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    1. Kit: , by (Yearly Subscriber) BrassBuilder is offline
      Builder Last Online: Nov 2019 Show Printable Version Email this Page
      Model Scale: 1/8 Rating:  (2 votes - 5.00 average) Thanks: 0
      Started: 04-28-08 Build Revisions: Never  
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      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.
      Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-m915a1-jpg

      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

      Build Photos

      Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-engine-lt-jpg  Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-engine-rt-jpg  Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-engine-ft-jpg  Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-eng-rt1-jpg  Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-die-jpg  Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-finished-jpg 


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  1. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille6-jpg

    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille15-jpg

    After about 20 or so hits, you will feel the copper start to harden again. Heat it up red hot Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild and quench it in water. This picture is just before I quenched it. Really discolors, huh?
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille7-jpg

    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille8-jpg


    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille9-jpg

    Stay tuned....
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #17

  2. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille10-jpg


    The copper is getting close to fitting the wood buck. You can see the excess hanging off the edges.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille11-jpg


    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille12-jpg

    Another picture of what it looks like after being trimmed. Again, it looks "done," but that is far from done.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille13-jpg


    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille14-jpg


    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 Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild , 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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille16-jpg

    NEXT!
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #18

  3. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille17-jpg

    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille18-jpg


    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille19-jpg

    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille20-jpg

    Be right back. Going to grab some more pictures.

    Mike
    Last edited by BrassBuilder; 01-06-12 at 05:23 AM.
    QUOTE QUOTE #19

  4. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille21-jpg


    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 Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild them smooth.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille22-jpg

    Here are some closeups of three of the corners. A little more sanding Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild 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.

    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille23-jpg Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille24-jpg Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille25-jpg

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

    Comments welcomed.

    Mike
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #20

  5. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    This is the part I'm making.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-pa210047-jpg

    And the truck.

    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-m915a1-jpg

    Stay tuned. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

    Mike
    Last edited by BrassBuilder; 01-06-12 at 05:02 AM.
    QUOTE QUOTE #21

  6. xken's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Kenneth
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    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!

    Ken
    QUOTE QUOTE #22

  7. Brizio's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    That's a nice project.
    QUOTE QUOTE #23

  8. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by xken View Post
    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!

    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 Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild 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
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #24

  9. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brizio View Post
    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
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #25

  10. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille2_1-jpg

    I inserted some 5/16" rod into each of the holes
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille2_2-jpg

    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille2_3-jpg

    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 Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild 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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille2_4-jpg

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

    Mike
    Last edited by BrassBuilder; 01-17-12 at 10:24 PM.
    QUOTE QUOTE #26

  11. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    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:
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille26-jpg

    I am starting to solder the second one in. I used 1/2" thick aluminum blocks for spacers:
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille27-jpg

    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:
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille28-jpg

    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 :)
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille29-jpg
    QUOTE QUOTE #27

  12. hot ford coupe's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    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.
    Last edited by hot ford coupe; 01-30-12 at 02:27 AM.
    QUOTE QUOTE #28

  13. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    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
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #29

  14. Tony's Avatar Active Member
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    Nice work on the grill shell,
    Love the way you tackled the engine as well
    It's easier to destroy, than it is to create
    QUOTE QUOTE #30

  15. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    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 Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild 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!

    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-innergrilletop1-jpg
    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.

    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-innergrilletop2-jpg
    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.

    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-innergrilletop3-jpg
    Clamped up and ready to start soldering.

    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-innergrilletop4-jpg
    Getting soldered.

    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-innergrilletop5-jpg
    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
    Last edited by BrassBuilder; 02-16-12 at 11:35 PM.
    QUOTE QUOTE #31

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