Blood Sweat Tears and Grease => Projects => Other Projects => Topic started by: Markie-V on Mar 25, 2018, 17:35:37

Title: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 25, 2018, 17:35:37
I wanted to build my own bike.... I owned a Yamaha xs 750 20 years ago and loved the bike so I found a basket case triple and decided to breathe new life into it. As I searched through other's projects... I saw a lot of chopped bikes... a lot of cafe racers... and a lot of bobbers. I wanted to do something a little different.... so I settled on the idea of a stretched low rider with an almost completely new frame, tank, and body parts. Since no one made the parts I wanted... I knew I would have to fabricate almost every piece by hand. My hope in posting here is to get advice from other triple fans and glean as much knowledge as I can from those here with much more experience than me. I officially began the project February 21, 2018. The first three pictures show where the bike is as of today, April 6, 2018. There are still a few things for me to do such as mounting the reserve lighting module, fabricating the hinged seat, and a few things in the electrical bay... but I am very close to fiberglass and paint and am looking forward to dropping the finished, painted motor in so that I can wire it all up and relegate this mock-up motor to the bench. As you can see in the 4th and 5th pictures... I inherited a true basket case. A cut up frame... and basically three boxes filled with varying parts.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 25, 2018, 17:40:09
First  step: Rebuilding the headstock/backbone.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 25, 2018, 17:42:59
Building the rear suspension subframe...
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 25, 2018, 17:47:30
Cleaning the welds... adding the gussets... mounting the hardware....
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 25, 2018, 17:49:39
Adding the electrical box... rear fender
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 25, 2018, 17:53:23
Carving the foam sculpting block into a fiberglass gas tank shape i want.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 25, 2018, 17:55:57
Fitting the pieces together....
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 26, 2018, 01:00:37
Cleaning the welds and prepping the new frame for paint.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Ryan Stecken on Mar 26, 2018, 05:13:27
This is amazing !  8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 26, 2018, 09:30:41
Please.... can someone tell me how to flip my pics over? Tech is not my friend.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 26, 2018, 20:08:41
In building the rear sub-frame,  I added 14 gauge steel plating as a larger gusset around the swing-arm pivot. This is where the old and new frame sections connected. I wanted uber strength.  But as a side benefit,  when frame is painted red, those gusseting brackets will actually blend into the fiberglass side panels that will surround the battery  bay.. I am wanting the tank,  side panels,  and seat to flow seamlessly into  the rear fender.  In the second pic... you can see how closely I got the backbone to hug the top end.  It is a squeeze getting the engine in and out, but the trade off is a seat height of about 22 inches. The downside is... only the coil-packs cand be shoe-horned under that tank.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 27, 2018, 22:49:56
Modifying the stock front fender.  Moving the mounts rearward so as to move the front of the fender forward.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 30, 2018, 00:05:23
Beginning the long paint process.  Yes... it will be red and chrome, with black accents.  Degreasing older engines is a PAIN. Polishing cooling fin edges is a PAIN. In the end, though, I think it will be well worth it.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: canyoncarver on Mar 30, 2018, 13:47:19
Very cool work.  Not sure what's up with the upside down pics.  Try flipping the camera 180 degrees?   Most cameras store EXIF data about the picture including orientation when taken.  This data tells a computer how to display it. 
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 30, 2018, 18:46:50
Thanks CanyonCarver...
I am not a smart phone expert.... frankly.... I suck at  it. The bike is fun to work on. I am five weeks into it in my spare time. Quick question... I looked up the serial number on the internet, and it listed that the bike as a 1978 xs 750 D model. However, it has the oil level window and had the shortened exhaustband teardrop tank. I thought these features  were released on the  78 x750 se model. Any insights?
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 30, 2018, 18:48:48
More paint...
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Mar 31, 2018, 22:31:42
Engine is now ready for UV baking to cure this finish. Trying to ensure that the paint is scratch, chip, and ethanol resistant..
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 02, 2018, 21:51:38
Squeezed in the three coil packs... or whatever they're called today. Not enough room for three individual brackets, so I fabricated a single bracket to hold all three.  Not a millimeter to spare.  I even had to cut away the upper crossmember on the downtubes. (I'll  replace and move it down lower  later... maybe) Even carved out the space for the triple packs in the foam fiberglass tank mold. Another day. Slow and steady.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 03, 2018, 16:12:27
Okay... today's geometry challenge... how to get the Hitachi electronic ignition box, the rectifier, (pic 1) into the currently itty bitty space be tween the battery box and the rear fender.  Geometry sucks.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 03, 2018, 22:40:47
Modified the fender to gain additional 5/8 inches of space to install the electronic ignition box.  Made a mounting bracket and welded the bolts to the back of the bracket, which was then welded to the battery box.  Everything fit with 2 millimeters to spare. The rectifier can now be mounted above the rear master cylinder and it's  fins will be exposed to cooling air through a hole I will fabricate into the fiberglass side covers.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 04, 2018, 16:01:44
Made the bracket for the rectifier and mounted it today.  Still need to find room to squeeze in the starter solenoid, reserve lighting module, regulator, and fuse box. Am I missing something? Remember, I got the bike in three boxes and have no idea what is needed on this sled. Ideas anyone?
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 04, 2018, 19:01:04
I found a nice, quiet  place for the starter solenoid tuckned away behind what will be the fiberglass body panels that will wrap around the battery/electric bay. I might even be able to squeeze the regulator in there somewhere too.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 04, 2018, 21:27:12
Had to take a break to shovel some snow.... should I finish the sidewalk?
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 05, 2018, 12:59:44
Bought two one inch ball bearings to serve as end caps for the rear fender support tubes. Just cut 40 percent off each bearing and welded them to the end of the one inch fender support tubes.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 05, 2018, 19:31:05
Having fun in the shop.... working on the electrical box for the new 8 circuit led fuse box. If you don't have a bike lift when you build a low rider, you spend as lot of time kneeling... or laying down and welding from that position. On the brighter side of things... it is great incentive to keep my shop floor swept and I am becoming very well acquainted with the baseboards and electrical outlets.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 06, 2018, 00:59:42
Cleaned years of crud, corrosion, and rust off the headlight assembly and got it ready for the wiring process. It shines like a mirror inside and out. On the inside of the headlight bowl, I painted the polished surfaces with a high gloss ceramic infused clear coat from PPG. Should prevent any additional corrosion in the future. 
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 06, 2018, 01:12:04
These are the final pieces of the electrical system to be installed. The regulator and the electrical bay with the fuse box can go in tomorrow morning. The bracket for the reserve lighting module, however, can only be welded from the bottom of the frame. So it will be another complete teardown tomorrow afternoon to complete that task. While the frame is naked... I'll take that time to clean up the last of my welds,  add my final gusseting,  and add the mounting plate for the air ride/drop system. Say good bye to the center stand. What's more, my bullet air filters arrived today. Getting so close to fiberglass and paint time that I can taste it.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 06, 2018, 14:32:19
Had a detour.... needed to do a little work on my skid loader... postponed the low rider for a day.LOL
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: john83 on Apr 06, 2018, 21:03:51
Cool project! Can't wait to see the finished product.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 06, 2018, 23:39:41
Thanks John.... glad you stopped by. This is my first build from scratch and it seems to be going okay. Paint will be easy but... then comes making a wiring harness. I am afraid... very afraid. ???
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 07, 2018, 13:45:56
Thank you to all who stopped by to look at my progress so far. I can barely believe that more than 1400 people have visited my little thread. Here's where we stand. 90 percent of the metalwork is done. Today, I'll be fabricating the seat base, hinges, and the seat latch. Once that is done, I can carve the foam seat body for fiberglassing. Other than that, all that is left is making a flare for the rear fender to keep water out of the battery/electric bay and to make a hinged cover for the fuse box and mount it. Then it will be a final teardown to clean up the last of my welds. Fingers crossed for a good day.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 07, 2018, 16:05:59
Fabricated the seat base using thin walled 1 inch stock. Harder to weld, but lightweight and easy to install the fiberglass skin over it. Coming along... piece by piece.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 07, 2018, 21:46:04
Did the seat frame today.  Harder than I thought... so... after the flip up frame was done... I thought I would have a little fun sculpting the seat deck. The shape is getting close.  Good day.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Aussie Steve on Apr 08, 2018, 03:07:36
Moving along quickly and looking cool, too

Sent from my Lenovo A6020a40 using DO THE TON mobile app (

Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 08, 2018, 03:41:02
Thanks Steve!!
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 08, 2018, 14:03:03
As I whittle away at the seat base, I am having to be very careful.  The area around the rear fender is, as it should be , getting very thin... 1/4" in certain spots. VERY DELICATE. It will be slow... but worth the effort in the end.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 09, 2018, 04:12:45
Still working the seat base mold. It's a little thin in places. Actually broke through in a 4 square mm spot. Gotta be patient with this or I'll be back to square one.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: stroker crazy on Apr 09, 2018, 06:27:12
Gotta be patient with this or I'll be back to square one.

Are you planning on making a female mold or will you be going for lost foam?

Your preparation work looks great.

Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 09, 2018, 09:31:50
Thanks for stopping by. I think I am leaning toward moving forward without making a female mold. I figure... it will be a one of a kind and if something happens to this tank, or if it's  not exactly to my liking after a little while, I can make adjustments to the general shape on the next foam mold. This is my first ever bike build
 What do you think? Will I regret this? I don't know. Thoughts??
 You know... like changing the feel of your car by adding new wheels or paint.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Maritime on Apr 09, 2018, 11:47:11
Looking pretty rad so far
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 09, 2018, 11:57:16
Thanks Maritime. It's my first build, but I always wanted to try to make one after watching all those shows on TV. I am reasonable with an acetylene torch... But everything else I am learning as I go. I guess this is a good way for my obsessive compulsive butt to pass the winter months rather than counting the flowers on the living room wallpaper. LOL! I still haven't gotten to what I will consider the biggest challenge... wiring. If I can't build a harness... I guess I'll have a 495 pound paperweight. On the bright side... I do have a tow rope and can ask my friends to pull me around behind their cars. Ha ha ha !
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: datadavid on Apr 09, 2018, 12:31:32
Get a motogadget brain box, wiring is so simple even I can do it!
Only niggle was hooking up the charging circuit, took me about two years to get it right..
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Maritime on Apr 09, 2018, 13:14:01
Markie-V if the M-gadget is too pricey, which it was for me, Sonrier (Matt) is a member and owns Spark Moto (Sponsor) and has a fuse block FB11 that makes wiring way easier. I have a prototype of it on my GL1000 and I had to rewire it almost completely from scratch after a deer decided to take it and me out a few summers ago. Made the job sooo much easier. He also does full harnesses or you can get him to do a sub harness for your main circuits like charging and use the FB11 to do all the other like lights, ignition, etc.  He also now owns vintage connections so you can get all the connectors you need at the same place.  Also he will help you out with a diagram for it and answer any questions on like "How do I wire up my LED signals and idiot light?" etc

Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Brodie on Apr 09, 2018, 13:15:48
Looks good for a first build mate. Very impressive. Don't forget when you are carving the seat shape to allow for a bit of extra room for the seat foam.

Wiring is not so bad. Just break each part down into different sections. Do the charging circuit, then ignition, then indicators ect ect. At least that is how I work it out. Or hit up Sparck moto and have them build you a custom loom with everything you need.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 09, 2018, 16:44:32
Thanks guys! Great advice.... I really appreciate it.  I'm  thinking that the wiring will have to be done on the completed bike because I am running the harness through the inside of the backbone and I have serious doubts that  the harness with all its connectors will fit through the 1 1/2 inch holes in the front and back of the backbone. I'm  not there quite there yet anyway... but it is coming up soon so I am thinking about it a lot right now. Maybe I will be forced to go under and alongside the gas tank.   Right now, I'm estimating 2 3/4 - 3 1/4 gallon tank capacity... every little bit carved from under the tank takes away from fuel capacity
 Hmmm... thinking about this is giving me a headache.  Ha ha ha!
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 09, 2018, 18:48:13
45 days in with relatively no problems... then today .... first major FAIL. The spray on material that was suppose to protect the foam mold from the poly fiberglass resin was completely worthless. The foam mold for the gas tank began melting within two minutes of the fiberglass process. No pictures. Just going to quietly lick my wounds.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: d9canada on Apr 10, 2018, 06:15:44
Markie, I've done a lot of fiberglass and epoxy glass, including mold making, mainly marine stuff, but I don't recall ever trying to lay up over raw foam.  We have used the blue foam as reinforcement in epoxy layups and it reacted well and bonded perfectly. 

And I'm not sure,
1 Is your plan is to make a shell on the foam and then dissolve the foam?  I don't recommend this, only because I've never done it, only read about it.  If you know you can get the foam out and leave a clean fiberglass shell that you can epoxy, that's up to you.  Write a book  ;)
2 Or you could make an exterior mold if your "plug" is really nice, so you can then lay up a final part in the mold.
3 Or just make an exterior shell in halves, or top & bottom, remove from the mold and then finish the outside and bond the sections together.  This would allow you to epoxy the interior by hand and use the same epoxy to bond the base/tunnel into the shell, come to think of it, then do a "pour in & roll around" second coat just for safety sake.

So I have to guess a little.  All methods will work.  Making a mold (2) is a bit wasteful for a one-off, but that's my strong suit, and a modification of this process would give you (3) a good shell to work from.

I don't know what spray you used, perhaps Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA)?  But here's the deal about parting agents - as you may know a lot of "old timers" rely on wax as a parting agent.  But wax is NOT a parting agent really, not even a specific fiberglass molding wax like Part-All green wax.  How do I know?  Because their rep told me after I investigated a disaster at a friend's business. 

Wax only reduces the surface porosity but it is not a chemical barrier.  In fact, the wax can actually melt when the layup goes on because the layup exotherms (produces heat) as it cures.  But if the wax is trapped, it sort of does a job, to some extent of keeping the surface slick, but success in that area depends on a number of factors.  Sorry but you can tell there's more. 

Two things are at work at the barrier, chemistry that can cause crosslinking (causing a fiberglass part to stick to a fiberglass mold) or otherwise attack the mold (as you experienced) and heat which can damage the mold release barrier or even the plug/mold material, which may have initiated the problem you experienced.  So what to do?

I'd suggest you make a new tank plug as you had before except reduce it's exterior dimension about 1/8" to allow for a complete, all-encompassing Bondo coating.  If the part you layup on the plug will be your finished tank, then this Bondo'd plug will allow you to shape and sand so your real tank's interior is smooth.  If you're making a mold from the plug, you'll have a mold that will produce a great exterior and with care, the interior will follow suit. 

After ensuring you've got Bondo all over the plug, paint the thing with any fiberglass friendly paint.  The objective here is to seal the thing.  Throw on several good coats and let it cure well.  If you do have any exposed foam (and I hope you took seriously that I said cover the thing entirely with Bondo), the paint will most likely seal those areas without substantial damage to the foam.  And remember Bondo is somewhat porous.  OK?  So now you've got a slick looking plug, with a paint finish of some sort.  Give it 3 coats of paste wax, Johnsons floor wax, any good quality paste wax, buff each, let it sit 20 minutes and repeat. 
NOW, hit it with PVA. As you may know, you don't try to flood coat it like paint.  Just use a touchup gun with about 35 psi and when you spray, the stuff goes on looking like paint sprayed with excessive air pressure - you get a sugar-like appearance.  This is OK.  Do at least 4 coats, giving each one about 15 minutes to flash.  After all this, the darned thing should be just about bullet-proof.

If you need reassurance about PVA, take a scrap of Arborite and spray it as you do the actual plug.  When the last coat is done and dry, take the Arborite and a sharp knife, cut a line along one edge and peel up the green PVA material and you'll have a glossy green film like very thin plastic bag film.  Now take that and put it in warm water and it will dissolve in moments.  But expose it to fiberglass (polyester, vinylester or epoxy resin) and it will be a perfect barrier provided the base it's on is not compromised by pinholes or vulnerable to heat damage.  The cool thing with PVA when used properly, is that it makes a true chemical barrier with one wonderful exception - it's water solubility makes part separation so easy, just add running water or throw small molds in a tub of warm water  :D   

I literally floated my beautiful cedar strip kayak out of the mold I made from it.   :o  And thank God because smearing black tooling gelcoat all over my gleaming woodwork had me nearly vomiting with fear that I might screw up!

You can lay up your part any time after the PVA has dried, even days after - just don't let a lot of dust and crap get on the thing or that will end up stuck to the interior of your part.

In your case, if your layup will be your final part, maybe do the bottom/tunnel first and wrap the edges so they create bonding surfaces to meet the body of the tank.  Then layup the tank body.  So long as you're happy with everything, you could cut into the foam to break some chunks out of it, which you may have to do in order to get the foam out, depending on the tank shape, then let the PVA and water release the remaining foam and you should be OK. 

Epoxy and bond your parts, finish the outside and you're done.  Easy-peasy!  8) 

So Markie, and anyone else tackling fiberglass, I hope this helps.  I apologize for the verbose reply, but it's like writing a guide for "how to change a car tire" when you don't know for sure that the reader knows where to find the spare, the tools, the jack or how to operate those things.  If you assume too much, the reader doesn't understand and if you dwell on everything it comes off sounding pretty condescending which is certainly not my intention.

While I'm at it, I might as well prove I practice what I preach:

Attached, are pics of a mold I made recently of an original 70s vintage Tracy Eliminator body for CB750.  This was a rush job in March with no warm place to work.  I just picked about the only two sunny days with half a$$ed temps and had a shot at it.  I managed with only 55 F air temp because the black plug absorbed heat and I rolled the thing around to keep it in the sun.  A handheld heat sensing gun is indispensable so you can gauge mold and resin temps and adjust catalyst amounts if needed for each successive mix.  For jobs like this, I prefer to use small mixes, catalyze them to gel pretty fast, so you can't have a big pot full or it will be a steaming bubbling mess before you get the layup done.  This also gives the solo DYI guy a chance to grab a coffee, take a break to cut more material, etc.

I used black tooling gelcoat which helps absorb heat from the sun for the while that it's exposed.  I poured off all my resin in small dark colored tin cans, again sat them in the sun to warm them as I worked.  I even laid the glass material in the sun, doing everything I could to get stuff warmed up.  The potato chip box cardboard flange was laid in with hot glue and masking tape to give me something to form a mold flange against.  I just knew eating all those potato chips would pay off!   ;D

The only parting agents used were Part All green wax - 3 coats buffed on the body itself, then 4 coats of PVA on the body and cardboard flanges.  When the first half was done and cured overnight (exotherm kept it warm  :D) then I stripped the cardboard, waxed and PVA'd the other side and did side 2.  Day 3 it rained, no problem, I stuffed a few plastic wedges into the mold flange and clamped the hose there, pouring water into the mold, just through a small gap opened along the top.  And this was cold tap water too.  An hour later, with some begging, pleading, careful wedging on the flanges and maybe some salty talk, the things separated. 

Knowing some folks in business, I tend to be too timid about yanking on things.  With complex shapes, warm water will help because it causes some expansion, enough to allow water to sneak in. But also some deliberate flexing of the part will help get the water in where it's got to go. 

Just think, the part has basically adhered to the mold because there's not a bit of air between them and it's dry as a bone too. That's why some commercial molds have strategically placed air buds, to just force some air in here and there. 

The crude flanges are very useful because they match perfectly together.  They are not perfectly uniform but that's fine because you can certainly tell when they match up.  Otherwise on a real pro job with flanges formed on long plywood backing that's dead straight, you'd put in locating pins or blocks to ensure alignment.  Also on bigger parts, you'd install mounts for stiffening and shape alignment.  In this case I will be making a horseshoe type bridge to keep the sides spaced out appropriately.  for anyone who knows the history of Tracy Fiberglass, Tracy and Friends, and know something about molding, his crew did some very state-of-the-art work back in the 70s. 

In this case I didn't bother with a bottom/tunnel as I intend to make an aluminum tank to go under the f/g body.  Next, I have a genuine Dunstall tank and seat for CB750 to make molds from.  I have no intentions of selling parts at this time, by the way.  I'm 66 with back injuries and too many great bike projects, not enough time  ;D
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: pacomotorstuff on Apr 10, 2018, 09:39:30
What D9canada said, right down to the age (66) and the bad back LOL.
Follow the above, you'll get a part.
Pat Cowan,
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 10, 2018, 09:58:42

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you. (Repeating into infinity)

Yesterday... seeing the loss of my firstborn foam gas tank mold... I felt a strange anger, denial, and grief. As I stood there, watching... it seemed as if I was like watching  a cancer spread through my beloved. Startingsmall, then quickly spreading  until all that remained was a wrinkled, pot marked, and shriveled remnant of the once proud gas tank. A single pea inside a gourd of fiberglass as if it were some alien maraca.  It was painful to watch. I am still trying to cope.

I can't begin to tell you how much that I deeply appreciate that you took the time out of your day to share with me, a total stranger, your knowledge and experience in this area. Believe me, I need knowledge and experience in this area

If you don't mind... I'd like to consult with you by email here on this site as I go through  the process again... just a few questions as I go. Would that be okay? Feel free to say no... I won't be offended.  You obviously know your way around this by experience. Your CB 750 bodywork pics look AWESOME.

Thank you again for taking the time to go through this with me step by step. It will be a big help moving forward.


Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: d9canada on Apr 10, 2018, 11:11:45
By all means, I'm no expert, just experienced, and I'll help if I can.

And don't beat yourself up.  I've seen more than once at boatyards where guys were pounding on molds with rubber hammers and stuffing thin strips of cedar between the part and the mold, trying desperately to get the boat part out of the mold.  This sort of thing has literally sunk some small companies.  It's a humbling thing.  After I witnessed some of this crap, I thought "not me!" and immediately contacted the Part All guys and asked if there wasn't a fairly assured way of getting it right.  So if I can save someone else some grief, I'm happy to help  :D
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: john83 on Apr 10, 2018, 17:37:54
Failure is our greatest teacher. Well, that and guys like d9canada who have been there, done that are willing to share info. I would also search this site. There have been several guys who glassed their own tank over the years with some good results.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: pacomotorstuff on Apr 10, 2018, 18:30:49
Built tanks for a number of years, never had a failure except for a tank that a painter blasted through with his 40 grit sanding disc when he was prepping the part (he did a lot of Corvette parts which were about a quarter of a inch thick), then tried to fix it with bondo and claimed the leakage and dust in the tank were my fault .
Stopped building them due to the "litigatous" society we find ourselves in these days; example - the wife of a customer was looking at 2 really nice tanks I had just built for his racebikes and commented, "Nice tanks and if anything happens, I'll know who to sue" - and then finished up with a lame little laugh.  The customer solved the problem though - he divorced her.
The last tank I built for a friend, used isophthalic polyester resin, veil as the last ply on the build, a good coat of Caswell's tank sealer on the insides, glued it together with Caswells and gave it what we aerospace people call a "slosh coat" of Caswell's after the marry up of top and tunnel, to give additional sealing along the bond lines.
I also have a tank on one of my project bikes, built along the lines of a composite aircraft project I was working on at the time, much the same construction materials as noted above, heavier than I would like but you can stand on it if you wish and nothing is going to break.
I tell customers to drain their tanks if the bike is going to be sitting for any length of time and for a street bike, use gasoline without ethanol.
Up here in Canada, we have a couple of different choices of ethanol free gasoline, usually 94 octane at one of the local stations, kind of a joke when one of my motors is a flathead and could probably run on  80 octane if you could find it these days.
Love your lowrider project, sorry you had a GFU with your first go at making a tank but don't give up.
If it was easy, everybody would do it.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 10, 2018, 19:21:42
Well... I just want to again offer thanks to those who offered encouragement during the last day and a half. I have looked at the bikes that others here have built, and I must say that I am always impressed with the creativity and passion I see here for the love of building bikes and other unique things. What surprised me the most was not all the great advice that was offered (which I must say will be invaluable to me), but it  is just the quiet encouragements from others here... willing to reach out just to offer an encouraging word on the thread as well as some very humbling emails I received here.

Today... with the salve fresh in the wounds of my fiberglass fail... I am going to begin again on tank two. I learned a little bit from carving and shaping the first tank... and I think I can do this one in less time. This tank shape will be different than the first... wider  over the cylinders... longer in the front and a more rounded, sweeping arc from the top of the tank to the seat base.  I'll post step by step pics, hoping that my resident experts like D9Canada, and all will chime in if any of you all see me making a bonehead mistake. I included  a picture of the tank fail. The fiberglass resin I used but ate right through the epoxy paint I applied to the first plug
 It looks like one of those cocoons from the horror film "Alien "

Thanks again guys.!!
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 10, 2018, 19:38:01
D9Canada... I am going to take your advice and build the next tank from a mold of the plug. I'll shape the tank today and tomorrow and try to follow your instructions to a tee.

I think you are right... a mold would be a good thing in case there is a future problem... then I can just break out the mold again. Trying to figure out how to split the molds. Maybe three molds.. left side, right side, and tunnel. My foam block is drying. So I am taking measurement right now. Thinking that I will carve the the foam tank plug... follow your "bondo/fiberglass friendly paint technique, and once the tank is fiberglassed over the plug... cut it into the three sections i need. This would give me the three molds i would need to build the tank with such an extreme backbone cutout.

Thanks again... I'll get back on it. Keep plugging

Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Brodie on Apr 10, 2018, 21:01:30
Glad to see you are back at it. Pity about the first tank.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Hurco550 on Apr 10, 2018, 21:27:22
Had a detour.... needed to do a little work on my skid loader... postponed the low rider for a day.LOL
We have had the same skid loader around the farm since I was a kid. Made for John deere buy owatana I believe? Grandpa replaced the original Wisconsin engine with a Subaru robin lump. It's due for a little hydraulic tlc as well.

Either way, love the bike man, looks like a very well executed project.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: d9canada on Apr 10, 2018, 23:07:08
Yeah, I never got around to saying "Kudos on the metal work" on your project.  Very nicely done!

As for a mold, yeah that's my comfort zone but it is not a requirement. 

If you go that way, look at the Tracy body mold I made and you'll see that making a part and cutting it up may not be the greatest idea.  If you put a strip of masking tape on one side of the center line, you could do as I did, use hot glue, cardboard and masking tape to make a "fence" that you can use as you build up your first mold section layup, so you get a flange  - so you might put a flange at the bottom all around and one right down the center line.  Make sure you do a pretty solid job of the flanges, not allowing air entrapment at the base of the flange and make the flanges pretty strong so you can wedge them apart to pull the mold apart.  Flanges make mold parts harder to move off a plug because their shape resists twisting and so on.  But it's all "fun".

In this scenario, you'd wax and PVA one "third" so to speak, or half of the body, lay it up and let it set.  Don't move it, just strip the cardboard off the back side of the flange of the first piece then wax and PVA it and the rest of the next section, lay it up, then do repeat the process to get that last part, probably the bottom/tunnel, of the mold made. 

Finally, you have three pieces with perfectly matching flanges, even if they are not perfectly straight.  But it's a lot off work if you're not intending to use it again.  Throw the thing in a bathtub full of warm water with some plastic wedges (like bondo squeegies) stuffed into the flanges to spread them apart a bit to let water in.

You see, this is a fair bit of work when you might otherwise just be getting the tank done.  I'd be inclined to layup the bottom tunnel and maybe make a relief around the bottom edge of the sides about 1/8" deep and extending 1" from the bottom edge, so you lay up the bottom/tunnel and wrap around the bottom onto that relief along the sides.  Let that set and leave it in place then wax and PVA the body of the plug, including that little "flange" along the bottom.  Do your layup.  Then trim/sand carefully along the bottom edge to expose the seam between the body and bottom. 

Get some wedges in there, throw it in a bathtub of warm water and let the snarling begin.  You'll have some wrestling to get water to seep into the thing.  Patience is a virtue on things like this.  So what if it sits there, weighted down to hold it underwater, for three or four hours?  So don't think "Darn, I've been pissing around with this for twenty minutes and it still hasn't budged!"  My Tracy half molds hardly moved for the first couple hours.   :'(

Important - If you know for sure where your filler neck and petcock will go, especially from the filler hole, you can drill in and destroy some of the plug, allowing water to get into the inside.  Even if you don't get to the bondo layer except at the filler hole, removing foam behind the bondo will weaken the plug.  So give that some thought, it may be messy but it could be a real ticket to that magic moment when you see the parts move.   :o

Finally, you should be able to separate the body part from the plug, then the bottom/tunnel off the plug.  And don't be worried about destroying the plug to get the complex shaped bottom/tunnel removed.  So long as the plug was waxed and PVA'd, you may have to chop some foam/bondo to get some movement in there but in the final analysis, you should have a good part.   8)

It's a real toss-up I guess, make a mold or make a finished part.  I know guys who've made custom cars whose bodies were originally intended to be the mold or the plug for a final mold  :D   

Then again, looking at your metal work skills, you might consider getting some 16 gauge steel, make a leather sandbag and get some simple tools and beat one out of steel.  I have to throw that out there.  ;D 

Keep pluggin' - there's no rest for the wicked!
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Maritime on Apr 11, 2018, 08:59:43
Check out CCriders CB450 build. that tank is gong on 5 or more years and I have seen it in person 3-4 times and it is great looking.  Also Ringo built an amazing CB550(I think) in gulf livery and documented it well too.

CCriders build. unfortunately you need the photobucket fix to see the pics.

Ringo's build is the same:

If you can make the pics work these are both really good fiberglass tank bikes.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: jpmobius on Apr 11, 2018, 13:51:29
Just throwing this in for a think.  I've done a fair bit of scratch built composite parts, and have settled on mold-less construction as my mostly preferred choice as I seldom intend to make more than one of anything, so maybe some of this will apply to you.  I have done molds, gelcoat, and polyester resins, but for me that is a frightful amount of work compared to simply making what I want straight away.  I haven't ever had the melting foam issue, but that's probably because of aircraft experience and been lucky to have never used incompatible materials by accident.  For what it's worth, I generally use urethane foam - mostly the type sold as building insulation like for freezers.  In fact, I have rather a large supply I got for free from a commercial building I chanced to see being torn down, but it is very affordable bought commercially.  All that I have ever seen is tan in color.  You can also buy it from a specialty supplier for modeling and casting work, but it is much denser and fine grained and very expensive.  At any rate, it is immune to epoxy, which I use exclusively and very highly recommend over polyester resin despite the significantly higher cost.   I use epoxy mainly because I find it much more stable than polyester  (I've done a lot of boat repairs with polyester, but am in no way any sort of expert).  What I mean here by stable is that, whether mold or moldless construction, I have had issues with bodywork retaining its shape perfectly until vast amounts of time (year+) go by.  In other words, dead straight flawless parts are no longer perfect 6 months later.  Granted I am REALLY picky to be sure, but I don't have this issue with epoxies.  I've also used green florists foam with fine results though it is very soft.  I do not attempt to dissolve foam (tried it ONCE!!!).  If the part has to be hollow, like a tank, I make what I want and than simply cut it in half, or whatever, and manually dig out the foam which I find quite easy.  Then simply glass the parts back together.  Epoxies as a rule are vastly more alcohol resistant (and gasoline resistant), and some formulations are in a practical sense actually fuel proof.  At any rate, epoxies are very considerably stronger and are vastly more tenacious than polyester, so for me, on bike parts which are quite small, the extra cost is well worth it especially considering the huge labor (time) involved.  Lastly, for the record, I'd like to suggest that you avoid Kevlar and carbon fiber.  Unless you are swapping your steel chassis for a composite one, there isn't much application for carbon on anything motorcycle (aside from purely aesthetic goals), and Kevlar is much harder to deal with (as well as really having no application).  If you want to improve the strength of your parts, use S-glass.  I almost always use plain 'ol regular fiberglass cloth myself, very light weight woven (finishing cloth) for most parts.  There are some pics of a seat made on green florists foam on page 7 (might be different on your system) in my build thread below if you want to see a result - sorry. it's just the unpainted part, no in process.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: d9canada on Apr 11, 2018, 15:02:19
Thanks to JPMobius and others for your thoughts on this.  I didn't want to be the only voice because despite my experiences, like many of you, I am no expert.

I do agree generally, for this project, making a mold is an overkill, certainly, much more expensive.  There's one thing we did not discuss, that being making a female mold instead of a male - just a thought.  And with reference to my suggestion of making a metal tank, a male plug could still serve well to ensure the parts are shaped well before tacking or TIGing begins. 

On the subject of epoxy, something like West Systems or System 3 epoxy is great, very durable and much stronger than polyester resin.  And though those epoxies are more fuel resistant, I would not use such a tank without either Caswells or POR15 coating inside.

But there's stuff about epoxy you need to know (why can't I write a short post??)  There's an expression in boat building about epoxy "It goes on like honey and runs like water."  This is very important.  Epoxy laid on, let's say a cedar strip kayak, will tend to run even though the wood may be wet out first then cloth laid on and more epoxy carefully applied. 

You can't go for a "flood coat" finish all at once or you will get runs.  Even in molds, if you have vertical surfaces, the darned stuff tends to sag badly.  And the really frustrating thing is that the sagging begins to sag at max exotherm (heat generation) which occurs as the stuff begins to get too sticky to brush out!  It's crazy stuff.  You can get catalysts for slow, medium and fast set, and you have to monitor mold and air temps to choose the right one as well as consider what you're going to do and how.

So it's not hard to understand that manufacturers like West System make a variety of filler products which help to bulk up and stabilize epoxy a bit with very little sacrifice in strength.  Lots of times, people just use talcum power - (that's good for patching chips in white appliances too) - but in boat yards, for convenience and also cost reduction, often sawdust is used.  Of course, you can screen it to keep it consistently sized.  But here's a "trick" - commercial fillers are not absorbent, so you can add your filler to the epoxy and then catalyze - however, if you use sawdust or any other absorbent material, you don't want it absorbing uncatalyzed epoxy because it won't set up well.  So you have to catalyze first, then thicken.   In that situation, remember that your pot-life will be reduced as you mess around adding an absorbent filler after catalyzing.   

For a tank, you should be able to mix a small amount of epoxy and wet the mold, (male or female), let that sit until it or the mix can is getting warm (hand held heat gun is great but otherwise check the stir stick in your mix can to see if it's getting sticky).  You can use thickened material if you have hard corners where you expect some "resistance" for the glass materials to lay in well.  (Oh there's another subject, I'll hit with another post.  Groan!) 

You should have your materials already cut.  "No scissors at the wet side!"  Lay your first glass (should be mat especially in a female mold because mat doesn't "print" through), wet that and get a layer of cloth laid in and wet out.  Then stop.

Don't try to "fill up" the mat to a smooth finish, just get that layup wet out.  Let that flash for a few hours and then hit it with another mat/cloth layer, and repeat once more and you should have a very tough shell.  Certainly, when bonding parts together, thicken the epoxy to the consistency of peanut butter.  Again, from boat building, there's "ketchup or peanut butter" consistencies discussed when talking about fillers.

And last of all is a safety warning.  Do some Googling about this and you will cringe.  The sanding dust from epoxy is extremely dangerous.  If you possibly can, use a sander with shop vac connector.  Cover your entire body and immediately take that clothing off and put it in the wash, go shower thoroughly.  People have had to quit working in boat yards and furniture shops because they get "epoxy rash".  Once they get it, just the slightest contact later can cause them to develop horrific rashes.  Working outside is a good idea and try to stay upwind of the work surface.   I'll shut up now  ::)
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: d9canada on Apr 11, 2018, 15:11:49
And now for my next trick - a word about fiberglass materials and absorbency.

If you attempt to fiberglass something by wetting a surface and then getting glass materials stuck into it and then try to get the material "wet out" well and all air entrapment removed, you'll find that's not a simple task, especially in tight bend areas.  And you'll often see on TV, guys use a foil pan with resin and soak fiberglass cloth and then apply it to the work.  You can't do this with mat as easily.  So here's what's at issue:

All fiberglass materials are produced using "sizing" - a synthetic material like starch.  In fact, way back in the late 50s when I was a toddler, my Dad fiberglassed our sundeck and at that time, the material was actually formed with cornstarch.  So imagine you want to wet out glass with resin which is much thicker than water or paint.  The first thing that has to happen is that the sizing must dissolve.  When you put a piece of material into resin, even in a foil pan, it takes a few moments for the material to become translucent, indicating all air removed and it's saturated.  If a piece of material is added to a mold surface, even if the surface is already wet, it takes a bit of work dabbing with the tip of a stiff brush or using rollers to caress the material into the resin.  The thing to avoid is too much resin and yet that's the beginner's solution to air in the material or material that won't lay flat - hammer it with more resin.  Ideally, you should have at least 60% glass to resin, even with epoxy resing.

Lastly, you can do a very cheap effective "vacuum bagging" of your work using a shop vac and some special materials you can get from fiberglass supply shops.  Basically, you lay a non-stick sheet over the wet part of the work, then a layer or absorbent material (an old blanket works), and you can also put some foam scraps or bubble wrap on top to ensure an even distribution of the vacuum loading.  Provided you have no sharp edges, you can use ordinary poly sheet for the external bag.  I've used a simple shop vac (you must use a shop vacuum because the motor is independently cooled, not by airflow through the suction, because obviously, you're not going to have much flow.   I use adapters to a small hose, then an ordinary ball valve with a short piece of PVC on the end - that PVC is cross drilled so it's not easily plugged up and that is inserted above the absorbent area with another layer of absorbent on top.  Turn on the vacuum and you'll have effectively 3 - 4 pounds PER SQ IN pressure on your work.  This helps a lot to force materials into complex shapes and remove air entrapment.  You can Google vacuum bagging and even more advanced resin infusion (where the vacuum setup is enhanced with ports on the mold connect to your resin pot, so the vacuum pulls the resin through the work - and yes that takes planning!)

So there yah go, a bit more blah blah about glassing  :D
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: jpmobius on Apr 11, 2018, 22:10:19
Well said on all accounts Mr. d9canada.  Thanks for taking so much time to add so much valuable info.  I'd like to add or reinforce the absolutely correct comments on the toxic characteristics of epoxy resins.  Certainly they are in general much more benign than in the past, but reasonable care is important for protecting ones health.  That said, many other activities undertaken in building bikes, cars, airplanes, boats, etc, etc provide similar caliber risks and in general it is reasonably easy to minimize them.  In my opinion the risks should not be off-putting to a sensible person using common sense and having a sense of self preservation, though opinions vary!  After all, motorcycles rate pretty high on many folks foolishness scale and all of us here ignore them!  I'd like to add, that epoxies, despite your observations on handling, are easy enough to use with a bit of experience just like polyester resin - a bit different perhaps, but I'd say one is no more difficult than the other.  Like most things, it takes a bit of exposure to get familiar enough for it to become easy.  On that note, I'll offer 2 comments. First, chopped strand mat, unlike woven cloth (as far as I know) is made with a binder  (not sure if this is this "sizing" you mentioned) that holds the strands together.  Polyester resin dissolves this binder so the mat conforms very nicely to complex and tight shapes.  Epoxy does not dissolve this binder, so I can see REALLY not liking epoxy if you had polyester experience first!  The binder does no harm in layups using epoxy aside from staying stiff and springy - exactly like it isn't after the binder dissolves in the polyester!  Never seen anyone use flour or sawdust etc to thicken epoxy - yikes!  My second comment is a technique for minimizing excess resin on difficult shapes and works for polyester or epoxy - though more needed I suppose when using epoxy.  I will sometimes paint a very thin coat of resin on my part (or mold) and let it start to cure, having the upcoming layer of cloth completely prepared in advance.  When it is very sticky, I squeegee the new layer in place - it is easy to get an absolutely perfect layup this way.  Once I am sure it will stay put, I wet out the layer.  I use very light weight laminations so this is never a problem for me, possibly heavy cloth or mat is an issue.  Very accurate constructions with very low resin content are practical using this technique.  And, while this does make for essentially 2 iterations of resin per lamination, I have never observed any integrity issues within laminations.  I am , however careful to wet out completely before the "sticky"  cures completely.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 11, 2018, 23:18:32
Thanks to everyone  for the ideas... I am going to go with a mold of the finished plug. I'll  be asking for advice as I go.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 12, 2018, 08:03:04
No better way to rid yourself  of the skeletons of a bad fiberglass tank fail, than to gather a mob, some lighted pitchforks and go pillage  the local mad scientist's place. I couldn't find a mob and wait...I am the local mad scientist.  Get out them marshmallows... the tank is burning.!
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 12, 2018, 08:32:34
Well after a long day of pillaging with a burning pitchfork... I turned on the lights and decided the best way to get the bad taste of the fiberglass fail out of my mouth would be to build TANK II. I got it to its roughed up shape a lot faster this time because I cut the tank in half at the backbone and used a cardboard template of the backbone to draw a mirror image of the backbone on the inside of each half of the tank with a sharpie. Much faster than the way I did it before. Cut my time by 75 %. Today... I'll make the final shape.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Maritime on Apr 12, 2018, 09:52:46
Ha, looks good, sometimes we just need to have an epic fail to bring out the greatness.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 12, 2018, 16:07:03
TANK II... Much faster than the first time.  Split the tank and drew the tunnel on the halves using a template of the backbone.  Learning.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: d9canada on Apr 12, 2018, 17:23:29
Looks great, even upside down!   ;D ;D

Markie, if you're using a Windows computer and have your pictures loaded there, you can go into File Explorer, right click on the file and you'll get options including "Open With" click that and you get a choice of several products to use to view your picture.   

Right now, I don't now what product your machine defaults to, but I'd strongly suggest you use Windows Photo Viewer, but don't choose that even if you see it on the list.  If you have an option below saying Choose Another App, click that instead - you'll see why in a second.

Another window opens up and Windows Photo Viewer should be displayed but now, down below you have a check box lower down with words beside saying something like "Always use this application".  So choose Windows Photo Viewer, check the checkbox and then click OK.  Now whenever you double click on a picture file in File Explorer, by default it will be opened using Windows Photo Viewer. 

So, open a picture and at the bottom you will see tools along the bottom.  From far right, the red X closes the application.  Next, important to you, are arrows in circles.  These allow you to rotate your image right or left.  Note that if you rotate an image and then just close the application, you file will be saved in the new orientation. 

Next, in the middle are tools that allow you to cycle through other picture files in the same folder where the first file you opened came from.  The center tool allows you to have slideshow of all pictures in the current folder.  Further left is a button, press that and the picture displays actual size and on the left is a magnifying glass.  Click on that and you get a slide control.  Slide the slider to zoom in or out.  So now you can control your images better, if you're using a computer.

If you're using a phone, let me know what brand and I'll try to help you out on that.  I've spent a career doing systems for the RCMP, hence my tendancy to write verbose instruction files  :o  :P  ;D
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 12, 2018, 18:16:22
I know... every day, I have to go inside, download the pictures from and edit them, then reload them. I do it every day. It's a new galaxy phone and so far, EVERY picture has loaded upside down.  It doesn't matter what way I hold the phone either. Always upside down until I go in and edit them.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 12, 2018, 18:19:57
 :BTW... I am going the long route and making female fiberglass molds. A little more work, but in the long run... I think it would be better to have the molds if I need them in the future .
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 12, 2018, 21:04:40

I just did a test patch with bondo on the foam carved tank. After it started to dry, hundreds of 3/8 inch bubbles formed on the surface of the body filler. Normal? Should I wait and just sand them down? Never put body filler on foam before... actually... before this, I never did anything with foam. Advice?

Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 12, 2018, 23:03:39
Forging ahead... started putting Bondo on the plug today. Immediately bubbles began to form on the tank.  I waited a while after the test area... still a little skittish after Tuesday's tank fiasco.  But the only way to make progress is to soldier on. So... fingers crossed for a good day tomorrow.  A lot of sanding. Good day!!
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: doc_rot on Apr 13, 2018, 04:35:12
That pink extruded foam is melted by anything with solvents in it. Bondo will melt it a bit, hence the bubbles. Ideally the foam is sealed before hand to prevent the bondo and paint from melting it. Since you are just needing a plug you might be able to forge ahead, but where there are bubbles there are cavities underneath. The green "florists foam" is the way to go. it is not as readily effected by solvents.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: pacomotorstuff on Apr 13, 2018, 08:01:24
... or seal the styrofoam with a couple of coats of epoxy first.  Then you can use polyester fillers for final profiling.  Doesn't have to be a great bond - you only want the master's profile to last long enough to make your mould.
... and you're going to use mould release wax (4 to 6 applications) and then PVA on the master before making your mould, right?
I had some CNC'ed prototype tooling machined out of white styrofoam in error by a supplier, sealed them with epoxy, used wax and PVA and worked well enough for a couple of parts.
DTT should start a composites thread - a lot of good info from everyone on the above posts.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: d9canada on Apr 13, 2018, 10:06:12
I should have thought of this before, sorry, but you could use "Spackle" (sp?) the drywall patching material instead of bondo, build it up, sand it.  It won't attack the styrofoam and you can get a great finish on it.  Then you can paint that.  It's way cheaper than using epoxy and I wouldn't bet on that pink stuff accepting epoxy.  With the work we've done with epoxy and foam, we found the blue stuff worked OK but I think the white stuff melted.  That was years back, sorry at the time I didn't keep notes on that.  Sorry Markie, I should have at least suggested that you do a test patch. 
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: d9canada on Apr 13, 2018, 10:16:15
Darn!  I should have thought this might happen.  Another thing you could do in future, and again, do a test piece first, but I think you could just paint the raw styrofoam with cheap latex paint and let that set up, then you could use Spackle or even Bondo.  The latex should seal the styrofoam enough to prevent the bondo chemistry from intruding, but a test would tell you for sure.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Maritime on Apr 13, 2018, 10:26:31
Good old Elmers white glue slightly watered down will seal foam to prevent solvent damage, Modge Podge will as well. I use that for making cosplay props, a couple coats then you can spray paint the foam without it eating into it.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Maritime on Apr 13, 2018, 10:27:31
This time however I would sand the bondo, then use drywall mud to fill the small pin holes that will show up then you can sand and paint and likely be fine.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Hurco550 on Apr 13, 2018, 10:34:06
I remember making a class project out of Styrofoam. It was a pretty complex model of a steam engine, and the "main body" was Styrofoam with bits hot glued to it. I was done, less the paint. One coat of black spray paint, and I got an un wanted lesson in chemistry....
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 13, 2018, 13:52:05
All is well guys.... I forged ahead with the bondo and even though bubbles appeared on the test area, it was pretty much held in check when I put it on a little thicker. Since I am using bondo to build up and round out the sides anyway,  the bubbles were small enough that they sanded out on the first coat  and were non-existent on the second coat. Any recommendations on an epoxy product to cover the plug after the bondo is done?  "Plugging" away... LOL!
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 15, 2018, 15:36:48
Working on the details as each coat of Bondo dries on the plug of the gas tank. Soon, this mock-up of the tank will be done and ready to be used to cast the fiberglass gas tank molds. While waiting for the bondo to dry, I stripped the black paint from the headers. There were a few rusted areas on the rear cones that the previous owner filled with epoxy. Then, he painted the headers with a type of black epoxy paint. Took a major combination of chemicals to remove it. Once stripped,  the pipes polished up nice. Ordered two small sheets of chromed steel that I will roll and cover the entire rear conical section of the pipes and trim with two new end caps.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 18, 2018, 02:46:56
I am restoring the three into two exhaust. Although it looked better than when it was painted black, removing the paint to bare metal revealed the reason it was painted black in the first place... rust on the exhaust cones.  I decided to repair the corroded areas and then fabricate a new skin to wrap around the exhaust cones. Finally,  two new end caps to trim the ends of the cones. In the first picture,  you can see the damage, and I cut away the corroded areas, welded in new metal and smoothed it with high temperature epoxy filler. In the second picture, you can see the template for the exhaust wrap, including the cutaway areas for the cross tube and mounting brackets. In the third picture,  you can see that I was able to wrap the entire cone and shape the metal around the very rear of the exhaust, blending it into the exit point of the exhaust.  In the final picture,  you notice the cap, which I fabricated to fit the end of the exhaust cones. The end of each cap will be hammered around the rounded edge of the exhaust exit point just like the cone wrap.  Preliminary polishing came out well and matched the existing chrome plating.  Good day!
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 18, 2018, 03:16:17
As I worked on the exhaust,  I continued shaping and smoothing the plug for the tank as per the advice of d9canada and others here. I appreciate all the valuable information you have shared with me. I anticipate that the gas tank plug will be heading into the booth for its protective coating of gloss epoxy in two days. Get it done!
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: 8111870 on Apr 19, 2018, 21:06:01
Absolutely amazing! You definitely have skills.
Keep it up!
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 21, 2018, 15:57:59
Back from powder coat.... red, red, red.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: pacomotorstuff on Apr 21, 2018, 18:05:21
Love the colour - what shade did your powder coater call it?
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 22, 2018, 00:24:54
Please don't laugh... this color is Massey Ferguson red. It is a tractor color.  I always loved this color. It is a blood red. Very deep. I painted my son's Mazda 6 this color with base coat/clear coat. That car is simply stunning. Red is an expensive color for cars, but the powder coat for the frame only cost  65 bucks.  I thought it was a good bargain. When you consider that the cost of PPG or Ditzler red paints are in about the 250 to 300 dollar per quart range... it becomes apparent that those products are out of the price range of the average builder's  budget. So... I swap the PPG base coat for a different product. I base coat all my pieces with a paint from a company called Van Sickle paints. Very good enamel. Heat resistant to 400 degrees, ceramic infused, and has a catalyst to harden it. Then, I put a standard catalyzed clear automotive enamel over all the parts.  It is resistant to even ethanol so it I use it without hesitation. I have had great success in the past  with these products. It is how I painted the bottom end of the engine.  It is now cured and is as hard as nails.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 22, 2018, 20:34:18
Two friends, Steve Smidt  and Michael Fredrickson stopped by and helped me drop in the motor today. It is about 75 pounds heavier than the mock-up motor and I could not have done it without them. Onward we go.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Maritime on Apr 23, 2018, 08:31:15
Looking great. so what will the tank/tins colour be when done?
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 23, 2018, 10:36:40
Red with black accents.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Maritime on Apr 23, 2018, 10:44:38
Same red? or a contrasting red like a metal flake or candy?
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 24, 2018, 09:56:16
Same red with black graphics. I will probably get out my Pache paint gun and run a few trial runs on the thing. You know how it goes. Nothing like flames or murals... just striping and colors to accent the long low shape
 No final decisions yet. I'm making sketches at night
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Maritime on Apr 24, 2018, 10:25:57
Cool, sometimes red on red on red is too much but sounds like you'll add the black accents to prevent the red overdose.  Can't wait to see it.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: john83 on Apr 24, 2018, 19:43:46
Very cool man. Very different than most of the others Iíve seen around here.

Sent from my iPhone using DO THE TON
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 24, 2018, 20:51:33
Thanks guys... more than fabricating metal... I am good with a paint gun. I'm sure that there will be at least a couple iterations of the tank and fenders before I make a final decision  on the graphics.  I was toying with the idea of  an old MX style Husquavarna style graphic on each side of the tank. You know, the rounded oval that kind of mimicked the overall shape of the tank. I am also looking at the raised metal lips that edge the fat Bob fender and seeing that the front fender has a similar edge... I might make the whole thing two tone. I have time.... knowing that I have yet to finish the metal work on the seat base and rear fender. (Still waiting for the tail light and blinkers to arrive) I definitely appreciate the input. Without the input, I might end up riding a solid red looking fire truck. LOL
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 24, 2018, 20:55:59
Did the rear wheel today. New bearings, new bolts, polished and painted rotor, polished the edges and spokes of the wheel, painted it, then removed the paint from the polished edges by hand. After this.... two coats of  clear gloss finish.Good day.... one down, one to go.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: canyoncarver on Apr 24, 2018, 23:31:54
Nice work on the wheels.   What did you use to clean the paint off the polished areas?
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 25, 2018, 00:05:10
I used lacquer thinner because the paint was basically a "hot" industrial base enamel with lacquer thinner as a solvant. Each of the three color coats required that I carefully and slowly wipe the edges with a clean rag tightly wrapped around my index finger and then dipped in lacquer thinner.  I had to do it after each of the coats because once it sets, it is very very difficult to remove. Fortunately,  most of the edges were "raised edges so that made it all easier. The fact that I spent three hours polishing the edges with a denim wheel also made it so that the paint came off pretty easily. Not difficult... just a little time consuming.
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 25, 2018, 00:22:53
Well... the rear end and drive train are assembled. New wheel bearings, and fresh paint on the wheel and disk brake roter. Driveshaft and ujoint are connected and the rubber boot protector is in place. I made a couple of decisions on the final stages of fabrication. I had initially planned to have a seat that was a fiberglassed body panel with a custom bike saddle seat attached to it. Because I might actually ride this bike, I decided to ditch that idea in favor of a standard  leather covered foam bench saddle shaped with the same curves as the current seat mold. More padding... more comfort. I am older... I need comfort. LOL. I had also considered new gauges and a new headlight. As I thought about it, however,  I realized that I do want as much of this sled to be  original equipment as possible. I want bike guys to see the bike and immediately say, "Hey... this is an xs 750 SE". Soo... I am on the hunt for new tach, Speedo, and instrument cluster. (Mine are scratched a little and I don't think I can repair them)
Title: Re: Project xs750 lowrider
Post by: Markie-V on Apr 25, 2018, 02:26:58
63 days since the work began.  I am happy with the progress..