Decided I would try 01 tool steel for my cam. I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. I took measurements off of the existing cam (which does have correct lobe profiles, just incorrect front cylinder timing) and got an overall diameter of the lobe area. I also pressed the drive gear off of it so it would be easier to measure. What I am doing now is duplicating every part of it that is symmetrical on my lathe. The only other things will be shaping the individual lobe profiles and heat treating it. Here are some pics:
Messed up cam with gear removed.
Messed up cam next to my bar stock for new cam.
coming along…. tool steel mills slow and hot..
Turned around in the lathe to get the other end. 4 lobe “blanks” done!
I was doing some research on material for the camshaft. I first emailed Andrews cams to ask them what they used, but expected no reply. In the meantime I searched the internet and got varied results. Various types of hard cast iron were mentioned, as well as a few tool steels. Then the other day I heard back from Andrews, and they said they use “8620″. That was cool of them to reply. So now I am looking into whatever that is (I assume a tool steel). If that is unattainable, I will go for 01 tool steel, my favorite for knife making. I have also made progress on the heat treatment front. About a year ago I acquired a used pottery kiln. It was always my intention to use it for heat treatment and casting, but I had not wired it until now (it is electric, like a giant toaster). I figured this is a good excuse to get it going, so I wired it and turned it on. It gets hot, but there is no way to tell how hot! I guess pottery is really forgiving in the heat department, as there are no gauges or even accommodations for one. I went back online and began to research thermometers for these things. I found a company that supplies equipment like this through a knife making forum. The company sold me a “probe” that goes through a tiny hole into the kiln, and a digital thermometer that is supposed to be very accurate. The probe is made of a special metal, tungsten i believe, that won’t melt along with everything else inside the kiln. When this arrives, I can (hopefully) get a max temp for this kiln. That temp needs to be in the 1600 degree F range in order to heat treat the majority of tool steels, including o1. I have used a oxy acetylene torch for years but there is a problem with that method uneven heat soak. In other words, the metal isnt evenly hot, because the torch has to be waved back and forth over the metal object to heat it. That can lead to an uneven hardness, or a warped part, when finished. The kiln should do a perfectly even heat soak if it gets hot enough…. I’ll report back. Oh, and if anyone out there is a cam or heat treatment expert, comment with your contact info so I can pick your brain.
You may have noticed that I have not posted anything about my hybrid motor bike “icarus” lately. The reason is, for the last 5 months I have been patiently waiting for the custom camshaft to arrive. Out of respect (for now) I will not mention the company’s name, but suffice to say it arrived yesterday and it is incorrect. Mind you this is the second cam designer I have dealt with. The first one just stopped returning my emails. Man I must be more of a jerk than I give myself credit for! Fuck it- I have finally decided to do what I should have done in the first place- make it myself. Now I have embarked on many ambitious projects, but a camshaft? This should be good. Lets see… has to open valves…has to do so at precise times….has to be made of hardened tool steel…has to be perfectly true…has to be degree’d with a drive gear… spins at blazing speed in a tumultuous, hot, vibrating environment under extreme load… should be easy. Oh yeah, I will make it with hand tools.
Anyway, here is a pic of what I got after 5 months compared to a regular evo cam (“custom” cam on left). Notice anything different? me either. How this would operate a v twin with two Continental heads (similar to two rear harley heads, port wise) is beyond me.
My wrist is healing up, sun is out, shop is clean- today will be a good day! Stay tuned!
I try not to complain about not getting paid for my hours when building things. I understand that if I were to keep track of all my hours, the prices of customs bikes would be too much for people to afford, especially now. What I don’t understand is that, in an industry that calls itself “custom”, why so many component manufacturers are not willing to try to provide truly custom-made parts. For my new bike, icarus, the largest challenge has been getting help with some of the internal components, namely the short stroke flywheels and camshaft. These are parts that will be extremely hard for me to produce at my shop, either because I dont have the correct tools or knowledge. It is this that accounts for the real cost of a build… the parts you don’t see, the ones that take me months of searching and insane prices in order to get produced!