Introduction: Automotive Chess Set: CV Joint Castles

Make this castle with Corinthian fluted column for your automotive chess set, made from a scrap outer CV joint.

Step 1: Obtain a CV Joint

Obtain a scrap CV joint from an auto garage, scrap metal yard, or your friend. I suggest one from a small /medium 4- cylinder car. The one pictured here is from our old 96 Saturn S sedan. I removed them before the car was towed to the scrapyard. The car can still be towed by the front wheels with both the CV joints removed. I like the idea of making something from our old vehicles as momentos.

Step 2: Consult the Service Manual If You Have One.

If you have a service manual for the car, it will detail the CV joint disassembly procedure. I usually buy the Haynes manual for each car I have. If you zoom in you may be able to read this one, see the bottom left, and the pictures.

Step 3: Remove the Boot Clamp.

Clamp the CV joint in a vice. Place a punch under the boot clamp. Hit the chisel with a hammer to open the clamp. Discard the clamp.

Step 4: Remove the Axle Boot Clamp.

Place a punch under the small boot clamp on the axle. Hit the chisel with a hammer to open the clamp. Discard the clamp.

Step 5: Remove the CV Boot.

Place a flat screwdriver under the boot and pry it off the CV joint. Cut the boot with a carpet knife or something similar. Wear leather gloves for safety and cut a way from yourself. (The CV joint in the picture has a harmonic balancer on the right end. If yours does not you can just slide the boot off the small end, with no boot cutting required.)

Step 6: "Now Here Comes the Really Icky Part."

As Dr Okun said in Independence Day, "Now here comes the really icky part!" Remove the CV joint grease with paper towels, rags, newspaper etc.

Step 7: Remove the Snap Ring.

Locate the snap ring in the groove in the splined axle. Use snap ring pliers (I find that bent needlenose pliers are the easiest to use) to open the snap ring. Hold the snap ring open and pull the CV joint off the axle. Remove the snap ring. Then celebrate like you're Gollum!

Step 8: Remove the Ball Bearings.

Using a flat screwdriver, push the inner race and the cage up to expose the ball bearing. Pry out the ball bearing. Then use the screwdriver to tilt the inner race and cage up again to expose the next ball bearing. You can inset the axle in the inner race to make it easy to tilt the cage. Remove all the ball bearings. This CV joint has 6.

Step 9: Remove the Inner Race and Cage.

After the ball bearings are removed, tilt the inner race and cage assembly 90 degrees. Align one of the large windows of the cage with one of the lands of the outer race.Lift the cage and inner race out of the outer race.

Step 10: Remove the Inner Race From the Cage.

Remove the inner race from the cage by turning the inner race 90 degrees and swinging it out. Clean the grease off everything with rags or paper towels. Save the ball bearings for your other projects.

Step 11: Assemble Everything.

Assemble the washer on the shaft, then the inner race, then the axle nut. Turn the axle nut until the inner race is tight on the shaft. It may help to clamp the nut in a vice so you can turn the whole CV joint. Tightening everything now will help to clean out the threads so its easier to assemble everything later. Then disassemble everything again.

Step 12: Make the Cut.

I revised this step to recommend the hacksaw. It's an elegant tool, from a more civilized age.... I was advised that the power tools I had advocated previously were unlikely to be owned by many makers, and have safety concerns. The hacksaw is inexpensive and accessible to everyone. Try to put in a brand new sharp blade for this cut. Wear safety glasses and work gloves. Take your time and make sure to cut straight down. If you're cutting orientation is like the one in the picture, keep steering the blade into the face of the CV joint to ensure the blade cuts straight down.

Step 13: Remove Jagged Edges on the Bench Grinder.

If there are any jagged edges, remove them on the bench grinder.

Step 14: Level the Bottom With the Disc Sander If Necessary.

If the bottom is not level, use a disc sander with metal sandpaper such as 80 grit silicon carbide (usually black in color). The sandpaper in the picture is not great for metal. Fortunately I did not need to level the bottom.

Step 15: Clean Up on the Wire Wheel.

Use the wire wheel on the bench grinder to remove the rust from the axle, nut and washer. Hold the washer in vice grips. Thread the nut on the axle to clean it up. You will not need to clean up the inner race since it had no rust since it had grease on it all its life. .

Step 16: Degrease the Inner Race.

Use a household degreaser to remove the rest of the grease from the inner race. Pour some in a plastic container. I used Super Clean but any degreaser will do. Wear checmical resistant gloves suitable for sodium hydroxide etc. Wear safety goggles to protect against splashes. Super clean is a residential strength cleaner; that is all you need. You do not need anything stronger like muriatic acid etc. Use a scrap toothbrush to scrub everything.

Step 17: Assemble the Castle.

Now is the time to add any spray paint to any of the parts. For the white side I choose chrome colour, so the 2 sides are black and chrome. For the chrome team you will not need any paint at all. When the paint is dry, assemble the parts and tighten the nut until the inner race will not turn on the axle.

Step 18: Add Felt to the Bottom.

To let the chess piece slide on the board, add felt to the bottom. Mark the outline with a sharpie. Cut out the circle with fabric scissors. Glue onto the bottom. Use whatever general purpose (bonds to anything) adhesive that will work on felt and metal. I used Weldbond because that is what I had.

Step 19: Release the Castle.

As Roy Scheider said in Jaws "We're going to need a bigger chessboard!!!" I like this piece because it can be disassembled/reassembled and re-modeled easily because there is no welding required. Have fun and thanks for viewing.