Tuesday, April 7, 2009


for the back panel of the storage box i need a panel with a slight crown in both directions, an english wheel would make quick work of this but unfortunatly i dont have one...yet! so until then this is how you can do it.   cut a rectangle roughly to your desired size, i usualy over size it slightly that way you can trim it to fit perfectly. take your mallet and start lightly pounding out a line through the center of your panel. after you get a slight crown in your panel start working from the center outward in a spiral motion. 

clamp a dolly in the vise and start out using a soft hammer (i usualy use a dead blow hammer) by using a soft heavy hammer you can move your metal with out causing it to stretch, this will allow you to smooth out your panel which at this point probably looks like a bag of wall nuts.  when your panel is relativly smooth you can switch to a flat faced body hammer. using the body hammer you can strike the edges of your panel against the dolly and this will cause the panel to stretch out causing a crown in the panel. 

tig the panel into the box making sure to get good penatration on your welds. you are going to be filing most of the weld off so if you have to sacrafice a perfect looking weld for one with solid penatration focus on the penatration.

repeat the earlyer steps to build your bottom panel on your box.

here i am using a body file to bring the welds to a nice finish. i usualy grind the welds down a bit with a grinder then do the finish work with the body file. remember though your dealing with .032 al so dont grind to far.

so here is how it came out, its not perfect but after a little hammer and dolly work it will probably straighten out pretty well. if not i can always put a little mud on it i suppose.
here it is mocked up on the frame. now to figure out how to mount it to the frame.....

i am going to mount the coil in this box so i thought it would be cool to run the coil wires out the side through some swedged holes. i also was planning on mounting the reg/rec in the bottom of the box so i swedged these holes on the bottom to draw the heat from the reg/rec out of the box. since then i relocated the reg/rec to the down tubes on the frame, i just didnt want to risk over heating it.
here i just took a piece of 1 in X 1/8 in steel strap cut it to match the width and angle of the down tubes. mark the bolt hole locations with a transfer punch.

drill and tap the holes to 1/4 - 20, remember to use cutting fluid so you dont break your tap.

this mini mag digital protractor has saved me a bunch of times. i usually eyeball where i want the bracket to fit, tack one side, then you can bend that tack to get the bracket to sit level.
here it is all mounted up. seems to fit pretty well and now i dont have to worry about it overheating. 
i had a hard time figuring out where to put the huge capacitor that i am running ( this capacitor stabilizes the energy flow to the lights and horn). i finally came up with this bracket that will go on the back bone under the tank.
pretty basic i think you guys can figure this one out by now.

tack it, level it, tack it, finish weld it and your done.

here is the pattern i made for the storage box mounts. i always make patterns for anything i do with sheet metal, that way it goes smooth the first time. this is actualy a swedish fish box haha! give me a break thats all i had laying around.

a little 18g steel and a sharpie, i just use a transfer punch to mark the hole locations that way you dont have to try to cut holes in your pattern. you might want to use dotted lines on your bend lines too, trust me if you get going fast on the band saw you might forget what lines to cut and what lines to bend.

drill 1/8 in holes on your folded corners that way you dont get bunching of the metal in the corners. i also always drill all my holes while it is still in pattern mode.

here they are all folded welded and filed, i swedged the holes for a little extra umph. the mounting hoes are getting rubber soft mounts thats why they are so large.
here they are welded to the frame with the rubber mounts installed.


  1. Love the site and thanks for posting this. I have an 81 maxim that i'm planning on chopping this summer. I was wondering what diameter tubing you used on the hardtail?

  2. hey bill sorry i didnt respond i didnt even realize there was a comment on here. i used 1.125in .120 wall d.o.m. tubing.