Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Carry Rack For Ironhead Sportster
For some time I have been wanting a way to carry stuff on my bike. After checking out the many systems manufactured out there I thought to myself "I could make one of those." Price was another factor and, that there is not that much out there for an older motorcycle as mine. If perhaps a rack was found I didn't think I could spare an arm or a leg for a system that may or may not be to my liking. The materials cost me just under twenty bucks, not much under but under, and what else that's needed is already in my shop.
The plan was to take photo's of the whole process, uhhh hmmm, although once I got started it just kept moving along so documentary of it all was last on the list. I do plan on making another with some changes to see what I like but with this one I'll be able to use it while making another. Funny how all sorts of possibilities pop in your head when doing something as this making it hard to stay focused.

First thing done was to load up the 42 inch piece of cut pipe with casting sand - I have other very fine screened sand for next time - after taping up one end. A funnel and garden trowel assited getting the sand in the pipe and not all over the floor. The problem with casting sand is the moisture content which makes it stick together so it is a chore to get it all back out. Let's just say it holds it's packed shape where as fine dry screened sand stays loose so removal is simply pour it back out. ("Any questions? No! Lets move along then.")
So my pipe is packed within an inch of completely being full, this sand packing is to keep the pipe from collapsing when bending. The bending can be done with a torch to heat it up if you wish but I like a cold bending. After bending the pipe/tube with the bender the sand needs to be removed.
Then the cross pieces needed to be cut and a birds mouth cut made at each end to fit the main tube.
I did goof a little when bending the main tube so it has a slight bow which needs to be corrected although it is very slight. To make the birds mouth cuts I jigged a long section of tube; made my marks and drilled a hole completely through near the end; using this first hole as a stop.

Now I can drill my holes the same distance each time. (I'll really need to do pictures of this setup for better explanation.) Drill a hole then advance the tube using the just drilled hole with a piece of rod for a pin stop.

The jig setup saved a lot of time and missed measured holes. As you can tell it needed several C-clamps for the process including holding my drill press in check. I really need to bolt that sucker down although I like the mobility of it.

Here I am fitting the first cross pieces to the main frame. I used 1/4 inch rod and made 1/4 X 20 threads at each end rather than waste money on a long threaded rod.  Notice the larger clamps being utilized. I didn't have one long enough to make the spread. The blue bungee was being used to check the fit of the hooks on the tube and was left on while I tried to figure out how to clamp the cross tubes. Having the bungee hooks fit the tube corectly means the hooks will have better all around holding power rather than just a small point if square or flat plate was used. My wife had come out to see how it was coming along and it was she who got the idea to use the clamps, as seen here, to be able to span the spread. I must say it worked like a charm. Thanks Honey. Now that they were clamped, drilling the holes for the threaded rod through all points needed went fast.                                                

The fit of the bird mouth cuts made me quite pleased. The more of them I did the better, and easier, they turned out. To make the cuts the correct angle and for the best fit a Dremel was used and went faster as I progressed. Next time it will be noted though to use a larger 1/2 drill bit so less material needs to be removed to get the Bird mouth cuts correct.
At this point I am needing to solder in the joints for final prep before painting. To the left of the picture is seen the beginning of the U shaped bracket of the rear mount. The front mount still needs to be decided upon at this point. Should it attach to the rear seat bolting point or to the fender support braces? Decisions, decisions.


Willy D said...

That looks like some fine work there. I’m in the process of designing a rack for the front. Maybe we should start a company. Think this is how Drag Specialties got started?

What’s that bungee cord holding? Or are you just test-fitting it?

WooleyBugger said...

Thanks Willy. Whats your front rack look like? Or is it a secret? Hey! I'll start a company with you any time.

The bungee did two things, first to make sure the hook fit the tube well and it does perfect. Then I used it to help hold the cross pieces in place whilst I drilled the holes in the frame part for the rods that go through the cross tubes. Then I'll solder the joints before painting. After it's painted I'll add acorn nuts to the threaded rod ends.
Next I have a light bar to make for the front to mount turn signals plus a couple of small spot lights and my tool pouch to.
Ahhh, and you should see my special project idea for extra capacity hidden spare fuel.

Billy Jones said...


Rhonda said...

I have a custom built rack also but it's not nearly as sturdy and uses some under wire to help keep the goods in place! On a serious note, nice work.

WooleyBugger said...

Thanks Rhonda, I'm sure your rack is MUCH nicer than mine.