Monday, February 18, 2013

Hydro Handbrake part 1

It was around June of 2012, I had been told about an event up in Minnesota called MAP Proving Grounds.  I didn't really know much about it other then there would be drifting, drag racing, road course, auto x, and parties at night for 3 days.  I hadn't been to a drift event yet and after watching some videos this looked like something that would be perfect for my first time out.  I'm not saying I was bad or anything, just not confident in sliding at an event.  I had a fear of making a fool out of myself if I were to be really bad compared to everyone else.  My biggest concern was I didn't have a good working e-brake which I had grown very incredibly accustomed to when I was driving FWD cars for the past couple years.

I hit up PBM to see about ordering one of theirs, found out they were several months on back order.  Looking at other designs I became frustrated as PBM was the only front mount master cylinder which is what I was looking for so I could mount it in my dash.  Then one day I came to the conclusion that I was going to need to make one myself.  I got a copy of AutoCad and went to work on making the basic layout for the handbrake.  At the same time I also placed an order for a 3/4 pass through master cylinder.

Now the initial drawing I made were for boxing in some plate steal and making it that way, however when I went over to Hickman Machining, Jim had a better idea.  They had just recently purchased a CNC and he was itching to use it.  We uploaded my drawings onto his computer and quickly went to work on changing them, since the drawings were done on his computer I don't have a photo copy of them since I don't have any intentions on making another handbrake.  Anyway, you'll see what we drew up and how different this ended up being in the end.

I went to the misc/scrap bin and got to looking for some material, that's when I stumbled across the perfect match!  A nice block of aluminum, grabbed that and as I went to hand it to him and leave he stopped me and told me I better get to work if I wanted to make this handbrake.  He wasn't going to make it for me!  Instead he lent me a helping hand at using his equipment to make it myself!
I cut the block to our stock size that we would be starting with, then from there we threw it in the CNC.  That was the only part I didn't get to do much work on, with no experience running a CNC and this being Jim's brand new baby he did that portion.
And after a few minutes watching this thing go crazy throwing metal everywhere the little block of metal came out as a beautiful piece ready to be made into a handbrake.
Moved it around in the clamp and made the holes for the master cylinder, then we tilted it right side up and cut the slot in it for the handle to pass through.
After that was finished I went back to the bins to look for a nice bit of tubing to make a handle, that's when I found another gem of aluminum to work with.
I made some good progress on the first day of work which was only a few hours.  The next morning when I woke up I set sail for the hardware store.  I found the perfect shoulder bolt to use as a pivot for the handle, also I picked up a clevis to made the handle and the master cylinder.  Right after I headed out to the shop to get back to work.  When I got there I found Jim working on another job with the CNC which meant from this point forward it was going to be me working with his mill which is super badass.  I'm not the best when it comes to using mills and working with the markings on the handles, thankfully he has a computer assisting add showing  measurements for X, Y, and Z.
Everything was going great, only thing left to do was the handle and it would be good to go.  This took a little bit of thinking to figure out how I would mill both sides down parallel to each other, in the end I figured out a good way to do it and quickly finished that up.
Then drilled the holes and did a test fit on everything.
Everything fit great.  Once I had finished this up Jim asked me what I was going to do for a grip.  I told him about my plan to use a BMX grip which is why I went with this sizing for my handle.  That's when he reached in his tool box and slapped a grip on there from a dirt bike.  For those of you who think that's weird he just had one laying around Hickman used to be huge in motocross so they have all sorts of bike parts laying around the place.
Now completed I took it home and snapped a few higher quality pics.

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