Introduction: Metal Motorcycle Sculpture
Runner Up in the
Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest
In need of a great Father's day gift or you just love motorcycles yourself? Well then you're in the right place. I'm pretty new at soldering and welding so if you've never tried it before then no worries. All you need it the right solder and a ton of patience.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
This is what you will need:
- Soldering gun - I use the bernzomatic mini butane torch, it was relatively inexpensive at Lowes and comes with a lot of additional pieces
- The right kind of solder- you can grab a coil of this at Lowes also but it's cheaper at Ace Hardware($7), make sure it is made to be used with metal, the stuff that comes in the soldering gun kit is for like circuit boards
- Metal hardware pieces- stop by your local hardware store and in the back they should have a whole section of hardware, you can pick out all the pieces for your motorcycle and buy them all at once in a little custom picked bag of parts (my parts costed about $12)
- Metal rods- these you will need for your frame of the bike, this is also available at Lowes for a couple dollars a rod
Step 2: Build Up Your Front
I started with the front tire using a nut, some long screws and some other metal things that I bent to make handle bars. If you're using the soldering gun that I suggested, then make sure you're just using the torch part with the open flame. I've found it near impossible to get the tips made for soldering hot enough to melt the metal solder that I'm using; or I'm just being impatient. Either way, using the open flame is a lot quicker and easier but it definitely is a lot of trial and error.
Step 3: Making the Frame
What you're going to do is cut two equal pieces of your rod with a tiny saw or metal cutters
After you've done this you're going to take your pliers and bend the frame so that each side looks the same.
You need a slight bend in the back where the back wheel axel connects on a motorcycle, then a 2.25 inch long straight section for the body and then a 1.5 inch bend where the frame will connect up under the handlebars.(these need to bend in slightly to form a triangle shape when meeting up at the handlebars)
Weld each part onto a side of the back wheel and the connect them up at the handlebars. My bike frame is only about a half an inch wide.
Step 4: Adding the Mechanics
This is the fun part. Now you get to just throw on whatever prices you picked out at the hardware store and make it look like a motorcycle!
This is what I used:
- two large springs side by side for the engine
- two nuts with a cool design on the end
- A cable clamp connector
- Two metal shelf holder inserts for the foot pedals
- One small nut laying on top of the cable clamp and designed nuts to make a flat area for my seat to rest on
Step 5: Where to Sit?
Now you may be wondering why I didn't include this in the last step when attaching all the hardware. I actually do work with woodcarving from time to time so I decided to carve out the fuel tank and the seat from basswood. Obviously you are welcome to use sheet metal or other hardware that you find to make these parts. I just love the look of wood and metal combined. My favorite style is rustic industrial!
If you do want to try your hand in woodcarving then I highly suggest it. It's a great way to pass the time and very relaxing. I always rub on some light mineral oil that you can pick up from a grocery store or CVS. It just preserves the wood a bit and brings out a rich color.
After this step you are pretty much finished with your bike!
Step 6: Quick Tips
Just a few things I learned from trying this soldering stuff out and being pretty new at it still:
- Keep a candle lit near you in case the torch goes out in theiddle of using it; it's a pain having to keep relighting a lighter
- I picked up these "helping hands" at harbour freight and they are amazing! Definitely worth the $5 to hold my pieces together when welding them
- Make sure you plan out what pieces you're going to be attaching ahead of time; there were several times where I would go to attach one piece and then another would fall of because I was getting the solder too hot near the other existing piece
- Do this outside if possible, there is some smoke involved and also do it on an old piece of cardboard or wood to keep from burning your table
- Keep a wet sponge nearby; after I solder something together I squeeze some water on it to instantly harden it (which also makes a super cool sizzling noise)
- I may go back and add a kickstand to make the bike a bit more stable but if you get big enough nuts then it should stand on its own
Thanks for stopping by!
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