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Thread: Custom shifter knob

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    Registered User matria's Avatar
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    Default Custom shifter knob

    I am combining a couple of hobbies and am in the process of turning a couple of gear shift knobs out of a piece of redwood burl. I am trying to find a internaly threaded sleeve, M8 x 1.25, to fit the threads on the shifter. Has anyone seen such a thing or have any suggestions? Thanks.

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    The Lone Potter v12horse's Avatar
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    That sounds awesome. Hmmm, there are a lot of junky shift knobs on ebay, maybe you could just take the metal peice with the treads in it and fit it onto the knob that you are making. I think that is awesome that you are going to make your own knobs. In high school, I took woodshop and I loved it. Keep us posted and post pics of your progress.
    "A real sports car chooses its owner because it has a soul. If you're chosen, you'll love it, and the more it requires care and maintenance the more you love it." -Mr. Morita (Z432 owner)

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    The Lone Potter v12horse's Avatar
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    This was all I could find. I personally think you would be better off taking apart an old datsun knob.

    http://www.flameball.com/Accessories/ACC-Spline.htm
    "A real sports car chooses its owner because it has a soul. If you're chosen, you'll love it, and the more it requires care and maintenance the more you love it." -Mr. Morita (Z432 owner)

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    I pulled a couple of worn shifter knobs at the wrecking yard to get the inserts. They fit right, they were designed for the purpose, and I got to see how they were fastened-don't want a new turning to crack from having too small of a fitting hole. Reverse engineering is cheeper than trial and error!

    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    Registered User matria's Avatar
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    Default Custom gear shift knob

    Thanks for the responses. I looked around a bit at some of the local hardware stores and did not find anything worthwhile. I thought about getting a 1/2"X1/2" aluminum or brass rod, cutting it to length, drilling, and then running a tap through it. I have a tap that is long enough to do at least 1". Do you think that the aluminum or brass would be to soft? Should I look at some sort of steel or other metal? I have several natural colors of wood that I am going to try: browns, blacks, purple, yellow, reds, oranges, creamy white, etc. I should have pictures by next weekend. Thanks again.

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    Hard brass or the harder alloys of aluminum(6061, Fortal) would work great. It looks like the inserts I pulled are made of softbrass-already repaired with a helicoil- or Zamak, and are glued in using epoxy or silicone.
    I am setting up a home foundary. As I get closer to completion-a month or so, I will see about casting some inserts using a M8x1.25 bolt as a core. It might take away the need to thread a hard to hold insert.

    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    Registered User matria's Avatar
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    Will, I look forward to hearing from when you are up and running. I will try to locate the items you mentioned and see if I can get them to work. Thanks, Skip

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    Skip,
    Are you turning green(not yet properly dried) wood?
    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    I hope to cast and enamel a series of Z items-including emblems for the top of shifter knobs-one that parallels the center portion of a late 240 quarter-window vent.
    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    Registered User matria's Avatar
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    Will,
    All of the woods that I am working with right now are well seasoned and at about 10% moisture content. Once the summer heat comes, the shop is going to get hot and dry it out even more.

    One of the ideas I had is to cut out a copy of the Z emblem from sheet silver, about 3/4" high, and inlay it in the top of the knob. Possibly try to inlay a version of a 5 spd pattern.
    Skip

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    Skip,
    Silver tarnishes, and the tarnish stains everything you touch. I have a thin sheet of Sterling Silver that would probably take an impression of an emblem, I might Play with that Tonight-sounds interesting!Most of the shifter emblems are nickle plated, and then enameled.
    I asked about the green woods because I have heard that burls are much less prone to fall apart if turned while green-I was going to give that a try-but haven't gotten there yet!
    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    Registered User matria's Avatar
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    Probably food for a different forum, but...
    Green wood is easy and fun to turn. If you finish turning it wihle it is green and fresh, the round bowl you just made might be oval by morning. They can dry into some incredible shapes or just crack and become firewood. I have several blanks that I rough turn, seal, and let them sit for 1-2 years until it they are dry enough to finish turning without distorting.

    Would the silver tarnish under a clear coat? The top of the knob is constantly under attack by fingernails, rings, the impromptu drumstick etc. that I think that the finish might crack and air in. I will keep thinking about this one.

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    Clear coating is frequently problematic, Silver is pretty chemically reactive, and suitable topcoats are not very durable-that is why most sterling and silver plate is not topcoated-sort of like finishing wood-urethane is very durable, but is very hard to repair well, orange shellac is not nearly as durable, but is quite easy to repair well.
    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    i made a custom shift knob. Used a small piston out of a lawnmower. Attached a bolt with the same thread pattern as the shifter inside the piston and she screws right on. Looking into getting a z ingraved on the top. I think it turned out very nice. Feels great too.
    www.hybridz.org
    www.ottawaprelude.ca

    - 1977 280z -

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    What about a picture?

    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    Originally posted by matria
    One of the ideas I had is to cut out a copy of the Z emblem from sheet silver, about 3/4" high, and inlay it in the top of the knob. Possibly try to inlay a version of a 5 spd pattern.
    Skip
    To avoid the issues with a Silver emblem (discussed in prior posts) I was wondering if using Stainless Steel for an emblem might be an alternative?

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    Carl, Stainless would work, but it is harder to machine and to cast.
    Most of the emblems I have seen are cast or machined brass or Zamac and then nickel plated. Once the nickel is on, chrome is not too far away. The base metal can be soft to make it easier to form, if a somewhat thick-relative to cosmitic plate-layer of chrome is put on, No one would ever be the wiser.

    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    Registered User matria's Avatar
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    Will,

    The pictures should be posted by Sat. am. I ended up using 1/2 x 1/2 Al rod. Drilling and taping and then epoxy that into the burl. I chucked an exhaust man. bolt in my lathe, screwed on the blocks and turned 3 knobs. Came out pretty nice if I do say so myself. Put the second coat of finish on this morning, 3 more to go. I got some sheet nickel that I am going to play with and see if I can cut something out and get it inlayed.

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    I did move the foundry furnace to the new place today. I have yet to figure out where to put it. I expect it to be useful for enameling too.

    I am anxious to see those pictures!

    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    philo "Z" opher Zedrally's Avatar
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    In answer to your Silver problem, can I suggest that you have it Rhodium Plated. This will stop any tarnish forming and according to the density you have it plated may last a very, very long time.

    However, you could consider a lower carat White Gold, prefrably one of Nickel alloy, depending on size it may not be cheap, but will last the next 40 years +.

    MOM
    Mike of the Mire

    73 240Z Rally
    77 260Z Touring

    Bogged but not beaten

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    Those are good material suggestions, but not good value suggestions-Actually the pieces could be made of lead , and treated for hard chrome plating. I have even melted away the lead and made a chrome shell, but the plate has to be pretty thick...
    Strangely enough, I have a reaction to gold, and actually had my wedding band rhodium plated to narrow down the cause. It did not stop the reaction. I always knew I was special...or was that wierd...


    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    philo "Z" opher Zedrally's Avatar
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    What carat is your wedder, I have had customers that have had similar reactions with lower carated golds.
    Perhaps Platinum is the answer!!!!!

    Incidentally there is a Tarnish Resistant Silver Alloy available [at least here in Oz, contact Apecs Casting], they apparently use silicon at some stage of manufacture.

    MOM
    Mike of the Mire

    73 240Z Rally
    77 260Z Touring

    Bogged but not beaten

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    Started at 10, went to 24 and punted with the plating!
    Still have no idea why, but I can only wear jewelry(ring, watch,etc) for a few hours before small blisters form, the area takes several days to recover, and will ultimately open if I don't remove the offending article soon enough-built in bio-anti-ostentation-the money looks better on the Z anyway!
    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    Thank goodness I don't react to tool steel and chrome! I couldn't touch my tools!

    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    philo "Z" opher Zedrally's Avatar
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    Originally posted by hls30.com
    Started at 10, went to 24 and punted with the plating!

    Strange, in fact odd on the 24, only time [once] I have come across this is.....drum roll please, change of life, menopause.

    Now what was the question?
    Mike of the Mire

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    77 260Z Touring

    Bogged but not beaten

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    I have been married since I was 28! Until several years before I was married I wore a 22k ring with no ill effects!

    BTW tried Platinum, Silver, and stainless steel-plated the outside w/gold or something that looked like it-deer in headlights!


    Back to the thread, lost wax casting and a Kerr setup would make short work of the shifter badges in a soft lowtemp metal-like the zink derivative conduit hardware is made out of.

    Will
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    philo "Z" opher Zedrally's Avatar
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    If you need to go low cost metal, why not cast in cuttlefish.
    Mike of the Mire

    73 240Z Rally
    77 260Z Touring

    Bogged but not beaten

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    I don't want that smell in my car!


    Will

    BTW, Jim Williams-Main Charactor in in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, had the hood ornament on his Vanden Plas cast in 24K gold-his sister has the car now, I don't think she knows!
    Last edited by hls30.com; 05-06-2004 at 03:41 AM.
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

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    philo "Z" opher Zedrally's Avatar
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    Back to the idea, do you have a pattern? If not why not cut one out in Sterling, then have a rubber made. There are plenty of Casters around who charge next to peanuts for investment casting in silver.
    I do a line in crosses which the metal value in silver would only be $2-3 dollars for patterns. Labour costs of course blow this figure out, however, I've found 925 to be the best material for patterns.

    If you need any assistance on this my workshop is open to you.

    MOM
    Mike of the Mire

    73 240Z Rally
    77 260Z Touring

    Bogged but not beaten

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    Registered User tanny's Avatar
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    Titanium?

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    philo "Z" opher Zedrally's Avatar
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    Near impossible to work with! But good suggestion. Is available in sheet, just don't make any mistakes.
    Mike of the Mire

    73 240Z Rally
    77 260Z Touring

    Bogged but not beaten

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