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Discussion Starter #1
Awhile back a guy posted about making a Cafe Seat cowl out of an old tank. Well, I want to do that on my RD350, but actually carrying it out successfully begs some questions:

1) What to use to clean the inside so thoroughly to ensure there are absolutely no fumes left that can explode from sparks made while cutting it in half; the tank has been in use and has not yet been taken off or drained.

2) What exactly to use to cut it so as to do minimal damage to the paint and graphics. Since its the same color and graphics as the other, I'd like to be able to just touch up where it's cut and not have to blast and repaint, if it's possible.

Any ideas to facilitate this would be appreciated!
 

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Hey im doing that with mine right now(pics as soon as i can get them on here) first though, im not sure how the graphics or paint are gonna stay intact...to get good welds you gotta strip that paint off in the weld areas, then prolly(if you did the welding late at night after working all day already and yer tired and starving) yer gonna havta grind those welds down a bit...Diy is one thing, being a total slob is another... oh and as long as yer not cuttin into a full tank and you let it air out a day or two you should be fine... i just used a cutting wheel...make sure you cut it a little bigger than what you wnt it so when you grind it down to neaten it up and prep for welding you dont lose too much and in case you didnt cut straight you have some to work with...hope that helps a little.....
 

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#1-I just rinse the tank out wish water a couple times and let it dry.
#2-You'll be upholstering this, right? Can't you just overlap the seat cover an inch or so over the cut, so it would cover up any paint damage? Jimmy
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input so far.

Here's my plan of attack:

1) Clean out, dry tank
2) Mark on the current seat how far I want it to go back before becoming in contact with the cowl. Mark the pan with a slight indent cut which will survive media blasting.
3) Strip off foam, have it blasted and powder coated.
4) Cut the cowl and rivet it onto the back of the pan. I cannot yet, and do not yet have a welder, so that's out. I saw other posts in which people said it works fine. I'll probably epoxy a very thin neoprene layer in between both pieces with holes allowed for the rivets, since the RD350 is a fairly buzzy bike.

I planned on allowing at least 1/2" overlap in front length to have something to work with, perhaps keep the piece on top as a base to attach a very small, long, narrow hinge for the cover. I'm still working on ideas and thoughts for the cowl front cover.

I have a (cheap) air angle grinder with a cutoff wheel. What type of wheel or device are you using, teighlor? I'd love to see pics. I even wondered if it would be too difficult, too much work to try using a hacksaw so as t minimize paint damage. Am I way off base here?
In more thoughts and ideas would be greatly appreciated, as would pictures, too!
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Edited by - Quicklimegirl on Feb 24 2007 10:01:20 PM
 

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an air cutoff wheel would probably work the best. the pain is going to be destroyed anyway you do it. a sawzall will work but those tanks are usualy pretty flimsy. once i tried to get the dents out of mine by filling it with compressed air. it moved the sides apart, as if to flatten it, then it blew the seams. there was a guy on here who was doing them. i think the guy in florida had done a few. they looked pretty cool.

jc
 

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you will work really really slowly and probably go through a zillion blades but the small cutoff wheels on a dremel might give you the cut with the least damage to the paint. their cutoff wheels are thinner.

The question then becomes how are you going to attach it to the seat pan? I suggest rivets since welding will ruin the paint.
 

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yeah a sawzall would work great, just vice the thing down tight..... i just used an air cutoff wheel thought and just go kinda slow... the metal is super thin, and i guess you could rivet it instead of welding...and like someone else said if yer upholstering then you could cover whatever paint damage you make.... as soon as im done i will post pics for yous....
 

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Tape off the line (and the rest of the cowl to be to protect from sparks) you want to cut and use a cutoff wheel and go slow. Any reciprocating saw will snag and you run the risk of bending the tank a cracking the paint. I used vinyl door edging to dress up the edge between the cowl and the seat.
 

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The trick to keeping the paint from chipping to shit is to scribe a line maybe 1/2" (you'll be apolstering over anyway right?) away from your cut with a razor then tape just past that scribed line with masking tape. All the chips will stop at the cut line.

If you want to be fancy (or need a closer line) you can scribe/cut into the paint right at your cut line but you'll have to stay exactly to one side of the line and have a VERY steady hand.

Cutoff wheel is best, if not a jigsaw with a metal blade will work better than a sawzall.

For welding without burning the paint there is a clear snot-like liquid you can put on the area to disapate heat. You'll still have to remove the paint to at least 1" from weld area. No idea what the stuff is called but it is made specifically for that application.

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Edited by - ROSKO on Feb 26 2007 5:03:22 PM
 

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Jeez, sorry I didn't see that you'll be riveting it. That'll work fine and probably look pretty clean. Figure out some way to get rid of the sharp edge at the bottom of your cowl.

Jen, did her cafe seat in a similar way. Riveting a fiberglass seat/cowl to her existing pan. Pretty cool since you keep the whole hinge mechanism intact.


Edited by - ROSKO on Feb 26 2007 5:09:24 PM
 

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If you leave the rolled under section of the tank bottom you won't have any sharp edges to contend with and it's a lot more rigid (laterally). If you do cut so you have sharp edges you can use the vinyl automotive door edging to cover the edges. It comes in several colors.

 

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I don't kow if anyone has said this yet, WASH THAT GAS TANK OUT WITH HOT SOAPY WATER!!! OR BOOOOOM!!!!!<img src=icon_smile_dead.gif border=0 align=middle>

If you build it they will ride.
 

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hey quicklimegirl, didja get the pics i emailed ya of my seat/tank job? i will ahve some new ones prolly tomarrow...upholstered by myself this weekend........ let me know if you got the pics....and if anyone else wants to see them.... i will try to figure out how to post pics on here....
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey, sorry I forgot to email back. Yes I did, thanks for the pics, looked good, even unpainted. I'm still go to try for success without having to repaint, being perfect matches for each other.
Can you show me the type of foam you selected for the seat itself? Any info on densities available? I checked a couple websites for foam but they only sell pieces 6' long or so. I'll probably call them about getting remnants if possible.

Meanwhile, have to pic up some stuff to derust the inside of both tanks and figure out which one I'm going to cut.

Please do share as much info as possible, this is something I've never tried but am looking forward to. Didn't even get the caliper rebuilt yesterday, I've lost the rubber-tipped air nozzle for the little blower and it's broken besides. Have to pick those up after work and those rusty old pistons will pop out within seconds. I don't know how anyone could ever get those out w/o a compressor!
 

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it all depends on how "padded" you want it... since yer riding posture is changed and not all yer weigt is on yer arse, you really dont need as much......ideally a "closed cell" padding is the best... it doesnt trap water... you could use the carpet padding stuff, no problem but in a coupla months after all weather riding it kinda smells sometimes.... the trick is to overpad just a touch so that when yer stretching yer cover back over it has enough "give" to self tighten. there is all sorts of stuff you can use for "padding" me? well im a super minimalist so i just used a lot of duct tape.... anyway, i will have some finished pics soon....
 

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hey guys..
Cus I didnt give a crap about the paint, I just spray painted the inside with "Rocker Guard". I used a Dremel cutting wheel (about 4 of them) It was a pain in the ass but the cut was pretty percise.
I also cut out part of the hump (tunnel) inside the tank so that the seat pan sat flat.
Then I just used 4 screws and bolted the foamless t500 seat pan to the "hump" from the inside.
I used heavy duty grey interlocking floor foam (that you can get at home Depot)to fill the hole left by the hump opening. (I traced out then cut the shape of the opening & used it as a "plug")
I used the same shit for seating foam.
I used leather to cover the pan and the "plug" and used velcro to keep it in place. I keep my tools and booster cables in the "hump"

There are a lot great ideas posted here where everyone improvised.
If you have any questions Quicklimegirl, send me an email or IM me at www.dotheton.com.

I'm no fabrication expert by any means but I'll be glad to help out..

The original posting is here:
http://dotheton.com/index.php?topic=7.0

PS..350Four, what a beautiful job you did!!..AWESOME!!!

Cheers
N

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locO leoN
www.DoTheTon.com

Edited by - noelocol on Mar 06 2007 12:29:01 PM
 
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