model sits at this stage, I think I would have around 1000 pieces if I installed every nut and bolt that I could. I have been working on this for about a year, however four months of that was building the CNC mill and learning to run it. I figure I have another couple of years on this if I stay focused on just this model. I have one wheel done, but it is at work in my M416 trailer as part of the load. :) I am figuring around 6000 pieces (including nuts and bolts that are store bought) by the time I am done. There will be MANY hand made pieces on this.

I just looked through my previous posts for the thread on the trailer. I found the thread but all the pics are gone. Oh well.

I also found a thread about stamping the fins for the radiator. I had forgotten that idea. (and I like it better than photoetching.)
Mike

Mario Lucchini
04-28-08, 04:36 PM
This is scratchbuilding at its best!.....congrats much, Brassbuilder....1thumbup1 1thumbup1 1thumbup1

Mario

Daytonatim
04-28-08, 04:50 PM
WOW!!

What a build. Mike you are a craftsman. I am going to watch this one!!!

mouppe
04-28-08, 05:52 PM
Outstanding!

BrassBuilder
04-28-08, 07:28 PM
Thanks for all the great words. I'll post updates as I get stuff done. I'll try to get a few close up shots to show some of the details.

Sometimes it takes me awhile to get a part done because I get so fussy. I had the whole top of the engine done once, but I remade all the parts after I got the mill CNCd. The CNC works great for making duplicate parts or parts with a lot of curves. The heads, rocker housing, jake brake housings and the valve covers all have their fair share of round edges. There are things that I would like to redo on some of the CNCd parts, but I am going to move forward. I'll come back and remake them later if I stilll feel the need.

Mike

hot ford coupe
04-29-08, 12:18 AM
I just got a good look at this and I'm really impressed. That's beautiful solder work. Are you going to make this one weathered or will you go clean?

BrassBuilder
04-29-08, 09:29 AM
I am leaning towards going clean. The engines in the trucks are painted flat black with some of the hanging ons (alt, fuel injector pumps, turbo) being aluminum. What I would love to do is build another one for a display model and clear coat it without painting it. That is what I did with the trailer and it turned out beautiful. There is so much "wrong" with this engine (at least in my mind) that I want to try another one.

Alas...I am going to move forward. I am keeping a notebook with notes on stuff that I need to change if I build another one. I am sure I will have more issues as I move ahead.

Thanks for the compliments on the solder work. I am getting better. My problem in the past was that I gobbed on way to much. I am getting better at being stingy. LOL. FWIW, the only solder work is on the brass parts. All of the aluminum pieces bolt together. I can take this thing apart at any time right down to the bare block. :)

Mike

Old Busted Hotness
05-03-08, 10:10 PM
That's a mighty impressive sight.

Hope you've got a strong shelf to put it on 1thumbup1

Don Garrett
05-04-08, 06:36 AM
Mike, incredible build! 1thumbup1 1thumbup1 1thumbup1 1thumbup1 ;';;';

BrassBuilder
05-04-08, 05:07 PM
:)
Thanks!

I'll have more pictures in another week or so. I should have another couple of components done by next weekend. I'll try to take some in-process shots too so you all can see what makes up one part.

Mike

BrassBuilder
01-04-12, 05:15 AM
This project is finally back and moving forward!!! I got distracted from school and after getting my Bachelors degree, I swore I was done with school. Evidently I did not swear enough because 6 months later I went back and got the Masters. Finally finished that up in Jul 2011 and now I have time to do fun stuff.

While I focused on my education, this project got pushed to the back burner. I also converted my lathe over to CNC, so that took some valuable time.

For the first task on this project, I decided to remake the grille. I think I have a pic of the one that I originally built. I was never happy with it because I cut the corners to get them rounded over and the finish was hardly up to what I thought I could do. So....I decided to make another.

For a little back story, the guys at allmetalshaping.com has been giving me loads of advice on how to work the copper over my form. After almost 2 weeks of beating copper to infinity and beyond, it FINALLY "clicked" a couple of days ago. I have a whole pile of failed attempts on my bench to show for it. 2thud2

On to the pictures!

(And thanks to xken for explaining how he posts those clickable thumbnails!)

To start, here is the wood form that I made to form the copper over. This is about the third or fourth one I made as the others either broke or got too beat up to use. I still need to cut the center out of this one and then cut the center out of the grille.

19925


Here is my sheet of copper after I annealed it. I used a propane torch and heated it red hot and then quenched it in cold water.

19926

Here is my pickling pot. It is a crock pot with Sparex #2 (I think that is what it is called) that I got at a local jewelry store. The crock pot is a perfect container to keep the pickle hot but not boiling. The Sparex works in room temp water too....it just takes a little longer to do its thing.
19927


This is what the copper looks like after wiping it off. It really cleans up nice. I've lightly bent the four sides over the wood form.
19928


I then clamp another board over the top of the copper (sandwiching the copper between the two boards). I found that two clamps worked OK for holding the board and then I used two more clamps to hold the copper tight to the form close to the corner that I am working on.
19929

I'm not sure if there is any limit on how many pictures I can put on one posting, but I think I will go 5 per post and see what happens.

Mike

BrassBuilder
01-06-12, 03:17 AM
Continuing on....

Here you can see how I have the clamps holding the very edge of the corner and I started *LIGHTLY* hammering the copper over the form. This was one of my downfalls. I tried to move the copper over the form way to fast. I was surprised how light I had to hit the copper.
19930

Here is the hammer I am using for right now. The end of this actually came down to a sharp point. It was recommended that I round it over....so I did.
19931

After about 20 or so hits, you will feel the copper start to harden again. Heat it up red hot and quench it in water. This picture is just before I quenched it. Really discolors, huh?
19932

I slowly work my way down. Light tap, tap, taps. This picture shows something else I learned, as you work the copper over the buck, make sure the bottom of the copper stays somewhat flared out. If it starts bunching up, it will fold over on itself. Also...I forgot to mention earlier, trimming the copper to close to the correct size is important. I usually try to shoot for around 1/4" extra. Even then, I've had to trim the copper as I work it throughout the process.
19933


The copper may bunch up on you anyway. But this was far enough past the end of the form that most of it got trimmed off. By this time, I had probably heated up the copper 3 times and sent it through the pickle solution each time.
19934

Stay tuned....

BrassBuilder
01-06-12, 03:28 AM
Here is the copper form after working all four corners. By this time, I probably had an hour into it. While it looks close to being done, this is really about the half way point. What I found out is the hard part is coming up.
19935


The copper is getting close to fitting the wood buck. You can see the excess hanging off the edges.
19936


I trimmed off most of the excess. I ran a scribe around the edge of the wood buck and then trimmed the copper TO the line. I left maybe 1/32" or so to give me a little to work with yet.
19937

Another picture of what it looks like after being trimmed. Again, it looks "done," but that is far from done.
19938


I'm now going to switch over to some different hammers. I have a couple more that I used to planish and gently tap the metal into finished form. The blue handled one came from TP Tools. I got it on ebay for $34. The ends can be switched in it, but more often than not, I will use the ends in my vice as a dolly.
19939


After working the metal some more, you can see how tight it fit around the form now. This was a bugger to get pulled off. It was TIGHT. If I remember correctly, after I trimmed most of the excess off of the copper, I heated the whole grille up again red hot, quenched it, and pickled it. I then put it back on the form, clamped it with wood block and four clamps and started slowly working the corners again. Light tap, tap, taps. Probably hundreds by the time I got to this point. I then used the flat faced hammer and burnished the copper against the form. There are a number of hammers I used in this process and hard to explain each and every step.
19940

NEXT!

BrassBuilder
01-06-12, 03:36 AM
Got a little ahead of myself on the end of the last post. This is the hammer I used to planish (or burnish) the metal. I used firm pressure on the hammer as I ran it back and forth against the copper. That blue handle hammer has a flat face on one side that is really rough. That worked good to somewhat "sand" the copper.
19941

Now I'm using a fairly coarse file to get the copper trimmed to the edge of the form. I think this piece needs to be 3/4" wide, so filing it to the edge of the 3/4" board should give me the thickness I need. But....it may need to be 5/8" thick in which case I wasted my time doing this. I'll need to check that out.
19942


The aforementioned interchangeable heads for that blue handle hammer? Yep, that is one of the heads I'm using for a dolly. I also have various miniature hammers that I used to planish from the inside of the copper to smooth out any rounded edges.
19943

This picture probably isn't great, but here is the formed piece. I still need to cut the center out of the wood buck and then get the center formed. I have that done, I just need to get some pics.
19944

Be right back. Going to grab some more pictures.

Mike

BrassBuilder
01-06-12, 03:51 AM
This is the wood form after cutting the center out. I left the center in because the first form I made, I cut the center out of it right at the beginning. It didn't take me long to crack that one. Then next two forms, I left the center in.
19945


And the finished shell. I cut the corners because I did not think I could get the metal to stretch enough without tearing. I'll solder some pieces in there and sand them smooth.
19946

Here are some closeups of three of the corners. A little more sanding and polishing and they will look great! But I have a frame work that gets soldered around the inside perimeter and some horizontal pieces that goes into the grille opening. I'll probably put them in before I start cleaning this up more. In face....I'm actually thinking about remaking this piece. 1. I'd like the practice again. And 2. I think I could do a little better.

19947 19948 19949

So...interested in seeing more as I build this? The truck will all be steel, brass, copper, aluminum, and rubber molding compound. gringrin

Comments welcomed.

Mike

BrassBuilder
01-06-12, 03:55 AM
This is the part I'm making.
19950

And the truck.

19951

Stay tuned. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

Mike

xken
01-06-12, 02:34 PM
Mike, Glad to see the images posted these are a great series to show how it is done. What gauge or thickness of copper are you using? I know that roof flashing works but is getting harder to find anymore. My wife buys her's in bulk for her work that is dead soft 2' x 4' sheets from Copper and Brass Sales in Cleveland, Ohio. They ship UPS under 50 lbs.

Keep up the great work! 1thumbup1

Ken

Brizio
01-06-12, 07:17 PM
That's a nice project.

BrassBuilder
01-07-12, 01:30 AM
Mike, Glad to see the images posted these are a great series to show how it is done. What gauge or thickness of copper are you using? I know that roof flashing works but is getting harder to find anymore. My wife buys her's in bulk for her work that is dead soft 2' x 4' sheets from Copper and Brass Sales in Cleveland, Ohio. They ship UPS under 50 lbs.

Keep up the great work! 1thumbup1

Ken

Ken,
I got this copper at Menards. That is like Lowes or Home Depot. I was using some copper that I got on ebay that was .011 thick. It was just too thin to make work. This flashing stuff I got at Menards is around .015 or .016. That extra thickness made all the difference! I thought maybe I was imagining things, so I went back and tried to make a corner part of the grille with the thinner stuff....nope....I couldn't get it made. That is one of the first things they told me over at allmetalshaping.com that my material was too thin.
Mike

BrassBuilder
01-07-12, 01:31 AM
That's a nice project.

Thanks Brizio....I'm hoping to keep moving forward with this now. I won't get anything done for a bit. My job is sending me on the road starting Saturday for about a week.
Mike

BrassBuilder
01-17-12, 09:21 PM
Finally had some time to work on this today. After looking over the last grille I made, I still was not happy with it so I remade it (I think this one is number 4). I decided to go a little different route on this one. Here is what I came up with. I followed the steps up to having the grille shell done, but this time I left the center part in my wood pattern and the grille.

Instead...I drilled the four corners with a 5/16" drill bit.
20021

I inserted some 5/16" rod into each of the holes
20022

Darn it...I didn't get a pic of the next step. I took some 1/4" x .032" brass and bent it around the four posts. This gave me my inner lip around the inside of the grille.

Here it is partially soldered in.
20023

After I got it tacked into place on the four corners, I went ahead and soldered all the way around. I made sure the soldered flowed out to the outside edge, so I had a plenty of solder in the joint.

After I got it soldered, I cut the center out and used my Dremel and ground around until flush with the 1/4" brass piece. This gave me a really nice lip around the inside of the grille now and as an added bonus, it really stiffened up the copper part of the grille a lot.
20024

Now I'll start adding the detail parts to this one. I'm pretty happy with it now.

Mike

BrassBuilder
01-29-12, 11:36 PM
Had some time this weekend to work on the grille shell. I made ANOTHER shell....I was not happy the way the last one turned out after I started looking it over. So....I made another one. This one I like and decided to move ahead with adding pieces.

Here are three of the four crossbars that gets installed:
20187

I am starting to solder the second one in. I used 1/2" thick aluminum blocks for spacers:
20188

This is the center section almost done. I have it soldered, but still need to slice it to the correct thickness. Look closely and you can see my layout marks where I'm cutting it down to:
20189

Where I left off tonite. I decided to put the first grille shell that I made a couple of years ago. And to think, I only figured out how to form the copper just a couple of months ago :)
20190

hot ford coupe
01-30-12, 01:18 AM
Man, am I glad you brass guys have come out of the forest and made yourselves known. I'm soaking this up like a sponge. Great work, Mike.

BrassBuilder
01-30-12, 01:24 AM
Thanks Jeff!
I've actually been building with brass for a few years. I just had to go into hiatus mode when I started working on the Masters degree. But now that nightmare is behind me, I can do fun stuff again!
Mike

Tony
02-05-12, 06:19 AM
Nice work on the grill shell,
Love the way you tackled the engine as well

BrassBuilder
02-16-12, 08:36 PM
Thanks Tony!

I *FINALLY* got some time to work on this after working 3 of the last 4 weekends. I have the next 3 or 4 off and I have a 4 day weekend this week, so I am hoping to get some stuff done to the truck.

Needed to make the top inner piece to the grille shell. Like the shell, this has multiple curves that go all over and this is about the fourth one I did before I was mostly happy with it. Speaking of remaking things....I remade the grille shell *AGAIN*. I took it out to work and had our auto body man look at it and right away he notices that at the top of one side, the height is a little thinner on the right side versus the left side. Since this is such a focal point of the truck, I remade the shell for around the 7th time. He gave the replacement a thumbs up. Honestly, I lost track of the times I've remade the shell. I've noticed though that every time I've remade it, the next one got a little better than the previous one.

Onto the pictures!

20386
This is the finished part. Made basically like the grille. I used a wood buck for a pattern, heated the copper up to anneal it, and then started shaping.

20387
Here is a picture of the newest grille that I made (on the left) and the previous grille. I was able to reuse the center logo section and the crossbars from the older grille. The top right side of the old grille was just over 1/32" narrower than the left side. 1/32" does not seem like much, but once it was pointed out, it stuck out like a sore thumb.

20388
Clamped up and ready to start soldering.

20389
Getting soldered.

20390
Cleaned up and trimmed almost to size. I left the flange a little wide so I can trim it to exact size once the side pieces are on. The flange is for the weatherstripping where the hood will close against it.

Next up is the side pieces and then I should be mostly done with the grille itself. After that, I will be taking the radiator that I started 3 years ago and rebuilding it. It may be interesting to see what I come up with on that.

Stay tuned. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

Mike

Old Busted Hotness
02-17-12, 05:42 AM
Practice makes perfect 1thumbup1

BrassBuilder
02-17-12, 09:35 AM
Practice makes perfect 1thumbup1

LOL. I'm getting tired of the practice and want to see some progress. My wife insinuated that I was being anal about the grille after the last redo.

Having a touch of OCD probably doesn't help matters either...

Might have to start eating crayons again.

Mike

BrassBuilder
02-18-12, 06:08 PM
18 Feb 2012 Update

20392
I need to take the two pieces on the left and make another piece like on the right. Easy beans. I should note that these pieces are .032 thick instead of matching the .016 thickness of the copper. I wanted these a little heavier since they will be the mounting point for the grille to the radiator. First step. Find brass in the size I need. Check. Cut to length. Check. Onto step two.

20393
This thicker brass did not want to bend too well in my $49 metal bender. So....improvise. Clamp between two chunks of aluminum and a big hammer made short work of the process.

20394
After about 20 minutes of cutting and bending, I now have two parts that are reasonable copies of the other side.

20395
You can never have enough clamps.

20396
Soldered, excess solder smoothed out, and ran through the pickle solution. The solution even turns the brass that funky copper color. Must be something in the water. (Laughs).

20397
Nice even flange all the way around. I need to trim this down a little yet.

I got the grille shell as far as I can take it right now. I need to find some miniature rivets for along the side for a nice detail and I need some fine window screen for the mesh in the front of the grille.

Coming up...

Now to take this mess:
20398

And make it into a reasonable copy of this:
20399

This might get interesting. I want to replicate all those fins as individual pieces. If I'm not eating crayons now....I will be.

Stay tuned for the next exciting adventure. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

Mike

DominiqueBeerts
02-19-12, 05:29 AM
I just stumbled into this site yesterday, but this is absolutely great stuff!
Thank you for posting.

BrassBuilder
02-19-12, 01:35 PM
I just stumbled into this site yesterday, but this is absolutely great stuff!
Thank you for posting.

Thanks Dominique,

Stick around here and browse some of the projects that are being built. You will find some amazing talent here. I know I've learned alot.

Mike

Tony
02-25-12, 03:56 PM
Would be interesting to see how you do the radiator finns, this is something that is stumping me for my build,
and have been playing with shim brass, stacking a set of blades and crimping them so that they can be folded like a W
not a easy task,
Photo etch may let you add the lines for folding

BrassBuilder
02-25-12, 06:02 PM
Would be interesting to see how you do the radiator finns, this is something that is stumping me for my build,
and have been playing with shim brass, stacking a set of blades and crimping them so that they can be folded like a W
not a easy task,
Photo etch may let you add the lines for folding

My dad used to own a radiator shop and I found there were actually two ways of manufacturing the cooling fins:

1. Make the Ws like you posted.
2. Have the fins go straight across with the tubes going through the fins.

I'm going with #2 as my pictures of the real truck is showing that style. I'm going to make a die and punch all of the fins out with it. I figured I'm going to need a few hundred.

Here is a pic that shows the radiator fins. You can see what I mean:

20508

But...I'd like to figure out a way to make the "W" style too....Never know when I may need that detail. picpic

Mike

BrassBuilder
02-26-12, 01:25 AM
This week I bring you photo etching! This was a learning experience. If I wasn't cheap, I'd buy all the correct materials and probably get better results, but since all the holes get filled in again anyway, some minor imperfections are ok. There are about 100 different ways to do photo etching, but I used a process of drawing the mask (using whatever program works....in my case I used an Excel spreadsheet) and then printing it on photo quality paper using a laserjet printer. I'm getting a little ahead of myself, so lets let the photos speak.

20509
Here is the artwork and the first flange that I made. Each of those slots will get filled in again (in a later update). The paper I used was a store brand at the local computer store. I bought 10pt and 14pt paper. The 10 is a little thinner than the 14. I printed the mask on both thicknesses and the 10 worked much better. The 14 evidently was too thick and most of the masks got scratched when it went through the printer. Scratches and holes in the mask are not good as the etchent will eat through any bare spots. I use an Excel spreadsheet to draw out the flange and then filled in all the cells that I wanted black. The spreadsheet consisted of three rows (the top black line, the middle slot line, and the bottom black line) and a whole bunch of columns (the slots and the pieces between the slots). The laserjet printer (It HAS to be a laserjet. An inkjet will not work) should be on the highest settings. I also used a color laserjet, so I changed the properties to only print using black ink. You want the mask as black as possible.

20510
The first step is to trim the mask as close to the paper as you can get it. I spaced this off and took a picture of the mask after I cut it from the sheet. All the white around the edge got trimmed away. Polish the brass with steel wool or something similar. This particular brass is .016. I'd like to try something thinner as it took around 4 hours for the etched to eat most of the brass away.

20511
Alright...there was some stuff that happened before I got here but the pictures did not turn out. After getting the mask cut out, I preheat the copper using a clothes iron. Use the iron on the hottest setting it will go. You want this thing hot. Leave the iron on the brass for maybe a minute. Once you take the iron off, have the mask close at hand and place it face down on top of the now very hot brass. You have one shot. If you miss, pull it off, shine the brass back up and try again (been there, done that). The hot metal will melt the toner on the photo paper and it will stick together. Take the aforementioned iron and start pressing on the paper. Make SURE every square millimeter is pressed down with the iron. I ran it back and forth for probably a couple of minutes and used varying amount of pressure, but the more the merrier. Let the brass/paper cool a bit before you pick it up (it is hot enough to burn), place it in a container of water and let the water soften the stuck paper.

20512
Take the brass/paper combo out of the water and start rubbing the paper off. I am about half done here. You can use pretty good pressure. The toner should be firmly stuck.

20513
I have a good portion of the paper off now. All of it does not have to come off. I also used a tooth brush to get all the paper off from the slots. I was surprised how aggresive I could get with the brush in cleaning this up. We want the slots as bare brass for the Ferric Chloride to eat away at it. I also used a black marker to fix some bare spots that inevitably will show up.

20514
Take the marker and give all of the brass not covered with the mask a coating. You don't want the ferric chloride touching ANY bare brass! This is the back side of the piece and I coated it a second time. A word of note here. I had actually thought of masking this side off too and letting the ferric chloride work from both sides at once, but I had some concern about getting the two masks lined up perfectly. So....I only masked the one side.

20515
I take my process one step further and cover a good portion of the brass that I don't want etched with duct tape. I just leave a little window for the slots.

20516
Here is my dipping tank. It is a cheapy fish aquarium in 1/2 gallon size. I have a air curtain mounted at the bottom. The tank is filled with water just to get a better picture and try out the air curtain. This is the first time I've used this set up.

20517
And the same tank with the ferric chloride. I did not realize how big the tank was until I dumped my bottle of ferric chloride in it....and then a second bottle that I had on hand...and then a third bottle that I had to buy because it still wasn't deep enough. But now I have a system that should do just about any part that I need to make. This stuff is also nasty. It will stain ANYTHING it comes in contact with. I would highly recommend NOT doing this on the kitchen table. I have the flanges suspended in the ferric chloride horizontally. I made an earlier one in a bottle with the flange suspended vertically. The holes at the top etched a lot faster than the holes at the bottom for some reason, even with the air pump hose in it. The important thing to remember is not to use any metal to hold your parts. The ferrice chloride will eat it.

20518
You can see the etching was not perfect by any means, however, these two came out much nicer than the first one I made since I had these in the tank horizontally. That made a huge difference in the quality. The top one is cleaned up, while the bottom one got taken out of the tank, all the tape pulled off, and a steel wool pad run across to remove the rest of the mask and get rid of tape residue. There is also some flash left in the slots on the bottom one. I used an exacto knife to clean up the brass flash in all the slots. The whole etching process took around 4 hours to complete and probably another half hour or so cleaning up the flashing. You will read where this is a 20 minute process....in my experience it has not been There could be some reasons for me taking longer. I use the ferric chloride cold. Heating it up with a fish tank heater is supposed to help but I had concerns about using a heater on the plastic tank. Just about all the tutorials are using copper for PCB circuits. Maybe copper etches better and faster and PCB boards only have a thin layer of copper.

There is a lot of information on this process. I found a few good websites that explains different ways of photo etching and there are also some good YouTube videos available.

Mike

BrassBuilder
03-05-12, 07:41 PM
6 Mar 12 Update.

Starting to get the radiator together.

20600
Center drilling the bolt holes around the bottom plate for the radiator.

20601
This is the bottom plate for the top tank. It is getting center drilled.

20602
Same part as above except further along in the program. This is all done on CNC. It first center drills the holes, the program stops, I change it over to a drill bit, get things readjusted height wise, start the program and it then drills the holes. Pretty cool watching it run by itself.

20603
I made the cooling fins much like the previous postings I did for photo etching with a couple of exceptions. One, I am making four fins at a time, and two, I used contact paper to cover the back side of the brass. Duct tape stuck too good and it was a pain to pull the thin fins off. The material is only .005" thick. It takes about 20 minutes for the ferric chloride to do its job. They come out pretty decent. From the top is the artwork for the fins. The artwork is actually a modified file of the flange Excel spreadsheet. In the middle is a set of four fins still stuck on the contact paper. At this point, I had already polished the laserjet toner off. At the bottom is a completed fin.

20604
This picture has the basic parts to make the radiator. Starting at the top is .025 x 1/4" brass strip to simulate the tubes for the radiator, the top flange, the bottom flange, and a cooling fin. There are 41 tubes and a whole bunch of cooling fins.

20605
I soldered in a few of the strips to get things positions. I then filled in the rest of the holes and soldered the rest of the strips in. I only soldered the bottom flange on. I left the top one loose so that I could remove it and slide the cooling fins down.

20606
Here is where I left off. The process is repetitive. 1. Slide a fin on. 2. Use a gauge that I made to position the fin so that a somewhat uniform gap is between the fins. 3. Superglue fin on from front and back. 4. Spend the next 5 minutes trying to get the fin in place. 5. Repeat and go crazy. 1what11confused1

When I first started installing the fins, I was soldering them on. I used a brass strip to position each fin, but when I soldered them in, I soldered the brass strip too (Surprise!). Tore it apart, cleaned up the parts, and started over. On try two, I used aluminum strips to get the fins positioned. This did not work much better. It was difficult getting the brass hot enough for the solder to flow, but not so hot that it melted joints from previous. Alas, this did not work either. For attempt three, I super glued the fins in. This worked better, however, I am not completely happy with the alignment of the fins. The picture above is after about an hour of fiddling with the fins to get them lined up straighter.

Stay tuned bat fans.

Mike

BrassBuilder
03-05-12, 08:58 PM
A little more info on how I get the fins installed.

20607
I get a few started onto the strips.

20608
This is the alignment jig I made. It is .025" x 1/4" brass strips.

20609
Here it is in action.

20610
Super gluing the fin in. After this is about 5-10 minutes of trying to get the fin to stay in place. They don't want to lay flat by any means and I have to fight to get them somewhat straight.

Mike

hot ford coupe
03-06-12, 12:01 AM
I know that feeling, Mike. I've experienced the problem of loosening previous joints and it's enough to drive you crazy. For me. it's a pretty short drive anyway. I also learned how much fun CA is to work with. The way I usually cement my parts is this.

1. apply Super glue with applicator
2. drop part on the floor, get down on hands and knees,
3. pick up part and remove dust.
4. scrape off hardened Superglue and reapply
5. drop part in lap
6. peel off accumulated cloth fibers from glue covered parts.
7. unstick glued fingers
8. scrape part and reapply glue
9. remove glued part from tweezers
10. reapply Superglue
11. glue part to work table
12. go to hobby shop and buy more Superglue
13. scrape off all superglue
14. throw model against wall and leave set overnight.
15. repeat process next evening.1censor11nfair1

BrassBuilder
03-06-12, 10:53 AM
LOL. I am lucky in the regards that my parts are not glued until I get them in place, but I've pretty much been there, done all the above in the past.

Although, my fingers do have glue residue all over them. I got that part right at least. :)

Mike

DominiqueBeerts
03-06-12, 01:27 PM
I know that feeling, Mike. I've experienced the problem of loosening previous joints and it's enough to drive you crazy. For me. it's a pretty short drive anyway. I also learned how much fun CA is to work with. The way I usually cement my parts is this.

1. apply Super glue with applicator
2. drop part on the floor, get down on hands and knees,
3. pick up part and remove dust.
4. scrape off hardened Superglue and reapply
5. drop part in lap
6. peel off accumulated cloth fibers from glue covered parts.
7. unstick glued fingers
8. scrape part and reapply glue
9. remove glued part from tweezers
10. reapply Superglue
11. glue part to work table
12. go to hobby shop and buy more Superglue
13. scrape off all superglue
14. throw model against wall and leave set overnight.
15. repeat process next evening.1censor11nfair1
I recognize that procedure! he1he

Mike,
I see that you have found an alternative way of developing the image on your brass sheet. Normally one would use sheet metal which is coated with photo sensitive chemicals. You then need to created a negative image of what you want to etch (just as you did yourself). You can print this image on either a clear stencil or tracing paper and then cover the brass sheet with the printed image. Expose the brass sheet to light and then develop the image on your sheet. This means you fix the image onto the sheet, pretty much like the photographs in the early days which were fixed onto a hard carrier.
After that you can etch the part in your tank.

I have just passed the experimental phase on photo etching myself. Together with a friend I have been testing some things, and I must say that once you get this figured out, the sky is the limit. If you can get the timings right, it works like a charm.

Anyway, if it works, it works. 1clap1

Old Busted Hotness
03-07-12, 07:03 AM
Those fins are thin enough you could probably use a flea comb to straighten them out.

strevo
03-07-12, 12:30 PM
Mike,
Since you have access to a CNC, why not machine a fixture to hold all of the fins in place and then glue or solder them all at once. A block with a bunch of grooves machined in it at the spacing required for the fins would work I think? It might save you from going crazy individually gluing in all of those fins.

BrassBuilder
03-07-12, 09:33 PM
I recognize that procedure! he1he

Mike,
I see that you have found an alternative way of developing the image on your brass sheet. Normally one would use sheet metal which is coated with photo sensitive chemicals. You then need to created a negative image of what you want to etch (just as you did yourself). You can print this image on either a clear stencil or tracing paper and then cover the brass sheet with the printed image. Expose the brass sheet to light and then develop the image on your sheet. This means you fix the image onto the sheet, pretty much like the photographs in the early days which were fixed onto a hard carrier.
After that you can etch the part in your tank.

I have just passed the experimental phase on photo etching myself. Together with a friend I have been testing some things, and I must say that once you get this figured out, the sky is the limit. If you can get the timings right, it works like a charm.

Anyway, if it works, it works. 1clap1

I've seen the procedure you are talking about too. I'd eventually would like to try that sometime, but by doing it with the laserjet, I had access to everything locally. And it was cheap. gringrin I just had to buy some photo paper and the ferric chloride which I surprisingly found at our local Radio Shack.

I looked at Press N Peel Blue, but it seems to work pretty much like the photo paper I'm using now. You print your design on the Press N Peel and then use an iron to transfer it.

You are correct...timing is everything with this.

Mike

BrassBuilder
03-07-12, 09:37 PM
Those fins are thin enough you could probably use a flea comb to straighten them out.

Thought of that, but that won't work. Some of the fins just bounce back to where they were by just running a comb through them. I've had to use a pair of flat nosed pliers to actually force them into position. And, the super glue does not go just where I want it to go. It ends up dripping down to the layer below and sticking that layer to the layer above. I've had to take a knife to slice through hardened super glue and it is not fun. I have found trying to get a thin uniform amount to just hold the layer of fins in place is impossible. The fins do not want to stay straight and they all seem to want to flex a certain amount.

Mike

BrassBuilder
03-07-12, 09:48 PM
Mike,
Since you have access to a CNC, why not machine a fixture to hold all of the fins in place and then glue or solder them all at once. A block with a bunch of grooves machined in it at the spacing required for the fins would work I think? It might save you from going crazy individually gluing in all of those fins.

I've been thinking about some sort of jig to build this too. I sort of like your idea, but I would need a way to hold both sides of the fins at once and a way to glue or solder them in place. I found just because I get one side straight, it doesn't mean the other side is going to follow suit. I'm really torn right now between starting over with a jig or keep going and finish this one out. I am about a fourth of the way up. While the radiator isn't turning out bad, it isn't at quite the quality level that I want either.

20625
I circled the area where I wish I could hold the spacing to that size perfectly. Like I said....it isn't bad....but I think it could be better. The fan and shroud will hide alot of it in the engine compartment, but I have some concerns on how much will be seen through the grille opening. You can probably see some of the excess glue in the pic too. Maybe I should brush it on instead...I really don't know what the best answer is right now.

But...while working at my Dad's radiator shop, we saw some pretty beat up radiators. Mine is prototypical to some of them in that regards. he1he

Mike

BrassBuilder
03-07-12, 09:57 PM
Thanks for all the replies and observations on this! I appreciate it.
Mike

hot ford coupe
03-08-12, 12:46 AM
Hey Mike, in my time in the military, i used to see some pretty beat up vehicles where the real radiators looked way worse than what you think yours looks like. I remember an old bus we had that looked like somebody shot at it with a 45. I really wouldn't worry too much about it. You're doing a fantastic job.

BrassBuilder
03-08-12, 03:33 PM
Hey Mike, in my time in the military, i used to see some pretty beat up vehicles where the real radiators looked way worse than what you think yours looks like. I remember an old bus we had that looked like somebody shot at it with a 45. I really wouldn't worry too much about it. You're doing a fantastic job.

Thanks Jeff. I think I going to keep moving forward with it. I've already started over three times and this is the best one so far. I think once I get it painted flat black and then behind the grille (along with a piece of mesh in the grille opening) it won't be seen as much.
Mike

hot ford coupe
03-08-12, 03:46 PM
You're absolutely right, Mike. In fact, I'll be willing to bet it's going to be more natural looking than you think. I just thought of something. Maybe you could put a few crushed 1/8 scale bugs in it. Tha's what my radiator in my PT looks like in the spring time. I think I saw someone do that on another forum or this one, I'm not sure but I thought it added alot to the realism as well as some humor to the build. Again, you're doing a great job with this.

BrassBuilder
03-11-12, 08:39 PM
You're absolutely right, Mike. In fact, I'll be willing to bet it's going to be more natural looking than you think. I just thought of something. Maybe you could put a few crushed 1/8 scale bugs in it. Tha's what my radiator in my PT looks like in the spring time. I think I saw someone do that on another forum or this one, I'm not sure but I thought it added alot to the realism as well as some humor to the build. Again, you're doing a great job with this.

Hmmmm....now *that* is an interesting idea Jeff! I'll have to play around with a way to make 1/8th scale squished bug parts now.

hot ford coupe
03-11-12, 09:29 PM
Hey Mike. The best one to ask about how to make the squished bugs and a lot of the weathering for those kinds of vehicles is Old Busted Hotness. That's who I would go to. Check out some of the R/C builds he's done, especially the campers and such. There are a lot of little details you woudn't think of putting in a model, yet he's usually the one that finds the way to do it. Plus, he's done a lot of scratchbuilding and you may get a few wild ideas from him.

BrassBuilder
03-12-12, 10:22 AM
Hey Mike. The best one to ask about how to make the squished bugs and a lot of the weathering for those kinds of vehicles is Old Busted Hotness. That's who I would go to. Check out some of the R/C builds he's done, especially the campers and such. There are a lot of little details you woudn't think of putting in a model, yet he's usually the one that finds the way to do it. Plus, he's done a lot of scratchbuilding and you may get a few wild ideas from him.

I think I've seen every one of his tutorials that he's made. That wagon and camper was pretty cool. Although I haven't really made up my mind yet how I'm going to finish it...leave it natural metal, paint it as it came off the assembly line, or give it a good weathering. I'm leaning towards weathered in which case the bugs would fit in well.

I'm guessing you were a LTC during your time in the military? :) I'm currently a SFC.

OBH...I hope y'all are reading this!

For a little update...I had to work this weekend and didn't make much progress. I had a few fins made from previously working on it, so about all I got accomplished was gluing in a few more rows last night. I'm hoping to move forward today and get at least half of the fins installed. I'll post a pic at the halfway point.

Mike

BrassBuilder
03-12-12, 07:01 PM
I am sure if you look up the word "tedious" in the dictionary, my picture with this radiator will be the definition.

Just over half way up. I haven't spent any time straightening the fins. I need to go back and do that yet.

20669 20670

Hoping to be to the top by the weekend.

I started out using the gel type super glue, but switched over to the standard runny stuff. The runny stuff works much better and I am not getting any areas where glue fills up the area between the fin rows.

Mike

JohnReid
03-17-12, 07:49 AM
Love it ! 1thumbup1

BrassBuilder
03-19-12, 05:34 PM
Love it !

Thanks John!

Latest update. Almost to the top. I'm starting to remake the side rails now. I did not reuse any of the old radiator that I started back in 2008. After I get this radiator done, I swear I am never making another vehicle with a radiator!

Mike

hot ford coupe
03-19-12, 09:28 PM
Looks great to me. I've seen plenty of old radiators that look exactly like that and the vehicles were still running. I wouldn't count yourself out yet.

BrassBuilder
03-20-12, 09:59 AM
Looks great to me. I've seen plenty of old radiators that look exactly like that and the vehicles were still running. I wouldn't count yourself out yet.

Actually, I am quite happy with the way it looks now. I'm tired of the tedious part. 1what11confused1 I have 70 fins installed and probably another 6 or so to go. Each fin has 41 glue points. Let's see....76 x 41 is....hmmmm....(goes to look for a calculator)....3116 drops of glue...plus a few that I had to reglue probably puts the number closer to 3200. I think I am on my 6th or 7th tube of super glue.

And I've talked to friends at work and they gave me some ideas for jigs to build this. What I really want to figure out is how to build the "z" type cooling fins that run down between the tubes on radiators. And I do have an idea there....

Mike

BrassBuilder
03-21-12, 06:47 PM
21 Mar 12.

Today is a joyful day. I believe that I even hear all the angels in heaven singing today.

I finished the fins.

A couple of things to note.

I did not get pictures of the assemble process. I finished this up about 10:30 last night and getting my camera was not at the top of the priority list.

When I made the side rails, I made them about 1/16" too wide. Instead of remaking them (a time consuming process), i cut them down the center with a cutting disk in my dremel and then soldered the two halves back together. You can see the seam in the pics.

I planned on bolting the side rails in like on the original, but I could see that was not going to work well, so I soldered it all together. This isn't really that big of a deal because I don't plan on taking this thing apart again.

Final tally was 74 fins. I figured I was going to need around 100.

hot ford coupe
03-21-12, 07:48 PM
Wheeeee. Isn't it great when you finish one of those "forever" assemblies. The clouds part and the world seems fine.

BrassBuilder
03-21-12, 08:58 PM
Wheeeee. Isn't it great when you finish one of those "forever" assemblies. The clouds part and the world seems fine.

This didn't take quite as long as I figured. I went back and looked at previous postings and I started making the top and bottom plates on 26 Feb and the fins on 5 Mar. That's only been three weeks and I worked one of those weekends.

It still felt good getting it done though.

Mike

BrassBuilder
03-21-12, 10:01 PM
Ugh. I was looking through my radiator pictures to start working on the tank and I ran across this picture:

Yeah. More fins. But these shouldn't be too bad as they are round holes. I think I'll make a jig consisting of two plates with the holes drilled spaced apart as needed, sandwich a bunch of fins inbetween the plates and drill them.

Mike

Tony
03-23-12, 04:32 PM
Mike
Now that has really come up great, the work you have put into this has really paid off I think,look forward to seeing it complete with the tanks on and fitted in the frame
Now lets see what you come up with for the other type of fins, something I have thought about for awhile now

BrassBuilder
03-23-12, 05:19 PM
Mike
Now that has really come up great, the work you have put into this has really paid off I think,look forward to seeing it complete with the tanks on and fitted in the frame
Now lets see what you come up with for the other type of fins, something I have thought about for awhile now

Thanks. I've been thinking about that "z" type of fin and I'm wondering if having two gears meshed close together and then sending strips of brass though would work? I'm thinking of making one of the gears adjustable to adjust for various thicknesses of brass.

I'm still contemplating this....

Was also going to look at some alternative ways on building this current radiator. I need the fins a little closer together, possibly a little lighter material (i used .005 brass...maybe .002 or .001) and more uniform spacing to make me happy.

Mike

Tony
03-23-12, 06:27 PM
I have thought about the Z type as well, so went to the RC shop and brought 2 steel gears they are 48P 34 tooth which is a nice shallow type, and my thoughts where to run strips of shim brass through to give the shape, and then fold them or squash them to what is needed, another way that does work OK is stack a few no.11 blades together and (you need to sets) crimp them together,
you do need a slight curve so you can roll them together,
I am doing a 1/16th version, so mine is a lot smaller, so a lot of trail and error here, but will get there one day

Have fun

BrassBuilder
03-25-12, 08:16 AM
I have thought about the Z type as well, so went to the RC shop and brought 2 steel gears they are 48P 34 tooth which is a nice shallow type, and my thoughts where to run strips of shim brass through to give the shape, and then fold them or squash them to what is needed, another way that does work OK is stack a few no.11 blades together and (you need to sets) crimp them together,
you do need a slight curve so you can roll them together,
I am doing a 1/16th version, so mine is a lot smaller, so a lot of trail and error here, but will get there one day

Have fun

Feel free to post a picture back of whatever you come up with....either your own thread or in mine...I would not consider that a "hijack"...or both. I'd be interested in seeing that.

Mike

BrassBuilder
04-22-12, 04:45 PM
Time for a short update.

I've been messing around with a different technique for photo etching parts. Here is what I've done different:

1. I used Press n Peel blue instead of photo paper to make the mask. WOW. What a difference! Once I got the hang of the PnP, I won't use photo paper again. There was a definate learning curve on it. I deviated from the website directions by using my iron right on top of the PnP. The website recommended using a piece of paper between the iron and the PnP. Heat setting is somewhat critical too. I had to turn the iron down about half way compared to the setting for the photo paper.

2. I added a second bubbler thing in my ferric chloride tank. The whole tank area is now covered in tiny bubbles. It keeps the solution well agitated. The more the solution moves over the piece being etched, the faster it will etch.

3. Instead of using straight ferric chloride, I used a mix of ferric chloride and citric acid. It is call the Edinburgh Etch.

4. I used aluminum for the test pieces. The aluminum etched is about 3 minutes versus the 20 the brass took. I want to try brass again and see what the time difference is. I don't know if the aluminum was easier to etch (.003 aluminum versus .005 brass) or if the added bubbler and the citric acid made a difference.

For test pieces, I used the same drawing for the radiator fins. For the aluminum, I used pop/soda cans. I was so happy with the outcome, I decide to try to make another radiator using the aluminum fins. The aluminum seems to hold its shape better too. I also noticed that my worse aluminum etches were better than my best brass etches. Here are some pics.

20990
The can. Pretty self explanatory, I guess.

20991
The can sliced open. Well....I guess it obviously is NOT the same can from the previous picture. Call me Captain Obvious.

20992
There is a coating on the inside of the can that has to come off. I used a steel wool pad. This stuff is tough and stuck! Made me sort of wonder how soda would have affected the can over the long haul without the coating....

20993
The Press n Peel blue. Ran it through a laser printer and printed my mask on it.

20994
Here is one mask already ironed on. Once I got the hang of it, I had very little touch-ups I had to do to the mask with a black sharpie. In many cases, I did not have to do ANY touch-ups. Unlike the photo paper, I had to touch up many areas using that.

20995
From top to bottom...two of the fin sheets after coming out of the etchant. I could have used the steel wool on the outside of the can, but decided to leave it because it acted like a protectant on the back side. Also, it looked pretty cool once I got the piece cleaned off of ferric chloride.

Next is a sheet after I used steel wool to clean off the PnP blue mask.

Third is the back side of the fin. You can still see the artwork going across it. Actually, I could have probably left it since it will get painted anyway.

The bottom is the finished fin after cleaning with steel wool.

20996
Just a close up of the etched pieces before steel wool.

I made around 120 fins this weekend. My job is sending me on the road again and I'm taking this along to build another radiator to keep me amused. I want to see how well this one turns out using the aluminum fins.

Stay tuned Bat fans.

Mike

BrassBuilder
04-15-13, 05:48 PM
I'm in the process of rebuilding the radiator. The fins are not close enough together. I bought a 3x-90x stereo microscope on ebay from AMscope. I love this thing. I got the trinocular one so that I can put on a video camera in the future. But now I can see what I am doing. I am getting right around double density for the fins. The first radiator is on the left the new one is on the right. I got approximately 14 fins on the left to 28 on the right. Much better. Still not quite happy with it, but it is a lot better than before.

23650 23651

Hoping to get this version to where I got the first one with the top and bottom header plates in and the side frames done. I'm deploying to Afghanistan in Jul with my unit so I don't have a lot of time.

Mike

Tony
04-27-13, 01:32 AM
hey Mike, the new radiator is looking much better, but the first was also good, glad to see you are making progress

BrassBuilder
04-27-13, 08:39 AM
Thanks Tony. I am using .004" thick brass for the fins this time instead of .005. I have the gaps between fins a fairly uniform .035". My next one, I think I can use .002 or .003" brass and get the gaps down to .025". At least going from what I know now...

Mike

Egon
09-26-13, 05:50 PM
Happy Birthday Mike. 1confused1 it was supposed to wave in the wind

BrassBuilder
09-26-13, 09:48 PM
Thanks Egon!
I'm spending my b-day in Afghanistan of all places this year. 1confused1
I can't wait to get home and work on my truck again too....really want to start up on it again once I get back.
Mike

semijoe
09-27-13, 09:34 AM
man, I love watching brass come to life. great job on it

BrassBuilder
09-27-13, 01:45 PM
Thanks Joe!
And I have a lot of admiration for your projects too!
Mike

Josef
04-19-14, 04:57 PM
Great work!

ScaleMaster
04-19-14, 08:06 PM
Very impressive.