Sunday, October 11, 2015

Working with aluminum, building a gas tank!

I started working with aluminum some years ago, finding it easy to use after annealing it and not! I mean annealing the aluminum makes for easier shaping. It's soft, but yet by the time you shape it, it becomes pretty stern. Taking the aluminum straight to the Pullmax P9 quickens the shaping time, and is easier on the wrist! 
After all the shaping, it's time to tig weld! Setting the Lincoln Square Wave 255 at AC current, and 80 amps. I use the foot pedal to control the heat has I lay the welds down. Remember you'll have some warping, so check fitment has you weld. 

Always make a pattern to start with!
Shrinking the top part of the tank.
After shrinking I use the English wheel to smooth out and get some crown.
Test fitting the top.
The whole tank is made from .080 and so was the bottom part too. Note the machined bungs welded from the inside, so from underneath you only have a simple hole for the bolt.
More mock up.
All done!

All in all, it takes some patience to handcraft a gas tank! Having the right tools and welder helps too! Don't be afraid to tackle something like building a gas tank, fender, or even a whole bike from scratch. Just believe in yourself and don't be scared of messing up, we all do that! You'll learn from your mistakes. Tim Bradham