Thoughts, musings, and frustrations in the pursuit of perfection. In short, complicating simplicity.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New tank!

This project started when our current client saw this fabrication shot, and asked if we could do a bare metal tank and fender. Not being a fan of clear coat over steel (since it looks like clear coat over steel, and I have heard that it is possible for water to condense between the clear coat and steel), I went looking for an alternate solution. The client lives in Louisiana, and is in the military, so giving the tank a monthly coat of polish wasn't going to cut it, between humidity and deployment, it would have never looked good, particularly since the fender is aluminum, and they would never looked right together on the bike.

Half done, kinda.

Enter the solution. I helped a buddy of mine build his Triumph while he was in San Diego, and long story short, the answer is having molten metal sprayed onto a gas tank. This one was done in aluminum, but I think a brass tank and fender would be really cool too.
The piece coming back from the sprayer has a texture similar to sprayed ceiling, which is a bit of pain to finish. I knocked it down a bit with an orbital sander, then spent an ungodly amount of time hand sanding.
mm... popcorn.

I did decide to leave in a bit of a the original texture, though taking it all the way down and machine buffing would have been far easier. I do think that showing some sort of history in this kind of piece keeps the parts from looking machine made and well, kind of soulless. I ended up doing the same to the fender, which is a .125" aluminum fender from 7 Metal West , which is hand fabricated and impressively solid. Because of the slight air hammer texture of the fender, I did end up having to machine buff it and then take it down a notch by hand in order to match it to the tank.
`Actually shinier in person. 

In regards to the finish, we expect the aluminum to oxidize and dull down slightly as it weathers in Louisiana. That slight weathering is what or client is looking for, and will end up being virtually maintenance free.

We are offering tank coatings at 350 USD per tank (you supply, small dents and dings can be filled), coated and finished for 600 USD, with finishing options varying from a slightly dull brushed to full mirror polish. I am not sure I can think of a better thing to do preserve a vintage tank, and the finish can be painted over with no issues. Other metals like brass and copper can also be done, contact us for a quote: 

1 comment:

  1. That is a damn nice looking finish. I read about metal spraying to build up shafts and then machining them back to spec. but it never dawned on me to use it as a finish for gas tanks and such. Enough people see that and you may have your hands full doing tanks and fenders. Again, killer finish. J. Rotten