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Night train lives! Radius rod tech!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by littlechris, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. littlechris
    Joined: Jan 17, 2006
    Posts: 197

    from MILWAUKEE

    I’m LittleChris. If you know me, you know I like to have fun. I like to build things. I like to push buttons, boundaries, and my abilities. Like everyone here, I have a lot of projects going all the time, one of them being the Night-Train.
    Thread 1:
    Thread 2:
    My latest development for it are the radius rods; I’m excited to share them with you.
    During the adventure of building my Model-T, I came to a point of indecisiveness of what to do with the rear setup. I started with an open-drive banjo, but when the Hemi shined around, I decided it wasn’t going to be strong enough. I picked up a 58-59 ford 9-inch with a perfect width and 3.56:1 gears. The wheels I finally decided on where made by Rally America, chrome reversed Buick outers on International centers wrapped with Hurst slicks. Coming up with all the right stuff I desire is taking time, but it sure is turning out to be worth it.

    The rear radius rods are a car’s system of restraint and direction against an outburst of power. Much like a bike to a kid on a sugar high.. They both give direction and have tremendous potential. Radius rods position the rear axle, restrain it, and help direct the power. There are only a few different setups to choose from, and the number of available kits is limited. Ladder bars, trucker arms, and four-links are great functionally, but none seem to have the class that the good old 36 rods possess. [​IMG]
    After trying to come up with a way to possibly modify a pair of 36 bones, I didn’t have the heart to cut a pair up so I decided to build my own. Now, without having ends forged and special tubing extruded, I couldn’t exactly reproduce a 36 bone. My radius rod contains what I interpreted to be the best aspect; the simplistic & functional design of the stout forged ends that clench the bells, and the seamless tube affixing it to its anchor point.

    The first step was coming up with a design that involved the style of the originals and the functionality I was after. I needed them to able to hold onto a three-inch diameter axle housing effortlessly, and clear the frame where it kicks up, all while looking cool for you dames to fall head over heels for.

    I happened to have received an associate’s degree in mechanical design last spring so I used my drafting skills to draw out my vision. I took into account the geometry of my frame, axle, and the materials I had available to me. [​IMG]
    Once I had fully annotated prints of the components that make up my rods, I sent three of the complicated parts to a laser cutter. In about a week, I had parts back in hand at an affordable price. Now, sometimes when components are designed, they look better on paper; when I started getting the parts together, I noticed the main arm tubing was going to too big in diameter, so I had to take some material off of the bottom of the main-plates. I also drilled a bunch of holes in them to lighten them up.
    For the main arms, I used DOM tubing. I clamped them in a vertical mill and cut a slot length-wise in order for the main-plate to fit in them. I also cut the ends open in order to fold them in so they would flow into the main-plate.
    The next step was the fun part; welding and grinding. I tacked the main-plate in the tube, and then using a torch, I folded the ends in to meet the plate to seal the tube off. I welded it up and finished the welds.
    The mounting plates I had laser cut were then tacked on to each side of the main-plate. These plates bolt to the mating part that gets welded to the axle. Cool. I lined the holes up parallel to the rod by using a fancy laser light and the available edge of the table. Once one side was tacked on, I used the mounting holes to line up the second side, and tacked it on.
    The last two parts were simply bar-stock that I tacked on one end and heated up with a torch and bent around the arcs. Once everything was tacked together and lined up, I welded up the entire assembly, and finished the welds. This was done with a carbide burr bit, a fine grinding stone, and many hours of my time.
  2. littlechris
    Joined: Jan 17, 2006
    Posts: 197

    from MILWAUKEE

    At the other end, I decided to attach the rods to the k-member using rod ends from Suicide Doors. I am never disappointed with the quality of their products. The rod ends came with threaded inserts that fit perfectly into the tubes, which will be welded and finished.

    During the course of this project I learned that anything is possible with an imagination and a little determination. I applied my newly acquired drafting skills which was very self-rewarding. I hope this tech motivates anyone to get out to the garage and attempt to achieve their wildest ideas no-matter how much work it involves.

    I look forward to spending next week with my friends in Austin. I promise not to get myself killed this time.


    Oh, and I re-did my spring perches:
    Corsa likes this.
  3. Jkustom
    Joined: Oct 8, 2002
    Posts: 1,681


    Holy smokes.. You're a badass!
  4. heatmiser
    Joined: May 6, 2009
    Posts: 253

    from mia

    verrry niice!

  5. bobx
    Joined: Apr 17, 2004
    Posts: 1,060

    from Indiana


    great post.
  6. woody2
    Joined: Aug 19, 2007
    Posts: 162


    Smokin Chris, Nice job man.
  7. harley man
    Joined: Jan 24, 2009
    Posts: 152

    harley man

  8. Jim Dieter
    Joined: Jun 27, 2008
    Posts: 387

    Jim Dieter
    from Joliet

    This is why I joined this site. All of your threads are great....keep up the good work.
  9. brownsmetal
    Joined: Sep 16, 2007
    Posts: 422


  10. zzford
    Joined: May 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,823


    I bow down before you...
  11. Koz
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,343


    Damn! Thats some creative fab work! Looks like something Henry would have made. Show us more as you progress.
  12. Chris, you are a fabricating genius! Those look awesome and very unique. Way to go!
  13. Crankhole
    Joined: Apr 7, 2005
    Posts: 2,624


    That's rad! Where do I send payment?
  14. thunderbirdesq
    Joined: Feb 15, 2006
    Posts: 6,951


    That fukkin rocks dude. To the max, even... Awesome design and perfect execution.:cool:
  15. Kreepea_1
    Joined: Sep 17, 2007
    Posts: 449


    Jimminies Man! Thanks for the lesson. Definately bookmarking this.
  16. Royalshifter
    Joined: May 29, 2005
    Posts: 15,552

    from California

    That is an awesome tech.
  17. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,883


    Nice...very nice. That is the kinda stuff that I like to see. Looks like an original part...but totally custom to fit your build. Bitchin.

    Thanks for sharing,

  18. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,669


    Wow-form AND function.
  19. Rodshop
    Joined: Sep 14, 2003
    Posts: 455


    Skills, man Skills! (And you write well too)

  20. DaveyJonez
    Joined: Feb 20, 2006
    Posts: 418

    from Houston

    Beautiful work!!
  21. paco
    Joined: Oct 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,141

    from Atlanta

    Now that sir ..... is fabrication .... great job.

    I'm watchin' this thread.

  22. VonWegener
    Joined: Nov 19, 2009
    Posts: 786


    Very nice! Are you going to use a torque arm to keep the radius rods from buckling under acceleration?
  23. Thanks Easter Bunny! Bawk,Bawk!
  24. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 33,858


    Beautifull work.
  25. Love the work, it is pure genius, however, I too am wondering about the torque reaction. Perhaps an arm from the top of the housing to the frame? This would accomplish what you need and would be hidden from view. I don't normally criticize anyone's work, much less something as well done as this, but it is true that DOM tubing is not strong enough to act as a ladder bar.
  26. I, too, think you have done some B-E-A-utiful work sir. Torque reaction would be a concern of mine as well, but with the work you've done here I would think that you will come up with a beautiful solution. I love making fabricated parts like this and have tons of similar Ideas for current projects. Very nice work.

  27. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,829


    Wow, beautiful work and they look so right when you finished them up like that.

    great tech that opens a lot of possibilities.
  28. Great workmanship, my only question is with the amount of radius you have achieved grinding your welds how much weld is left holding on. Did you build them up first to allow plenty of meat to grind away. Don't get me wrong I'm not knocking your workmanship, just like to know if i try the same thing.:)
  29. littlechris
    Joined: Jan 17, 2006
    Posts: 197

    from MILWAUKEE

    Thanks for the great comments. There hasn't been much more progress on this project other than the engine im still slowly working on. I have been busy with school and getting my truck ready for the summer.

    As for the DOM tubing being strong enough, I'm fairly confident in it seeing how it is 1.5" in diameter with a 3/16th in wall. I've seen many trucker arm set-ups made out the same material without any problems.

    There is alot of weld on these arms and I know I had good penetration. Even after grinding a fair amount of weld fillet exists. I guess there is alot more confidence in a row a dimes from a tig weld though!

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