When it comes to riding your motorcycle, it's not enough that it just runs good-- you gotta look good. So make sure you check out Super Streetbike's April 2013 issue (no, not the cover, lug nut-- I'm talking about YOU looking good).
On page 58 there's a nifty article on "Helmet Painting"-- a cool, inexpensive way to self-express on the road. But, as writer Brian Hatano points out, you need more than a creative idea to get your point across; it takes technique. So, he takes you through every step you probably don't think about when imagining that wicked skull with flames and roses... namely, preparation, detail, method and materials. To get the hang of the spray gun skills, though, Brian suggests we first get the feel of it with a practice helmet:
"For practice jobs, any helmet will work, but starting with a lid in good condition will require less initial prep and give you more time to think about designs and color combinations."
He then breaks down the process of executing a successful paint job-- from disassembling the helmet to applying the clear coat-- in crystal, concise detail. Great intel to have for when you're ready to go for it.
Interesting, however, is that even though Brian was working in a shop equipped with a large air compressor, he opted instead to go with the Central Pneumatic 1/5 HP, 58 PSI Airbrush Compressor.
"Although we had a full size compressor available, we tried out the Harbor Freight Central Pneumatic 1/5th HP Airbrush Compressor and it performed better than units costing twice as much. Zac noted the quiet motor with no pulsing in the air supply."
Constructed of sturdy anodized aluminum, the airbrush compressor is easy to clean and operate, and changing colors is a cinch. The airbrush kit works with lacquers, oils and latex-based paints to create pro-quality designs only limited by your imagination! It comes with a 22cc glass jar, 5cc metal cop and 5-ft. air hose-- and, at a low $88.99, it'll pay for itself over and over again!
While you're shopping, also be sure to pick up the Central Pneumatic Quick-Change Airbrush Kit for just $11.99. This enables you to switch out paints in a flash with next-to-no downtime.
This awesome setup would also be perfect for custom painting:
- Bike frames
- R/C and other models
- Auto body detail art
- Tool boxes or cabinets
- Metal sculpting
- Signs and murals
- Cosmetic and Halloween makeup
- Spray tanning
- ...and so much more!
Also, of course, if you want to support the team at the big game.
In their upcoming May, 2013 issue, Lowrider magazine will feature a Project HellDorado installment, covering the creation of a custom dashboard and console for a '68 Cadillac El Dorado (say that three times real fast). After the factory dash was removed, the top of the new dash was made in sections and then, using a Central Machinery English Wheel Kit With Stand from Harbor Freight Tools, the auto artisan sculpted the contours to precision.
Great choice! The 28" throat capacity on Harbor Freight's English wheel kit offers plenty of room to fabricate compound curves on large pieces with ease and efficiency. It's also great for shaping, fabrication, and smoothing dents and welding seams in fenders, hoods and trunk panels. The 4” all-steel frame is more than capable for handling sheet steel to 16 gauge as well as copper and aluminum to 14 gauge. It's easy to level and easy to use. And at $299.99-- $239.99 with a 20% Off Coupon!-- it'll do what the expensive units will do at half the price!
Whether your fashioning your ride to be a lowrider, a hot rod or just a customized thing of beauty, the Central Machinery English Wheel Kit is the perfect companion in your shop.
Summer's almost upon us-- in about a hundred days-- and if you're like me, you're probably asking yourself, is this the year I finally realize the dream of building my own surfboard? It may seem like a daunting task, especially for those of us who aren't exactly Bob Vila, let alone the Big Kahuna. But, with a few swipes of the keyboard, help manifests itself once again:
Not too long ago, Stephen Pirsch, a visionary in board construction, released a book entitled,"How to Build Your First Surfboard," an easy-to-follow, detail-rich DIY paper on the subject. Written for first-time builders, this guide was created to lessen problems and save money-- especially to prevent the typical board-ruining mistakes.
"This book is for the garage or backyard builder who has few tools and little money. The following information has been tested, and is the result of friends building their first surfboard with me. Also, thousands of interesting people have emailed their questions and results."
Turn to the Equipment chapter, and there you'll find a list of tools and supplies needed to get the project going. As this tutorial is geared towards the O Mighty Ones of Little Cash, however, Surfer Steve is careful in recommending his tools:
"Hundreds of dollars can be saved by using the following tools compared to industry standard tools. The following has been extensively tested (on 6 boards in 2012) by the author, the expense and labor solely for the benefit of you, the reader (The author already owned the industry standard tools). Be aware these tools are not designed for heavy duty, continuous production use, but will work well for the occasional garage built board."
Drill Master 5.5 Amp 3-1/4" Electric Planer (#91062) (or, similar, for a few dollars more, the Chicago Electric 3-1/4" Heavy-Duty Electric Planer with Dust Bag - #95838)
"1. This planer has a 1/16" maximum cutting depth. The depth can be doubled to 1/8" by loosening the cutting blades and extending them 1/16"(the tools for this are included). The depth can be tripled to 3/16" by grinding the front plate (the plate on the bottom which adjusts up and down). Put a 3" abrasive cutting wheel on your drill, or a 6" abrasive cutting blade on your sander/polisher (this tool mentioned below) and slowly grind the plate with the wheel almost parrallel to the plate - this will take one to two hours. If you over grind or grind unevenly, it can be filled with 5 minute epoxy. After modification this planer works very similar to the industry standard Hitachi
2. In contrast to surfboard foam planing shown in youtube videos, a planer is designed to be used parallel to the direction of work (not 45 degrees), Holding at 45 degrees reduces the cutting area by 1/2 which doubles your labor, and increases the possibility of an error."
"1. (Shop for) assorted 6" hook and loop sanding disks... if you buy from industrial suppliers you will have to buy an absurd amount of each grit.
2. Initially run sander at lowest speed, and practice on a scrap piece of foam that has been laminated and hot coated. Very slowly sand into the cloth and through the cloth, so you can see what to avoid.
NOTE 1: This purchase is worth it for the accessories alone.
NOTE 2: Hook and loop sandpaper is the best type because it is the easiest, and fastest to change and can be re - used. Hook and loop usually costs more initially (although not with this purchase), but costs less in the end, especially in cost of time."
"1. You will need a router bit with 1" long cutter for Fins Unlimited Boxes - 1" bits are rare.
2. A 12"x 6"x 3/16" template can be made out of 3/16" panel board (get 4'x 4' piece at Lowe's. To achieve 5 degree lean on twin or tri fins, an additional 1"x 12" piece of 3/16" panel board can be duct taped to the bottom edge of the template. The entire template can be held in place with Gorilla brand duct tape.
NOTE: By the time you adjust the router and bit, and make a template, you could cut out about 5 boxes by hand. After making template (and practicing) it is faster and more precise with a router. The Harbor Freight cutout tool can also be used as a router."
Additional EQUIPMENT LIST:
Respirator with dust and vapor cartridges
Magnetic torpedo level
Drill preferably with two handles, variable speed and, 2000 to 3000 rpm.
Hand saw (wood)
Sharpie fine marker pen
Block plane (smallest)
5" rubber/plastic back-up pad with 1/4" shank (for sanding disks on drill)
Hacksaw blade (coarse)
Optional 1" paddle bit to match optional 1" leash cup
"You might be asking yourself, do I really want to do this? Is saving half the money of a showroom surfboard, buying the tools, pouring sweat, blood and time into this little venture going to be worth it? Surfer Steve has an answer for that:
"Building a board can be very rewarding. Everyone who follows the directions manages to finish somehow, and almost everyone who makes one will make another. Much of the work and expense on the first board (such as racks, blocks, and tools) won't have to be duplicated on following boards.
"So I bought this thing because I took my carb to a buddies house the first time I was taking it apart and we used his. My carb had gunk all over and was generally dirty from being used. This ultrasonic gizzmo cleaned my carb to the point where it looked fresh out of a hot tank, inside and out. I was very impressed."
When he took it home, he tried different cleaners with it. One different work. Another was so sotrong, it would tarnish. Finally, he found the perfect "solution":
"I went back to Harbor Freight and bought a gallon of this business they use in their regular parts washers for only $9.99. I run a 50/50 mix with water and it cleans fantastically. Straight out of the jug is pretty concentrated stuff. I really recommend diluting it some."
And once he figured out the formula, he threw everything he could find into the cleaner.
"Since, I've used it on all kinds of things. Most useful to me has been on fasteners but greasy nuts, bolts, washers, brackets, spacers, sprockets, clutch and brake perches, cleaning up my tools, my carburetor components, suspension components and even a whole chain. Yes, the whole chain."
Besides motorcycle and automotive parts, the 2.5 Ultrasonic Cleaner is great for cleaning gun parts and brass, jewelry, coins, brasswind parts, pinball machine parts, e-cigarette tanks, medals, eyeglasses, tattoo tubes, grips and tips, bionic parts, coffee ground cups, and so much more! It works with our without heat, and is programmed for five cleaning cycles. At only $74.99, it's a great machine at a great price.
Now, back to Master_E:
"So I thought I'd share a couple before and afters. I actually struggled to find things that needed cleaning, but I did find a couple things. These parts were never prep'd or polished after coming out of the cleaner. They went straight in, ran a cycle then brought out and dried off. Thats it. No scrubbing, no brushing, no scraping, no wiping down with a rag at all."
(Click on the pics to enlarge)
You can't argue with the evidence. The Chicago Electric 2.5 Liter Ultrasonic Cleaner is a perfect addition to any workshop or home where parts and pieces get dirty. Go get yours now-- and don't forget to take a 20% Off coupon!
To quote Master_E's parting remark:
"Cheers! Now go clean some stuff!"
Well, it's been a long road, but we've finally come to the end of our journey. Behold the final video installment of the '67 Firebird Restoration Project, executed exclusively with Harbor Freight Tools.
As I shared last week, the fully-restored '67 Firebird pulled into our office parking lot, and let me tell you, it was a sight to see. Ever watch the Mecum Car Auctions on the Velocity Channel? (love that show!) This car would have summoned a pretty penny on their auction block. Before it was whisked away to who-knows-where, a handful of us slowly circled around it, transfixed, muttering "wows" and "oh yeahs" under our breaths. The original interior was pristine-- black bucket seats and carpet looking like new. Under the hood, the same. In fact, the guy who did the restoration, Jeff Tann, said the 'bird's engine was better now than when it was new.
Imagine the same kind of results with your favorite Mopar or Mustang... maybe an old Apache pickup or Landcruiser. Whatever your poison, Harbor Freight Tools has got the power, air and hand tools you need for a lot less moolah than the other guys-- and they've got the fans to prove it! Get their catalog, shop their deals, clip their coupons... you won't be able to help grinning with all the cool stuff you'll be taking home for so little.
So, what's to become of the Firebird? The rumors abound. A Saudi now sheikh has it. It's in the next Bourne movie. Elvis was seen in it at a drive-through in Lubbock, Texas. No one can say for sure... I only know I offered to take it off their hands, but haven't heard back yet.
After all the hours, all the painstaking labor, all the fine details-- not to mention the social hari kari-- it does the heart good to see the fruits of the labor coming together. So, like Beethoven with an impact wrench, one man has labored to produce a pretty bitchin' set of wheels.
And we've finally come to the eighth installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project: Putting the car back together.
Recapping -- HFT invited former Rod & Custom editor, Jeff Tann, to restore a First Generation Firebird using only products from Harbor Freight Tools. The car is all original with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he's approaching the project from scratch.
- In Part 1, we were given a tour of the original vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff's challenge.
- In Part 2, we followed the body-dismantling process and introduced the U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which housed the Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic's Tool Kit. Also in this segment, we saw how Jeff made quick business of the job with a Central Pneumatic 3/8" Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4" Mini Air Ratchet Wrench.
- In Part 3, Jeff lifted the engine using a 1-Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane and then removed the tranny from it with a Central Pneumatic 1/2" Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench before he mounted it on the Central Machinery 1000 Lb. Engine Stand, and proceeded to take it apart.
- Part 4 took us to the exciting first step of transformation-- sanding and priming the car. For the stripping, Jeff used a Central Pneumatic 6" Dual Action Air Sander and the Jitterbug Orbital Air Sander. He then laid down the primer like a rock star, using the Central Pneumatic Professional HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun.
- Part 5 involves the pressure-washing, sandblasting and undercoating of the Firebird. Using a Pacific Hydrostar 4 HP 2000 PSI Gas Pressure Washer and a generous amount of heavy-duty degreaser, he heavily coated the underbody to break down over 45 years of grease, oil and dirt, and then washed it off with water using a high-pressure nozzle. Once the underbody was scrubbed clean, he sandblasted the rust spots with a Central Pneumatic Portable Abrasive Blaster Kit, using highly efficient Medium Grade Armex Soda Blast Media and, as a finishing touch, covered the surface with Rustoleum Professional Undercoating Spray.
- In Part 6, we come to the meatiest phase of the Firebird restoration to date-- the engine rebuild. The Pittsburgh Professional 1/2" Drive Click Stop Torque Wrench is pretty much the star of the show, a multipurpose tool utilized throughout the footage. That said, check out the great details and tips employed in this installment. Chances are you'll see a thing or two you'd like to adopt for your next project.
- Part 7 shows Jeff advancing to the painting stage. The primer already on, he picks up the Central Pneumatic 2-pc. Professional Automotive HVLP Spray Gun Kit, along with a 33 Oz. Gravity Feed Paint Cup to spray two coats of red paint and three coats of clear. After which, he color-sanded the body with dish soap & water, 1200 Grit Sandpaper, using a 4-7/8" Soft Rubber Sanding Block to knock off the "orange peel." Following this, Jeff buffed, using a Chicago Electric 7" Electronic Polisher/Sander With Digital Display, and then with the waxing, delivered the classic car to an incredible mirror gloss finish!
We now come to the muscle car's reassembly. For Part 8 we treat you to a slide show of all the parts coming together, until we have a beautifully restored '67 Pontiac Firebird, better than it was when it came off the assembly line.
Whatever your labor of love, if it has to do with tools, Harbor Freight Tools has got what you need-- and sends you home with extra cash in your pocket!
Next time-- the final result, inside and out!
Stripping & Priming Tools
Yesterday morning the fully-restored '67 Firebird pulled into our office parking lot, transported by trailer, and let me tell you, it was a sight to see. Ever watch the Mecum Car Auctions on the Velocity Channel? This car would have commanded a pretty penny on that show. Before it was whisked away to who-knows-where, a handful of us slowly circumnavigated around it, transfixed, muttering "wows" and "oh yeahs" under our breaths. The original interior was pristine-- black bucket seats and carpet looking like it just rolled off the assembly line. Under the hood, the same. In fact, the guy who did the restoration, Jeff Tann, said the 'bird was better now than when it was new. In a future installment, I'll provide a thorough pictorial of the final results. For now, let's talk tools:
Earlier this month I started a series illustrating how much could be saved buying products from Harbor Freight Tools-- as opposed to the competition-- for the '67 Firebird Restoration project. Breaking it down phase by phase, we're comparing the prices of tools used in the project with similar (if not exact) products that the competitors advertise. The competitors I chose were Sears, Northern Tool, Home Depot, Lowe's and Grainger. It should be noted that exact matches weren't always found, so I substituted the closest comparison available. As I've said before, I don't think this compromises the test because we're only talking about differences in size and shape, not function.
In the first segment, we looked at Harbor Freight's tools used in the vehicle's disassembly video. In the second we explored price differences on the engine removal phase. In the third installment, we'll be looking at the tools employed in the stripping and priming process:
This sander’s orbital action allows swirl-free finishes to give your auto body, metalworking or woodworking project a professional appearance! The orbital sander is constructed with sturdy, lightweight aluminum housing and features a cushion-grip vinyl handle to provide comfortable yet firm control. A great orbital sander for edging, feathering and finishing projects for both pros and hobbyists!
- Sears - Ingersoll Rand (IRT311A) Dual Action Air Sander - $69.76
- Northern Tool - Northern Industrial 6" Dual Action Air Sander - $34.99
- Home Depot - Husky 6" Pneumatic Dual Action Sander - $59.98
- Lowe's - Kobalt 6" Dual Action Sander - $59.84
- Grainger - Speedaire 3CRJ3 - $73.80
This vibration-free air sander-- at 9,400 orbits-per-minute-- is perfect for auto body work or finish work on furniture (according to one customer, it's also great on the aluminum wing surfaces of WWII aircraft). The orbital air sander features a compact palm grip that enables you to easily reach tight spots, a paddle trigger and a built-in regulator.
- Sears - Mechanics Tools M569DB - $49.42
- Northern Tool - Northern Industrial Orbital Air Sander - $39.99
- Home Depot - EMAX Jitterbug Sander - $59.97
- Lowe's - N/A
- Grainger - Ingersoll Rand 312A Orbital Air Sander - $179
The high volume and low pressure on this spray gun reduces over-spray so that more paint goes on your mural, car, motorcycle, fence and whatever else you wish to paint! Restoring furniture? The Central Pneumatic HVLP spray gun sprays wood stain, clear-coat, etc., perfectly. The gravity feed and regulator allows paint to spray evenly on your project. This HVLP spray gun is a great tool for spraying lacquer on the deck, or priming or undercoating your car!
- Sears - Tooluxe HVLP Spray Gun - $39.99
- Northern Tool - Ingersoll Rand Performance 210G Spray Gun - $79.99
- Home Depot - Husky Gravity Freed HVLP Spray Gun - $49.98
- Lowe's - Kobalt Large Gravity Spray Gun - $89.96
- Grainger - Speedaire 4XP65 Spray Gun - $139.75
Check out The Video to see the tools in action during the stripping and priming process!
In the next installment, we'll take a look at the tools used for undercoating the car, and compare them to the competition's. Until then!
In the "Thinking Outside of the Box" category, Jennifer B. of Wilmington, NC wins for ingenuity and getting into the Halloween spirit. Recently, she purchased a Drill Master 80 Piece Rotary Tool Kit to carve her jack-o-lantern, and while this picture only shows a "pumpkin in progress", it's so amazing right now, we can tell it's going to be epic when it's done (beware pumpkin-kicking punks, Jen)!
It's not too late to follow Jennifer's example-- run down to your local Harbor Freight and pick up your rotary tool kit today! Imagine the works of art you could make out of squash-genus vegetables. Not just for pumpkins, though, this awesome tool is great for cutting, grinding, polishing, sharpening, engraving and drilling for all kinds of crafts and hobbies. Works on metal, wood, rock, plastic... and your dog's toenails. Seriously!
And at such a low price, it's just downright SCARY to pass such a deal up!
Welcome to the third installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project.
For first-time readers: HFT invited Jeff Tann-- car enthusiast and former Rod & Custom editor -- to fully restore the legendary muscle car using only discount tools from Harbor Freight. The car is all original, with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he's basically tackling the project "from scratch."
In Part 1, we were given a tour of the original vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff's challenge. In Part 2, we followed the body-dismantling process and introduced the U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which housed the Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic's Tool Kit. Also in this segment, we saw how Jeff made quick business of the job with a Central Pneumatic 3/8" Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4" Mini Air Ratchet Wrench.
This time we follow Jeff as he lifts the engine, using a 2-Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane. It's probably the first time the 45-year-old engine's been taken out since it was on the assembly line, so it's not gonna be pretty. Jeff then removes the tranny from the engine with a Central Pneumatic 1/2" Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench before he mounts it on the Central Machinery 1000 Lb. Engine Stand, and proceeds to take it apart.
Ardent car customizers are extreme when it comes to modifying their rods-- and there's no custom work more complicated and drastic than sectioning.
"The owner of the car is after a section that doesn't just downsize the car and keep factory proportions, Instead, he's after something that will downplay the bulkiness of the body while accentuating other features. What we came up with is a section that will do just that."
Without giving anything away, let me just say this baby took a LOT of amazing work-- and one of the "stars" in the sectioning process was the Central Pneumatic 3" High Speed Cut-Off Tool.
The little, mighty cut-off tool reaches a max speed of 18,000 RPM and, besides car bodies, can rip through heavy straps, exhaust systems and sheet metal. One customer told us:
"I bought this to remove rusted bolts on my boat trailer from launching in salt water. This thing is ARE YOU KIDDING PERFECT!! I had 6 bolts cut off in mins. I used 80 pounds of air, with a 20-gallon tank, and it worked perfect. VERY IMPRESSED!" (caps included)
"I bought this a few years ago to work on getting an exhaust system apart. Like a hot knife through butter."
Pick yourself up a copy of the November Rod & Custom and check out the article, entitled, "Weight Watchers." It's filled with great detail and multiple photos to follow the sectioning process. And while you're at it, get your cutoff tool at Harbor Freight-- at only $9.99 it'll be one of the best investments in your garage!