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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This thread separated from the discussion about a limited number of custom Sport Classic gas tanks, as started by brooksie.

The purpose of this thread is to keep track of ideas, and to solicit donations for the R&D and prototyping of a production aluminum alloy replacement gas tank for the various Sport Classic models.

The goal of this project is simple: To develop a solution and a product that will replace the problematic plastic tank on Sport Classic motorcycles with a high-quality aluminum alloy tank, suitable for polishing or painting. We are trying to keep the cost down, while providing a high-quality solution that uses stock parts for ease of use. That is why it is necessary to have everyone's help.

To achieve this goal, several steps need to be taken:

* Obtain high-quality "virgin" Sport Classic tanks that will be used to do the initial scanning in order to make the mechanical drawings. We have had offers from other members to use their warranty replacement tanks for this process. This is the desired route, as it utilizes existing "free" parts as opposed to purchasing new ones. Should we not have enough "virgin" tanks from forum members, we should purchase that model's tank from Ducati in order to scan.

The objective of using "virgin" tanks (tanks that have never held gas) is to create the master designs from parts that have no verifiable spread to them. Ideally, the fitment of any tank that will be used for modeling will be verified before scanning to ensure that we have the best starting point for that piece.

If the need arises to purchase tanks for the purposes of modeling, I have set up a Paypal donation pool for the forum members (see below), so that we can purchase the tanks from Ducati. Use the link below to contribute to the "Save the Tank" fund. Suggested donation is $40 (US), based on responses, and the cost of the tanks. If you can't swing $40, then any amount will help.

Each model tank should be about $1878, and we have guesstimated about 150 people interested. Once we reach the magical amount, I will purchase and verify the fitment, for the necessary remaining parts, and then send the tanks to the scanner as chosen by the group.

At the end of the modeling, if tanks were purchased, they will be sold here or on eBay, and the proceeds used to either repay the people that donated, or to roll back into product development.

* Product development. From the discussion in the previous thread, there are a few steps that come between the initial scanning and the resulting production. They include CAD time, and some testing to verify the model and molds are stable. The donation pool will also be used to fund this stage of the process, with either existing funds, fresh donations, or the money from the tank sale.

So far, consensus has been to keep the overall exterior shape the same as the original model, but undoubtedly there will be other design choices that should be put to a vote. I will post various polls for these, and keep track of them here.

* Production. Forum member Hardball has expressed interest in producing the tanks when the designs are complete. Any funds that have not already been allocated to obtaining tanks, or R&D will be used as necessary to help set up production.

* Refund policy:

If the whole deal should fall apart before the tanks are completed, or you are not interested in participating after you have donated, I will refund the donations where possible. If for some reason Paypal is unable to refund the donation, or I can't refund it to you directly, it will be forwarded to the AMA or Abate.


I want to personally also take the opportunity to say a few words. I, like you, really love my Sport Classic, and although Ducati is rumored to be working on a replacement tank for the failed plastic parts, I think this option of an alloy tank is too attractive to pass up. It really is with all of your help that this project will succeed, and I want to thank you all in advance for helping make it a reality.

I can think of nothing better, than to have a group come together and come up with a solution that will please all of us, and really enhance the beauty and reliability of our bikes.

Thank you.

Geoff



 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The first order of business is to figure out to total cost of the project.

We would need to find someone who can quote CAD time, and any other steps before the plans make it to Hardball's hands.

Hardball, can you specify exactly what you need from us in order to do a production run, and what you would deliver?

I have the ballpark figure from Hardball's last calculation that the tanks, when in production should be sold for around $1000 (US), and will be sold as a kit that will need to be welded and pressure tested (around $100 ballpark).

If we need to purchase all three SC tanks from Ducati, the price there is $6150 (with CA tax). Forum member elementfmfl has offered to use his warranty replacement tank from his Sport 1000 as the first model. elementfmfl, please let us know if that will be possible.
 

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thanks for taking the time to open this thread and
getting the first poll started.

:)
 

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I have a call into the dealer and am waitign to hear their response to have the tank released to me for a couple of days. I will explain the reasoning and see where we end up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have a call into the dealer and am waitign to hear their response to have the tank released to me for a couple of days. I will explain the reasoning and see where we end up.
Great!

Thanks for helping out. If for some reason they say no, I can attempt the same with my dealer when my next tank comes in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We could get these tanks done in house, no problem. What is the real price point desired, how many want one, etc.
We're trying to determine that as we speak. If you look up the poll thread (above in this thread), that is where we are capturing the pricing data.

As for your offer, what services would you be able to give us? What production method would you use? What quantity could you supply, and how quick would the turn around be?

Hardball has already made an offer to hydroform and brake-form a two-piece tank from aluminum alloy. I don't have all of the details to that process...Hardball, would you like to chime in?
 

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I have tremendous respect and appreciation for what needs to be undertaken to produce alloy tanks. I respectfully suggest a slightly different approach by scanning (plotting?) the chassis for fitment/plumbing and designing your own outside shape rather than replicating a stock tank. Are there not 3 different SC tanks but one common trellis frame? One trick tank design and a matching race-inspired seat/cowl would be ideal IMHO.

/Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I have tremendous respect and appreciation for what needs to be undertaken to produce alloy tanks. I respectfully suggest a slightly different approach by scanning (plotting?) the chassis for fitment/plumbing and designing your own outside shape rather than replicating a stock tank. Are there not 3 different SC tanks but one common trellis frame? One trick tank design and a matching race-inspired seat/cowl would be ideal IMHO.

/Mike
I think we can get where you want to go with the plan as it stands. The goal of the scanning of the stock tanks is to get a stock shape for those that want a similar part. Once the forms are in CAD, they can be adjusted to suit different needs, and the attachment points are included in the scan already. Just tweaking the shape would give you the desired result.

I still feel that once the plans are finished, that everyone should be able to get their hands on them and massage them as necessary and have a shop be able to build to order. The tough part of this is really how the tank goes onto the frame, and the fuel pump housing. Once that data has been acquired, the shape can be made to look like whatever you want.

However, I have not given much thought to the tail-piece that a few people have asked for. It might be worthwhile to start brainstorming on what it would look like.

Nevertheless, good ideas. You might also want to add this comment to the poll thread.
 

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The first order of business is to figure out to total cost of the project.

We would need to find someone who can quote CAD time, and any other steps before the plans make it to Hardball's hands.

Hardball, can you specify exactly what you need from us in order to do a production run, and what you would deliver?

I have the ballpark figure from Hardball's last calculation that the tanks, when in production should be sold for around $1000 (US), and will be sold as a kit that will need to be welded and pressure tested (around $100 ballpark).

If we need to purchase all three SC tanks from Ducati, the price there is $6150 (with CA tax). Forum member elementfmfl has offered to use his warranty replacement tank from his Sport 1000 as the first model. elementfmfl, please let us know if that will be possible.
Geoff,

Unless I'm mistaken, the Sport and PS style tanks are the same, but for the fairing mount bosses. Is this accurate? If so, we would only need two tools made. One for the S1K and PS style and the other for the GT style. I believe the S1K can be adapted for the PS style by adding brackets, which could be provided along with the tank as a complete kit, similar to the Air-Tech race-only kit.

We can get the scanning and CAD work done here. Basically it comes down to taking the raw data files, making a conforming 3D image, massaging it for symmetry and then looking for problem areas the tooling can't produce efficiently and modifying them accordingly. After the tool geometry is finalized, we can add the filler, vent and fuel pump bosses, as well as any mounting bosses required, either as weldments or as features of the base pan.

As I've said previously, the tooling is the tough part and therefore the most expensive part. The cost of the tools determines much of the per unit cost, based on the quantity of parts we run. A $10,000 tool adds $20 per tank to a run of 500 units, but $200 per tank for 50 units. I suggest we bring this project to the stage of tooling cost quote for the S1K/PS tank and then see what the cost vs. level of interest ratio is. If we get a good response, we can then attack the GT tank. This will save both time and money during the pre-production phase.

The ballpark quote I gave you was based on a run of 500 units of one type (meaning off 1 tool), unwelded. Welded, pressure tested and completed units would obviously cost more. As an option, we could also produce them in brushed or polished finishes at extra cost. All these prices are quantity sensitive, so the more we make in the first run, the less expensive each unit is...so this is one case where "The More The Merrier" really applies.

Although I expect to get considerable feedback from interested members about the features and design of the tanks, please bear in mind that it may not be possible to incorporate ALL of your great ideas in a production unit. Please don't be insulted if your idea is not usable in production. This is particularly true in terms of the shape of the shell itself. Other features may be possible to add as options.

Just for hahas, I'm going to get my seat cowl and front fender run through the scanner too.:D I'm looking forward to your feedback.
 

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We're trying to determine that as we speak. If you look up the poll thread (above in this thread), that is where we are capturing the pricing data.

As for your offer, what services would you be able to give us? What production method would you use? What quantity could you supply, and how quick would the turn around be?

Hardball has already made an offer to hydroform and brake-form a two-piece tank from aluminum alloy. I don't have all of the details to that process...Hardball, would you like to chime in?
Geoff,

Rever Corsa should be encouraged to cost out the unit as well. I'll let him speak for himself, but my guess is that he would be buck-forming the tanks out of 1000 or 3000 series alloy, and probably in 3 or more pieces. Let him describe his preferred method.

My intention is to Hydroform the shells. This is a production process capable of producing thousands of parts from one set of tools. Essentially, it involves the cutting of a solid steel tool which looks just like the shell of the tank, less 1 metal thickness. That tool sits below a ring designed to conform to the base of the tool, which grips the sheet of aluminum for forming. The top of the sheet is compressed by a heavy rubber bladder backed by pressurized hydraulic fluid, just as the tool is forced through the ring. This shapes the metal in one stroke, and is repeatable to within 30 thousandths of an inch. We can use nearly any aluminum alloy to produce the shell, making a thinner, stronger part. This would be mated by TIG (possibly MIG) welding to a brake-formed (punched, stamped and air-bent) base pan, which would include any mounting bosses and fuel pump housing. This is the same method by which many production fuel tanks are made today.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroforming
 

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...
Just for hahas, I'm going to get my seat cowl and front fender run through the scanner too.:D I'm looking forward to your feedback.

im down with that too!:cool: id like to get the full aluminum treatment going!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Geoff,

Unless I'm mistaken, the Sport and PS style tanks are the same, but for the fairing mount bosses. Is this accurate? If so, we would only need two tools made. One for the S1K and PS style and the other for the GT style. I believe the S1K can be adapted for the PS style by adding brackets, which could be provided along with the tank as a complete kit, similar to the Air-Tech race-only kit.
I think this would be something that should be put to a vote by the PS/S folks. Do they want a tank that mounts the same way, or having to buy another mounting kit. I agree that having one S1K/PS/S tank would be a cost saver, but since I don't have an PS/S, I can't be objective in what makes sense for others.

So, a poll it is: http://www.ducati.ms/forums/showthread.php?t=64530
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Geoff,

Rever Corsa should be encouraged to cost out the unit as well. I'll let him speak for himself, but my guess is that he would be buck-forming the tanks out of 1000 or 3000 series alloy, and probably in 3 or more pieces. Let him describe his preferred method.
I agree, my intent with respect to managing other's money, is to get them the best bang for the buck.

In that spirit, a little pricing competition/information is a good thing. And we can all decide which path makes more sense.

Bruce, your process sounds very modern and well thought-out. I look forward to seeing what ReverCorsa brings to the table.
 

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I agree, my intent with respect to managing other's money, is to get them the best bang for the buck.

In that spirit, a little pricing competition/information is a good thing. And we can all decide which path makes more sense.

Bruce, your process sounds very modern and well thought-out. I look forward to seeing what ReverCorsa brings to the table.

Excellent. Seems we're all on the same page.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Something that I have wanted to bring up:

Will the aluminum tank have any drawbacks with respect to fuel staying in the tank for a while?

Another poster had a comment about ethanol and it's ability to act as a dielectric and possibly corrode aluminum.

Would it be a good idea to have the inside of these tanks coated as a precaution?
 
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