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Engine Cover Project
Decided to try to make a piece to add to the engine on the truck. Had a few ideas to try and this is my attempt to make it happen. It will take some time and thought but projects always do. Want to incorporate a thanks to the people of our military into as well. Without them, we wouldn't have the freedom to do anything.
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My plan is to try to make an Eagle like covering over the top of the engine with the wings coming down to the valve covers. Going to use 1/4" stainless rod so I can easily polish it out. Trick will be to make it easily removable and use existing holes for mounts.

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Pulled 2 long lengths of 1/4" rod I got at the scrap yard and a leftover piece of large round from another project cut off tang. This was the left from making the blackout light covers that I'm using for turn signals on the truck.

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I'm planning on using this piece for the Eagles head. I'll have the rods feed into the back of it and whittle the head using old school methods. I need something to hold it so here I've drilled it and tap it to a 3/8" - 16 thread.

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Need the faces true for drilling and layout. I'll get the smaller diameter consistant as well. I have something planned for it as well if it works out.

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One end done. This way I can lay all the holes out. I have to start with this piece to find out how many holes/rods I can work with. This will set the pace for the rest of the pieces due to space limits.

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I then flipped it over and faced the other side so drilling will be easy. I don't have a mill so this will be old school free hand on the drill press.

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Scribed a line .202 from the edge around the diameter. This will give me enough wall on the top. I then scribed 2 vertical lines. I'll shave the sides down eventually.

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Wanted some wall between the rods entry so decided on a .350 centerline as it worked out to the corner. Just used the calipers to scribe them out.

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Then I used an automatic centerpunch to mark them for drilling.

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I drill then all to the same depth(about .625) and then I reamed them to size.

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For the front mount I have an existing bolt hole for the Intake in the center of it. I will use this to bolt to. I decided to make a Mopar like emblem for the bracket. Used the tools shown to lay it on a cereal box. I'll cut it out to test fit and then make an aluminum template for mock up. If everything looks like it'll work, I'll then make it out of stainless. I've marked the 11 holes uniformly around with them getting more space, like a body would be.

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Everything cleared but set a little high so I took some of the bottom. Looks less like the emblem but function trumps the form here. Traced it to a scrap of aluminum and drill the holes.

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For the back I'm using a thick piece of black poly. This will be the used piece if everything works out. I'm going to let it just sit on top of the intake and I ground the slot .400 deep to lock it in position. Rods will come through this and splay out, forming a tail like feature. I'll round the top edge later but wanted to get the holes drilled.

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Here is the first rod holding spacers in place. With 11 rods I'll have 5 for the body and 3 rods on each side for the wings. I may add more fill rods later for the wings but that remains to be seen. I'm more of a do it as you go person as you have to be flexible with ideas sometimes.

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Cut 5 rods to about 2 ft. that way I'll have extra but will still fit in there. I can final trim later.

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So far so good. I'll have to do some bending to get the rods into the head piece but happy with it so far.

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Went ahead and pulled it all off for fitting. Going to try to just tap them in the head piece first. If that works I won't have to bend them and the curves will be more uniform. Here we go.

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Success!! My aluminum pattern is kind of flismy but since this looks like it will work, I'll start making the real bracket now.

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Got a flat of stainless about .100 thick. I put tape on the bottom to help with any scratching on the bottom. I get my stainless from the local scrap yard and buy it by the pound. It does have some scratches and such already but I don't want to add any more.

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Taped the pattern on and traced it with a marker. I want the curve a little wider so I'll cut to the outside. the upright has to be that wide for clearance so I'll cut to the inside of the line. Centerpunched the hole locations and I'll drill them first.

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Holes to size and I'll cut it out on a bandsaw.

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There's a machined boss on the intake manifold not being used on one side so I need to make a flat mount to attach there. Other side has a similar one but the MAP sensor is on it. Both sides will be different but I'll do the easy  one first. I make patterns by laying a piece of paper over it and rubbing with fingers. Marks everything at once.

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Now I have a life size pattern with no measuring. Just cut it out and go.

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Scrap bin yielded a polished piece close to size so I'll use it. I keep tape on the surface for protection.

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Drill for the 2 mounting holes and a .250 hole in the center for a support rod for the wing. I'll use the same .250 rod and just TIG weld it on the back side once to length.

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Used the surface grinder with a cut off wheel. Made quick work of it as I just move the handle in at this depth.

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Got the "loom" bracket cut out on the bandsaw and put the rubber firewall type grommets in. I had to offset the mount hole some for clearance. I'll smooth/true the edges later and polish it out once all the fitment is done. the smaller bracket is to size and I ground the rounded corners on.

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Here I'm bending the .250 rod for the wings. Using an old oak form and hardened forming punch I made previous to do it. Keeps the marring down.

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Once I get a bend that is right, I use a sliding T bevel to get the angle. That way I can make another with the same bend for the other side.

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I increased the length 1 inch as I worked out, along with making a bend with more of an angle. Was able to assemble it all and it looks good to me. I'll also do some bends on the tail section later.

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No clearance issues with it mounted on so I'll work on the side supports now.

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Started by mounting the base plate down and I'll rough measure the support rod and cut it.

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Threaded the end for a hold down and will TIG weld a washer on the shaft to hold the poly sandwich clamp I have planned.

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I had made the hole in the plate basically a press fit. this allows me to center the rod where I want it for welding. I'll tack one side and check/reinstall before final TIG welding.

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Simply just welded a circle and it is home. Face it flat and we'll move to the next once installed. I did polish the plate and the rod on the end. Easier to get the blems out doing it that way. I'll finial polish when it is all done.

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Everything checks okay and is centered.

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I'm going to use tape as a reference for a line and to mark the holes. Center will be straight and the outers will have an angle.

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Using machinable black poly for a rod separator/clamp/mount. I'll mark the holes and sandwich together and drill a slightly smaller hole to clamp the lines. this stuff is nice to work with and very strong.

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Need a collar to hold the poly up so a small leftover will work fine. I'm drilling a .250 hole here. I'll put a heavy countersink in after to give me a weld galley. I'll also surface grind the end, diameter and spin an angle for looks. I'll then cut it off and repeat for the other side.

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I made both side and here they are polished out. It will be like a pedestal mount.

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Now I'll mount it all back up and figure out the height I need. I'll just put some tape on the rod as a bind and push it down so I can get a measurement for welding.

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A little TIG welding and it's not going anywhere. Now I can final polish it all out and install.

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I marked the rod locations but the 2 outers will be on an angle. Center is straight. Old school here as I just jack up one side till the angle is correct and drill it on the press.

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You can see the line on the brass colored bar. This insures the same angle when you flip it around. Simple but it works.

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Here is the 2 halves separated. I drill 2 straight holes in the opposite direction for clamping. One will be the support rod and the other will be a bolt.

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Installed and looks/works fine. I'll trim down the poly blocks later.

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I'll round the ends of the wing rods as well. Just want to get all the mounting stuff worked out first. Now to the other side.

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This will be a little more involved. The mounting tab on this side has the MAP sensor there. It goes into the manifold so I have to work around it. Plan on making a stand off bracket above it. Here is the sensors strap and I found a few tang rounds the will work. I'll drill the holes for longer screws to pass clear through and shorten the spacers to size.

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Got some longer allen bolts and the collars to size. made another rounded bracket to match the other side and drilled a center hole as well.

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To help with set up I undersize the center hole.

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Did a test install and everything was okay. Now I'll get the rod done.

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Here I'm spin grinding the rod to a basic tight/press fit on the surface grinding. Helps as it's like a third set of hands to hold it tight once you place the position correctly.

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Now it will stay tight. If you undersize it some you can use a center punch to bring up a burr.

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Basically a repeat of the other side and welded the mount onto the rod once the "real world" measurement was made.

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Just welded around the edge of the rod and fused it all since it was sticking through a ways. No need for filler rod this way. Now I'll final polish this side.

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All prettied up and tons easier if you have it all polished before welding. Hard edges and space becomes tight where you have a hard time getting a wheel in there.

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Nice flow and even lines.

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Installed the other stand and I also covered all the wires with black poly. Rerouted some stuff too so it looks a little better to me.

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Always meant to do but always put it off. All the black doesn't draw your eye like the multicolored wires did.

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Got the other side done as well. Lots easier because not as much stuff over here.

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Now to the head. Went ahead an ground a large flat and locating flats all around the piece. Drilled and tapped 4 holes that will hold the head to the rods. Then I got to thinking.....

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Decided I'm going to cut off the tang and do a bore. If I drill/tap another hole in the middle of the others, I can secure another rod(center of body and hold the mandrel which could be hardened so it will repeat when taken out during grinding process. I have other reasons for this set up and I'll explain later.

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Cut the tang off with the surface grinder and a cut off wheel.

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Now I'll grind this flat and true. Will help with polishing later.

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All smooth and next will be to drill and ream the center hole and take out those threads along with drilling and tapping the small one.

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Got the drilling, reaming and tapping all done. Had to relieve a tap to reach all the way through but got it done with no breaking.

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There is a lot going on in the inside of this! Had to chase the threads several times to get all the burrs out.

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Got a hardened blank and spun one end down to basically a .0002 clearance to the hole. I then ground a flat for the set screw to lock it in place while working on getting the head done.

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Here it is installed. I'll grind some of it in my Harig fixture on the surface grinder. That way I can get a few reference points to work from. I'll draw up a scale drawing and then just take some measurements from that once I'm satisfied with the design.

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Decided where I wanted the eye to be so I drilled that. Had to use an endmill to get a flat surface to start from as the drill would veer off otherwise. Mill mark will all get ground away in time. I'll switch gears to something else now.

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Decided to finish the rear body bracket. Used a belt sander to curve the top to the holes and round the edges.

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I also drilled and tapped 3 of the holes that had some meat there for set screws. This will tie it all together and keep it from moving. I then final sanded it all down with 600 grit sandpaper.

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Working on finishing the rods fro the body/tail now. I'm spin grinding a .125 radius on the ends of all the rods, including the wings. Gives it a smooth, finished look. being held in the Harig.

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This is the radius dresser on my surface grinder. With the diamond mic I can set it to any size desired, accurately.

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Only takes a couple minutes for each one as I redress every time after roughing it in. It will polish out very easily. With these all done, I'll polish all the rods before bending the tail ends.

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I want them to have the bend all at the same place and look even on the bends. That means halving the degree of bend from the outer rod. the center will stay straight. Here is an old school way to do it. lay the rods on a bench and use a straight edge to get the flush. Then lay 2 strips of tape where I want to bend.

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Then I mark it with a magic marker in between.

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Make the first bend to where I want and use the sliding T bevel to have a pattern for the other side so they will be the same.

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After both are bent I get a piece of scrap lumber and mark it at 1 inch and 2 inch.

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Slide the bevel till it is on the 2 inch line and hold firmly in place.

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Then I adjust it to the 1 inch line. This pretty well splits the degree in half. Now I'll bend the 2 rods on either side of the middle one.

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Worked like a charm. I then repolished where the bending was done as it will haze some where the metal is stretched.

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Spent some time to draw up some life size sketches to work from. Granted I'm not very good at drawing but I need something. I'll go back and forth looking at color pictures to get the finer details down but I can rough grind from this. I'll cut out a pattern as well. I can use calipers and other measuring stuff to figure out curves and points.

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Ground some off here and getting the extra material away. The pattern shows the internal hole depths that I have to stay away from. Not happy with the beak so I left some stock there till I get a design I like.

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The forehead is to size on the 45 degree grind, just need to blend the curve. I basically plan on getting outer dimensions close and then round everything to that. Gives me a constant to go by.

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Ground some more off and brought the beak to it's bottom width I want.

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At least it's getting lighter! and beginning to look like something.

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Got the loom bracket all smoothed out and it's ready to be final sanded. Once I get it to 1200 grit, I'll start to polish it out.

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All polished out and installed the grommets. Just one piece of the puzzle left now!

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Back to the head. I ground a portion of a 1/375 radius into a .900 wide wheel. I held the piece on 45 degrees and bended to the 45 degree relief cut I made earlier. Total width of the radius was 1.80 inches so I did both sides by simply flipping it around. No I have a guide to blend to.

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Here are the tools that I'll be using to do this. A couple of die grinders, mounted stone wheels in various forms, sanding discs/drums, carbide burrs and borazon(diamond) wheels.

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Some more smaller mounted stones with finer grit as well.

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I'll hold the head in a V block and use this to move it around in various positions. I made this from 2 old weaker chuck magnets that were being thrown away. Put the opposite and it's a double sided holder.

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I marked a line and used a fine stone to grind a groove. This is all free hand so I keep flip flopping it from side to side to try to keep them the same. The wheels don't grab as bad so I start with that. I use the corners and eye locations as a reference once started.

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Once it's down to where there is a deeper groove, I switch to a carbide burr for faster removal. Slowly work my way down to make the overhanging brow feature that eagles have. At least my attempt to! LOL

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I take it down till it basically blends to the beak area.

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On the back end, I'll measure with calipers to keep that the same within reason. I'm limited on some of this by the internal blind holes. Don't want to break through on those.

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Both are the same now.

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Now I'll round the forehead in. I use a 4 1/2" angle grinder to remove the majority. Again, rolling the stone and try to keep the same.

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Now I'll mark a center line and use 80 grit sand paper on the die grinder to smooth even more out.

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This is as far as I want to go with the sanding. I'll now blend it out with a fine hand file.

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To make it more comfortable to work, I stood the magnet up on end and blocked the piece in. I can work from a chair when it's like this.

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I mark the area to be worked with a black marker. This will highlight and lows that need to be worked out.

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Slow sweeping action with the file and it's making it more uniform. You can see the ghosting of the black and this is when you know you are close. I slowly work my way out to the red lines.

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Here is one side done. I'll do the other side the same way.

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Next is to shave the beak down. I'll slip dress the side of a wheel to get me close. It will also make another set of guide flats to go by.

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I mark the center of the beak tip first. Just gives me a double check mark if something goes awry.

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I need to have this taper in as well as angled. I'll kick the part on an angle and infeed the wheel to accomplish this.

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To do it "perfect" you could use a sine bar but I'll do it old school. Just using a block of steel with a line marked. Line it up and it's close enough.

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I dead wheel on the depth and zero the digital. Now I'll infeed till it looks close, zero out and flip it all around and do the same to the other side.

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The digital readout take the guess work out of it.

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I'm going to quit right here. I need to take more stock off the backside and will see what I have then. Can always take more off the angle. Hard to put it back on though!

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Decide to make the beak a little longer as it will be more pronounced that way. What I drew looked too much like a normal bird to me.

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I then started hand filing the edges down on the beak.

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I'll probably relieve it more but want to see it close before doing that.

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Here I'm grinding off stock off the bottom. Have the part knocked in on center and kicked up on 30 degree angle. I'll grind flats to a zero and then swing off once they are all in. Keeps it from being grabby that way as there is not that much stock to deal with.

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I've set limit stops on the side. You can see one here with the socket head screw and hole. I just dial down and then swing it by hand to the other stop.

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Gives a great finish and keeps it all symetrical. Just have to watch you don't hit anything else.

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I can position it anywhere on the check and as long as I don't dial down past my zero, it will be at the same location for blending.

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Here I'm bringing the beak in as I've dressed a wheel with a radius.

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This is when I realized I made a mistake. Had in my head that I wanted a straight angled side as in the one picture I was looking at it "seemed" that way. I need a radius on what is a straight wall here. Should have look at my pattern!

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TIG welded some stock back and now I'll do it right.

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Dressed a radius the other way and stoned the back cut angle. As you can see, still need more angle but that is easy to do. Just walk it in and down slow.

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I'll finalize the groove for the eyes and maintain the overhang on the brow. Using a carbide burr for this and doing it by hand in a die grinder.

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Decided to spin grind the outer diameter with a 1 degree taper. It'll give it a little better look and had to remove the flats I put on for locating anyway. Stuff with angles and curves always looks better and more lifelike I have found.

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On the side I went ahead and ground some flats to break up the round shape. In process here and will go all the way to the back.

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Spinning it to clean gave it a nice finish and will make polishing a lot easier.

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Decided to get fancy and grind a .500 radius on both side of the flats. Kind of complicated as this is a tapered flat to a tapered diameter. I'll use the Harig fixture to accomplish this.

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I get the centerline of my Harig and use an indicator to measure from that. Since it's tapered I have to have a constant reference point so I use spacers to hold that length, Set the stops at the blend points and I can keep the blend with .0002 tolerance.

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The gage blocks are my reference I work from

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Once the flat is at zero and the diameter is at zero, it's ready to swing once the stops are set.

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Doesn't look like a .500 radius but it is. Both sides done here. The reason is that there is not much difference between the flats centerline and the diameters centerline. SUPER easier polishing here.

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Here is a better view.

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Want to decide on the beak/mouth separation line now. Plan on grinding a light groove so I mark the line wanted with a magic marker.

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Before doing the line I decided to swing off some stock on the lower jaw area. Changed to 25 degrees to give it another facet. Ran them exactly the same on both side so this gives me another reference for the hand grinding.

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Looked at some more Eagle pictures and changed it some so he has kind of a frown. A more menacing look which suits what I'm going for. I'm going to use a Dremel grinder with a small left over cut off wheel. Wish me luck.

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Got them both done with the wheel. Doesn't need to be too deep as it's just to show the mouth break.

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Now I'm ready to do the final sanding to get ready for the polishing. I ink it all up again.

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After the hand filing is done to blend I use a soft pad and 80 grit. I skip this step on the surface ground stuff. One light pass and you can see the lines that show the lows and scratches.

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Once they are all gone I switch to 500 grit.

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Doesn't take long to get to this.

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When designing this I kept in my mind to do things that would make polishing easier. I had to do a few hard corners for the beak to give it some detail do I'll use fine needle files to blend there. When I switch to sandpaper, I'll use popsicle sticks as a backer. Yes, labor intensive but the result is worth it to me.

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Rounded the beak some more and it's getting closer.

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To blend the top, I mark it with ink again and I'll hand file equally on each side. Trying to keep it the same. Again, ink gives you a visual reference.

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I'll stop here and go to sanding.

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Got it sanded out to 600 grit here. I've decided to give the eyes a different treatment and I'll do that after polishing the cavity where the eye is.

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I'll still have some sanding in the hard corners as the polishing will show the flaws that need to be addressed. Happy with the results so far though! Has the look I wanted.

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This whole thing is being done as a tribute for those who serve and have kept us free so I wanted  it to look like, "Don't mess with me!"

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I decided to use some diamond cut amber glass from some costume jewelry. This will give a real nice effect for what I have planned so I'll countersink the holes I currently have for the eyes.

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What I have planned is to use a light to light up the eyes. I crossdrilled the holes into the main holding hole in the back to the same diameter as the flashlight.

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Light is pretty bright and testing beforehand seemed to be fine. I'll put a wingnut on the bottom so I can take it in and out easily for the rechargeable batteries. I didn't want to mess with wiring it the trucks electrical system.

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Countersunk the eyes for the diamond cut glass. I'll use clear silicon to hold them in place.

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Went ahead and final polished it all out before putting them in.

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I also did a dimple on the beak as eagles have an airhole there on each side.

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Polish turned out great and real happy with the curves and contours.

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Eyes in place now and I'll let it set up before putting it all together.

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Got some better firewall grommets  for the center bracket. the others were a little thin for me.

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I'm also going to have coins for the 4 branches of service and needed a way to hold them. Found these at a pet store of all places. They are for holding air hose to a tank but they will work great for what I want.

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I'll take them off and on when I arrive/leave but really nice as I can adjust them easily and just snap on and off.

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here's all the pieces except the stands which are already installed.

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I did mark each bar for where they go as they tend to look the same after a while!

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Getting it together and the design has it binding on itself. It'll get straight when it's mounted.

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Kind of like a puzzle going together but now it looks like something.

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Tail section with all the rounded ends gives it a nice touch. Also won't get caught on stuff when cleaning!

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Coins just clip on to the wing bars. Can easily change them up whenever I want.

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My way of saying thanks to all who are and have served. On the wings of eagles if you will, all fighting for one cause.

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Lighting isn't the best in the garage and it's snowing here now. I'll get better pics when it is nicer out.

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Here you can see the eye lit up.

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Pleased with the outcome and a nice wintertime project. Always wanted to do something for the engine and took me a while to come up with something I thought would be appropriate.

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The light was not as bright as I had hoped and my brother suggested trying some fiber optic cable. Never messed with this stuff so I'll give it a whirl. I'm thinking the direct beam will help. Here is a shot of it coming through.

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Getting it in and central to the lights beam is a hurdle to overcome. It's tight and I don't have much room in there. I put the cables in and tried it and it does look brighter.

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To keep the 2 wires central I'll use a rubber grommet. I'll trim it's diameter down to fit the hole and trim the end. I was trying to get 2 wires per side but even with trimming most of the cover off, it wouldn't fit.

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Drilled the hole out some so it will keep the central.

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Acts as a shield and you can see it is better light wise.

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When I fed the wires in they basically lock themselves in on the 90 degree bend. Only thing I could come up with was to leave tails and push the grommet in. I'll then trim the wires off with a Dremel tool with a carbide burr.

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After trimming them off, I reinstalled the flashlight and it works! Not a laser beam but better than it was.

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