January 2009

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          Well, I finally have some progress to report. Over the past year, I have been working on other projects such as the `64 Corvette we presently have for sale, and in general, just trying to make a living.

            

             In october, I started to work on the Tank again. After cutting the frame and extending it by 18", it was time to lengthen the body. This turned out to be harder than I expected. Not only did I have to make the metal to fill the gap between the two halves of each section, but I also had to split the ends lengthwise and increase the diameter of both ends to make things look right.

                                                                                 

              I had the tank sandblasted to make working and welding on it easier, and began to connect the parts. After making all of the cuts, the tank had lost its shape so I made plywood bulkheads and installed them where the baffles were before I cut them out to make the frame.

                                                                                  

               These tanks were made with a pylon attachment point to hang them from the wings and I had removed the one in this tank, so you can see in the pictures where I filled it in with metal.

                                                                                  

                 For ground clearance the bottom 4" of the tank had to be cut off. We discussed how to mark it for cutting, finally using a laser level to mark it. After cutting the bottom section out and putting the new section in the the tank was more ridgid than ever.

                                                                                                 

                  Before I cut the tank apart, I had welded a 1/2 x1/8 flange around the outside of the tank so I would be able fasten the two halves back together. At the time, I only had short strips of this metal so that `s what I used. After welding the bottom in, I found that the top and bottom pieces did not line up anymore. I had four pieces made that were 8' long and formed them to the original shape of the tank when I first cut it apart. These were then welded to each side of the two halves of the tank.

                                                                                 

                    I needed to add an air intake ans outlet to cool the radiator which will be mounted behind the drivers seat, so I put it in the flat part of the tank to allow cool air in and I used part of the piece that was cut out of the bottom to make the exhaust vent. The ribs for the intake are made of 1/4" aluminum plate and the ones for the rear are made of 1/4" steel. It took me two days to shape them.

                                                                                 

                    The mounts for the radius rods stick out from the body and didn`t look good so I made some blisters to streamline these mounts. I was going to make them out of sheet aluminum, and actually made one, but it took so long I decided to have them cast. In the pictures, you can see the process starting with marking the metal, beating it into shape, making the mold, and polishing the raw casting. The hole for the rods and rivets will be cut laterrods and rivets will be cut later.  

                                                                                

                                                                        click on any picture to enlarge

How I made The Aluminum Castings