Early stages of motorcycle fairing.
It would be a stretch to say I’m getting “good” at this, but I’m at least beginning to see how it works. To me, a new skill is only enjoyable once I’ve reached the point where I can improvise with it. Up until now I’ve felt totally at the mercy of what the metal was willing to do. Now at least I feel like I’m gaining some control.

I definitely underestimated the difficulty in my tail light concept. I had planned to simply back the slots with strip LEDs. Turns out these are nowhere near bright enough. The solution was a hacked pair of LED car tail lights. Same light source, but each cell is encased in a tiny reflector cone which greatly increases the visibility (and they were pre-wired for two brightness levels). Needless to say the original plastic housings were not eager to play nice with my aluminum tail shape. Bandsaw, belt sander, zip ties, and some custom brackets and I can finally call it a success.

So, I haven’t posted anything in a while but I’ve had a good reason. The image here may look a lot like a motorcycle, but it isn’t. Well, it is, but it’s a lot more. It’s a first step towards breaking my total dependence on found objects for source material.
Waaaay back when I first started making things in metal I went with found things because I didn’t have the skills to make the shapes that I wanted to. This project represents my first attempt at building forms from sheet stock. It’s a steep learning curve, but I’m beginning to see the way it works. I figure that by the time I build all the body work on this motorcycle (the tank is coming along nicely) I’ll have developed the skills to apply this technique to sculptures. I’ve had a lot of false starts, and a lot of material has wound up in the scrap bin, but stay tuned, things are starting to flow now.

I’m excited to have finally begun my motorcycle project! I was given a Honda CX500 in poor condition as a starting point. My plan is to rebuild the tank and body work from aluminum sheet. This is a process I have always wanted to learn but have little experience with. To get over the vertigo of not knowing where to begin, I’m roughing out design possibilities with styrofoam. No telling how many attempts it will take before I eventually get a form worth translating into a metal pattern. Bear with me, this one may take a while.