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View Full Version : How to: make lock/adjusting collar tool



soofle616
02-21-2010, 01:57 PM
I thought this was a fairly common practice but I've met at least a couple people on this board that have never thought to do this so the following is a tutorial on how to make your own tool for removing/installing lock and adjusting collars. These are those extra thick washer looking things with 4 to 6 notches that you find on swingarm pivot bolts, engine mount bolts, and steering stems (under the top triple above the upper bearing). Generally speaking the special tool as provided by the manufacturer is stupid expensive (i've seen from 50 to 130 bucks). Before we get to the instructions, some disclaimers/warnings:

1) Precision counts when making these tools, sloppy work can and will result in damage to the collars especially during removal of torqued lock collars

2) Dremel's while incredibly useful, will throw a lot of crap around when used, wear eye protection if you value your ability to see

3) Cutting disks do not actually cut. They grind very fast in a very small area to give the impression of cutting. As such the use of cutting disks will produce a lot of fine metal dust so if you don't want to blow black boogers for a week, wear a dust mask. Also, grinding generates a lot of heat, either stop frequently to allow the part to cool or wear heat resistant gloves and stop occasionally to allow the part to cool (running cold water over it speeds the cooling process)

4) Unless you use the fiber reinforced cutting disks (more expensive) be prepared to get hit in the face multiple times when the disks you use break. They will break, frequently, and it can and does hurt when they hit you.

5) This is not a 5 minute project. With experience I have gotten this down to about 30 minutes or so but the first one took me close to 2 hours to get right (and it was still sloppy). Remember, precision counts so TAKE YOUR TIME!! Rushing makes for sloppy tools, sloppy tools can damage the collar and make it difficult to remove or impossible to torque which will cost you more time later.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, this is the little bastard that we need to remove:

http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q128/soofle616/Bikes/How%20to/IMG00031-20100219-2036.jpg

Step 1, Measure (twice):
You will need to measure the following (I recommend using a pair of digital or dial calipers for accuracy:
Thickness of the collar (measure this using the depth gauge feature on the calipers)
Width of the notches (measure more than one to capture the tolerance between them)
Diameter of the notches (distance from the flat of one notch to the flat of the opposing notch)
Also count the number of notches (use your fingers if necessary)

Write all this down because you will need it later.

Step 2, Buy a socket:
The tool you will be making is going to start out as a standard 3/8 or 1/2" drive socket (really big ones may require a 3/4" drive socket). Bring your calipers and the diameter of the notches to sears or your tool supplier of choice. I find that 12pt sockets work better and are easier to fabricate from than 6pt but either will work if necessary. Using the calipers, grab a socket that you think might have the right internal dimension and measure the internal width at the smallest point (for 6pt that's between opposing flats, for 12pt, it's between opposing "teeth"). You are looking for a socket that is either exactly the same size internally as the diameter of the notches or slightly smaller. DO NOT GO BIGGER, you can always remove material but you can't (easily and cheaply) put it back. Once you find a socket that will work, buy it. At this time also buy cutting disks (fiber reinforced work best) if you don't already have them. Typically you will need 1-5 of them depending on how big the tool is and how good you are with a dremel.

Step 3, prepare the socket:
The easiest method I have found is to wrap the end of the socket with masking tape. Then set your calipers to the thickness you measured earlier and lock it in place. Place on of the jaws against the edge of the socket and spin the socket causing the tip of the other jaw to etch a ring in the tape. This will be your depth guide when cutting the teeth.
Then set the calipers to 1/2 the width of the notches. Again using the tips of the jaws to score the tape, drag the calipers from the end of the socket down to the line you just scribed around the diameter. On a 12pt socket, start one tip in the center of one of the teeth, on a 6pt, start it in the center of one of the flats. Repeat this process using the same center line but on the other side. You should now have 3 score lines, centered as described above.
Repeat the process again for each notch. For collars with 4 notches you will do this on every 3rd tooth of a 12pt, for 6 notches you will do this on every other tooth (see? this is why 12pt works better than 6).
Once you've finished running your scribe lines I recommend double checking them all to make sure they are properly centered on the teeth and evenly spaced around the socket. Symmetry here will allow you to make the teeth of the new tool as wide as possible giving you a nice fit in the collar which will make torquing and removal much easier. If everything looks good, trace the lines with a pen to make them easier to see during cutting. You should now have something that looks like this:
http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q128/soofle616/Bikes/How%20to/IMG00026-20100219-2024.jpg

Step 4, CUT!:
Start by cutting the short lines for the teeth. Be sure to hold the dremel so that the wheel is perpendicular to the edge of the socket. Also make sure that you cut straight across, you don't want the teeth to be tapered towards the center or you will reduce the contact area of the tool.
http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q128/soofle616/Bikes/How%20to/IMG00029-20100219-2027.jpghttp://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q128/soofle616/Bikes/How%20to/IMG00030-20100219-2028.jpg

Cut all the short lines before moving on.
Now you have to cut along the diameter line you made earlier to remove the excess material. I find it is easier to lightly cut along the whole line between teeth before trying to cut deeply as this creates a score line that the cutting disk will naturally try to follow. This usually results in a cleaner and straighter finished cut. I also find that coloring in the areas to be removed with a pen or marker makes it easier to avoid confusion as to where I'm supposed to be cutting. Again, you want to make sure you keep the cutting disk straight relative to the socket to avoid tapered cuts.
http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q128/soofle616/Bikes/How%20to/IMG00028-20100219-2027.jpg

NOTE: depending on the size of the tool, number of notches, and how worn the cutting disk is, you may not be able to cut all the way through without digging into the teeth. DO NOT allow the cutting disk to remove material from the teeth or you will weaken them. If the disk is too big to get all the way through, try cutting as far as you can all the way around the tool to wear the disk down, then cut a little further. If you still can't get all the way through, use a large pair of pliers to break the piece off (you should be pretty close so this shouldn't be too hard), then use the dremel to smooth any rough areas.
This is what you should end up with after your first cut:
http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q128/soofle616/Bikes/How%20to/IMG00027-20100219-2025.jpg

Step 5, Test fit:
More than likely when all is said and done, your new tool will NOT fit. This is because based on the measurements you took earlier, the tool you made is exactly the size of the collar. You actually need something slightly smaller than that in order to have clearance to get the tool in there (It's metal, it doesn't stretch that easy). Figure out what is actually not fitting before you start cutting more. It could be the distance between the teeth is too small in which case you want to shave a little off the inside of each tooth. It could be that the teeth are too wide in which case you want to thin them a bit (be sure to take material off BOTH sides of each tooth not just one). Or it could be a combination of both. Regardless, work slowly and take a little off at a time until the tool fits. Again, the better the fit, the better the tool will work.

Once you get it to fit, you're done! Here is what you should have at the end, note how tightly everything fits together.
http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q128/soofle616/Bikes/How%20to/IMG00035-20100219-2046.jpg

Step 6, use the damn thing:
Kind of self explanatory....

Just in case you're wondering, I have done this several times now. Each one I spend a little more time and thought on to try and get a better result. Here is my collection:
http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q128/soofle616/Bikes/How%20to/IMG00036-20100219-2051.jpg


Remember too that many of these can be used for more than just the bike they were originally made for so always check through the ones you have before you go making a new one.

Pestilence
02-21-2010, 02:54 PM
These guys make spanner sockets if you don't have the tools to make your own spanner socket. They're located in RI.

http://www.whittet-higgins.com/part.php?series_id=75

Oh yeah.. get a Vise Ian, it'll make your life and hands happier.

DucatiMichael
02-21-2010, 07:35 PM
Holy crap Ian, you have only been out in east bumfuck for a month and already you are experiencing episodes of redneck engineering. Please, when the idea of bathing in a 55gal drum filled with rainwater sounds like a good idea, seek professional help.

soofle616
02-21-2010, 11:00 PM
Holy crap Ian, you have only been out in east bumfuck for a month and already you are experiencing episodes of redneck engineering. Please, when the idea of bathing in a 55gal drum filled with rainwater sounds like a good idea, seek professional help.

First, as was pointed out to me not to long ago, it's WEST bumfuck, not east :slap:. Second, I've been making these things, using this method, since my SV days like 6 or 7 years ago. If this is redneck engineering, it's east coast redneck engineering :twofinger:

As for the 55 gallon drum full of rainwater. They don't use that shit to bath, that's for cleaning the moonshine barrels :cool:

ilikenapalm
02-22-2010, 12:06 AM
Thanks for the write-up Ian, I'll actually be doing this myself this week.

scubasteve
02-22-2010, 08:19 AM
Ah yes, good old metal working... Nice write up - I haven't had a need in a while, but I always used to scan tag sales for junky ratchet sets... I really only wanted the sockets since they can be great for using as drifts for bearings or doing what Ian documented above...

ilikenapalm
03-08-2010, 04:37 PM
Just a few additions.

First, if you've never cut metal before or operated a dremel, its really not hard.

Second, instead of using pliers to break off the piece with a little extra holding on, I found that if you make another cut a few millimeters from where your tooth is cut it will also snap the piece off.

Third, if you don't have a vise, use pliers to hold the socket. Your hand won't burn up that way.

Fourth, three teeth will still get the nut off. I messed up on my spanner the first time, cut all the teeth off, then cut new ones. Messed up on one of those, so I just cut it off. Still worked fine.

Fifth, Ian, you said reinforced cutting disks... Dremel makes little grinding wheels and I was able to use one the whole time to essentially make two spanners. Was I just lucky or were we using something different?

Oh yeah, don't just make your markings with a sharpie, it comes out really crappy and you'll probably have to redo it (like this guy).

soofle616
03-08-2010, 06:20 PM
Just a few additions.

First, if you've never cut metal before or operated a dremel, its really not hard.

Second, instead of using pliers to break off the piece with a little extra holding on, I found that if you make another cut a few millimeters from where your tooth is cut it will also snap the piece off.

Third, if you don't have a vise, use pliers to hold the socket. Your hand won't burn up that way.

Fourth, three teeth will still get the nut off. I messed up on my spanner the first time, cut all the teeth off, then cut new ones. Messed up on one of those, so I just cut it off. Still worked fine.

Fifth, Ian, you said reinforced cutting disks... Dremel makes little grinding wheels and I was able to use one the whole time to essentially make two spanners. Was I just lucky or were we using something different?

Oh yeah, don't just make your markings with a sharpie, it comes out really crappy and you'll probably have to redo it (like this guy).

I actually used my calipers to make the marks, then went over them with the sharpie to make them easier to see once all the sparks were flying.

For the cutting disks, I use these:
http://www.toolmarts.com/media/dremel/dremel_426_lg.jpg

I'm not sure which ones you were using but if it wasn't the one above I'm gonna guess either
http://base0.googlehosted.com/base_media?q=http://www.capitolsupply.com/ImageServer.ashx%3Ft%3Dproduct%26h%3D200%26w%3D200 %26imageid%3DCS10097851&size=20&dhm=6734180d&hl=en or http://ak.buy.com/db_assets/prod_lrg_images/067/211583067.jpg

I'm sure either would work though I've never tried them.

It is possible to use the regular (non reinforced) cutting disks but they break very easily especially on deeper cuts like what this project requires. I end up using a ton of them not because they wear down but because they snap and little pieces go flying everywhere. With the reinforced disks I can make 1 spanner with 1 disk, sometimes more, sometimes less. It depends on the disk and the socket how much wear I see. The last one I made I used 1 disk and it's barely worn. One of my earlier ones I went through 3 disks (worn down to tiny little disks) but that one was based on a 38mm socket and had 6 teeth so lots more cutting involved.

As for using a dremel, you're right, it's not hard at all, nor is cutting metal. But it is very easy to go overboard with the cutting though and end up with a sloppy tool that doesn't work well (notice I said well, it will probably still work) so for someone without a lot of experience using the tool it's best to go slow at first.

csmutty
03-08-2010, 10:00 PM
Remember kids. Ian has the best tools. So don't contradict him!:twofinger:

ilikenapalm
03-08-2010, 10:32 PM
I should take pictures of mine. It looks like shit.

And yeah Ian, I used the grinding discs. I think those fiber ones would allow you to be a little more precise though.

soofle616
03-09-2010, 10:51 AM
Remember kids. Ian has the best tools. So don't contradict him!:twofinger:

Well at least you got one thing right today :twofinger:














:wub:

mattr302
04-07-2014, 12:20 PM
I thought I'd share my how-to:

1) Measure nut and figure out dimensions.
2) Yoink appropriate size socket from toolbox at work.
3) Use solidworks on company time to make a quick print. Throw in ridiculous tolerances for haha's.
4) Give print and socket to Ed in the machine shop at work.
5) Get socket back in a couple days.
6) Buy 6-pack of beer for Ed.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5160/13697614033_5ebd77d852_o.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7244/13697934254_1599802bf6_o.jpg

scubasteve
04-07-2014, 12:22 PM
:rofl: awesome!

You should have had him run 5 so you could sell the others to make up for your pack of beer you had to give him.

mhenry600
04-07-2014, 12:38 PM
haha... nice Matt. I hope Ed didn't actually try to hold that on the tooth width. :p

And +1 for using work resources, although most of the stuff here I have to do myself. Used the manual lathe last week, going to charge my shock with nitrogen this afternoon.

drinkingmymilk
04-07-2014, 12:52 PM
I'm jealous of you guys who are allowed to use the machines at work. Our shop is worth millions and I'm not allow out of the yellow lines even though I'm 30 days from having a machinist cert. :(

c5quest
04-18-2015, 05:31 PM
ya these are the suzuki sockets fir the SV and GSXRs. If you bought the factory sockets they want between 70-80$ each for them.