Lock the welder

Iron Triangle Race to the Finsh

Making a taillight on the ol' end mill. tailight IT

 

Oil Tank, battery box, regulater/rectifier mount installed....

oil tank IT

Vent and return lines plumbed...

oil tank 2 IT

Top motor mount, check....top motor mount IT

I like this area...lots going onoil area IT

alt IT

Notice 3 wires coming out of that alternator! 48 amp 3 phase charging system from Cycle Electric feeding an Anti Gravity lithium ion battery. Less drag, lighter weight, faster recharge times.

Iron Triangle Fender

The fender for my new bike (for the brooklyn invitational, then artistry in iron), has an entirely stainless steel rear fender. Recently I made the wiring conduit that leads the taillight wires from the frame backbone to the taillight location at the rear of the fender. To curve the thin walled tubing, I used a low-tech method that works well for tubing too thin to be formed in my roller- torch bending. Common thought is that using a torch to heat and bend thin tubing would result in the tube collapsing and "pinching", but thats not the case if done right. By heating a large area of the tube to an even cherry red, and applying soft pressure, a perfect curve can be achieved! here she is finished and installed:

fender 1

 

fender 2

 

fender 3

Iron Triangle Update

Bike is progressing! not long now... photo (30)

 

 

 

Making stainless steel exhaust clamps. I made a simple fixture to form the flat stock to the correct diameter.

image (12)

 

After a lot of metal finishing....

image (11)

 

My only gauge will be cylinder head temp, which is the hottest part of the engine. Gauge itself is from an airplane.

photo (31) image (13) image (15)

This box got recessed into the top of the gas tank, and the other cutout is for my two mil-spec toggle switches. This is all cut out with basic hand tools and my sander.

image (16)

 

Iron Triangle Progress

Bike so far complete bike 1

Gas tank is mounted on three points, here are the front two mounts

tank mounts

The exhaust pipes are 1 3/4" OD, the common header pipe size. The problem with that is the actual exhaust port size on twin cam heads is 1 5/8". Usually there is an abrupt step where the heads meets the flange. I machined the flanges with the inside tapered to perfectly blend the two sizes. Also, they have a flat, perfectly matching taper on the outside of the flange, so there is no way the gasket material can squeeze into the exhaust flow. This happens often with aftermarket exhausts! These are machined from solid stainless steel on my manual lathe.

exhaust flanges 1

exhaust flanges 2

Here is the underside of the gas tank, with two giant mounts welded in. They are 1.5" OD flange, milled down where it goes through the tank. This distributes the load over a larger area of the floor of the tank (which is made from 1/8 chrome-moly flat stock).

underside of tank

New Bike Update

Since returning form California I have been focusing entirely on the new bike, the "Iron Triangle". It will be powered by a new engine I am building, which I have nicknamed the "Mini Stroker". I will attempt to explain why I named it that: It is a hybrid of a Harley Evolution motor (built from 1984-1999) and a Harley Twin Cam motor (built 1999-present). In a nutshell, what I am taking from the Evo are the case mounting system, the bore and stroke, and the wrist pin. The Twin Cam parts are the cams, oiling system, heads, and crank assembly. The reason for this is because I feel that the Evo bore and stroke combo is superior, in many ways, to the twin cam. However, the Twin Cam is a far stronger motor (due mostly to the robust flywheel design) , and has a far more reliable oiling system. So, since a first generation Twin Cam was 88 cubic inches (3.75" bore by 4" stroke), and an stock Evo is 80 inches (3.5" bore by 4.25" stroke), that means that in a Twin Cam crankcase I have increased the stroke from stock, making it a "stroker" motor. however, due to the reduced bore it has less displacement than a stock Twin Cam- hence "Mini Stroker".

In addition to all this, I also changed the cylinders from stock cast aluminum with an iron liner to billet ductile iron. This is heavier, but also far stronger and more dimensionally stable under heat. In other words, as it gets hot it doesn't change shape as much. This means tighter tolerances all around. I also used a head/ base stud pattern for attachment to the case and heads, instead of the thru-studs an Evo or Twin cam would have had. Again, stronger. In order to make the Twin Cam heads work with my new bore and stroke combo, (as well as a copper o-ring head gasket) modifications had to be made. I wanted to reatain the stock Twin Cam combustion chamber, but it needed to be reduced to 72 cc's of volume to achieve my 10.5-1 static compression ratio. This meant decking (milling down) the heads significantly. In addition, the new flange system was milled into it to accept the o-ring gasket.

Ok, enough about all that, here are some pics:

I was lucky to have two trusted advisers here to help, my main man Alex Lerner from SL NYC in Queens, and Satya Kraus from Kraus Motor Co in northern Cali.

photo (27)

This is the "cam-plate", the component that supports the cam shafts, routes oiling, and holds the oil pump.

photo (26)

Installing the bearings on the flywheel

image (7)

Checking the endplay on the left case half

image (5)

Completed short block

image (8)

Here is completed frame. All chromoly, all made here at Efab

photo (28)

closeup of front motor mount

image (9)

More to come!

Mini Stroker Progress

In between various customer projects, I have slowly been making progress on my engine. The Heads are twin cam 88 originally, but have been modified. I reshaped the majority of the fins, rounding them around many of the sharp edges. Here is an overall view of the cylinder, head, and rocker box mocked up. cylinder and head

A typical twin cam has aluminum cylinders with an iron sleeve pressed into it. I had Randy at Hyperformance make me billet iron cylinders. The advantage being that there is no way for the iron sleeve to become loose in the aluminum cylinder, because it is all iron! These are secured by a "head and base" stud setup, much like a knuckle, pan, or shovelhead would have been. Here a set of 4 studs hold the cylinder to the crankcase, and another set of 4 hold the head to the cylinder.

An evo or twin cam, traditionally, used a set of 4 studs that ran all the way through the head, cylinder, and into the case. This  is a simpler way to attach all the parts, but not as strong.

In addition to the stud conversion, I have adapted the heads to use a superior head gasket method, the metal o-ring. On a stock twin cam (or any other harley) a composite flat gasket was used, sandwiched between the head and cylinder. They work fine, but can blow out if extreme cylinder pressures are achieved. The metal o-ring setup eliminates the flat gasket, instead using a series of steps machined into both the head and cylinder, with a copper ring integrated into it. All of the mating surfaces make contact with each other at the exact same time. This requires extremely precise machining, but results in a nearly indestructible union. I can only assume, too, that heat transfer between the head and cylinder will be improved, due to the metal to metal contact.

Here is the top of the cylinder. The surface rust inside the bore will be gone when the final honing happens.

cylinder top

You may have noticed that there are no oil drain passages in the cylinder. This is because I have re-routed them to the outside of the head and cylinder. This is good for 2 reasons. One is it keeps the oil cooler, since it is not touching the approx 300 degree cylinder walls. The second is that there is no chance of oil weeping between the head and cylinder surfaces, since it bypasses that area completely.

I had to machine a passage through the fins of each cylinder, through the wall, and into the oil drain passage inside the head. This was then tapped for a custom made fitting. Obviously, the original hole underneath has to be plugged as well.

Here is the stainless drain fitting coming out of the head. It has a 6 AN fitting on the end for hose attachment...

oil drain

I have also added compression releases to the heads. Compression releases are simply tiny valves that allow the cylinder pressure to be bled off as the starter motor rotates the engine. This takes a huge strain off the starter motor and battery, and they simply pop shut when the first combustion occurs, allowing the engine to start. It is unusual to see them on motors with small displacement,  but there is no downside to using them. Also, my compression ratio and the resulting cylinder pressures are far higher than either a stock evo or twin cam, so despite the small displacement, the starter will still need all the help it can get.

compression releases

Installing compression releases is easy with the right tools. It requires a precise hole to be drilled and tapped, which enters the combustion chamber between the exhaust valve and the spark plug hole. More to come...

Hand Made Handle Bars

After a brief hiatus I am back on the "mini stroker" chopper project. I decided that it was the right time to make handlebars. The first step, for me anyway, is to make a wire form of what I want so I can hold it up to the bike and get a visual. This is not a precise thing, rather just a basic reference. I know roughly how much rise I want, and know roughly the whith, but that still leaves a lot of room for creativity. bars 1 wire form

 

I am making these bars out of 304 stainless steel, 7/8" OD, .120" wall thickness, seamless tubing. I will end up using about 4 feet of it, approx $80 worth of raw materials. This is opposed to the catalog bought, .049" wall, recycled mild steel, chromed Chinese bars found on most "custom bikes".

bars 2

 

I start with the center bends and work outward. I have reference marks drawn on the tubing. This is so I can take the bars out of the bender, check them, then put them back in the exact same location for further bending. Speaking of bending, this is my bender. It consists of a typical bottle jack and various mandrels, a few of which I made specifically for tight radius handlebar bends.

bars 3

 

For tight radius bends like these, I use two different mandrels, a gradual "starter" mandrel and a secondary tighter one.

bars 4

 

The hardest part of making bars is keeping everything symmetrical. The exact location of the bends, the angles relative to each other, equal pullback on each side, etc. This is all done through bubble levels, angle finders, and measuring them against a flat table. There are a minimum of 6 mandrel changes, each of which entails some dis-assembly of the bender. Oh yeah, the material is springy, so I have to "overbend" each bend past the point I want, then let it spring back slightly to where I want it.

bars 5

 

Almost done with the bending stage....

bars 6

 

The next stage is polishing them. Sounds easy enough but keep in mind I cant just go straight to the buffer- First I have to sand them. The buffer can only take out microscopic scratches, not the deeper ones left from the manufacturer. For that I need my trust Burr King sander, set up with a slack belt, and a variety of sanding grits.

046

 

Not a great pic I know, but trying to simultaneously sand the bars and take a picture was not easy. Same for the buffing. Needless to say there were about 2 hours worth of sanding and buffing to get them to a mirror finish level.

bars 7

 

bars 8

 

I threw the grips on there to see how it looked. I am happy for now, but there is always the chance that they will need further modification as the bike evolves.

I'm sure I will get many comments on my "sweet chrome apes" from the local do-rag crowd. Followed by "how much for a set uh dem?". Followed by a look of disgust and confusion...

 

Another Mission in South Dakota

I recently returned from another trip to the legendary Carls Cycle Supply, home of Matt, Miss Brittney, And OG Carl. (pictures are all from my dirty I phone, so they aren't great)

matts shop outside

I had previously helped Matt on his Born Free  4 winning knucklehead, so I was honored he asked me once again to come help with some fabrication on a new project. This project, unlike the knucklehead, is a type of bike I was not previously very familiar with- a 1923 Harley race bike. Though it has a similar motor to the bike Matt raced in the 2012 "Cannonball", every other part is completely different.

The bike is for his wife, the lovely Brittney, who plans to race it in a series of vintage dirt track exhibitions, along with many other period bike enthusiasts. What makes this bike especially unique is the fact that it has no transmission, and no brakes! It doesn't have a starter either, or any clutch. It is about as "chopper" as it gets really. This is the style of bike that would have been ridden on either wooden tracks (aka board track), or later in the 1920's, oval dirt tracks.

After a series of delays and layovers thanks to Delta, I made it there. First thing to make: a seat...

seat pan flat

 

Now, keep something in mind here; Matts shop is a restoration shop. He and his dad have been building 10 point perfect (and I mean perfect) knuckleheads and panheads for many years. However, it is not a shop set up for heavy fabrication. This means that the tools I am used to using are not available. This includes brake, shear, bandsaw, plasmacutter, plannishing hammer, fixed dollies, and sander.

That doesnt mean I can't work, but it does mean I have to get a bit creative with my methods.

seat done off bike

 

With a sandbag and some hand dollies, it is possible to make most basic sheetmetal shapes. This is also a good reminder to new chopper builders that you don't have to have a ton of expensive tools to make bikes, just some patience and ingenuity.

They do, however, have an awesome mill. Here I am using it to rough out a seat pivot from a block of aluminum I found..

seat pivot rough 1

matts seat pivot rough 2

 

Here is one of the inner tank panels- the easy part...

matts tank inner panel bent

tanks 2nd stage tacked

 

The tank design is 2 piece, hanging over the backbone of the bike on piggybacked strips, bolted directly into the tube.

tanks rough sanded off bike

 

The design for the tanks is very mailbox looking; square and boxy but with radiused edges. This immediately made me nervous because trying to keep thin sheetmetal panels dead flat (while curving the edges) is almost impossible! You see, flat sheetmetal is very weak and becomes warped as soon as any part of it is welded.  When sheetmetal is formed into a curved shape, it gains body and becomes stronger. This time I had to keep about 80 percent of the tank panels flat, while curving and welding some areas. Did I mention This thing is going to be polished raw metal? ughh

tank paint scheme

 

They didn't go for my paint scheme.

Here they are welded and hand sanded to about a 100 grit level.

matts tank front corner sanded

 

Now they are down to about 600 grit..

matts tank sanded mounted 2

matts tank sanded mounted

 

 

We decided, partly due to time restrictions, to paint the top and side panels of the tank the same color as the frame, and only expose the polished sides of the tank. This was a relief because it meant I could rely on a small amount of bondo to smooth the welds around the gas caps and mounting strips.

matts bike complete

 

The tanks will be sealed before the final side polishing occurs. I left that in Matts capable hands.

I also made a basic sissybar out of steel round stock, and made a little oil tank, which Matt later finish welded and added fitting to.

Then I was back on a plane, headed home after another great trip!

leaving sd plane

 

 

 

 

Back From MAD JAP

For the past 3 weeks I have been up in Calgary, Alberta, at Mad Jap Kustoms. Dale Yamada is the owner of this operation, and has quite an impressive thing going. I would encourage anyone needing a custom bike in Canada to look no further. I have known Dale for a few years now, and we have became close friends. I was there to help out with a custom bike dale is working on for Born Free 5. Neither Dale nor I were invited builders (there is a chopper build off as part of the show), but wanted to build a bike anyway. Sometimes you need to set a goal for a bike, and if last year was any indication, this should be a great event.

Unfortunately I cant show any pics of the bike as I left it, because we'd like to keep it a secret, but we are also doing a documentary about the build. Here is a link:

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/59854144]

 

And to add to the madness, now that I am home, my full attention can be paid to MY new project, the chopper that will house the Efab "mini stroker" experimental v-twin engine. Detail of the bike are, at this time, sketchy, but suffice to say that it will be of extremely high quality, structural integrity, and anti social aesthetics. See you at Born Free!

 

 

 

Steerer Tube for Ceriani

Ceriani forks have always been a favorite of mine. However, they were never designed specifically for Harleys. Because I use Harley type necks and bearings on my frames (they are very strong), I have to adapt the fork. The steerer tube is the part of the fork that passes through the neck of the frame, and makes contact with the bearings inside it. I removed the old steerer tube (which luckily for me is bolted in on these forks, rather than integral like some). Now time for a new one. Here's what i started with- a nice solid 2" chunk of round steel.

before

 

And after a lot of manual lathe time...

after

 

To add to the complexity, I am re-using the Italian steering damper that the fork originally used. It was integrated into the steerer tube, using an adjuster rod and some threaded bits that went through it. What you don't see here is the inside of the tube, which is also machined out, with several key dimensions.

Of course all of this gets buried inside the frame, so it is not seen when the bike is assembled. When people ask the price of my motorcycles, they need to keep in mind that there are dozens of situations like this in every bike. These parts have to be strong, beautiful, and able to be serviced if necessary.  This takes  time, but it is what makes a bike custom made, not custom assembled.

Efab "Gen 5" Leaf-spring Kickstand

This is the first batch of gen 5s. These are the best yet. I have listened to feedback from guys running the gen 4s and taken measures accordingly. Price has gone up $25, but the materials are better. $375 plus shipping. These are weld on. Many people have asked how to weld them to a regular steel frame, and its easy, just use 309 filler rod. It welds the same as regular steel- no special skills required. ef stand closeup

 

These are designed for kickstart bikes, as a response to typical cheap-shit weld-on stands snapping from the bouncing. Remember, you don't look cool when your stand snaps off and you faceplant into your air cleaner, as your paintjob gets smashed into the pavement! And, of course, there will be people watching when it happens. Get a leafer and never worry again 203 315 9908

ef stand full

Efab Wallet For Sale

Last minute Xmas idea. I made two wallets, one for a custom order, and the other for sale. Handmade, and all hand sewn (as in- a needle, thread, my fingers). $350 w2

w3

w4 (2)

w5 (2)

w6

w7

w8

w9

w10

w11

Coffin Handle Bowie

This knife started out as a bar of 01 tool steel, and was shaped by sander, file, and stone. I apologize for not having pics of the beginning of the project. Here is the blade getting the final stoning before heat treatment. The heat treatment consists of heating the blade in my kiln to 1550 degrees, then quenching it in oil. This takes the steel from its relatively soft state to its max hardness. Directly after the quench it goes into the oven for 2, 2 hour 350 degrees heat cycles to temper it. People often seem confused as to the purpose of this second heating. When the blade comes out of the oil quench it is so hard that it can break- sort of like a piece of glass- super hard but brittle. The tempering reduces the hardness slightly to give it more resilience, while still retaining 90% of its post-quench hardness. At this point, I have approx 20 hours into the blade alone. The candles are because I was doing this during the hurricane power outage!

Now on to the guard and handle. This is a paper template for the upper portion of the handle.

Here it is transferred onto the steel it will be cut from. I use a plasma cutter here.

Cut out, but rough...

Using my vintage surface grinder to remove the rust and scale from the steel, and to ensure that it is perfectly flat.

Now to the old Bridgeport mill to begin the long process of maching the rough steel to exact dimensions. This mill is all manual- no power feed or digital readouts... just my eyes!

OK, rough shape done, and approximate pin hole locations marked...

With the two halves held together, you can see what i achieved with the milling. The blade will recess down into the top of the guard, but not protrude through to the bottom.

Pin holes are drilled (and also drilled through the blade itself), and using the TIG welder to carefully weld the halves together.

Final polishing of the blade. After the heat treatment the blade is discolored and has oil stains, so this is necessary.  Of course, now the blade is rock hard so it takes even more effort to sand it!

Tapped off the blade to protect it while I continue with the handle.

Guard on but not permanently pinned, while I shape the top portion. It has to come back off to be polished.

Guard has been on and off a dozen times at this point, simply sanding, shaping, polishing, filing, fitting. It is important to note that I cannot simply lay this up on a large buffer to achieve this finish, because it will round off all my sharp edges. That means that 95% of this finish needs to be achieved by hand sanding.  This is solid steel.

Now on to the handles scales, made of stabilized amboyna wood

And all polished and blended..

file work in back of blade

finished product! If interested please contact me at easternfabrications@gmail.com

and yes it shaves hair

Alex Lerner Gas Tank

This tank is for SL NYC owner Alex Lerner. If you are in the NYC area and need a top notch mechanic/ fabricator- he is your man. This tank is for his next custom bike. The tank shape was designed here at Efab- similar to a sportster, but completely different too. First step is making the "buck", which I do from cedar. Then it gets coated in several layers of marine epoxy to make it hard as a cinderblock. This allows me to hammer directly on it- which sometimes helps!

Templates are taken directly off the buck....

Transferred to steel..

beverly shear is a great tool..

ok..now we start the hard part

about an hour later

needs more...

ok sides good..now top panel

This was a unique tank because i could tack the top to the sides while still on the buck... made things easier

Took it off the buck, and made the front panel and the floor. Tunnel and mounts will be added later

 

all welded up

 

Cast Wheel

For my new bike: Before

 

After

 

Polishing is a hell I wouldn't wish on my enemies. This was by far the most challenging cast thing I have ever attempted to make shiny. Up until this point the worst torture I had endured was an FXR transmission case, complete with all the little fins under the oil filter area. This was worse because almost all of the surfaces to shine were concave in some way- no easy way to lay it up against a buffer! About 60 percent of this was by hand, with little wooden bucks for my sandpaper, wearing my finger tips down to bloody nubs. Luckily it is finally done- so I will never have to do it again!

New Motor Mock Up

Here is a basic mockup- no internals. Bore is 3.5, stroke will be 4.25". That is just 80 inches, but inside a bombproof shell- billet ductile iron cylinders from Hyperformance that actually reduce the bore of the twincam style cases. This means that an already strong cylinder is now even stronger. The motor will have worked over twin cam heads, S and S flywheels, magneto, super B and custom cams. Compression: unknown at this time