I know that some of you may not like what I'm doing but as Stan says, "our cars are our own expression of ourselves" or something like that. While I like the lines and style of the Spyder and the Speedster, I have never liked those back-up leather straps used to hold down the clam shell and the hood.  Very 1915 ish .

What you see in the photos are very modified Hartwell latches used on aircraft to keep inspection hatches shut.  They are made to be flush with the aircraft skin.  In my application, my "skin" is approximately 1/4" thick. This means that the "buttons" of the Hartwell latch must be replaced with a 1/4" thick one. The gold ones in the photo are some I made and had engraved with a Spyder then anodized.

The aluminum plate with the oval insert  is the drill jig. I will clamp this to the clam shell to locate and cut an oval opening for the new thick buttons plus properly drill  holes for four 6/32 machine screws. These screws will be recessed, connected to each other by a wire so they won't spin and covered over with resin. The underside of the clamshell has a stiffening rib. This has to be drilled thru leaving it looking like a bridge under which the Hartwell latch arm will pass thru. I milled out a small aluminum block that attaches to this arm in order to extend and lower it to where it will catch under the lip of the body thus keeping the clamshell down in the event that the primary latches don't lock.

The other photo is 3/16 " LEXAN wind wings some guy I know gave me. I thought it would be cool to engrave the Porsche badge on them for a sort of ghost effect.

Any suggestions are always appreciated of course..............Bruce

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Thanks Ed  & Al.......I thought about using a key latch and probably would have gone that way if I hadn't come up with this. I also looked at those push button latches I have seen used to hold down hoods. With those, it's hard to tell if it has been pushed to the open or closed position..............Bruce

Bruce, what do you use for the milling and engraving (or do you sub that).  
If there was one machine I would make room for in my shop it would be a small CNC machine - just to play with!

Al...I have an old Atlas-Clausing mill. It uses collets up to 1/2" to hold the cutting tools so it's not a big machine. It was given to me by a friend who makes a living doing "tune-ups" on machines like lathes, mills,CNC machines, etc.  It's really interesting to watch him work. It's takes a fine craftsman to scrape a lathe bed back to trueness !  My mill fits nicely in my shop and is on rollers so it can be moved if necessary.

I have been looking at a CNC also but more for woodworking. My thought was to buy one of them and practice on wood first. A woodworking tool company called Rockler out of Minnesota sells one for about $1500.00. It would do pretty much everything I would be interested in doing with one. Especially pattern making for aluminum castings.

A full sized CNC can be had for about $10,000,00 used. New, about $35000.00 to start. If I bought a used one, my friend said he would tune it up for me. The only problem is that I have absolutely nowhere to put it. We are getting serious about selling this home after 49 years and building the next one. With that in mind I would build me a huge shop/garage to house and separate it by materials...One for automotive, one for machine/metal working, and one for woodworking. I'm thinking 30' by 60' with a 10' ceiling.

Oh, I don't do the engraving. A hobbiest friend of mine does it in his garage on his little  24" X 24" Rockler CNC.................Bruce

 

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@aircooled wrote- "...I have an old Atlas-Clausing mill. It uses collets..."

That's a very cool piece of machinery, Bruce! I would love to own something like that but there's just no room- you can only fit so much in a 2 car townhouse garage with bikes, camping stuff, freezer, work stuff snow/summer tires for 2 cars, beer fridge, the Speedster stuff, and oh, don't forget Beth's car.

A lot of the stuff I lightened was done at a friend's shop where I had access to a lathe and milling machine, the rest of it at home on a really basic (small) drill press. I'm presently looking (dreaming of is probably a better description!) at bench top milling machines so I can do things a little more accurately and quickly at home, something like- 

benchtop milling machine

This particular unit has a working area of 8 ¼x 28¾" on the table, 1¼ drilling and ¾" end mill capacity with a 1¾ or 2 hp motor. Hoping to find it (or something similar) used. With a rotary table I could do a lot.  That reminds me, time to check Craigslist (Vancouver AND Seattle) again! Al

 

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ALB posted:

@aircooled wrote- "...I have an old Atlas-Clausing mill. It uses collets..."

That's a very cool piece of machinery, Bruce! I would love to own something like that but there's just no room- you can only fit so much in a 2 car townhouse garage with bikes, camping stuff, freezer, work stuff snow/summer tires for 2 cars, beer fridge, the Speedster stuff, and oh, don't forget Beth's car.

A lot of the stuff I lightened was done at a friend's shop where I had access to a lathe and milling machine, the rest of it at home on a really basic (small) drill press. I'm presently looking (dreaming of is probably a better description!) at bench top milling machines so I can do things a little more accurately and quickly at home, something like- 

benchtop milling machine

This particular unit has a working area of 8 ¼x 28¾" on the table, 1¼ drilling and ¾" end mill capacity with a 1¾ or 2 hp motor. Hoping to find it (or something similar) used. With a rotary table I could do a lot.  That reminds me, time to check Craigslist (Vancouver AND Seattle) again! Al

 

That mill/drill will take up as much room as that Clausing.  Plus every time you loosen the head to reposition, you lose zero.  If you still think you need a bench top model, get something with a square column so you can raise and lower the head without losing zero.

I also have a list of upgrades I'd like to do to my Spyder. I don't car much for keeping it original looking. This is my version of this car.

Having a positive clam shell retention mechanism is one of them. I could never get one of my latches adjusted to stay latched on bumpy roads. I've drawn up a few different ideas, but using some kind of aircraft latch sounds interesting. 

I don't mind the leather straps, but I have an upgraded idea for them. As it is, I don't think they'd hold the clam shell down if the latches ever did fail and air got up under it at high speed.

A better gas tank with an upper access panel to the front beam.

Some aluminum trim panels under the clam shell with an aluminum firewall.

That rack and pinion steering rack that someone found.

I do have the aluminum 190 wheels on my car. But, I'd like to widen my steel 4.5 front wheels to 5 inches so that a 185 tire wouldn't look so ridiculous and adjust the offset. The edge of the tread is what rubs the fender in extreme turns. Widening the rim isn't going to make that area any wider. ****, if I'm going to go that far, I might as well flare the lip ever so slightly. Maybe, even out all the fenders, so the car looks like it's centered on the frame and not the way it currently looks. 

Side wind screens like the RSKs had.

Single shoulder belts.

I've already done the front tow points that can also be used as jack points. I also made a front spoiler that mounted to them. I don't use it around here because of the roads and I'm never at freeway speeds for more than a few minutes. I'd be curious if it would even make a difference if I were ever to take it out on a highway. Whatever. 

Just a few of my ideas.

 

 

@LI-Rick wrote-"That mill/drill will take up as much room as that Clausing.  Plus every time you loosen the head to reposition, you lose zero.  If you still think you need a bench top model, get something with a square column so you can raise and lower the head without losing zero."

Thank you for the taking the time to voice your observations, Rick. As a neophyte at this, all comments are welcome! I do realize how much room a bench top unit will take. The thing is, I'm in a small 2 car garage in a townhouse with a wife and 3 kids so don't have any floor space to devote to a machine, but I think I can sacrifice some work table area, as I do have a drill press there now. After 35 years of storage it can go back to my brother (I ever so kindly took it in as he needed a place to put it while he was building a house and has never asked for it back- it's what brothers do, you know).

I agree, a proper knee mill would be ideal, having the ability to raise and lower table height instead of having to come down to the material, but it is what it is. And yeah, I'm aware of the round vs square column thing- that pic was easy to find at a moment's notice. This unit is sold locally and, other than having a round column, seems to push all the right buttons. It would work- having to re-adjust to zero would just be 1 more step (and probably a royal pain in the patootie after a while!). You are right, though- a square column is the smart way to go, taking 1 more variable out of the equation. Thanks for reminding me.

I think the important thing will be to buy something in the 500+ lbs range so it's stout enough- those lighter units just ain't gonna do it. Of course, it will also mean extra bracing on that end of the bench... Al

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I would love to try that, Ed, but I'd have to do a few of those things on my list first, including a front sway bar and stickier tires, before the attempt. Our cars are supposed to get light in the front end over 100mph, so it makes sense that it would help.

I don't know why I built it, since all my driving is on back twisty roads. I got the idea while I was laying on my back installing my tow points and I had to try it. I had it installed for awhile, but after plowing the gravel on my driveway  a few times, I removed it. If I were to ever do some extended highway miles, I might throw it back on.

Carlos, I have been toying with the idea of a small splitter attached to the front edge of the underpan. I've never got beyond the thought stage though. I have a big chunk of 3/16" aluminum, and some cardboard to mock it up.

I've been over 100 many times, with no lightness. Proper alignment, a tiny bit of front rake, and a little weight up front and it's a non-issue.

I layered some fiberglass to 1/8" thick and mounted it to my tow points with some aluminum brackets. I also supported the center with another bracket. The angle is even adjustable. I also used some foam tubing where it rests against the body. The fiberglass isn't very pretty on the back side, but so what.

062116 001

It's hard to see in this picture. It's not a very good shot.

550 spoiler s

Another thing I want to do is make some aluminum stone guards for behind the tires. I have to drive on gravel. It's living in the country thing.

Also, I'll get to my front sway bar some day too.

 

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