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My 1910 Mitchell "parts car" project

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I've just had one of those days where everything went right...sometimes I start thinking I really know how to do this stuff.

I started by making the plug for the bottom of the oil well... It's 1-1/3 OD with a rebate turned to fit into the copper tube about 1/4". The center is threaded for the Banjo bolt I made earlier.




I smeared it with soldering flux and pushed it in. Then I cut a piece of this brass tubeing. I bought this stuff (it's very expensive) to make the intake manifold then discovered it wouldn't work.




It was indicated in the lathe and reamed to 1-1/4" - because tubing is always slightly undersize.




Then I cut it in half. One half will be a reinforcement at the bottom, the other one will be threaded for the cap.




I pressed the unthreaded half on the tub and soldered everything together on my camp stove.




Then put it back in the lathe to trim off the excess on the bottom. The goal is to have 1/2" of threads.




After that was done I turned the piece around and using the threading fixture I'd made turned the end down .050 (so it wouldn't look to clunky) and then knurled it.




And assembled it to see ho it would look.




I then threaded the other piece of brass tube (and forgot to take a picture of it but you've seen all that before) and soldered it to the other end of the copper tube. I smeared the heat-plocking putty on the top because that soldering job is probably the best I've eve done and I didn't want the heat to upset it.




It's down in the shop cooling off while I post this. Next I have to make the cap but I feel as I should quit for the day on a high point.

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The complicated part of this part is the cap...I started n that this morning. This is a piece of a bushing from my "leftover parts" shelf.




Bored out...




And threaded.




I had to single point this as I don't have a big enough tap and tapping a hole this big would be a significant chore. This is easier...and it works just as well.




This piece will be both the top of the cap and the lock nut that secures the well to the engine. It needed to be bored out and threaded 1-1/4-20.




I started the tap in the lathe to make sure it was straight but big taps are very difficult to turn by hand with a wrench...you need too much leverage. So after it was started - perhaps 1/2", I took it out and set it up in the 3-jaw chuck bolted down to the mill table and use my monster tap wrench.




With the hole threaded, I'll do the rest of the operations using one of my holding fixtures, I now have about 6 or 8 of these and indulged myself in a used vibrating engraver to mark them because I'm starting to forget what I have.








Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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The good part of forgetting what you have is that you can't be too worried about forgetting where you put it... and the surprise when you run across it later is almost as much joy as when your acquired it to begin with. :)


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I'm still looking for one of my oil cans...but I found the little flashlight I lost about a year ago.


The piece for the top of the cap and lock nut turned down to 2"




Then a short piece cut off for the cap.




And threaded.




I then screwed it in and soldered it. but, to finish the cap I need another one of my holding fixtures, this one in 2"-16.




It's all set to thread but I'll do that tomorrow morning when I'm more alert.



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A really useful chart...this is from the 1939 edition of Machinery's Handbook, one that I bought in a used book shop in Cheltenham. The later editions have a much more complicated chart aimed at the various grades of threads - it isn't as easy to use as this one and for car work this is more than sufficient.



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Thanks for posting that page Joe. I have a "Workshop Practice" book on screw threads, but don't look at it when I need to, as it is in the house. I have printed off your photo above and will keep it in my tool box. Does the book have a chart for the depth of threads for single point cutting? I am loathed to keep books in the workshop. My mother worked for a publisher, she taught me to look after books and not put grubby finger prints on them, or 'dog ear' the pages, this has stuck with me since I was very young.

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A "double depth of thread" chart...I have that elsewhere and will post it. I find it useful only in a general sense because it is very difficult to know exactly where you are starting. .001 is a very small measurement...just in running the threading tool up to the piece you can be off by .003...either too short or too deep. Even the tiniest scratch is .001 deep - and usually more. Still, it gives you a rough idea. Lately I've been making my own notes... I know, for instance, that 16TPI is usually between .035 and .040 if I'm careful. 20TPI is about .025. There is a way to do this very precisely using threading wires...I have a set but have never mastered the technique but it allows you to  measure the thread with a mic. There is also a thread micrometer (and in typing this I now remember that I have a small one)...I'll have to experiment with that.



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I love Cheltenham, and the entire Cotswolds area. Cant go to the UK without visiting. Hiking up the hill to Broadway tower is a must do. Project looks great. Best, Ed

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Hmmm, threading wires and thread micrometers - more things for me to learn. I wish I had started this machining earlier in life. I did five years at college learning engineering but I don't remember being told anything about threading wires and thread micrometers. That will give me something to look up and learn more about this afternoon.

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this morning I threaded the holding fixture.




Then put the cap on and faced the end to the finished thickness.




Because this is just a cap and doesn't need the slots for a hook spanner I reduced the OD by about .080.




Then knurled it.




Next, I'm making the lock nut that will secure this to it's bracket. The piece of bronze left over is big enough for two of them so this time I decided not to waste the material and cut it in half with a parting tool.




About the time I finished that I went back to the crankcase and to see how this was fitting. I decided it was a little bit too tall so I decided to reduce the height by 1/8". The first step was to cut down the cap...except that I made a burr on the inside thread and it would no longer thread on. This was a real problem in as much as the conventional way to fix it would be to run a tap through the hole...except I don t' have one. I probably spent the best part of 2 hours dealing with this. What finally worked was giving the threaded hole a very slight counterbore to take out most of the damaged thread. I was able to get about 1/2 a thread to grip...so I put some grinding paste on the threads and gently lapped it. That took the burrs out and, truth to tell, the fit is better now than it was before I started.




I need to take the same 1/8" off the well but that is an external thread and if it burrs (and it will) I have thread files I can clean it up with.

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I've had to change the design a bit also, having discovered that I can't find anything light enough to serve as a float that fits in the well I made. I don't really have room for a sight glass (things are getting very tight now) and  a tiny wire, by itself, is too fragile. It's clear to me now that in period the sight glass was used because the float and wire had to be extremely light and, more often than not, the diameter of the well had to be quite large in order to get a large surface of oil. These are all things I'd never have thought of were I not trying to redesign things. I have come up with a "plan B" which will be a disguised and modified dipstick of sorts and, should I come up with a means of using a float, I won't have to change anything that shows.

Edited by JV Puleo
typos (see edit history)
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First thing this morning I put a knurl on the lock nut...




Then centered in the mill to cut the notches for a ring spanner.






I did that twice to make two of them even though I only need one. Sooner or later I'll think of something to use the second one for and its better than turning it into chips.




I also cut down the end of the well so that the cap is now flush with the threaded portion when screwed down.




None of this took too much time. I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out how to proceed. My modified dipstick idea has it's own problems. It can't be too long because it sits directly under the intake manifold. If its too long, I won't be able to pull it out. Believe it or not, I spent two or three hours going over various ideas and finally settled on the least troublesome. The dipstick will end up being a little awkward to reach - not impossible, but not quite as elegant as I'd like it. I still might change the plan once I've slept on it but, after all, the original car had no means of checking the oil other than letting it run out of the sump.

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21 minutes ago, weathered1 said:

Joe, I saw an engine with a joint in the dip stick one time, or you could use a flex cable like a speedo cable. George


I did think of that but I can't say I've ever seen one. I think I'm going to use a 1/2" diameter "stick" and mill away slightly less than half of one side. That way I can mark it and it will, at least, look old even if the dipstick hadn't been invented in 1910. Actually, I wonder about that because I know it was common to use a stick to measure gas in a tank..you'd think they would have thought about doing it with oil as well.

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I'm in a bit of a quandary as to what to do next. Fitting the oil well will require making a bracket to hold it and that will require making a pattern and having it cast. It seems to me the beat way to proceed is to make the bracket, then fit all the plumbing. I'm also waiting on some 1-1/4 bar to make a piece so today I did some odds & ends that will have to get done eventually.


First up was this bushing/end for the 7/8" tube that connects to the cap on the well.




It fits into the end of the tube like this...




Then I made the dipstick. This is a piece of 1/2" brass bar, threaded on the end with a piece of 1" screwed and soldered on. It's much too thick but it was just an off-cut left over from something else.




I knurled it and turned it down so that it is only about 3/16 thick.




It will go together like this... (badly out of focus but you get the idea.




The material I'm waiting for makes the part that connects all this to the well and until I get the bracket I won't be able to get accurate measurements as to how long the pieces should be. The 1/2" brass bar will be milled away so there is a long flat on one side. I'll mark that with the depth of the oil.


I also cut these two pieces to make threaded inserts for the bottom of the sump.




Drilled and reamed to 3/4". These will get threaded on the outside, then held in a collet and threaded inside.



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I had an idea last night about how to go about making the pattern for the bracket that will hold the oil well. It isn't immediately obvious how difficult it is to make a part that fits perfectly with the original parts and doesn't look contrived. it would be a lot easier if I had accurate drawings of the engine to work with but even if those existed, my guess is that the actual measurements would be sightly off. In any case, I needed to measure the distance between the holes for the sump bolts so while I was in the shop I threaded the inserts I started yesterday.




Then threaded the inside...




These should work but before I opened up the holes in the sump - and ruined the threads that are there, I though it prudent to make certain the inserts would work. Every time I've taken something for granted with this car its come back to bite me so I'm being very cautious and making all the bits that will be attached before I remove any material from the original parts.



Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I haven 't been idle that last few days but I have been struggling with a "little" job I offered to do for someone. I confess to being absolutely useless at estimating how much time a job will take and that's especially true when it's something I haven't done before. All I have to do is mill some tapered slits in a slab of aluminum....except there is a lot more to milling cast aluminum than I'd anticipated and getting a smooth surface is a challenge. I've finally gotten to '"passable" -  this is not a precision job - the pieces are intend to be a mold for casting solder sticks but they have to be smooth enough for the sticks to come out when they cool.




Like so many other things I've done, a better way of doing it came to mind but too late to start over.


But, since this is a mind deadening job, I took a break and made the last part of the oil well... this is a piece of 1-1/4" brass bar...




I drilled and reamed it to 7/8 ID and then threaded the OD so it will screw into the cap and the lock nut I'd made will screw on to it.




If things go as planned, there will be a bracket attached to the engine the this will screw into. The lock nut will then be tightened against the bottom of the bracket so it can't move. A piece of 7/8 OD tubing will go in  the center, holding the "dipstick"... it's all more complicated to explain than it is to show and there are enough close measurements involved that I do not intend to solder the pieces together until I have everything in hand and can roughly assemble it to make sure things fit.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Last month I estimated a job at 24 hours. I finished it with a helper in 89. Such is the way of one off specialty work. If it were easy, everyone would do it, and it would be cheap.

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I'm glad I'm not the only one then. My neighbors have been a big help to me - having a foundry next door when doing this sort of stuff is a great advantage so the truth is I'd do it for free if I had to...as it is, I'll probably make the pattern for the bracket tomorrow and by the time they get it done I'll have finished the mold job.

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Thanks... if you have any questions feel free to ask.


I finished up 15 of the slots in the aluminum slab this morning...I have 7 more to do on that piece but I have to turn it around in the mill because there isn't enough travel under the spindle. since the mill was clear, I started on the pattern for the bracket that will hold the oil well. I've spent a lot of time measuring and drawing this. It isn't an easy part to visualize or make and accommodating the Mitchell company's erratic measurements makes it all the more difficult. It has to bolt up to the lower edge of the sump. the holes are a nominal 4-1/8" apart but I've learned my lesson on that score and started by making two 1" round pieces, 1/2" thick with a 3/8 hole in the center and attaching them at the holes the bracket will bolt to.




The distance between centers is actually 4.108" so next I bored two holes exactly that distance apart on the edge of a piece of 1/2" aluminum plate and glued the round pieces in with superglue gel.




When the super glue had set up, I attached it to the crankcase.





Tomorrow I will locate the center of the hole that the well will screw into. Ideally, it needs to be in the corner of the magneto bracket, away from the mag but reachable from the top. After taking a lot of measurements it came to me that what I needed to do was attach first so I can locate the hole perfectly.


I don't know how well the superglue will work but this is only a pattern...it probably won't even look exactly like the finished piece because I have make it such a way that it can be machined. Often that requires leaving something square ...to be machined off after all the other steps are completed.

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This is a case where making the pattern is more work than making the part once I have the casting..


The plate bolted to the crankcase...




I turned a piece of aluminum to 1.125"...this is to find the center of the hole I'll have to bore for the oil well to screw into.




Flipped the engine over and put the new piece in the corner. It has a 1/2" hole in the center so I used a center (from the mill) and pressed it into the plate with a big C-clamp.




That marked the center...




Then over to the mill to put the hole in. I started with 1"




Then used the boring head to bring it out to 2.125 (It actually came out 2.160 because I miss-measured something but that's not important here.)




The piece all bored...




Next, I turned a piece to go into the bored hole...




Made another measuring error and had to do it over... I'm almost there but it's the end of the day and two errors in one day are more than enough. I'll finish it tomorrow.



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This morning I finished this large disc...




But before pressing it in, I milled off the excess width on the bracket.




Then glued the disc in. It's actually a press fit but I figured the glue wouldn't hurt.




Then I turned up a 1" OD plug with a 1/4-20 threaded hole in the center. This is for a screw to allow the molder to pull the pattern out of the sand.




I pressed that in and plugged the small holes that line up with the sump bolts. This is the only practical use I've ever found for JB Weld... it's just the right consistency for making fillets and plugging holes in patterns.




When it was hard, I took it over to my bench sander and evened up the faces. They weren't off by more than a few thousandths but I like things to look finished.




I took the pattern next door. It will probably be a week before I get the parts bgack so I started on the two banjo fittings I need for the 3-war oil connection I've designed.




I faced off one side, drilled and reamed to 7/8". These Banjos will have different internal dimensions than the ones I made a few weeks ago for reasons that will soon be apparent.




This small piece will be a lock nut. In this case I had to bore it because it's being threaded 15/16-20.




I threaded it before taking it out of the chuck. The OD and the other face get done on one of my holding fixtures.




The last job today was facing the two Banjos off to 1" thick. It's amazing how fast a job like this goes when you've done it before.



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A foundry next door tends to change the way one works.  :)   Cattail Foundry is the one I use and it is essentially an 8 week turnaround, not that I'm complaining.  Having one next door with less turnaround time is quite a treat.  I love seeing your solutions to problems and can't wait to see that piece come back and get installed. 

Edited by Luv2Wrench (see edit history)
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I'm sure you've all heard the old saying "he doesn't know what day it is." This morning I set the alarm off because I didn't know what day it was...I actually thought it was Thursday. Had I realized it was Saturday I might have stayed home, fixed the mower and cut the grass. Instead, I set up the radius tool to turn the barrel shape on the Banjos.






Then went on to the lock nut. I thought I had a fixture in this thread but either I don't or I couldn't find it so I made another.




I turned the thickness down to 3/8"




Then knurled it...




The knurling screws it on very tight so I'll leave it on the fixture until I've cut the notches for a hook spanner then use the spanner to remove it.




The last bit today was to make the straight pieces that screw into the banjos. I got them to the point of being ready to thread but I really have to go to the market...I'm down to a few potatoes  and maybe a jar of pickles.




And I noticed that this is my 500th picture post... I've no idea how many pictures that is but it must be several thousand.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I just want to live long enough to take it for a ride.

That said, I think that after this engine the chassis will be a cake walk.



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Well, you are a lot younger than I am so you may have to drive it...

Actually, I really do think I'll finish and I'm not upset by how much time it's taking. Like so many jobs, the engine has proved to be much more of an ordeal than I anticipated but that has a lot to do with the fact that it wasn't a very good engine to begin with. That is something I didn't know when I bought it. But, if I'd waited until I could afford something better, I'd still be waiting. If I'd had the wherewithal to buy a much better car, even in this condition, I'd be ahead of the game but at 68, my time for doing this sort of work is limited...at some point I won't be able to shift a 75 lb chuck. A Pierce or a Locomobile or any number of better cars would not have so many of the problems attendant with shoddy original workmanship.

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"Success is a journey, not a destination". Actually carrying out the restoration work, learning new skills, helping others can, for some people, be more important than driving the vehicle at the end of the project.


Over the last 15-years of my retirement I believe that I have enjoyed the 'work', or should it be called 'play', more than I have the riding or driving of the motorcycles and cars that I have restored, titivated or rebuilt. My state of health may possibly be clouding my thoughts, at the present time, as for a week I not been able to venture out to the workshop. Yesterday, I decided to try some very simple machining on my lathe. I was not even able to machine the head off a bolt, as you can imagine, I am feeling rather 'cheesed off' to put it very politely.


Keep up the good work Joe. At least I can still read about others restoration work on this excellent forum.

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Well, I was going to fix the lawnmower this morning but it was so widy and cold I talked myself out of it and came in to work on the car.

First, I threaded the straight pieces for the Banjos.




Then I reduced the OD on the lock nut from 1-3/4 to a little more than 1-1/2. It doesn't need the extra width and this might make it easier to design the holding braclet.




Then I drilled and tapped the Banjos.




Counterbored the straight pieces.




And soldered them in place.




The last step was to take the holes out to 15/16". This time I did it in the mill. The piece of ground stock you see under the Banjo was there to get the base flat...I pulled it out before the cutter got to it or I'd have had a mess on my hands.




They came out well but I confess I'm still having a tough time visualizing this piece in place and a bracket to hold it secure. Making the parts and then figuring out how to attach them is not the way to go about things but in this case I haven't thought of anything better.



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I had an unusually productive day...starting with cutting the notches in the lock nut...




Then I made an aluminum spacer. This is 3/8" thick and is there to take the place of the mounting bracket I haven't designed yet.




Then I cut a piece of 1-1/2" hes stock for the Banjo bolt.




Drilled and reamed 7/16"




While it was in the chuck I started a 1/4 NPT thread - This arrangement of a chuck-in-a-chuck is not ideal. I don't recommend it unless you have no choice/ In order to face the hex stock off I only dared take a very light cut. In addition to starting the threads I also center drilled it.




This is because I am going to turn it on a mandrel but it's so long that the mandrel I have won't go all the way through. so the mandrel is being held in a collet while the live center is up against the work piece.




I turned it down to .936... .0015 smalller than 15/16. Then cut a relief 1" from the end and threaded it for the lock nut.






This is roughly how it works...it is a 3-way union that will connect the sump to the hand priming pump and to the oil pump. The bolt had to be this large because the lock nut had to be able to fit over the flare fitting.




I bolted it all together, with the fiber washer gaskets, and marked the centers of the oil inlet and outlet tubes with a transfer punch.




Because the diameter of the bolt is so big, I've decided to put all of the relief for the oil passage in the bolt rather than half in the bolt and half in the Banjo.




Today's last step was to take the head of the bolt down to the finished thickness. I still have to put chamfers on it and drill holes through it but it's nearly done and tomorrow I'll get to see what I'll have to do to fit it to the engine.





Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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As of this morning I still hadn't worked out how to mount the 3-way oil connection so I roughly assembled it on the engine.




It will need a support bracket attached to the engine with the sump bolts and, in order to do a neat job and have everything fit I will have to make another rear Banjo. Since I've already made 5 of them, that doesn't  worry me. I finally got some measurements to work with...so I moved on to machining the cast iron sump. In order for the brackets to be secure, I need a flat surface to bolt them to and the edges of the sump are anything but flat. I put it in the mill only to discover I couldn't reach edges so I had to fit the table "extenders" I made when I was working on the crankcase. All this took time but I did eventually get it set up.




and milled the edges flat.




I did the opposite side as well, only to make them match.

Then I set the sum up to fit the threaded sleeves I made for the Banjo bolts.




Tapped 1"-16




And screwed the threaded sleeves in with Locktite. I'll machine them flat tomorrow.




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First thing this morning I milled off the ends of the threaded sleeves in the sump. They are a lot longer than needed...I'm not sure why I did that but there is only about 1/2" of thread in the bottom of the sump and if you screwed these in deeper they would act like a stand pipe and prevent completely draining the sump.




I took them down to the point where I was taking about .025 off the cast iron. This makes them perfectly flush and it makes the two bosses on the sump both flat and parallel.




I also drilled the cross holes in the Banjo bolt, finished threading the output end and screwed in a flare fitting.




The 3-way oil connection finished.




It's much too heavy to not have something supporting it and this required some thought. I have to make a pattern for the holding bracket but it has to be sturdy enough to use align everything before I have it cast...this is very much a evolutionary part. I keep changing the design while working on it. The first piece is the base that will bolt to the sump...




I then made another piece to fit into the slot.


I've a lot more to do on this tomorrow but I need some 3/8" aluminum plate to finish it so I'll go as far as I can until that comes in.





Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

Aside from me, and you and a small number of others who would look at a bracket and say "that must have been a week's work."


Understood.......it’s like doing a valve adjustment on a car that takes 45 hours. It’s usually the small items you don’t think about that add another 800 hours to the restoration.

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This has been one of those days when I worked all day and didn't finish anything...but at least I did get something done. I started by milling flutes in the base of the pattern I'm making.




It bolts to the sump here.




Then, because I'm waiting on some materials and the casting for the other bracket I decided to make some of the bits I will eventually need. I cut pieces for another banjo...




I was going to make a 1-1/2-18 threading gauge but, low and behold, I already had one. I think I made this for the priming pump...I can't even remember now but finding it saved a good two hours work.




Last up today was another threaded sleeve – this one for the bracket that is at the foundry. I got the hole bored to size but my back is killing me from standing all day so I'll thread it tomorrow.



Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I made an effort today to do things in a rational order so I would't have to set the machines up more than necessary. The first step was to thread the ID of the threaded sleeve, then mount it on a fixture and turn it down to 1.5"




Rather than finish it, I made two more of the projections for the Banjo fitting.




Then turned the Banjo down to 1" thick




And put the barrel shape on.




Then I set the lathe up for threading and finished the threaded sleeve. In the midst of this my neighbor delivered the casting for the bracket so here we have the sleeve just about where it will go when I've machined the bracket.




Then I threaded the two pieces that will go into the Banjo. I can insert one of them but the second one has to go in at an angle and I won't be able to calculate that accurately until I have the 2nd bracket done and mounted. This is the only Banjo that has an unusual angle and the only piece of the system that isn't adjustable so I need everything else in place before finishing it.



Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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