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Discussion Starter #761
Hope it works!


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Good news, it does work! The solder was fine enough that it flowed into the pit where the lead was and then the case became the new ground lead. Thanks again for the idea!!
 

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Good news, it does work! The solder was fine enough that it flowed into the pit where the lead was and then the case became the new ground lead. Thanks again for the idea!!
Good! Way to go! Waiting for parts sucks!


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Discussion Starter #763
Quite pleased with myself today lol. I was able to make the end caps for the signals and they turned out great on the lathe (pun intended).

Using the same 1-1/2" round aluminum stock, I started by machining down a section that I would be able to use to hold the part in the lathe and to hold later on while polishing and whatnot:

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Then I flipped it around and machined down the outer shape of the end section:

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Then came the fun part; making a series of steps that would give me the approximate shape I wanted. This is where the technical drawings I made came in really handy!

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And I had enough time in the shop to make two of them, which was great! Here they sit all ready to be cleaned up:

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Then, using a round file, I got the basic shape I wanted and cleaned it up even more with progressively finer sandpaper. I still have a little groove left on the bottom that I need to clean up before polishing, but I ran out of time, so here is how they sit at the moment:

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So yeah, I think they turned out great so far and will look even better all polished up!
 

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Discussion Starter #765

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Discussion Starter #766
Who doesn't love freshly polished parts :D

I finished getting rid of the edges and smoothed out both end pieces. Then it was polishing time!

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Now it's just a matter of cutting the one section out so that the light is directed more towards the front of the bike. Hopefully I will do that tomorrow if all goes well!
 

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Discussion Starter #767
So after polishing up the surfaces like I did, I couldn't bring myself to cut out the notch and risk damaging the surface. I would've had to do it by eye as well, so there was no guarantee that the two would've matched. I've done a bit of testing with the LED's and I think that having the two on opposite sides of the center section will be sufficient to illuminate the front of the signal. I know it won't be as directional, but I think it will be fine as is.

So I set about getting the resin ready to cast around the end sections. Using some paper tubing I was able to form a mold of sorts. I know, it's ugly, but it worked pretty well:

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After trimming it down and removing the glue and tape from the mold, I noticed that the resin seeped through the cardboard a bit, but once I shape it it will be fine. And yes....I know there are small bubbles :( I don't have a vacuum chamber so there was no way of getting rid of them. I can live with them though, and they shouldn't affect the functionality of the signal much.

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Next step is to throw it in a lathe and get the general shape, then sand and polish by hand to get it to fit on the main section!
 
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Discussion Starter #768
Luckily I still had access to the machine shop at school! I was able to throw the ends in the lathe and get them down to the rough shape that I needed:

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Safe at home and ready to be destroyed! You can see that the left one turned out a bit better as I believe the tool head slipped a bit causing the cutter to rub a bit more than cut. Nothing a little sandpaper can't fix though!

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Then comes the fun part, sanding down the ends to match up with the main body, and also polishing the resin. Long story short, lots of sanding and polishing later (used the aluminum polish and it worked really well) I had the makings of something magical:

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And after modelling the second one to match the first, as well as polishing the ends, I took a step back and admired something that I think looks pretty cool!

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Next step is to chop off the end and sand it smooth, then finish up the LED wiring and attach it all together!
 

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I really like the attention to detail...but i will say that it is possible you will need to diffuse the end caps. when they are clear they may actually be less visible. could be a bit of trial and error. I'm rooting for you! can't wait to see them finished...
 

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Discussion Starter #772
Looking sweet.
Thanks wankster, hopefully they turn out alright!


If you don't get an A grade by your professor, I'd be sending someone to his front door...ha.

Looking good man.
Thanks!
LOL, if only I could build a bike for my final exam, that would be the best thing ever! :p Way easier than spending 3+ hours struggling through problems and essays!!!


I really like the attention to detail...but i will say that it is possible you will need to diffuse the end caps. when they are clear they may actually be less visible. could be a bit of trial and error. I'm rooting for you! can't wait to see them finished...
Thanks Greg, it is both fun and infuriating haha.
Yeah I was wondering about that too. I've seen a few around that had a brushed finish to the acrylic which may be better like you mentioned. Once I get the LED's together I will do some testing and see if the clear works well, and if not, I will just rough up the surface a bit with some sandpaper and that should do the trick!
 

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Discussion Starter #774
Looking forward to seeing this final product!
You and me both Hurley! :p
My last exam is tomorrow, so I will have some time to work on it and hopefully finish them within the week!
 

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agree with wankster...if required sand blast or bead blast or etch with some chemical...but as always make some mock up acrylic pieces and do some tests so as not to screw up your good parts. for some machine vision lighting projects i have done in the past with acrylic diffusers i used some diffusing film from 3M.
but lighting is part science part black magic and a lot depends on the light source. you may get lucky and have good results with the clear acrylic.
drum roll please...................
 

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Discussion Starter #777
Now that you guys mention it, I agree with you. The sandblasting will give a better finish for the light to glow off of as there will be tiny dents with more surface area than scratching the surface with sandpaper.
I believe a buddy of mine has a sandblaster so if needed I will go and check it out. The 3M film looks good, but a bit thick for what I need, but it's always good to have options.
I am sure there is a mathematical formula to determine the radius of curvature that I needed on my reflective end pieces......but the "yeah, that looks about right" method is soooooooo much easier :p

However....I think the clear acrylic will work out fine..........pictures to follow soon..... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #778
Surprisingly, the hardest part of building these turn signals has been the wiring. It almost had me beat! But I finally got it working well and all tucked away inside the main section. It's a good thing I bought some extra LED's though, as I kept breaking off the positive lead, or the negative lead, or they were faulty, or the resister lead broke, etc...
The really tricky part was actually fitting all the wiring and resistors inside the signal, as there is not a lot of room. If I were to redesign the main section, I would make a larger internal compartment so that the LED's go in easier.
But after 4 hours of taking apart the LED's, soldering them up, fixing mistakes and throwing things at the wall, we have the electrical for the signals done:

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Then, using a battery I had lying around, I was able to do some tests with the lights, and I have to say, these things are bright!!! My eyes still hurt from looking at them. The LED's do get warm if left on for a while, but when they're flashing there shouldn't be any issues. I will hold them in place with high heat silicon which will help to insulate the electronics and dissipate the heat, as well as make the units water proof.

The polished end sections work pretty well, with most of the light being dispersed 360° around the signal. This is the best picture I could get, but even then it doesn't really show off how bright these things are. Note, it is indoors in a well lit room, but outdoors in bright sunlight they can still be seen fairly well. I think the clear lens will be fine, but will try them out for a while and then see if they should be sandblasted or not.

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One nice feature is since the end sections are smaller diameter than the main section, the light can be seen from the sides really nicely, which will be good when someone is driving along side me:

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Discussion Starter #779
I was able to cut off the excess aluminum from the end sections now, and sand them down so that they would be ready for paint:

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Then I did some research on what type of glue would be good for bonding the acrylic and metal together, and ended up using Lepage (or Loctite) ultra gel super glue. It is weather resistant and quite robust so it will do good for when the bike is outside.
And finally, after all this hard work, we have some bar end turn signals!

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I won't be able to paint them until after the weekend, but for now they look and function great!
 
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