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    1. Kit: , by (VIP/Sponsor) BrassBuilder is offline
      Builder Last Online: Jul 2022 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 VIP/Sponsor
    Name
    Mike
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    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
    Attached Images Attached Images Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-cab-lt-jpg  Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-cab-rt-jpg  Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-cab-dash-jpg 
    Last edited by BrassBuilder; 04-28-08 at 05:30 PM.
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #2

  2. BrassBuilder's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Mike
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    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
    Attached Images Attached Images Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-frame-ft-jpg  Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-frame-cen-jpg  Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-frame-rr-jpg  Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-frame-step-jpg  Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-frame-cab-jpg 
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #3

  3. BrassBuilder's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Mike
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    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
    Attached Images Attached Images Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-radiator-jpg  Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille-jpg 
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #4

  4. BrassBuilder's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Mike
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    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
    Last edited by BrassBuilder; 04-28-08 at 05:29 PM.
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #5

  5. Mario Lucchini's Avatar Super Moderator
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    Mario
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    This is scratchbuilding at its best!.....congrats much, Brassbuilder....

    Mario
    QUOTE QUOTE #6

  6. Daytonatim's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    WOW!!

    What a build. Mike you are a craftsman. I am going to watch this one!!!
    Beware the lollipop of mediocrity, lick it once and you will suck forever.....!!!
    QUOTE QUOTE #7

  7. mouppe's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Outstanding!
    QUOTE QUOTE #8

  8. BrassBuilder's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Mike
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    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
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #9

  9. hot ford coupe's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Jeffrey
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    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?
    Sometimes a handful of patience is worth more than a truck load of brains. Have the courage to trust your own beliefs. Don't be swayed by those with louder voices. W.S. Maugham :)
    QUOTE QUOTE #10

  10. BrassBuilder's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Mike
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    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 Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild 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
    Last edited by BrassBuilder; 04-29-08 at 10:34 AM.
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #11

  11. Old Busted Hotness's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Stu
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    That's a mighty impressive sight.

    Hope you've got a strong shelf to put it on
    This don't look like no expressway to me! - Jake Blues
    QUOTE QUOTE #12

  12. Don Garrett's Avatar Asst. Administrator
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    Don
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    Mike, incredible build! ;';;';
    Grandpa McGurk.....Steppin' Large and Livin' easy.
    TDRinnovations.com
    QUOTE QUOTE #13

  13. BrassBuilder's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Mike
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    :)
    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
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #14

  14. BrassBuilder's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Mike
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    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.

    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.

    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille1-jpg


    Here is my sheet of copper after I annealed it. I used a propane torch and heated it red hot Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild and then quenched it in cold water.

    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille2-jpg

    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 Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild but not boiling. The Sparex works in room temp water too....it just takes a little longer to do its thing.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille3-jpg


    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille4-jpg


    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.
    Military Semi M915A1 Scratchbuild-grille5-jpg

    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
    Last edited by BrassBuilder; 01-06-12 at 04:05 AM.
    QUOTE QUOTE #15

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