Thursday, January 28, 2010

Overlooking the Obvious in Search of the Obscure

Often, I find that my superior intellect interferes with my ability to see what is in front of my face. It is the curse of being a Boy Genius™, I suppose. The #3 housing would have worked perfectly well had I not drilled it in the center for the inlet fitting. I did it because it was expedient, since I had it chucked up in the lathe, anyway. Had I drilled it off center, into the area where the impeller vanes are, it would have worked just fine. The coolant doesn't care how it gets in. In the stock, MoPar configuration, the entire backside of the impeller is in contact with the coolant. All that really matters is that the outlet be at the periphery of the housing, since the centrifugal action of the impeller forces the flow to the outside. In the next couple of days I will pour, yet another, casting. As long as I don't try to reinvent the wheel, I expect the next one to be the last.

"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need." Micheal P. Jagger

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Well, tomorrow is another day.
I failed again, but it was entirely my fault. I stopped in the middle of a pour and got a huge gas bubble that didn't show up until I was boring out the back for the inlet fitting, which was the last step. I couldn't have found it before I spent several hours machining it. NOOOOO, that would have been too easy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Snatching Defeat From The Jaws of Victory

Figuring that the third time is the charm, I rammed up the mold and poured another housing today. The casting came out very nice except for a few ragged edges at the parting line. No big deal, a few swipes with a file and we're lookin' good. I chucked it up, faced off the front and back surfaces and bored it out to accept the pump. So far, so good. As I stood there looking at it and feeling pretty smug about my limitless talents, I realized that there wasn't enough clearance at the rear of the pump shaft to allow coolant to flow in. The shaft nearly touched the inside of the housing. If I counter bored the housing to allow room for coolant to pass by, it would be too thin. Rats!! What I did was to attach a disc of 3/4 plywood to the back of the wooden form. This will give me enough meat to counter bore for coolant flow and the housing will still be thick enough to drill and tap for the 3/4 pipe threads needed for the fittings that will connect to the radiator. I forget how many light bulbs Tom Edison built before he got one to work, but it was more than four. Tomorrow, I will have a working pump housing

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Prometheus Tamed

Today I rammed up the pattern for the water pump housing, fired up the foundry and chucked in a couple of old pistons and a top fork crown from an old Honda ATV. In 25 minutes or so I had a nice crucible full of molten aluminum. As I poured it into the mold, my gut feeling was that it was going to be a bad pour. I was wrong. It was a horrible pour. I think the sand was too wet and steam filled the upper part of the cavity instead of the alloy. No big deal. I'll allow the sand to dry out a bit and try again later. It's been about 5 years since I messed with the hot stuff, so I'm a little rusty. I have plenty of time and the cost is next to nothing, so I'll keep on trying.

The second pour was another failure. Not as spectacular as the first, but a failure nonetheless. I didn't allow the aluminum to get hot enough and it began to freeze in the crucible as I poured.
Though I melted enough metal, I came up short and the mold didn't fill completely. All was not lost, however. The casting is unusable but, other than a large hole in the back of the housing, it came out rather nice. Let's hope that the third time is the charm. If I had a pyrometer, I could avoid the guesswork but it's not in the budget. They didn't have fancy stuff like that 100 years ago and they did OK.
It's too late today to do another, so I will have to wait until tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Hate Meeses To Pieces

I live in a semi rural area, surrounded by brush and many large open fields. As a result, mice are a problem. They get into my shop, leave turds everywhere, chew up anything that I leave out, and generally make my life miserable. I put out bait and spring traps with varying degrees of success. The bait disappears, yet I never smell any decomposing critters. The traps work pretty well and I will continue to use them.
I saw this contraption on the net a while back, so I thought I'd give it a shot. The soda can is baited with peanut butter. When Mickey and Minnie crawl up the ramp and try to dine on it, the can spins on the rod and deposits them into the pool. I could have left out the water and disposed of them "humanely", but I don't give a rats ass (pun intended). Die, fricken' vermin

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wooden It Be Nice?

Finished making the pattern for the pump housing today. As I stated before, it is three pieces of 3/4 plywood sandwiched together. I used the gasket to trace the shape and I bandsawed it out. The recess was made with a circular pattern and a router. I used my spindle sander to smooth the sides. I tilted the table a few degrees to give it some draft so it will pull out of the greensand mold. I sprayed the whole thing with sandable primer/surfacer and coated it with automotive, lacquer based, spot putty and sanded the whole thing smooth. Another couple of coats of the primer, a bit of finish sanding and there ya go, one pattern. I'll wax it before I ram up the mold. The recess was made slightly conical with some Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty so it too will have sufficient draft to release from the sand. I could have left out the recess and machined it, but that's a lot of extra work
While I was whittling, I made a pattern for the pulley. I could have gone to Pick a Part and, possibly, found one that would work. I figured I could make one in less time and for free. Plus, I get extra bragging rights for making my own stuff.
Today I got some pictures emailed to me by a V-8 biker that built a pump similar to mine. His and mine are almost identical. Since I consider him to be a bit of a genius (though not a Boy Genius™), I feel my design is a good one and should work flawlessly. He also offered some suggestions to make the entire unit more compact. Since this would involve machining the pump housing, I have opted to keep the original size pump. I expect that it will never give me a bit of trouble, but if it does and I need to change it, I don't want to have to cut down another pump, especially if I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

We Will Pump You Up, Girlie Men

Well, today I started the, much anticipated, water pump project. My goal is to build a belt driven pump, using an easily available automobile unit. I have never trusted the Jabsco pump that BH uses. If it conks out, you're screwed unless you're near a marine supply house or you carry a spare. I searched for quite a while for a fairly compact pump with a simple round housing. I finally settled on the Chrysler 383/440/Hemi unit. As it turns out, I was not the first to "discover" the MoPar unit. Another V-8 biker also has experimented with it with good results. There is also a remote mounted pump for V-8 Porsche conversions that uses it, so, it would seem, I'm in good company. I whistled down to my local parts house and they ordered it for me. I had to wait an agonizing 1 hour for it to arrive. Upon getting it home and having a look at it, I think it will be an easy and fun project.
The first thing I did was to glue together 3 pieces of 3/4" plywood for the pattern for the housing. I will be casting it from aluminum using my little foundry furnace. Plywood isn't the best material for patterns because of the rough edges. I will have to spend a bit more time finishing the edges with putty and getting it nice and smooth so I can pull it from the sand mold.