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If you want to learn to make cool stuff take shit apart!

This week we are finishing off the breakfast bar with some up-cycled car parts!  I’ll not pretend I knew I was going to use scrap car parts for this project – the idea occurred to me as I was dismantling this old Citroën BX car to harvest aluminium to make cnc castings with (see here for more on my experiments with that). I’ll say it again and again, if you want to learn to make cool stuff, take shit apart! It’s incredibly enlightening to get hands on knowledge of what previous designers have built, and suss out how things go together and work.

Engine removal, so much to learn.

If you do take a car apart, be ready – it’s a lot of super interesting but very greasy, oily fun. Below is just a few of the parts rescued – and at the time of dismantling my mind was being blown by the upcycling possibilities! Anyway, If you want to watch the video click here or on the pic.

Upcycled car parts to furniture video

I soon realised I needed to make a parts washer just for the occasion. I used an old Belfast sink (thrown out by local university) in combination with a re-purposed coolant pump. I was using kerosene (very cheap and effective, but not so dangerously volatile as petrol), it’s a favourite with motorheads everywhere. The parts you can see being washed are the bits that hold the crankshaft solidly down in the engine block. They will be modded and used as wall mounts.

These are some of the tools I used in the process, and all of them needed a damn good clean once I was done. Old engine oil and grime has a magical ability to self-replicate onto all surfaces…

Below is one of the front suspension swing arms, or ‘wishbones’ as I know them. with two of the crankshaft mounts either end. You can see where I’m going with this right?

what will be the swing arm

As it was, the bits I wanted to use as wall mounts needed something fixing inside them so that we could drill a hole in the right place. The hole will retain the 16mm swing arm pin.

The bits to be welded

Those bits of mild steel were welded in….

And after a lot of difficulty, drilled through. If you want to know why they don’t have bright metal surfaces anymore, watch the video!

Anyway they are cleaned up on the big disk sander and then it’s time to clean up the rust on the wishbones. I do this with an angle grinder and a drill with wire brushing attachments. The drill’s good at getting into the nooks and crannies, the angle grinder powers through it on even surfaces. I always have a room fan blowing across the work to evacuate the rust dust…     Cleaning up with a wire brush drill attachment

When I’m happy, that gets a couple of coats of clear uv resistant lacquer.

Using the modded crankshaft mounts the whole thing is mounted on the wall.

It works!

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