Saturday, June 24, 2017

New tools! I visited Snap-on Dan for the first time in many months.  I picked up my first ratcheting screwdriver, it seems like everybody loves these but I've never owned one.   I also picked up another chisel holder for my work toolbox.  The engineer's hammer belonged to my late grandfather, I just transferred it from my apartment to my work toolbox.

This is the primary reason I tracked down the Snap-on man.  They recently released these triple-row socket trays, which have a center row for mid-length sockets.

Previously, I had my last row of 3/8" drive sockets (12pt metric deep) on a standard plastic clip rail, which makes them harder to remove.  I also had my mid-length sockets on a deep row of a standard Hansen tray.

First step: cut off the pegs I don't plan to use.  I don't own any 6mm, 7mm, or 20mm sockets in 3/8" drive and don't plan on buying any.

Successful reorganization.  Now I have my entire 3/8" drive metric socket collection in one organized brick - low profile, swivel, 6pt shallow, 6pt mid length, 6pt deep, 12pt shallow, and 12pt deep.

I visited my grandmother for her birthday, and picked up a few more items from my grandfather's collection.  I found this whole box of vintage motor bearings!  I haven't gone through everything in detail yet, but the few I opened were still in great shape and wrapped in the original VCI paper.

I also found this cool old 115v motor.  I'm not sure what I will use it for, but it could come in handy someday.

And also this gigantic sledgehammer head.  I need to re-handle it, then it will be ready to smash.

To update my last post, the cornhole boards are all painted and ready to party!  My friend Susan did the finish and paint work.

And finally, some more work on the Jetta!  I'm still plugging away polishing my front caliper carriers.  This is pretty time consuming, and takes forever when I can only allocate 2 hours/week to actually work on them.  I really enjoy these little details though, getting everything just right no matter how far hidden it will be on the finished car.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

I picked up another mini project with Fort Pitt Classic Cars and knocked it out over the weekend.

They asked me to take a look at some 4-link brackets on a custom Comet they're working on, and I couldn't help but notice this spliced lower link bar.  I'm not sure who did the splice, it may have been the customer, but I did not like it.  They did a good job welding and keeping it straight, but two splices in a link bar is never a good idea.  In addition, the center section is thinner wall tubing, which exaggerates the sketchiness.

This is a custom project and they're adapting an off-the-shelf 4-link kit.  They asked me to shorten the upper links and panhard bar, which were both straightforward chop and thread operations in the lathe.

Next I had to completely re-make the lower link bars.  To notch the tubing, I mounted a holesaw in my lathe.  I actually used the drop from the panhard bar, which was already threaded 5/8-18, to make a nice stiff mount for the hole saw in the chuck.

Not the best pictures, but you get the idea.

I faced and tapped the opposite end of each lower link bar 3/4-16 to match the threaded Heidts ends.

I didn't snap any action shots, but I also made the bushing ends.  This is all carbon steel A513 DOM tubing, 1" x 0.156" wall for the bars and 1-3/8" x 0.120 wall for the eyes just like the original Heidts pieces.

Jigged up for welding

Tacked.  I decided to let the professionals handle the TIG welding.  I also machined an aluminum plug to keep it round during the weld operation.

The man himself - Bill Lewis.  He's been handling all of my critical TIG welding for years and does a fantastic job.  Generally I have him weld anything structural, anything that must be sealed, or anything that will be very visible.

As I was waiting for the welds to cool, I noticed this little candy dish of gas cups. The dish itself is an aluminum spinning for a production job he was working on.

Welded up.

I didn't have time to wait for the second piece to cool, so I wrapped it in a leather glove for the drive home!


Here is a closeup of my ends vs. the unmodified Heidts ends on the upper link bars.

And here are the modified lower link bars, which won't be used.


In totally unrelated news, though potentially worthy of a brief Wrinklered moment, I made a set of cornhole boards with some friends last weekend.

Fro and I gathered up some lumber - I helped him unload, and he helped me unload.

And we both used my truck.

I've made cornhole boards in the past, and I have never been happy with the hole.  I'm pretty good with the jigsaw, but I have unreasonably high standards.  This time I decided to do things a bit differently.  I turned this 6.00" diameter steel guide on my lathe.

Then I roughed out the hole using a jigsaw so the router bit wouldn't be loaded as heavily and bolted my template to the bottom.

After a quick trim with a bearing-guided trimming bit in my router, I ended up with a perfect 6" diameter hole in the board!


Fro also had some success.  I didn't help him at all, but his workbench turned out great.

So after all of this, I actually managed to make a minuscule amount of progress on the Jetta.  I started sanding the texture out of my Girling 60 front caliper mounting brackets.

Here you can see that the original forged piece isn't finished very nicely.

Still very rough, but getting there!

Hopefully more progress soon!

Sunday, April 9, 2017


Last weekend I went to help my buddy Chris convert his S2000 into summer mode.  I wasn't as quick with the camera as I usually am, but I snapped a few pics.

But of course I got the most important picture of all.  Wrinkle Red!!

His son Anthony helped out.

Since we have the same name, he made me this sweet drawing.  I'm not sure exactly what it means, but I'm sure it's awesome.

New tools!  I bought a few vise grip pliers to complete my collection and a live center for my lathe.

So in tool news, I stumbled into this Vise-Grip rack during my daily travels on Instagram.  I've been wanting to move some clamps out of my toolbox because they take up so much room, and this looked like a great idea.

So I started to lay it out.  For most of these clamps, I have 6 each - so I would make the rack long enough to hold exactly 6 clamps for easy inventory.

I started by drilling a pilot hole, sized to the shank of my forstner drill bits, at a 5º angle in a block of aluminum.  This would serve as my drill guide.

I laid it out on a sheet of melamine I had leftover from my coffee table project a few months back.

I hate sawdust.

Then I glued in some oak dowel rods, 3/4" and 1" diameter, to hold the clamps.

Test fit success.

The next step was to build the steel clamps for inverted hanging.  I also made these from scraps, most of this material was leftover from the TVR hood hinge fixture.

It's not my cleanest fab work, I forced myself to rush these so I can get back to working on the Jetta.

Test fit of the concept.  These will allow the clamps to hang from their adjusting screw, which is handy for clamp styles that don't hang nicely on wood dowels.

All of the steel pieces ready for welding.

Jigged at 5º


All welded and test-fit.

After getting all of the locations perfect, I drilled larger holes and installed tee nuts.  This will be a little stronger than drywall screws, and will allow me to remove them easily if I decide to paint the steel.  Also note my sloppy wood glue work.  I don't really enjoy woodworking.

I set up a guide to trim the edges.  These were previously a little rough, so I busted out my router.


All filled up!

This is right in front of my primary working area, so they will be really handy to grab.

And holy fuck would you look at that... an empty drawer!!! I haven't seen one of these in years.

It didn't last long though.  I already have a bunch of precision measurement and layout tools piled in. I still have to organize everything, but this will become my precision/layout/machinist tool drawer.

In other tool news, a second motivation for this clamp rack is that I wanted to free up some room to store my newly purchased rivet equipment.  I stumbled into these for a spectacular price I couldn't pass up, plus solid riveting has been high on my list of things to incorporate into a project.