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vision 03-26-2010 09:03 PM

How to build a Sportster gas tank for dummies....and cheapskates.
If you want to know the "proper" way to build a Sportster styled gas tank then you can stop reading here an download the Jesse James tutorial "Metal Church" off YouTube. That is a great instructional video that will show you all the multitude of tools, experts and time you will need at your disposal to be able to even attempt make a Sportster style gas tank.

For the few that might still be reading now I will assume you are either so foolish or such tightwad losers (speaking for myself here) that you dont have a garage full of 20 ton, $60000 industrial age forming machinery but still to want take a crack at making your own gas tank anyway.

I am NOT going to cover shrinking/stretching theory here because Mark at Midnight Oil has done an excellent article on that already and if you are going to start this project then reviewing what Mark wrote here is a great primer;

Tools you will need:
Pencil, scissors and paper
Shears (either electric or hand powered)
Angel grinder (best tool ever invented after the hammer of course :HMMM:)
The afore mentioned Hammer and dolly (the more the better)
A welding rig (I usually O/A or TIG but not sure MIG couldn't work?)
1 sheet at least 36 X 36 of 18 gauge sheet metal (really anything 16 to 20 gauge will work fine)

Here is the pattern that I use . I will try to set up a PDF or some type of download if there is any interest so you can just print it off cut it out and then transfer it to your sheet metal.

vision 03-26-2010 09:08 PM

Transfering that pattern to metal you should end up with something that looks like this:

Note A: I am making one of our "dished" tanks so that is why the 3rd piece

Note B: The top is only show in half but you will need to flip it over to make the full top

Note C: In the photo the fine cutting has not been done yet on side piece because I like to cut in 2 passes and weld in 3 passes - you can cut it in on pass if your equipment allows.

vision 03-26-2010 09:13 PM

As you start tacking the side seams together the tank will start to take on some shape. It is supposed to look like crap at this stage, we will smooth it out later.

vision 03-26-2010 09:16 PM

Kinda looks like Cinderella next to her snaggel-toothed step sister at his point but if you look hard you can see the family resemblance already.

vision 03-26-2010 09:38 PM

Now is your chance to lay in some metal on the inside of the tank so weld up all your seams from the inside before you break out the hammer and dolly.

vision 03-26-2010 09:41 PM

This is what I use...your tools will probably be more advanced but really a hammer is an instrument to impart blunt force onto a target so you don't need to spend $400 to buy a set of Snap On body hammers.
This ain't rocket science folks.

Neo Dutch 03-26-2010 11:51 PM

Very Cool.

vision 03-27-2010 12:26 AM

Now is where you will be doing the shrinking and stretching of the metal. It can take a while to get the feel of hand hammering in curves but most people will pick it up pretty fast. You are just trying now to get all the curves of the tank nice and smooth. Running your hand over it will show you very well exactly which spots still need some attention.

vision 03-27-2010 12:29 AM

Notice that the inside of the tank has taken a lot more hammer blows then the outside. Hitting the inside is stretching the metal and that tends to be a better strategy for me then shrinking.

Andrew C 03-27-2010 05:17 AM

Yes!! Vision that rocks!! keep em coming I wanna see the final product!

vision 03-27-2010 06:51 AM

hopefuly it will get finnished and tested tomorrow. I will post pics of the whole process including dishing the sides and mounting on my Sporty project.

bob o 03-27-2010 12:16 PM

Looks real good....

pigiron99 03-27-2010 02:33 PM

keep em coming

pigiron99 03-27-2010 03:37 PM

i think alot of us would like a pattern pdf...if u get a chance

vision 03-27-2010 04:33 PM

No problem on the pattern. I just need to find an app to convert a photo into a PDF file then verify the size. Will probably make 2 or 3 sizes: peanut, king and Exile. It would be the same pattern just blown up 10 and 20%. Anyhow time to stop yammering and do some work, the shaping is pretty much done now comes all the details and hardware.

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