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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-17-2006, 05:23 PM
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Tank Building Tutorial.

I have received some extremely good and time saving info here at CC.. Very thankful to all who have tried and have answer my questions. So I want to give a little back myself with this tutorial on tank building.

First off, I don't consider myself to be a expert or know everything about building a bike or a gas tank. This is how I have created a tank I'm very pleased with, and out of what most people would consider "junk". Take it or leave it.

Tools Used:
- Miller Econotig
- Oxg/Acce Torch
- 4 1/2 Angle grinder (flap disc, cutting wheels, paint removing disc)
- Flat hammer and shoe dolly
- Jig saw
- Various measuring tools
- Tape (low adhesive)
- Construction paper
- and other crap that's obvious

The first 10 or so photos were takin on my photo camera, so bare with me, they get better.

Here is the poor bastard.



I'm not going to tell you what tank this is. I want to spark some creativity, so go to swap meets for Jap/American bikes, search ebay etc..look for that tank that best fits what's in your mind. You will see later how problems and obstacles can work out for the better, so don't be to rigid when searching for a tank. My goal was to take this tank and make it into something that would fit my CFL well. So lets do this.

First thing I did after staring at the tank for about 30 mins., is figure out what part I was actually going to use. The only part I see usable is the side panels (which that's all I wanted anyway).



I find the center of the tank, then layout my cut marks for the side panels. As you can see the filler bung isn't always in the center.



Now the fun begins, right?

Now with my cut off wheel, i use the tape as a guide and start to cut my panels out. This tank cuts like butter on the left side but a different story on the right...

See the wonderful world of ebay always has surprises.. The surprise on my $15.00 tank, was the paint finish was perfect, but the real surface looked to be abused by a 4 year old with a hammer or a scorned woman in a fit of rage. Yes, dents everywhere....

Bonda/filler knocked off.


One dent was about 1/2in deep.




After getting pissed, then calming down, chucked in the paint striping disc and went to town. Just about cleaned up the panels when a accident happened.

Nice 1/8 deep gash from the stripping disc catching a edge. To close to a vain...


When using a grinder or any rotary tool, ALWAYS GRING WITH THE EDGE, NEVER AGAINST. If you do, the tool will grab and do some crazy stuff. I wanted to fix the unsuspected problem fast, and my haste interfered with my concentration.

Alright, back to work.


Time to take care of these dents, but I have limited tools right now when it comes to working metal in to shape.



I laid the panel dent facing down on my rubber topped stool, and banged the dents out. To smooth some more, I backed the dent with my hand dolly and lightly hammered some more. On some of the tight dents I used a Gas Bottle cap as a backing (works pretty good).

The next step to finish these dents off would be a english wheel, but I don't have one so I spent a little more time with the hammer and dolly.

Now I have my two panels in decent shape. I'm about ready to do a little welding.

Before you can start welding. You need to do a test piece to fine tune your settings. I cut out couple pieces of this thin tank and did some testing.



What I found out is my welder's lowest amperage setting would not weld this material.

Last edited by Markee; 04-17-2006 at 05:28 PM..
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 04-17-2006, 06:46 PM
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After the 2nd round of disappointment.. I had a idea. If I could concentrate the weld pool on another component of the tank, I could get this thing welded.

The fix I came up with is this, a piece of 3/16 round bar wrapped around the panel edges would give me something to concentrate my weld pool on.



Clamp bar with misc vise-grips and tack into place.


All welded up.


Some might wonder how I bent that bar around the tank. Its not hard at all.. Did it cold and with my hands over my leg.

Now before I go any further I want to trace and cut out the profile on a piece of 2x12 once i've tweaked the halfs like I want them. This will give me a nice form to bend my filler strip and also another piece I'll show you later.



Next I tack in some more round bar to hold the tank in place while I work with tracing a template for my filler strip.



Simply tape a piece of construction paper on the outside, trace on the inside. Cut the template out and trace on to your filler metal (16 gauge sheet).



Ruff cut


Smooth and ready to bend.

Last edited by Markee; 04-17-2006 at 07:14 PM..
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 04-18-2006, 06:10 AM
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I bent the filler strip the same as the round bar, over my leg. I used the wood template to hammer if needed.



Next I'll tack the filler strip in and chop off any excess material. Now it's finally looking like something.



Finished welding the strip in and stuck it on Bobby's head until I was ready to start on the tunnel.



Now time for the tunnel and bottom of the tank. I want the tank to be mounted on the backbone very tight, so I use the exact diameter tube to bend the tunnel around. I've seen ohters have a gap between the tunnel and backbone to run wires, cables, etc.. under. That's up to you.

In my case the frame backbone of a CFL frame is 1.5(At this time I do not have my frame). So I take a piece of 16 guage sheet, heat with my torch and bend around the 1.5in tube as much as I can.



Now a lay out some lines on the tunnel with tape. Cut out with my 4 1/2, and check out what I have.



Not much of a tunnel is it.. More like a tray. But that's what I wanted, just a nice groove to sit nice on the backbone.

Now on to the bottom section. Simply take some more 16 gauge sheet and tack in on both sides of your tunnel.



Now remember the the belly of the tank (what you see above) needs to be bigger than your tank, this is the section where you fit, finish, trim, take out error, etc.. So give yourself some wiggle room.

Last edited by Markee; 04-18-2006 at 06:15 AM..
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Old 04-18-2006, 07:11 AM
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Waiting to Read-On Good Stuff!!!!!
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Old 04-18-2006, 07:25 AM
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this is coolest thread ever!!!
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Old 04-18-2006, 08:05 AM
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Looks good...keep it going.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 04-18-2006, 10:15 AM
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Awesome guys. Glad you are enjoying the read. Still have plenty left to add.
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Old 04-18-2006, 12:22 PM
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Very cool Markee!!!!

I'm enjoying this thread!!!
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Old 04-18-2006, 02:02 PM
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markee, great thread!

i couldn't help but wonder, though: is that tank stand you used between steps as stupid as it looks? can't exactly put my finger on it, but something about that "Bobby's head" doesn't exactly scream "most useful tool in the shop."

really, though, this is great. what an awesome asset to this forum.
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Old 04-18-2006, 05:35 PM
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Poop,

Funny thing is.. bobby got the tank stuck on his head. had to grind the strip out that I just finished.. He has some missing teeth and a scar on his brand new neck tattoo. poor guy
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Old 04-18-2006, 06:10 PM
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Nice write-up! But I have to wonder about the backbone being 1.5 inches and the tunnel being the same. I know that you want it tight with no spacing but when painted and put on do you think that you might get some rubbing between the two and also to tight. I might have used 1 5/8ths for the tunnel. Just asking as I wouldnt want to have it all welded together only to find out its to tight. Otherwise good pics and write-up. Keep up the good work.
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Old 04-19-2006, 06:36 AM
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If frame is powder coated and the tank painted. This is the estimated difference:

7mil (.007) Powdered Frame + 5mil (.005) Painted Tank = . 012 of paint material added between the tank and backbone. Not much really, if it becomes a problem or I see to be a problem, not much to shim up away from the backbone.
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Old 04-20-2006, 06:43 AM
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I did not take any pictures of the tank and belly fitment, but I'll describe and illustrate as best as possible.

You will first need to cut out your tunnel reliefs in the tank center so it sits flush on the belly.



Once you have the relief cut out and fitting nice, you will need to check your gaps where the tank meats the belly. I like to get this as close as possible, no gaps are best. You do this buy trial and error. Grind and fit, grind and fit, grind and fit.. Until the tank is flush on the belly (grinding the tank, not the belly).

When the tank is flush, you will need to trace it on to the belly. REMEMBER THIS: The tank at this point is not rigid, it can still be minipulated in to shape so your halfs are consistant . Do some measurements on your trace lines to make sure each half is pretty close. If one half has warped frome welding, dropped on the floor, etc.., now is the time fix it. This is what i'm talking about:



Once you have the tank flush and consistant, trace again on the belly and cut out with what ever tool you are comfortable with. If you use a 18 gauge or thinner, you can use hand shears. I used 16 guage because its what I had already, and had to use my 4 1/2.

Lay the tank back on the belly and tack into place every 6in going around the tank. Now you can take a flap disc on the 4 1/2 and clean up your belly edges so they do not exceed the profile of the tank. Clean and weld it up.

Note: If you know how to tig weld, you probably know this, but just in case. On all the welds during this project, they are cleaned down with acetone and bur free.

Next I will cover tank hardware, mounts, petcock and a little later on filler bung/cap.


Last edited by Markee; 04-21-2006 at 04:59 PM..
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Old 04-21-2006, 09:25 AM
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LOVE IT....LOVE IT....LOVE IT
I always wanted to make my own tank but don't know where to start, what an inspiration!
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Old 04-21-2006, 10:07 AM
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Awesome thread, Markee! Looks like you're well on your way to becoming another sheetmetal artist. Good job!
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