Author Topic: BMW V8 dry sump from billet  (Read 120171 times)

Offline Bernd

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #50 on: March 02, 2010, 11:27:39 AM »
Well Ade,

As I said it was just a thought. Yes, your right, add the word "billet" and the price automatically goes up. Same over here in the states. I usally take a piece of 1/4" square aluminum and tell them this is also a billet, although a small one.  :lol:

Perhaps looking into CNCing the mill would help increase production time. Just things to consider. You never know.

Good luck when you get to the real thing.

Bernd
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Offline AdeV

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #51 on: March 02, 2010, 11:58:08 AM »
Bernd - it was a good thought too, and I'm always up for new ideas even if I don't pursue them straight away (or, indeed, at all! I'm notorious for having many more projects on the go than I could possibly have the time, money or inclination to complete...

Apparently, "billet" just means "metal bar": Since bars can be square, rectancular or round, then there's no problem with describing a squared up offcut as billet :)

Interesting explanation here: http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/tech/term_billet_explained/index.html

Agreed about CNC... if I sell a couple, I'd probably earn enough to buy a CNC machine. Ironically, I could then charge even more money, because now it would be "CNC cut from billet"! It's a crazy old world....


1/2hr to shop time....
Cheers!
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Offline DMIOM

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #52 on: March 02, 2010, 01:06:08 PM »
.....Perhaps looking into CNCing the mill would help increase production time. Just things to consider. You never know........Bernd

True, you never know - it migt even decrease production time ::)

...... Ironically, I could then charge even more money, because now it would be "CNC cut from billet"! It's a crazy old world....

Even better when (NOT if) you can describe it as race or even championship winning !  :thumbup:

Dave

Offline AdeV

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #53 on: March 02, 2010, 04:06:46 PM »
Dave, I do hope so... I may have to persuade the old man to turn the keys over to me, if he doesn't drive fast enough this year!  :lol:

Anyway... no machining done tonight, I spent ages scratching my head wondering how I was going to mill the channels from the head drains down into the collection pipes. I'd have liked to give them nice curves and a smooth descent into the pipes, but that's not going to be possible on a manual machine. So instead, I figured I'd mill them level, and maybe 20mm deep,to the edge of the current slope into the sump; then slope them at a constant angle so they intersect with the side of the collection pipe.

Hopefully, the following semi-crap-o-cad will make this clearer:



SO, each line with an angle beside it will be milled with the sump set flat; I'll then re-set at the required angles to mill first the top 5 drains down to the collection tubes (B and C), then rotate 180 & mill the 4 channels into tubes A and C.

I've chosen to pick the holes up in the order they're in, so I don't have to mill a channel across the top of any tube. This means I can keep the overall depth of the sump to around 50mm. It also means I don't have to cut any of the ribs, although the support at either end of the 3rd rib will be fairly minimal.

The final operations will be to put a bit of a slope on the bottom of each gallery to angle towards the pickup.


So.... tomorrow will involve the rotary table. I'd better re-assemble it, I guess!
Cheers!
Ade.
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Offline Dean W

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #54 on: March 02, 2010, 11:16:22 PM »
Ade, you might as well go all the way when you sell these and say "Aircraft Grade Aluminum".   It's possible that this could actually be aircraft grade.  I know, "Billet" is the hot term for marketing, just like other terms that don't make sense, like "turbo".  (There is no turbo in my desktop computer, but it says turbo on the disc drive door.)

Billet is foundry metal put into a basic unfinished or semi finished shape.  It's what extruder plants and finishing foundries buy to form finished shapes, like tubing, shafts, finished square or rectangles, like what you buy at the metal yard.  Also, forging foundries use it, since there is no sense in buying finished metal  just to run it through a stamp forge and turn it into a completely different finished metal shape.

I know!  Call it CNC Billet Aricraft Aluminum. 

Just kidding.  You won't have any trouble selling a good product that someone wants, what ever you call it.

I'm still watching and enjoying your project.  Thanks for all the pics you've put up for us!

Dean
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Offline AdeV

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #55 on: March 03, 2010, 04:10:18 PM »
Hi Dean - So... we have a "(Potential) Championship Winning Aircraft Aluminium Alloy Billet CNC Dry Sump" :D

Sounds good to me, I know I'd pay £££'s for one!  :lol:

I also realised I didn't answer your question about contaminants in the wax: To answer that now, I suspect the metal bits will sink, and the "floor dirt" and sawdust should float, so by skimming the top & bottom off any ingot, one should (in theory) be left with plain wax. However, I'm not sure what influence any cutting oil/WD40 will have.... as there's bound to be some of that in with my wax swarf, we'll find out when I come to re-melt some...

Anyway, on with the show. Didn't achieve a massive amount today... had to make some T-nuts for the rotary table first. Well, when I say some T-nuts, I mean one giant one:



I had this crazy idea that, with one big T-nut sticking out of the rotab on each side, I could use the excess material to clamp the sump to the table. In the event, the T-nut wasn't quite long enough for that idea (oops), and the clamping was very sub-optimal. I will have to think of a better solution for the real deal. Fortunately, this being wax, it can tolerate being fairly lightly clamped, as the cutting forces are quite low.

Quote
[EDIT] I forgot to include in today's update, yet another plug for these little fellas:



I'd been faffing about with an old 3/4" carbide cutter milling the T-nut to size, and it was taking ages. The cutter wouldn't stand any more than 10 thou per pass, at about 150mm/min (so that's what, about 6"/min). As I've now got a glut of those 6mm rippas, I figured - what the hell, let's push one to death & see what happens. Well, it took 50 thou deep cuts, full width, at 500mm/min (nearly 2ft/minute), and survived! I maybe could have pushed it harder, but that was near enough for me. So, if you don't have any rippa cutters in your arsenal, I can very very very highly recommend them for rapid metal removal.  :thumbup: [/EDIT]

The rotary table is a bit of a pain TBH, it's extremely heavy, and doesn't (currently) have any means of locking the table down. I will need to fix that before I make the aluminium sump...

Anyway, with the piece loaded up, the first light cut is taken to verify the angle (inconveniently milling away the line I'd drawn):



It looked good, so I finished that cut, then all the others. It's not really obvious from the picture - due to the artistic (and completely accidental) mood lighting - that the cut is, in fact, in the X-axis direction.

So anyway, a few twists & turns later:



All of those were measured & cut by eye, so they could be anywhere... but they're all near enough I think. Having dispensed with the rotab & returned to just the angle plate, Mr Accuracy has been allowed back into the room. I've now worked out the angles for the troughs down into the drain holes, but haven't cut them yet (it got too late). That's tomorrow sorted, then.... and once I've cut the troughs out, it's D-Day. Drill day, that is...
« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 04:20:15 PM by AdeV »
Cheers!
Ade.
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Rob.Wilson

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #56 on: March 03, 2010, 06:44:58 PM »
This is one of the coolest post i have ever seen , Great stuff AdeV , I like the wax idea  :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:

Cheers Rob

Offline Darren

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #57 on: March 03, 2010, 06:46:44 PM »
I can see you are going to be pleased with you alloy sump already Adev  :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Offline Dean W

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #58 on: March 04, 2010, 01:29:38 AM »
Hi Dean - So... we have a "(Potential) Championship Winning Aircraft Aluminium Alloy Billet CNC Dry Sump" :D

Sounds good to me, I know I'd pay £££'s for one!  :lol:



You missed your calling, Ade.  You should be in marketing, on Wall St. 


Thanks for the reply on the wax shavings.  I'll watch for the remelt results.
More good progress today on your oil pan (sump).  Nice dramatic lighting.  Good results.

Dean
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Offline AdeV

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #59 on: March 04, 2010, 05:57:50 PM »
Rob - thank you! Although I have a long way to go before I'm anywhere near your quality of workmanship. But I hope to get there one day...

Darren - yep, I reckon so. And after today's update, even more so I think.

Dean - ugh, marketing! Don't...


Now.... on with the show. When we left the action yesterday, I'd got the sump back on the angle plate, ready to set to to mill the lead-ins to the troughs. I decided to start with the steepest angle, some 52 degrees:



Argh! First setback of the night, I can't get the quill low enough to cut the slot. Damn... have to find a long endmill from somewhere, or maybe I could mount it in a drill chuck. Not ideal, but I decided I couldn't be faffed with it. So...



I re-set it flat, and milled out the endpoints for the drain holes.


And now.........




The moment you've all been waiting for........




It's........




D-DAY!!!



The angle plate is moved to the edge of the table, and the part mounted atop it. However, it's too low down - there's not enough vertical travel to get the sump high enough on just the angle plate, so it's also sat on top of most of my collection of parallels - which are each 1/2" thick, plus or minus a gnat's cock. This is easily the scariest work-holding I've done so far. The feeler gauges stuck out of the wax (middle bottom of the pic) are to try to stop the huge expansion crack from closing up under the clamp & cracking. It wasn't 100% successful (I've lost a chunk from underneath), but that's not too bad as I will be shedding over 1" from the bottom of this piece before I'm finished anyway.

So.... using the drill itself to line the piece up (can't get any DTIs in there), I then swap the drill out for a 16mm end mill. Using the end mill, I locate the start of each hole, and mill it as deep as I can. These will be used to hold the drill stable (the drill waggles about quite alarmingly if run in mid-air).



And now, the bad news: To get the sump far enough away from the mill head to actually get the drill bit in behind it, I had to move the angle plate so it's literally clinging on to the edge of the table for dear life: The t-slots I'm using are outboard of the oil drain (so in the last inch of table), and I'm using the two right-most slots on the angle plate to hold it on. And even that's not enough, I've got to have the sump literally hanging off the end of the angle plate... If the last setup was scary, this one is doubly so. How that wax is not snapping under it's own weight, I do not know:



Again, the drill is being used to align the job. It took me 45 mins to get to this point. Here's another angle of the same thing, which better reveals the true horror:



I even had to take the clock off the wall, the sump gets that close. I had a total of about 2cms to spare...

And then, disaster:



It was STILL not far enough over! Aaargh! More manoevering. At least I knew what to do this time, and had the piece moved really quickly. So..... begin the first cut. It's just like drilling a normal hole, really, except the "peck" bit takes a lot longer, as you're feeding in & out on the X-axis. Thank goodness for power feed!

Starting with the shortest hole, after only just 15 minutes I was rewarded with my first breakthrough:







Next up, the LONG hole.... how would it go? See for yourself:





:ddb: :D :)  :ddb: :D :)  :ddb: :D :)  :ddb: :D :)  :ddb:

That tip is some 470mm deep in the work piece, and it's absolutely spot on target. To say I was chuffed would be a minor understatement. I confess, I actually danced a small jig, and may even have punched the air.

I was going to stop at this point, & finish tomorrow; but despite the late hour, I pressed on because I didn't want to leave the sump hanging over the edge like that...

So, one more hole, which was nearly a disaster - the drill was just touching the clamp, making a nasty clattering - so I had to move the clamp without moving the sump! Grr! Fortunately, all went well & the hole was completed without incident.

And so, the final photo of the night:



Although only 4mm apart, and 16mm in diamater (approximately), none of the holes have walked into each other, and they've all landed exactly where they should have done, and they're all exactly the right depth.

It's 11pm, I've not eaten in 12 hours, I'm knackered, and probably the happiest person in the UK right now :)


Until tomorrow.... (while the mill is canted over, I think I'll do a practice drill hole in aluminium, to see how that goes).
Cheers!
Ade.
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Offline Darren

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #60 on: March 04, 2010, 06:59:42 PM »
I once saw a chap tightrope walking several 1000 feet up across two rock peaks. No safety rope or net ... and holding no balance bar


Wasn't you by any chance was it?

You jammy bugger ... well done that was quite something to see  :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Offline Dean W

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #61 on: March 05, 2010, 01:20:03 AM »
Ade, I'm so much enjoying your show.   Just capital watching you work on this.  Every minute of it.
Keep up the great job, (and take the time to relish your accomplishments, too, punching the air, or doing a happy dance.  You know.).

Really a good thread.

Dean
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Offline Stilldrillin

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #62 on: March 05, 2010, 03:43:05 AM »
Ade,
In an earlier life, I drilled holes for a living..... Mostly in steel.

Many of mine would be around your size & depth. Intersecting etc, where necessary. Using the appropriate sized machinery.

I`m now sitting here, with the biggest grin on my face...... Knowing full well what you have achieved, with only what you`ve got!  :thumbup:

Blummin well done mate!  :D

David D
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Offline NickG

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #63 on: March 05, 2010, 03:44:08 AM »
Ade,

this is just unbelievable - if the pictures weren't there I don't think I'd believe it!  :lol:

Extremely impressive stuff though, keep up the good work, I think everbody is watching this!

Nick

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Offline Darren

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #64 on: March 05, 2010, 04:27:36 AM »
Can I ask why three holes and not just the one?
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Offline AdeV

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #65 on: March 05, 2010, 04:58:36 AM »
Thanks lads, for all your encouragement and praise - if it weren't for this site, I probably wouldn't even be attempting this.... and if I were I'd barely have a clue what I was doing.

One thing.... so far, this is only in wax, which is really rather soft & easy to drill/mill.... whilst I don't have any particular worries with the aluminium, I do know it'll take longer. And Stilldrillin' (David) - I would really baulk at having to do this in steel! I think the mill would fall over with the weight!

Darren - there are three holes because there are three (separate) oil pumps - all in one unit, but each oil stream doesn't meet the other. The idea is, if one pump ends up sucking all the oil away & is pulling on air, it doesn't affect the other two, which might still have oil to deal with. At least, I assume that's the theory...

I'm not sure how much oil is actually going to be coming down these pipes; but the current sump has 5/8" ID fittings, and three outlets, so I'm assuming the hole size is good for the oil volume. Of course, if the engine blows the sump off the first time it's used in anger, we'll know that bigger holes are needed!  :lol:

I also need to come up with a way of turning the holes through 90 degrees, so they exit from the side of the sump instead of the front. I think a bolt-on block with some kind of press-fit tube fittings will be called for. At least I won't need the long drill for that one!
Cheers!
Ade.
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Offline AdeV

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #66 on: March 05, 2010, 02:20:50 PM »
Just a quick update, I did a trial hole in aluminium today. Using the first "woodruff" piece I cut some 20 days ago (blimey!), I bandsawed a corner off, mounted it in the same way I had the sump yesterday (and yes, I can clamp it much more firmly, which is a big relief!), milled a flat spot, then plunge milled (horizontally, feels weird) a 16mm starter hole for the drill bit.

That done, I proceeded to drill... after the first 60-70mm, it was 10mm of cut, withdraw clean & lubricate the bit, back in, 10mm, rinse & repeat. All the way to 485mm. It took a LONG time - thank goodness for power feed! - but, we got to the bottom of the hole without incident, no nasty noises, and no broken drill bits.

Special swarf shot for those who like such things... :) :


Incidentally, I'm using WD40 as my coolant. As I'm being told by every man & his dog that paraffin is a brilliant Aluminium cutting fluid, I thought I'd try some out, to see if I could get more than 10mm depth of cut. Well, I couldn't, and the drill bit squeaked worse than an angry mouse.... so, back to the WD40 for me. I'll try the paraffin again when I'm making more open cuts.

So... how good was the hole? Full of confidence, I predicted its end point & drew it on the ali:








Aaaargh! Missed!:


WTF, etc.?  :scratch:  :smart:  Bugger..... when I measured how far across the hole is, I used calipers & measured from the edge; and forgot to add in the cutter width. Eejit. So, added 8mm, and drilled again. Much better.... It's about 2mm off target horizontally (which means vertically when I drilled it; so the drill was pointing up by 2mm over 485mm... possible I suppose, though the wax holes seemed to be more accurate than that) and 1mm out vertically - which of course was horizontal when I measured it. That's entirely possible - I used a ruler to check it, not a caliper or micrometer...

Upshot is, I'm happy enough. That drillbit should do the 3 holes I need of it with ease, and given how accurate it's cut even with my real agricultural setup methods, it should do much better when I come to do the real thing.

Right, back to the mill for another hour or so...  :thumbup:
Cheers!
Ade.
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Rob.Wilson

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #67 on: March 05, 2010, 04:00:12 PM »
 AdeV   :bugeye: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: that is some drill bit , well done ,you have some balls  :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:
Looking forward to the next instalment .

Cheers Rob


Offline AdeV

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #68 on: March 05, 2010, 04:13:02 PM »
Thanks Rob - must admit, I was puckering a few times during that drill, especially towards the end...

Only a brief update tonight; milled the slopes into the bottom of each pocket, so there's some kind of gradient for the oil to follow. I have to be careful to leave enough material to not break through into the adjacent drain holes (otherwise I'll have to cut & cover). Managed it, although Mr Accuracy stormed off after I accidentally dropped the metric calipers (buggerit, now I need a replacement).... so some of the cuts are too deep, and some are just plain wrong... Come the real thing, I'll probably mill the slopes in before I drill the holes, while I'm doing the side slopes.

I also made a bit of a path for the head drains; I need to mill those deeper, however, got to figure that out. I also need to mill a bit of an angle on the front & back portions; although there's not a lot going on there, there's enough to warrant a bit of a drain... I was going to do it tonight, but I've got to spin the angle plate around, and that's a ball-ache of a job. So it'll get done tomorrow...

Current state of play (it looks a lot better in the photo than it does in real life...):


As you can see, I've accidentally bumped a couple of the ribs with an end mill. One day, I might actually learn which way to turn the handwheels.  :doh:
Cheers!
Ade.
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Offline DMIOM

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #69 on: March 05, 2010, 06:01:26 PM »
Real top-banana for your "lets get it done" !

......As you can see, I've accidentally bumped a couple of the ribs with an end mill. One day, I might actually learn which way to turn the handwheels.doh:
      Just melt her down and start again !

and  :nrocks: - from this to George's stunning micro-engines ....

Dave

Offline jim

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #70 on: March 06, 2010, 01:33:31 PM »
this gets better every time!

i'm really looking forward to the ally one!
if i'd thought it through, i'd have never tried it

Offline AdeV

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #71 on: March 06, 2010, 06:09:56 PM »
Well, here we are again.... a straight 10 hours at the mill today, and I'm bushed. I did get a fair bit done, though, so for those of you on dial-up connections, I apologise in advance for the 10 new pictures which will take ages to download...

Dave - hmmm, melt it down? Shall I? Let me think about that for a moment...  :lol:

Jim - I can empathise with that, I'm looking forward to it myself. But I'm really glad I did this wax one, it's taught me loads - both about machining in general, and the manoeuvres I'll have to make with the ali sump too. I know I sound like a broken record, but I can really recommend this wax stuff for try-out type machining.


Anyway, on with today's fun & games. First job was to bring the height of the wax block down to dimension. Originally, I was going for a 2.5" deep sump; but I've managed to fit the whole thing into just 2". Which is great (it's going to lead to a scandalous waste of aluminium, though, I will have to face off a full 0.5" from the big piece - about 20% of it), means the weight comes down and so on.

So, here we are about half way into the job:



Notice the chipping & cracking in the lower right corner; that's where the expansion crack is. Typical, it's just in the main block.... Never mind, it's still going to get nailed later on.

So, having faced the block down to 50.8mm, what next? I decided I'm fed up with having to add my "spare material" dimensions every time I dial the piece in... it's already led to one cockup - the tubes and the slots which the tubes end in are all ~4mm out of position, because I forgot to add the 4mm "spare material" measurement a couple of days ago.

So, obviously the first job is to mill the nice rounded edges - 35mm radius. Out with the rotary table, & find it's centre point. It's all a bit rough & ready... I used the quill to get it within 0.5mm of true. No dial indicators here! Once the rotab was about right & bolted down, I loaded the sump on, and put the centre of the theoretical 35mm circle, and clamp down. Now that was a palaver.... I think I'll need help when it comes to the ali version... Finally got it all lined up, angled up, etc:



Cut (took maybe 1 minute). Done.



Rinse & repeat for the other corner. Managed to start turning the rotary table the wrong way on BOTH radiuses. The second time, I carefully worked out that I needed to turn the wheel clockwise - then turned it anti-clock as soon as the cutter was in play  :doh: What an eejit.

Aaaanyway. Dump the rotab, re-set the sump straight & true on the table (sitting on some parallels, so I can mill to full depth), and dimension the sides:



While it was there & dialled in, I drilled the holes the rest of the way through the wax, so I could do a trial fit on the engine. I also cut & dimensioned up the front & back of the sump; so now it's the correct size all round (except the tabs).

Here it is on the engine, at last! The exhausts are in place to make sure there's clearance room (there will be, when the side is milled to an angle):




Notice the various calculations, which I wrote on the piece itself. At least I don't lose them that way (until, that is, I come to mill the material away!).


So... it all fits! The drill holes are good, at any rate, and it sits flat on the engine, so the rods don't seem to be interfering. Tomorrow, I'll take the plugs out of the engine, put the sump in place, and rotate the engine through a complete 360, to make sure none of the parts touch anywhere.

Back to the mill, and it's time to slope the outside. Here I'm checking the deepest hole (the depths got a bit random for some reason), to make sure I don't break into it.



This depth then gives me the angles for both sides (22.6 and 13.2 degrees respectively). Milled the first side, flipped the sump around, and problem! Can't get the clamps to grip, they slide off the sloped bit, and the remaining flat parts are off the edge of the angle plate... So I had to mill a flat edge, where the bolts go (which had to be done anyway, but I'd planned it for later). Now I had somewhere to clamp, so on with the second cut. Here it is in progress:



At this point, the pucker factor is turned all the way up to 11.... Much earlier on in the "build", you may recall I cut a 2mm deep "pocket" in the centre of the sump. Whilst this proved very useful for ensuring I wasn't wildly off-target with my other measurements, now it's causing problems: Because underneath that sump, the only bit that's actually touching the angle plate, is the part under the clamps! That 14mm wide by 16mm deep strip, is taking both the entire weight of the sump, and the machining operations! Pucker? I certainly did.

But, fair play, despite the fact I'd actually cracked the wax earlier (too much clamping while the expansion crack was still in play), it all held, and we got to the end with no soiling in evidence:



That picture shows just how little gripping room there was; the wooden spreaders are about the same width as the flatted section. After that photo, I flattened the edge on the other side the same.

So, close of play today:



Looks the same as yesterday on that side!  :lol:

Tomorrow, I hope to finish off the front end (most of that lump on the front will be cut off, and a bolt-on block added to turn the oil pipes through 90o.

One last bonus photo, for the album:



I love this wax stuff  :D
Cheers!
Ade.
--
Location: Wallasey, Merseyside. A long way from anywhere.
Or: Zhengzhou, China. An even longer way from anywhere...
Skype: adev73

Offline Darren

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #72 on: March 06, 2010, 06:20:23 PM »
WOW  :jaw:

But won't the exhaust melt it ....  :lol:

You are doing a grand job and it's looking cool already  :bow:
You will find it a distinct help… if you know and look as if you know what you are doing. (IRS training manual)

Offline Dean W

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #73 on: March 07, 2010, 12:11:31 AM »
More great progress today, Ade.
That wax must be much tougher than it looks after all the setups and "hanging off the edge"
that it's been through. 
Neat final shot in this thread...  A see-through sump!

Dean
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Offline andyf

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Re: BMW V8 dry sump from billet
« Reply #74 on: March 07, 2010, 03:38:38 AM »
An idea which is probably daft: would it be possible, having drilled the horizontal holes to length, to push a little neobdi nenobdym rare earth magnet to the end with one pole upwards. Then use a compass as far away as you can get it on the top surface and draw intersecting lines to check that the drill hasn't veered substantally off course. Attaching the magnet to a wooden dowel would mean it could be extracted without tipping the billet on end.

Like I said, it's probably a silly idea, but you could try it out half way along the trial hole you drilled in the monster Woodruff key, to see how precisely a vertical hole can be positioned without any dead reckoning.

Andy



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I've cut the end off it twice, but it's still too short