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Carnage Chopper - Section 3

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Once you are done tack welding and bending the center strip, it should for a perfect curve along the top of the fender (Photo 21). At this point it is easy to manipulate the sides to ensure the entire fender is aligned properly.
Photo 21 - Tack welded fender.


To ensure that your fender will be solid, and for that professional look, the entire length of the joint on both sides of the center strip should be welded (Photo 22). It's best to weld with the amperage a little low, even though the weld will be chunky. We are going to grind it all away anyhow. Do a bit of extra grinder work, rather than fill in a burn through on this part of the build. Do not weld inside the fender, or it will warp out of the sides.
Photo 22 - Welding the entire length of each joint.


If you have some patience, the finished fender will look factory pressed after you grind the welds (Photo 23). I always do the rough grinding with a heavy disc, taking the weld area almost flush with the metal, then I switch to a cut off disk for the fine work. Once the fine work is done (this includes re-welding pits and holes), I use a sander disk to clean it right up.

Welding the small missed areas and pin holes usually takes two or three tries to get right, so have patience and you will be able to make a perfect fender. Your grinder is your best friend when doing this kind of work.

Photo 23 - Fender is welded and cleaned up with a grinder.


The fender was welded in place just inside the seat stays in order to hide the welds (Photo 24). Three short welds per side are plenty to hold the fender in place, and I would avoid welding the entire length or you may end up warping the frame, fender or both. It's best to weld the fender in place with a wheel installed, so you can make sure nothing rubs. If you are caught riding a chopper that has parts rubbing, you will be beat with an ugly stick and run out of town - do it right!
Photo 24 - Welding the fender to the frame.


Yes, it's an old skool racing steering wheel (Photo 25). When I was a kid, I always wanted to build a chopper with a steering wheel, but always got caught trying to take the one from the family car, so now was my chance. Will this even work, you ask? Why not? You hold on, you turn - what's the difference if it's a bicycle handle bar, steering wheel, or axe handle? None, just as long as you can turn the forks.

Since the top of the triple tree plate was blank, all the was needed is two bolts welded to the top that would hold the steering wheel. I found some old wheel stud bolts that would fit the holes in the steering wheel just fine.

Photo 25 - Why does it always have to have handle bars


I placed the bolts tightly on the steering wheel, held it in the proper place, then tack welded the bolt heads to the top of the triple tree plate (Photo 26). The steering wheel was then removed and the bolds were welded all the way around and then ground clean. Putting a steering wheel on a chopper was not that hard to do after all!
Photo 26 - Steering wheel installed.


The seat was made by cutting to sides from the left over sheet metal (Photo 27) using the jigsaw. These were bolted to a plywood base so that is fit snugly over the original bottom bracket - which was on the top of the frame.
Photo 27 - Making the seat supports.


The seat base is cut from 3/4 inch plywood and placed directly on the frame and fender (Photo 28). The two steel sides cut earlier hold the seat snugly between the retired bottom bracket, no bolts are necessary. As for padding, I plan to glue some rigid black foam directly to the plywood and leave it as is - no vinyl. Rigid black foam looks fine with no covering, and is very resistant to wear and moisture.
Photo 28 - Plywood seat made in two halves.


I threw the bike together to make sure all the components fit and had proper clearance (Photo 29). Everything looked just right, and the steering wheel gave the bike a unique look indeed - a cross between a car and chopper, hence the name Carnage. I chose a minimalist front chaining and crank set from am old BMX, and then cut the chain to fit on the mid rear cluster gear. I resisted the urge to test ride the bike, I wanted to take it out fully painted for the first time.
Photo 29 - The fully assembled unpainted chopper


Here is the completed seat (Photo 30), including the rigid foam and painted sides. Because the seat just drops over the top of the frame with plenty of extra room underneath, it is a good place to hide things - but try to avoid border crossings with contra-ban under your seat!

Photo 30 - Rigid foam is glued to the plywood seat.


In line with the car-chopper fusion theme, I installed the brake lever as though it was a stick shifter. On a motorcycle, this kind of installation is called a "suicide shift", since you have to take your hand of the steering to us it. Kind of ironic that this is also the brake, don't you think? As shown in Photo 31, a small stub of tubing from a handle bar is welded to the frame so the lever can bolt on to it.
Photo 31 - "Suicide style" brake lever


The next few photos show you how to get a decent look from a spray can without having a proper area to paint. I hung the frame from the clothesline in the backyard with a bit of rope (Photo 32). Try to get the frame hanging in the center of your yard if possible, and move anything important at least 10 feet away from where you are painting. Windless, bug-free nights are best if you have such a thing in your area.

First, I take a can of metal primer, shake it vigorously, then just apply a light dusting using quick strokes at about 10 inches from the frame. Do not spray directly at the same spot. Always do it in strokes. The first coat of primer should look like it does in the photo, just a very light dusting, no more. Let it dry for 15 minutes.

Photo 32 - Primer - stage one.


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