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1932 Studebaker Indy car build


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The support frame for the fuel cell got welded together and I made a couple of hold-down straps from 1-1/2 x 1/8 steel.  I need to make up some J-bolts to be able to put some tension on the straps, but the pieces are pretty much done.  I would be painting it today but for the rain.  The fuel cell frame will be held to the chassis crossbars with some U-shaped clamps I bent up, most just old-time black-smithing.  I've got to put the wire-frame back in place to double-check the clearances, but I think I'm OK. 

 

I got a new garage assistant:  Alexa from Amazon.  I have a couple of small, round Echo Spots in the house, the new one is an Echo Show with a 5-inch screen.  I can tell her to play the music I want.  She can also look up data for me when my hands are greasy.  After some extensive fiddling with my home network and setting up a WiFi repeater, the three Echos are now on the exact same part of my home network.  This permits my wife, while in the kitchen, to say to the Echo Spot on the counter, "Drop in on the garage".  Then she can talk to me like it's an intercom but she can also see me if I stand in front of the garage unit.  Of course, there are upsides and downsides to this, LOL!  "Alexa, play Jimmy Buffett music..."

 

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14 hours ago, Gary_Ash said:

"Alexa, play Jimmy Buffett music..."

 

Gary, pleased to hear you are also a Jimmy Buffett fan. Got to know his music when we visited the USA to race the Poppy Flyer at Pomona raceway in the early 1980's. Really enjoying your posts on this Indy car project.

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If your musical tastes are a little more eclectic, try the Internet station http://RadioParadise.com.  Great stuff for listening while working in the garage.  Wray Schelin at Pro Shaper.com put me onto this, as he plays it all day in his shop.

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The good news today was that the missing wire wheel arrived from England after spending a week or more at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris.  It eventually went to Memphis, Boston, and the local distribution center in Raynham, MA before delivery to me.  All was in good shape, including inner tube with brass stems and rubber rim bands.  It's a great relief having the wheels here.

 

I also got the Delco-Remy distributor back from the rebuilder in Minnesota (Advanced Distributors).  He explained that with four carbs, I wouldn't have a vacuum signal for the advance, so he modified the distributor to have all mechanical advance.  He set the dual points to open together, said I don't need to adjust anything for 5,000 miles or more.  Boy, would I love to put 5,000 miles on this car!

 

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Delco Remy 662M distributor after rebuild at Advanced Distributors, Shakopee, Minnesota.

 

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Delco Remy 662M distributor with dual points.

 

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Posted (edited)

When I was working on the seating area, it became clear that the steering wheel was going to be to tight against my lap.  I'm a small guy, so any future driver of size was going to have a big problem.   Fortunately, I had followed the original design for the steering box mount that allowed rotation of the steering column up and down.   I took out the aluminum steering column clamp and decided to take out 1.75" to move the column up.  Some years ago, I bought a Freud 80-tooth, 10" table saw blade for non-ferrous cutting, have used it a few times.  I dismounted the wood-cutting blade from the table saw, put in the non-ferrous blade and sawed through the 1" thick aluminum block.  Of course, I was wearing a long shop coat, eye protection, and ear muffs to block the noise and the hot chips.  I sprayed WD-40 on the blade to lubricate and cool it as I pushed the aluminum block through.  It took less than a minute to cut through a 4" wide slab.  The chips from sawing are really hot and go everywhere.  But, let's count the rest of the time:  5 minutes to  change out the wood-cutting blade to the Freud blade, 5 minutes to change it back, 15 minutes to clean up all the aluminum chips that flew everywhere even with the vacuum  collection system going.

 

Anyway, the part got sliced cleanly.  Then I had to take it out to the garage, drill it for re-tapping, and tap the 3/8-16 holes to mount the block.  I wound up drilling the holes to 0.339" when the nominal tap drill is 5/16 (0.312") because I was afraid of breaking off the tap in the hole.  The aluminum sure seemed gooey for tapping.  Add one more hour to the job.  In the end, I got the job done, didn't break the tap, and remounted the bracket and steering column.

 

I'd been avoiding this job for weeks because I knew it wouldn't be fun and had a high risk of failure.  This time, I won!  I have been following the work of Joe Puleo on his 1910 Mitchell, and he has been an inspiration on machining parts while being very patient.

 

I did mount the distributor today, but will eventually have to set the timing correctly.  Someday...

 

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The aluminum block on the saw table ready to cut.

 

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The sawed face of the aluminum block - no need for a pass in the milling machine!

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

I had painted the mounting frame for the fuel cell, but the "Ford tractor gray" alkyd enamel from Tractor Supply took about a week to dry enough to be hard and not smell.  I even brought it in from the garage so it would be warmer and dryer.  At last, I felt comfortable bolting it in without risking damage to the paint, so in it went with some rubber strips to cushion the joints just a little.  I took a deep breath and placed the skin of the tail over the fuel cell and frame, found that I really did have adequate clearance all around.  I also put the seats approximately in place to check clearance behind the seats.  I'll cut an access panel into the area behind the passenger seat as a means of mounting the fuel filler and for inspection.  At the bottom, some rubber bumpers under the chassis will limit axle upward motion to prevent contact with the tank.  I put the outlet sump at the rear to gain just a little more room over the axle.  Now I have to plumb in the 3/8 Cunifer tubing using AN-6 fittings for the line to the shut-off valve, filter, and electric fuel pump.  Cunifer is about 89% copper, 10% nickel, and 1% iron.  It bends easily, won't corrode, and is strong enough for gas lines and brake lines.  It doesn't work harden like pure copper.  The AN fittings may not be period correct, but they are easy to work with and won't leak.  Mostly, they won't be visible.  The tail will have to come off if it's necessary to get to the fuel cell, but there will only be about a dozen acorn nuts to remove to do that.  

 

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Fuel cell and its frame mounted.  Fuel filler placed approximately in final location.

 

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Seats placed in tail to check fuel cell clearance.  A lot of forming and welding still has to take place to finish off this part of the body.

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

GARY...Another Stude President speedster is being built in Chile, he posted this photo. I recommended he contact you........Nicolas Macan is his AACA name. See his new post in the general discussion area.

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Bigger is better! Well, not for racing......but I like big junk!👍

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally got the water pump cleaned, painted, and ready for assembly.  Then, my buddy George came up with a complete rebuild kit including new shaft and impeller (which was badly needed), along with thrust washers and bronze bushings.  The shaft was cross-drilled for a pin at the back end, so it may have been made for a later pump version, but I was able to press the impeller farther onto the shaft an inch or so, cross drill it, and put in a steel pin to hold it in place.  I had to turn down a piece of cold-rolled 1/4" rod to make the pin, planned to peen the ends over like a rivet.  I thought that the pin would also shorten a bit and swell to fit tightly when I peened the ends but the cold-rolled rod turned out to be pretty tough stuff.  The ends were peened enough the pin wouldn't fall out, but it could still slide back and forth more than I liked.  I wound up feeding a few drops of Loctite Green down the pin and into the holes - it will never move now!  Great stuff, and a little heat will make it release its grip.  Not needed in my lifetime, though.  Next time, use brass or soft steel for pins to be peened.

 

The bronze bushing pressed into the blind hole in the rear cover of the water pump was a real challenge to remove.  There is a $150 tool that uses an expanding set of fingers to get behind the back edge of a bushing, then an attached slide hammer is used to draw it out.  My head had a problem spending $150 for something I might use only once for 2 minutes.  I tried the trick used on pilot bearings in crankshafts of filling the hole with grease and hammering on a shaft placed in the hole.  Unfortunately, the bushing has a groove like a keyway for distributing grease, so pressing on the end of the shaft only squirted grease out the groove.  Following some things seen on the Interwebs, I filled the bushing and cavity behind it with wet toilet paper and pushed on the shaft in my hydraulic press.  That did get the bushing started, but as it moved out of the hole, the old bushing split at its flange leaving the straight sleeve mostly in the hole.  Removing the now wood-like toilet paper was a real pain;  modeling clay or putty would have been better.  It took a hacksaw blade in a single-ended handle to saw mostly through the sleeve in two places and tap out the pieces with a nail set.  The bushing was very brittle.  The cover was undamaged and unmarred, and the new bushing was pressed in.

 

The flexible coupling between the water pump and generator shaft uses two rubberized cloth disks which I got from John Cislak, the Pierce-Arrow guy.  The coupling needed eight 1/4-28 x 3/4 bolts cross-drilled for cotter pins and castle nuts.  I drilled and tapped a piece of 1/2" square bar stock for a bolt to screw into, then drilled a cross hole to guide the drilling of the bolt shanks.  Of course, the bolts turned out to be Grade 5 and very hard, so I broke two 1/16th inch drills making the holes but managed to remove the broken drill pieces.  Resharpening a 1/16th drill bit by hand is challenge for my old eyes.

 

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The water pump re-assembled with its flexible coupling.

 

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Water pump installed.  It had to come out again as I forgot to put the section of hose in place to the water manifold.

 

After visits to several auto parts stores and a marine industrial supplier, I got the three sizes of hose needed to hook up the water pump to the engine and radiator.  The thermostat is in an aluminum housing (Meziere) in the outlet hose from the head.  It uses a modern thermostat so I can choose the operating temperature.  While I had planned to have the radiator filler poke up through the grille shell to meet an old-style cap, I just couldn't make the filler and vent tube fit.  I finally unsoldered the filler neck and soldered in a brass plate over the opening.  I've ordered a remote fill tube that goes between the thermostat and radiator inlet.  It will be under the hood.  The vent tube will go to a stainless steel overflow/recovery tank so I won't be dripping coolant after a high speed run.  😄

 

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Water plumbing being installed.

 

With the distributor now in place, I wanted to set the timing, at least approximately.  The timing marks are on the flywheel inside the bell housing.  I guess in the large engine compartments of the old cars, the inspection port was accessible and visible.  In the Indy car, the port is in the cockpit near the firewall.  I was just able to crawl into the cockpit and point my camera into the hole where, fortunately, Jerry had set the the engine at TDC when he finished rebuilding it.  Once the belly pan is on the car, only a snake could wriggle anywhere near that port.  I fabricated an aluminum finger, attached under one of the front cover bolts, and engraved a TDC mark on the vibration damper.  It will be easy to shine a timing light on the mark, though I'll need to add some additional marks near 16° BTDC.

 

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Aluminum finger and mark on vibration damper for timing.

 

Still lots of plumbing to do for the fuel line.  I had the tubing in hand and the AN-6 nuts but hadn't realized that AN/JIC fittings also need sleeves on the tubes, now on order along with the special 37-degree flare tool.  Once past the electric fuel pump in the engine compartment, I'll transition to 3/8" rubber line to feed the four carbs.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Once I started to add the spark plug wires, it became clear that distributor drive shaft was not lined up correctly.  I had to drain the oil, drop the pan, pull the oil pump, and rotate the drive gear, then put it all back together.  With the rotor now aligned, the wires quickly went into the right places.  I made a bracket to hold the coil, mounted those, and added the coil-to-distributor high tension wire.  I like the old-style wire with the stripes.

 

Now it's time to make and install the mechanical linkage to the carbs.  A 1/2" shaft will run beside the carbs with arms to link to the throttle shafts.  I have all those parts made [See back on Page 3, Sept. 2014].  Now I need the pieces that link to the gas pedal and make the carb shaft rotate.  I drew up all the pieces on the computer and ordered a bunch of steel round and flat bar stock to machine them out of.  Speedy Metals lets me order all kinds of stuff by the inch, so I don't have to buy a 3 ft bar.  I have photos of the linkages in the original cars to work from, so I didn't have to dream up something myself.  The slave shaft and bell crank mount on the firewall and have a cross pin to engage a slotted receiver on the main carburetor shaft.  This allows the carbs to be removed without pulling the bell crank from the firewall.  Once the metal stock arrives, I'll be spending time with the lathe and milling machine.  I have to go shopping for the small yokes and pins to engage the bell cranks.

 

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Distributor and coil installed and high tension wires added.

 

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Carburetor shaft linkage on the green #37 car.

 

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My computer rendering of some of the parts to be made.

 

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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I got the remote radiator fill tube from The Brass Works, the guys that made the radiator.  I plumbed that in with the 1.75" hose pieces.  Then I mounted the stainless steel overflow tank - not original, but now required for many vintage racing events to prevent coolant spills. At this point, all the water cooling loop is hooked up except for some small tubes to the overflow tank.  A dummy cap will be mounted on the top of the radiator shell.

 

I started defining the electrical system, realized I needed to know the max. amps that the electric fan will draw.  The fan is a curved-blade SPAL fan, 13" dia.  It turns out that it draws about 19 amps.  That may be a problem as my generator was only rated for 26 amps before I had it rewound for 12 volts, though I don't think that increased its current output rating.  After a lot of thought, I decided I will try the fan as is, but have the option to order a different model that fits the same mounting holes but only draws 11 amps.  It, of course, has less air flow, but I do need the fan, electric fuel pump (~1 amp), ignition coil (~4 amps), and maybe some headlights at night (8-10 amps).  I ordered a "Bare Bonz" kit from Ron Francis Wiring to provide an integrated connection block with fuses, light flashers, and relays.  It will hide behind the dash panel but be easily removable for installation and changes.  I'm thinking of using a smallish Optima absorbed glass mat battery, will mount it on the inside of the firewall behind the dash.  The cockpit skin will have to come off to get to it easily, but I timed myself the other day and was able to get the cockpit skin off in under 4 minutes while working alone.

 

I dragged out my piece of 4-inch exhaust pipe and dropped it in place to see if I needed bends in it.  I think it will be OK to have it straight as there is only about 1/2" change of elevation over about 5 ft from the exhaust manifold.  There will still be a lot of interesting welding to be done on the 0.065" wall steel tube.  The pipe will need a little insulation wrap to prevent passengers from getting burns when climbing in or out.  The original cars didn't have pipe wraps, but then the riding mechanics knew what they were doing.   As there are no doors and the belly pan won't be good for supporting weight, entrance and egress requires careful planning and execution.

 

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The remote fill tube by the radiator.  The aluminum fitting to the left of the filler is the Meziere thermostat housing.

 

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Overflow tank mounted on the radiator fan shroud.  A 3/8" hose will come from the side of the remote fill to the tank.

 

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The 4" exhaust pipe placed in about the final location.  A 3-degree taper pipe will be welded to the exhaust manifold to make a tight slip fit.

 

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As can be seen in the photo above, the main exhaust pipe has to make a 10 degree turn to run parallel with the body of the car, but it still has to engage the manifold on the engine.  The solution to this is to add a 3" long extension on the manifold that expands from 3.75" dia to 4" dia and cut it at a 5 degree angle.  Then, a 4" long cone that goes from 4" o.d. to 3.5" o.d has to be made and also cut at 5 degrees.  With the two cones welded to the exhaust manifold, the main pipe should engage smoothly without any tilt of the tubes.

 

I was able to lay out the cones in my CAD program, cut them off at a 5 degree angle, and have the software unroll patterns for me.  Maybe there is a way to do it by hand but I don't know it.  A round tube cut at an angle has an ellipse as a projection, but I don't know what to call a cone cut at an angle.  Anyway, I printed out the patterns, traced the longer one onto a conical reducer I had previously bought, and traced the shorter one onto a piece of flat 16 gauge sheet steel.  I cut the flat sheet oversize and ground the edges to just remove the marker lines, then rolled it in my 3-in-1 sheet metal machine.  I got the cone angle about right and have the piece ready for welding on the bench.  The plan from here is to TIG weld the seam, grind it smooth, and then re-roll the cone to eliminate the flat area around the seam where the rollers couldn't reach.  My fingers are crossed that this will work to make a round part for welding to the other cone and manifold.

 

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CAD-generated patterns for cones cut at 5 degree angle.

 

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The larger cone with one side against a square.

 

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The opposite side of the larger cone showing the angle against the square.

 

 

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The paper pattern for the shorter cone on the 16 gauge sheet.

 

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Starting to roll the short cone.  The steel had to be knocked sideways bit by bit as the piece went through the rolls.  The back (third) roll was set at an angle.

 

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Rolling completed to form a 4" o.d on the big end of the cone.

 

 

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The smaller cone ready for welding - no gap!

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It took me most of the day, but I got the seam welded on the small cone and the two cones butt-welded together and the welds cleaned up.  The cones meet at a 10 degree angle, as planned.  I was able to re-roll the small cone after the seam welding and grinding in order to get it completely round.  It's the only way to get the flats at the seam to go away. 

 

I did look up what the intersection of a plane and cone is:  it's also an ellipse.  Archimedes and the other Greek mathematicians knew all that 2200 years ago.  I'm not sure how that knowledge would have helped me make the paper pattern, though.  Now I have to disassemble the intake manifolds and carbs and pull the exhaust manifold off so I can weld the cone assembly to the end of the megaphone on the exhaust manifold.  I'm hoping my TIG welding gets better and faster, but this is the first serious thing I've done with my TIG.

 

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The two cones welded together at a 10 degree angle.

 

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The 4" exhaust pipe, the cone assembly, and the megaphone exhaust manifold.  The cone still has to be welded to the megaphone.

 

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Today saw the two-cone assembly welded to the exhaust manifold.  To do that, I had to un-mount the carburetors that I had just installed and plumbed in, but it had to be done.  A little hammer-and-dolly work was required to round out the megaphone but eventually the smaller cone lined up with the megaphone.  I used a couple of big welding magnets to hold the alignment while I tacked with the TIG around the perimeter.  It took me a couple of hours to weld the entire joint, grind it down, then go back and fill the pin holes.  The sun was shining bright today, so I could stare into the end of the cones and see tiny lights coming through the holes.  Of course, those were where the welding was poor already and the metal was thin, so trying to put another bead on top just made the molten metal drop through.  Welding is much easier when you can get to both sides, but I couldn't reach that far into the pipe.  Maybe in retrospect, I should have welded the first cone to the manifold because I could have reached in the 3 or 4 inches to weld on the back side of the seam.  Then I could have done the same for the second cone.  Live and learn!  I did eventually fill all of the pinholes.

 

Now the exhaust manifold is complete, the welds ground down and polished a bit, remounted on the block, and the carburetors back in place.  The 4" pipe slides nicely over the mating cone, makes a pretty tight joint.  I ordered a bunch of 3/8-16 rivet nuts so I can put one in the front of the pipe to secure it to the manifold.  A second one will go by the rear axle where there is a support attached to the chassis.  While shopping for these online, it became clear there are cheap copies of rivet nuts and the good ones.  The cheap copies go into 13mm/.512" holes, the good ones go in 1/2" holes.  I don't have the $100 setting tool for the rivet nuts, but a 3/8-16 bolt, nut, and washer will work just fine for installing them.  I may need to add some baffles in the pipe to dampen the worst of the noise when I take the car in for its Massachusetts inspection, will mount those with some more rivet nuts so I can pull them out for real noise-making.

 

1942055418_conesweldedtomanifold.jpg.09db2b503d7f80d742315b0eec3dc63b.jpg   

The two cones welded to the exhaust manifold.

 

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The main pipe slid onto the cones.  Note the nice fit of the pipe on the cone.  Not the greatest welding artwork, but it will do.

 

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The 6 ft long pipe mated to the cone but not yet secured.

 

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Posted (edited)

Gary, maybe baffles from a Super Trapp motorcycle muffler would work.....or you could copy one. The baffles “stack” so you can add or subtract noise.........works well, and may be a good solution.

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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I'm using the smaller 250 cu in Studebaker engine, not the larger 337 cu in engine.  The block with crank, cam, pistons, and iron head, but without the 57 lb flywheel, weighed in at 533 lbs.  Also, there was no starter, generator, distributor, fuel pump, water pump, clutch or bell housing when I weighed the block, probably 200 lbs for those parts.  I suspect the Big 6 engine weighed more.  The 337 engine block is 4" longer than mine (30"), probably weighs a lot more.  I'm using an aluminum head that is about 35 lbs lighter than the iron one, and we shaved 10 lbs or so off the flywheel.  The intake and exhaust manifolds on my engine are also lighter than the cast iron ones used in production, though four old EX-23 zinc carburetors add back some of the weight.

 

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The carburetor linkage has a lot of pieces, some to be made in the lathe, some in the milling machine, a few in both machines.  There is a piece I called the "slotted receiver" which is pinned to the 1/2" tube which pulls on the throttle shafts using some small arms.  A mating 3/8" shaft with a cross pin mounts on the firewall.  I machined the receiver on the lathe from 1" bar stock, 11L17 free-machining steel, but had to cut a 1/8" wide slot to accept the pin on the shaft from the firewall.  I thought I had a 1/8" end mill, but I didn't.  I did have a couple of saw blades that I had used for the brass carburetor shafts .  I mounted the 1/16" wide blade in the mill and took two passes on the receiver to make a 1/8" wide slot.  Using the saw blades scares me silly, as I'm sure that contact with the blade would instantly remove fingers, etc.  However, I did get the slot machined, can still count to ten, and am pretty happy with the results.  I wasn't trained at machining, so this is all on-the-job learning.   The mill is an older Rong Fu mill made in Taiwan, 400+ pounds of cast iron and steel, same as Grizzly 1005Z mill/drill.  A nice, big Bridgeport mill would be fun to have, but I don't really have the need or the space for one.  Similarly, while I have upgraded my Harbor Freight lathe from 7x10 to a 7x16 bed, I have nowhere to put a larger lathe nor could I move one.  The downside of the HF lathe is that it protests noisily if I try to take a cut more than 0.010" in a big piece of steel.  But, it will eventually get the job done.  Old men learn to have patience.

 

For the shaft which engages the receiver, I was able to cross-drill a 1/8" hole and press in a roll pin.  Looking at the parts now, I can understand more of why they made it that way.  The pin in the slot, with a lot of clearance on the i.d of the receiver allows for misalignment axiallly, angularly, and also in-out motion.  It's kind of like a U-joint with extra degrees of freedom.  Amazingly, with the slot at just 1/8" wide, the roll pin doesn't have much backlash.  I'll try to finish the other parts and mount them all on the firewall.  See May 24, 2020 post for the details of this assembly.

 

808849394_slotsawing.jpg.36763cd076b0114cf9073a067b5df321.jpg 

Sawing the slot in the receiver.

 

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The slot sawed cleanly and the scary blade.

 

1829691853_Slottedreceiver1.thumb.png.bbf94053c062f19b962879a8c625b5de.png

The receiver drawing.

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The last three days have been spent on the milling machine carving out the bellcrank arms for the gas pedal linkage.  See the images and drawings back on May 24 for what it was supposed to look like.  The pieces came out pretty good.  The arms started as 1/2 "x 3/4" cold-rolled steel flat bar.  The arms taper from 3/4" wide at the hub to 1/2" wide where the yoke attaches, and they are machined down to 3/16" thick to mate with the yokes.  With only 3/4 hp available on the mill, a cut of about 0.020" is about all it can manage on one pass with a 9/16" end mill bit, so it's a slow job that takes a lot of patience.  Hey, the world is shut down and I'm not going anywhere, so I might as well turn the cranks on the milling machine!  

 

The ends of the arms and the hubs get radiused, so I bought the rotary/tilt table for the mill drill that I have wanted for a while.  LittleMachineShop.com has lots of good stuff like this.  With the arms centered over the holes, I was able to dial the table around about 180 degrees to get the radii machined.  The bronze bushings still need to be pressed into the mounts, but first I think I'll take the steel pieces to the local plating shop and have them put some bright zinc chromate on everything to keep the pieces from rusting.  While that's being down, I can figure out how to mount a gas pedal in the limited space available.

 

765925053_pedallinkageassy.jpg.072fd7d75f6af3cd16bce7e5f685b6a1.jpg

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The 3/8-16 rivet nuts arrived so I got started putting them in the exhaust pipe and manifold.  With the pipe in place, I marked where the holes needed to be, then drilled the 1/2" hole in the rear of the pipe.  The rivet nut dropped nicely in the hole.  I spun a nut on a 3/8 bolt, shoved a washer on, and screws the bolt into the rivet nut until the 3/8 nut bottomed.  I've inserted rivet nuts before, so all it was supposed to take was to hold the bolt head still and crank the nut down to deform the body of the rivet nut to clamp it in place.  Hah!  The rivet nut just spun in the hole and backed the bolt out.  After several failed schemes to hold the rivet nut body stationary, I dragged out the ultimate tool:  the MIG welder.  A few quick tack welds and that body wasn't spinning anymore.  

 

But, then, it took all the muscle I summon and my long-handled 9/16" wrench to spin the nut and deform the rivet nut.  Since the thing was a good 2 ft from the end of the 4" pipe, I couldn't see if it was set properly and completely.  A few more small welds took care of that uncertainty.  The rivet nut is on the bottom side of the pipe and resting on the pipe mount, so it will never be seen.  

 

Then I had another realization:  the rivet nut for the front end of the pipe needed to be in the exhaust manifold and its flange was going to be protruding a good 1/16" from the surface.  So much for my nicely fitting cone-to-pipe joint with zero clearance.  In this case, the nut wanted to be only about 3" in the end of the manifold, so after drilling the 3/8 hole, I put in a bolt from the outside and spun down a nut on the inside.  I was able to get the MIG torch into position to put some small welds on four of the sides of the hex nut to the inside of the pipe.  Fortunately, my welding did not touch the jigging bolt, so it came right out.  We don't need no stinkin' rivet nuts!

 

So the pipe is in place and securely held there with bolts on the bottom side.  On to the next part of the project!

 

The gas pedal linkage parts got dropped at the local plating shop, will get barrel plated with about 0.0001"-0.0002" of zinc, then clear chromate on top.  The shop isn't open tomorrow (Friday), but the guy said he would have the parts done on Monday.

 

642279992_rivetnuthole.jpg.8bee4b57038bd6f46916b1b26fde1931.jpg

Half-inch hole in the pipe for the rivet nut. See rivet nut and setting bolt above pipe.

 

1362041830_rivetnutinhole.jpg.286a136219f3466869811a4f176aa6c0.jpg   

Rivet nut placed in hole.  It  just spun round and round. 

 

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Rivet nut welded in.

 

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Front of exhaust pipe bolted to exhaust manifold (underside).  The nut is welded to the inside of the cone on the manifold.

 

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With reduced COVID-19 restrictions here in Massachusetts, I was finally able to go out to Wray Schelin's Pro Shaper shop in central Massachusetts.  The hotels would accept people, though breakfast was a bagel and yogurt in a bag, and the restaurants had dining on their patios.  Fortunately, the weather was good, so I didn't go hungry.  I did work from 9:00 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Wray's, got some good things done.  During my last visit in March (!), we got the front of the belly pan formed up as well as four of the middle section pieces.  This weekend, the two pairs of side pieces got TIG welded together and one pair joined to the front of the belly pan.  Usually, I've been able to clamp two sections together with with big ViseGrip pliers to hold them together in good alignment for welding.  The front of the pan was too deep to accept ViseGrips, so we had to use small welding clamps made of thin sheet metal with cross pins at the back to pull the pieces into alignment.  As the weld metal cools, it brings the two pieces together and closes the gap.  This can put a lot of stress on the metal but planishing helps to relieve it. 

 

After welding, the weld seams need to be ground down almost - but not quite - flat, then they are planished in the power hammer to level them and remove most of the small surface blemishes and to flatten any distortion caused by weld shrinkage.  I start with 3" Norton Blaze 50 grit disks of 3" diameter to take off the biggest weld blobs and get close to the metal surface without digging in.  After planishing, I go back with 80 and 120 grit disks, then switch to the 2" orbital sander with 220 grit disks to completely smooth the welds even with the surrounding metal.  It's a slow, dirty, noisy process, but the welds can hardly be seen afterwards.  

 

I started hammering out the two tail end pieces for the pan.  These have to wrap in several directions, so they need forming to a big radius by hand bending (or "belly bending") around a big pipe, then stretched at several locations to fit around the shape transition, and shrunk at the edges to join the shape of the main pan section.  After 3-4 hours of bending, hammering, shrinking on the big Pullmax machine, and wheeling to smooth the surfaces, one side of the tail end is coming together.  Mostly, it's check the fit of the piece to the wire form, beat on the piece to stretch it out to make it fit better, wheel it smooth, and check fit again, and beat it some more.  Where the metal needs to be brought in closer to the wire form, some passes through the Pullmax power hammer with thumbnail shrinking dies will draw the aluminum sheet in tighter.  I'm still learning about when to stretch and when to shrink and when to use the English wheel to more subtly change the shape and smooth the surfaces.  Here are some photos of the work so far.

 

767154889_bellypanweldingclamps.thumb.jpg.6fe99651ef8e0f10906090adab64f655.jpg

Small weld clamps in place for attaching pan front to first section.

 

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Finished weld ground and fine sanded. 

 

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The welded front section, mid section with center seam welded but not yet ground and planished, and one side of tail partly formed.

 

282370223_bellypanpiecesrear.thumb.jpg.0acbd3cc05b0c13a105fe8f423579eb2.jpg

The tail of the pan half formed.  The visible lines in the metal are where the Pullmax was used to shrink the metal together.  The lumps 

are where it was hammered to stretch the metal.  Wheeling will remove the marks and smooth the surfaces.

 

1763733518_bellypanbottom37light(small).thumb.jpg.352812fb27910bb3f4d4fcc296ec3e21.jpg

The original Studebaker Indy car belly pan at the tail.

     

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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You can almost see the checkered flag.  Keep up the good momentum!  Your end result is going to be terrific.

Al 

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I picked up the gas pedal linkage parts at the plating shop today, was happy with the barrel-plated, bright zinc chromate finish.  It isn't chrome, but it's pretty shiny and will keep the rust away.  For the 8 small pieces and the 30" long tube, they only charged me $35, call it $4 per part.  And, they did it in a few days.   I wouldn't choose zinc chromate for parts that will sit out in the rain, but these will be mostly protected and dry.  Now to get them mounted on the firewall and hooked up to the carbs.

 

1217149924_pedallinkagepartsZnchromatedsm.thumb.jpg.be0554f0970eb56d0817304aaa291d51.jpg

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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The small hub for the throttle linkage got mounted on the 1/4" aluminum firewall.  Although I carefully marked the centers of the holes before drilling, using the hand-held drill let the bits walk off center and I wound up having to hand-file some egg-shaped holes for the mounting screws.  Annoying!  But, things did eventually line up and I marked the 1/2" diameter tube for the locations of the cross-holes for the roll pins that secure the arms and drilled the shaft in four places.  The arms were machined a few years ago and had been nickel plated.  So, with the hole bored to 0.500 and then electroless nickel plated, it was smaller than 1/2".  The shaft was precision drawn-over-mandrel tube that was nominally 1/2", but it can be up to 0.005" oversize.  So, the arms didn't fit on the shaft until I hand reamed each one - and the nickel plating was hard!  In the end, I got each of the four arms to be a tight slip fit on the shaft.  I ran a 1/8" drill through the cross-holes in the arms, then assembled all the parts on the shaft and pressed in the 1/8" diameter roll pins.  I seem to have gotten them aligned pretty well.

 

The shaft with the four bushing blocks got bolted to the support arms from the intake elbows after engaging the short driving shaft and its cross pin.  Then I attached the links and pins to join the carburetor arms to the linkage arms.  Tiny cotter pins retain the clevis pins in the links.  The assembly moves smoothly enough.  I'll have to add throttle return springs on each carb as a safety issue, but this part of the assembly is nearly done.  You can compare the final pieces with the linkage from the original 1931 Indy car in the photos below.

 

1671887243_carblinkageshaftandarms.thumb.jpg.e9028d81ce13d650f401ac7321b3f3bb.jpg

Carburetor linkage fully assembled.

 

87338906_carblinkageshaftarms.thumb.jpg.0902f99f37546e346276d116d50b29fa.jpg

One of the carb links and arms.

 

1395028521_carblinkagearms-orig.thumb.jpg.4a7d017c5fe4010062fc34a131d882a5.jpg

A photo of the original linkage in the #37 car from 1931.

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My wiring kit from Ron Francis Wiring arrived!  I had looked at a couple of vendors, called the Ron Francis shop, and discussed options.  We worked out that their simplest "Bare Bonz" system would have more than enough circuits for my car.  I sprung for the quick release mounting block so that I can drop the whole panel to work on it, if needed.  The kit wasn't cheap, but the panel has all the functions built in and is very compact.  I screwed the mounting plate to the inside of the firewall, now have to run a lot of wires.  The panel won't be visible with the cowl sheet metal in place.  The sets of wires they supplied all have printed labeling along the lengths of the wires, will make it easy to keep track of things.  There is a terminal strip along the bottom for attaching the wires.  The terminals labeled for the neutral safety switch, clock memory, wipers, and heat/AC will get re-purposed and re-labeled, LOL.  All the relays for the horn, turn signals, hazard flashers, etc. are built in.  There will be demountable headlights and taillights so that the car can be legally driven on the road, will take them off for for show time.  I think a small-ish 12 volt Optima battery will get mounted next to the fuse/relay block.  Now I just have to go stare at my generator to figure out which is the field terminal and which is the armature, as it got a heavy coat of black paint when it was changed from 6 V to 12 V and the marks aren't visible.

 

I do cringe a little every time I have to choose a place to drill holes in the firewall, hoping I select the right spot and won't have to move things later.  I'll need holes for the temperature sensor bulb, ignition and DC power wiring, electric fan power, horn, electric fuel pump, lights, and starter solenoid.  I hope I haven't forgotten too many things.  Starting the wiring is going to force me to commit to location of things on the instrument panel and start drilling big holes there for the instruments and small ones for the switches.

 

1812060188_RonFrancisfuseblockmounted.thumb.jpg.4243fe7ab4769805f758ce6957c24aa8.jpg 

 

 

1006741929_RonFrancisfuseblockdetail-sm.thumb.jpg.188aa4915c2d034e24e235ba1a88688a.jpg

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Gary, did you give the fine folks at Lark Works a shot at doing your wiring harness? They are pretty good on pre-war stuff, ya know.

 

When you get this thing finished, it's going to redefine the word awesome.....

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Posted (edited)

 Can't help myself........I think if I were building this car, I would have used a similar set up for the wiring.....that said, I would make a cover for the unit........and emboss the cover with a Delco Remy logo. Please tell me your not going to run those Phillips head screws(drives me crazy).........also, I would run the modern wire with the cloth braid........I think on a track car running an optima would be my first choice.......lots of reserve amperage so if your generator doesn't keep up it won't matter.........we learned to run a BIG battery, not a small one on the track, as the weight savings is not worth the chance of under voting the system.....we learned that the hard way on a top fuel machine.........  on your electric fuel pump .....are you going to run it through an oil pressure switch? I would probably install a Ford impact switch on the fuel and ignition also, so in the event of a mishap your sure the car shuts down both systems. Also, I'm sure the sanction for the track makes you have multiple kill switches externally as well as a tether switch. Looking forward to seeing cross the finish line on the build........your posts are very informative and enjoyable. Thanks for sharing. Ed

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

You have to remember that the original Indy cars had no wiring harness, no wires, no battery, no generator, no starter, no lights, no electrical gauges, not even a belt-driven radiator fan.  Even the tach was mechanically driven from what would have been the distributor drive on the normal President engine.  Spark came from a magneto driven off the front timing gears which generates its own electricity.  While help is always appreciated and I do buy things that are available and fit, for the wiring, I have to make it up as I go along.  Even the kit I got from Ron Francis is based on modern street rod needs, so the terminals for power windows and a neutral safety switch seem silly, but I'll re-label them.  I'll eventually make a new label plate to replace the "Bare Bonz" one.  Once the wires are cut to the right length and put in place, I'll get some black wire loom that is split along the length so it can be opened and wrapped around the multi-colored wires.  I'm trying to hide as many of the wires as possible.

 

The panel is tucked up high under the cowl, won't be visible unless you are standing on your head in the passenger side of the cockpit.  When I'm finished, there won't be any Phillips heads in view, but I'm waiting while I make a list of the various fillister head screws that I need.  I did order an Optima D34/78 (55 AH rating) yellow top battery yesterday for all the reasons that Ed mentioned above. 

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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That's plenty of battery.........are you going to run LED lights? Makes for much better lighting and the wires can be 1/3 the size of regular ones. Your electric fan is probably your largest draw, and then fuel pump and ignition.......there are two stage fans that work quite well, but some of them draw 40 amps on the high speed. I like the two stage because on low speed the fan makes almost no noise, and will probably keep the car pleanty cool at idle and on surface roads. Quick connect lights are the way to go......and another lesson learned....plan on your plate bracket location now......and how to pop it on and off quickly.........at the end of the build it's always a pain in the neck to have to modify finished paint and drill holes. As far as Mass goes.........registering the car and getting a sticker could be problematic........I have delt with the RMV on an open wheeled car......which they kept refusing to register........until I spoke to the actual head guy in charge. No windshield, no horn, no emergency brake, no place for a plate.......the list was endless. We ended up working it out.........since in 1897 there was no regulations for any car......they provided a special permit to operate the car on public roads in the state without displaying anything........but they did want the car to have a sticker......they want the revenue! Today I would probably register it out of state, and then transfer it into Mass........much easier.

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I second the Ford inertia switch. I would avoid split loom. That is the bane of modern wiring harnesses. It's ugly, makes the harness bigger than it needs to be, and then rots and falls apart. Once you have the wiring all worked out, I would see about getting one of the harness makers to weave a covering on it. Either that or just neatly wrap it in friction tape, and tie the loose end down with a piece of heatshrink.

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I had previously mocked up an instrument panel and printed out a copy on paper, then taped it to the blank dash panel.  Life has moved on since then.  My bodywork mentor Wray pointed out some gaps of 1/8" to 1/4" under the cowl, not a good enough fit by his standards, so I made a new slightly larger panel and closed up the gaps.  I also ordered and received a new electronic tach and some other instruments to add to the original 1932 oil pressure gauge, gas gauge, ammeter, and radimeter that I have.  The new Autometer gauges have lettering and pointers similar to the old ones.   Then I got a lot of switches for lights, turn signals, high/low beam, horn, etc.  As I started the wiring, I need the instrument panel assembled in order to get very far.  As I looked closer at the old gauges, i realized that their domed glass lenses would only fit in a 1/16" panel, so my newer 1/8" thick one was now also rendered useless.  

 

I succumbed to temptation and went for engine-turned aluminum sheet in 1/16" thickness from FPM Metals.  Their web site says they can laser cut the holes, so that seemed appealing, too.  If they were going to cut the holes, I figured to have them just cut the whole piece, but I needed a CAD file for the shape and hole locations.  Because the cowl is not symmetrical from side to side, neither is the dash panel.  So, how to digitize the panel that does fit?  In my CAD program, I laid out a giant graph paper plot about 10.5" x 16.5" with lines on 0.1" centers, heavier lines at each inch interval, then printed out a bunch of copies on 11"x17" paper, trimmed the edges ,and taped them together to get a sheet 13" x 37".  The panel measures 35.56" x 11.75".  I placed a 36" scale on the big piece of graph paper to check that it would be accurate enough to digitize the work and that I taped the pieces together straight.  The panel was placed on the paper, and I traced around the edges and marked the screw holes with a very sharp pencil.  Reading off the X and Y coordinates about every half inch, I was able to digitize the shape.  Interpolating between the printed lines, positions were estimated to within about 0.01".  I punched the values for about 100 points into the CAD file to generate a pattern for the outline, then added the screw holes and all the holes for the gauges and switches.  As a final check, I printed out the pattern on three sheets of 11"x17" paper to check that the edges and screw holes all lined up with the actual metal.  I've sent the CAD file off to FPM Metals for a quote.  Now it's just money and time!

 

dash_mockup1.thumb.jpg.bb919d27ce9c408af525c4b92bd6f48a.jpg  

Original instrument panel paper mock-up.  My FoamCore radiator mock-up was in the background.

 

1376872901_dashgraphpaper.thumb.jpg.3e79ff41b44f9891e72219d9d6e1b18e.jpg

Graph paper taped together.

 

1299810756_dashgraphpapercheck.thumb.jpg.1f8083d1053c6757f641b531eeaef4b3.jpg

Checking the accuracy of the paper at the 34" mark.  The other end lines up exactly at 0 inches.  Parallax distorts the photo at 33 and 35 inches.

 

2136635807_dashgraphtraced.thumb.jpg.d9e60e1bcf7cd127707435e89472f0c8.jpg

The traced outline with the old panel.

 

225300495_AshdashpanelDGL75.thumb.png.76bff655dc8201cd848bcbd34a3d14d9.png

The CAD drawing of the new panel with openings for instruments, switches, and screws.  The large hole is 4-5/8" dia for the tach.

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Posted (edited)

Got the quote from FPM, pulled the trigger to get them started, chose engine-turned stainless in 1/16" thickness.  They cut it the same day, shipped it the next day.  They have a 3,000 watt fiber laser with a 5 ft x 10 ft table, can cut inch thick steel.  Kerf loss is very small.  As they say, "Good, fast, cheap - pick any two!"  I got good and fast.  The part should be here on Monday or Tuesday.  

 

Here's how the assembled dash should look.

 

40489933_dashpanelrendered1.thumb.png.61884c07665eac660779ae019367fc32.png

 

870410635_dashpanelwithbox3.thumb.png.46f15b51b93d265fa6c0637ded255e05.png

CAD rendering of dash with engine turned stainless panel.

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

The stainless steel panel with engine-turned surface arrived this evening.  It looks great!  FPM Metals did a fantastic job laser cutting the .063" stainless steel sheet.  The part was carefully packaged and covered in protective film.  The old domed lenses with their rims drop right in.  If you want engine-turned stainless or aluminum parts, FPM Metals is the place to go;  happy to find a good vendor. 

 

I had to build a small box to hold the older 1932 instruments along the lines of what was in the 1932 President cars, as the instruments sit about 1/2 inch behind the lenses.  That box will get screwed in back of the panel.  The box needed about twelve 8-32 rivet nuts for mounting the instruments and attaching the box to the dash panel.  I tried the technique of using a screw and nut to set the rivet nuts, gave up and went to Harbor Freight for a $23 rivet nut tool - money well spent as it was the best technique for installing rivet nuts.  The original 1932 panel didn't have rivet nuts - they pierced the steel box to extrude some metal, then tapped for screw threads, cheap and efficient.  Four snap-in instrument light sockets were ordered from Restoration Supply Co., another excellent vendor.  Four #1445 miniature bulbs will be ordered for night lighting of the older gauges.    The new gauges have built-in lights.

 

I did mess up the dimensions on the opening for the speedometer, made it about 1/4" too large in diameter, realized the mistake one day too late.  I machined an aluminum ring from 1/8th inch thick 6061-T6 aluminum to make up the difference.  Of course, half way through the machining, the lathe bit dug too deeply into the thin aluminum, yanked the part out of the lathe chuck and turned it into an egg-shaped potato chip against the cross-slide.  Stubborn as I am, I tried rounding it out and flattening it, stuck it back in the lathe to finish it.  In the end, I spent another half hour lightly tapping the ring to level it within about 0.004", according to my old feeler gauges on a cast iron surface plate, and pinched it round in a vise.  It cleaned up well with progressively finer abrasive paper to 1200 grit, wet sanded.  The speedometer lens fits the ring and the ring fits the panel - joy!  I may have to use acrylic adhesive (Crazy Glue) to hold the ring in the panel, but that will avoid the risk of damaging the ring or panel, and a  little acetone can always remove it.  

 

I laid out all the switches and instruments (except the recently ordered oil temp gauge, due in a week or so).  Tomorrow, I'll start mounting everything.  Then it's back to wiring.

701077242_dashpanelstainless.thumb.jpg.fe2cd3f9fe81366b8b0e42ccc9033ee8.jpg

The instrument panel from FPM Metals with protective, clear plastic over it.

 

146563757_dashpanelinstruments.thumb.jpg.be61a88f1d0b11f716d340b254c53718.jpg

The instruments, lenses, and switches laid out for mounting.

 

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Instruments with the stainless panel.

 

174219990_dashpanelboxpainted.thumb.jpg.041fc04abefd72512d8d7f728641a80c.jpg

The 1/2" deep box made for mounting the old instruments.  It's hand-fabricated from 0.050" thick aluminum with 8-32 rivet nuts inserted.  The big holes were cut on a Craftsman jig saw with a 20-tooth/inch wood-cutting blade and lots of WD-40 for lubricant/cooling.  Bends and flanges were turned with ViseGrips,  a 1"x3" steel dolly block, and a body hammer.

 

1095224254_instrumentboxandprintedpaperpattern.thumb.jpg.19faccdb1de92c69f8076632bc984d6b.jpg

Instrument box in process with printed paper pattern.

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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With (almost) all the bits together, I assembled the instrument panel today.  Fortunately, no real surprises.  I apparently misplaced one of the mounting holes when I digitized the dash, must have misread the graph paper, but it was easy enough to just drill another 1/4" hole in the angle iron framework beside the original hole.  I can always weld up the old one.  All the instruments and switches went in.  I must need a set of thin hex wrenches to get to the hex nuts on the back side of the switches, hate using needle nose pliers to tighten those.  The lenses all need to be secured, and the oil temp gauge hasn't arrived yet, but this part of the project is coming along.

 

885642802_dashassembled1.thumb.jpg.0ceae6deacccc89b3dd99ddaa63191cf.jpg

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18 hours ago, Gary_Ash said:

With (almost) all the bits together, I assembled the instrument panel today.  Fortunately, no real surprises.  I apparently misplaced one of the mounting holes when I digitized the dash, must have misread the graph paper, but it was easy enough to just drill another 1/4" hole in the angle iron framework beside the original hole.  I can always weld up the old one.  All the instruments and switches went in.  I must need a set of thin hex wrenches to get to the hex nuts on the back side of the switches, hate using needle nose pliers to tighten those.  The lenses all need to be secured, and the oil temp gauge hasn't arrived yet, but this part of the project is coming along.

 

885642802_dashassembled1.thumb.jpg.0ceae6deacccc89b3dd99ddaa63191cf.jpg

 

Fantastic!

 

 

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The domed instrument lenses from 1932 were fixed into the dash panel by bending over the little tabs on the bezel behind the panel.  They had been uncrimped from the original panel, are thin brass.  While I worried about the glass lenses, I eventually took a nail set and hammer and tapped the tabs over enough to hold the lenses securely.  The aluminum adapter ring I made was inserted with Gorilla acrylic glue, should hold for my lifetime.  I was able to get the dash installed in the car.

 

Then it was off to Wray Schelin's metal forming shop for another 3-day session of work on the body.  The rear section of the belly pan is proving to be a challenge as it transitions from an almost square shape to a round shape while going around the rear axle area.  It's taken a lot of stretching with the hammer on a sand bag, shrinking with the Pullmax machine, and "belly bending" manually around a big pipe with a blanket over it.  In the end, I moved the metal in a critical area too much and created a bulge where it should have been much flatter.  Wray showed me how to gently heat the bubble and tap it down on a piece of heavy plywood with a hammer.  We had to cool the part afterward with a garden hose, dry it off, flip it over, and pound it flatter from the back side.  The I used the English wheel to smooth out the metal and check the fit.  The process got repeated about three times to drive the warmed metal into itself to shrink it.  Along the way, the pieces got tapped with the big plastic-tipped mallet in other spots to bring the surfaces to a smooth contour without low spots.  Perhaps in my next session with Wray, the shapes will be corrected sufficiently to weld the whole belly pan together.

 

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Dash panel installed.

 

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One side of the rear part of the belly pan.

 

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The "bubble" where the square to round transition starts.  The goal is to have the sheet metal lay tight against the wire form at all points.

 

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The rear of the belly pan with both sides in place.  The side seen on the right has been leveled, the side on the left still needs work.

 

 

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