I am a motorcycle restorer. I am looking to rebuild older motors but I am afraid to disassemble some of them as I have no gaskets for them. I remember, many years ago, my old boss "tapping" out a gasket using a hammer and gasket material and the parts to be mated up. Does anyone have any knowledge along these lines? I'm guessing I would need to use copper gaskets for these motors. Thanks!
It depends where the gasket is used. For gearbox and such like gaskets a thick cartridge paper is what we use to use.
1) get your cartidge paper and ensure that it is big enough. 2) have a good grease at hand. 3)Spread a thin coating of grease on the mating face.
4)Apply the cartridge paper to the face and ensure that it is smooth and flat. Using a Round tool such as the side of a scriber or pencil rub the edges so as to leave a mark all round the edges inside and out. 5) Cut out the gasket shape with a pair of scissors carefully and replace exactly on the face.6}Using a ball pein hammer mark out the position of any holes in the face, remove gasket cut out the holes and replace with a small amount of grease on both sides of the gasket.
It is much harder to describe than to do but I hope that it gives you an idea of what we use to do 50 years ago.
Except for a head gasket, you should be able to use RTV gasket makers for almost anything. Aside from the problem of finding suitable head gasket material, once you have cut it to the shape of the head, the biggest problem will be cutting the various holes without destroying the part you want to retain. Before embarking on the head gasket adventure, you should be very sure no gaskets exist. Depending on what the engine came from, you might be surprised at what is still available.
You've got a computer. Get a cheap cad program. Draw up the parts (gaskets) you need, and print them out on paper. confirm they are right, then transfer the pattern to the appropriate gasket material. Then if you need another one, most of the work is already done. Cereal box or shoe-box cardboard works in a pinch, or even brown craft paper,soaked with non hardening aviation type gasket shellac, or even axle grease. Victrolite or other gasket felt is better. For head gaskets, get some annealed copper sheet. You can use it as is, or you can face it with aluminum foil.(gives it a bit more compliance). Heck, I've seen a 27 Chevy Baby Grand that ran for YEARS with a LEATHER head gasket. Just a sheet of split cowhide, soaked with shellac, and bolted down. As for RTV? Sure, you CAN use the stuff - if you get the right RTV - but over the years I've grown to hate the stuff. The "right stuff" brand from Permatex/Loctite is one that I will use on ocaision.
I'm not sure why you hate RTV, but I will agree that choosing the correct stuff for the job can make a difference. For smooth machined mating surfaces, the motorcycle folks make stuff that is great (many bike engines use no gaskets on such surfaces as a matter of design), for example, Yamaha Yamabond 4. For oil pans, there are many auto manufacturers that don't even use cork (or other) gaskets any longer. Mopar (Chrysler) makes (or has made for them) a black ATF-RTV that I use on many parts where oil would like to escape, including the pan, that is the best I've found for such things.
Some older british stuff used the gasket as a spacer when taking up critical clearances, so think about that when deciding what to do. The Right Stuff, Loctite brand goop, is really very good. You can make up copper head gaskets out of sheet, but they are better considered shims to get the valve clearances and compression ratios right, than gaskets. You still need a sealer to make them work. If you use a solid copper headgasket, remember to anneal it before first using and between uses, to get rid of any work hardening, and be sure to get a very smooth surface on the head and block. Surface ground would be perfect.
Yamabond is NOT RTV. Anerobic sealants such as Yamabond are a whole different kettle of fish, when used where specified. (generally between closely fitted machined surfaces) RTV in the same application is not adviseable.
It is a matter of expediency and cost. Mechanically applied sealer costs less than manufactured gaskets - and inventory is simplified - one part instead of hundreds. Beancounter engineering again - and I generally disagree with it.
And wherever possible, when I have to replace them, I use an aftermarket gasket. A good friend and fellow mechanic used to race "Flamborough Hobby" stock cars - in his case a '37 Chevy coupe with a highly modified 230 cube Chevy six. He had problems with oil leaks. He used tubes of RTV assembling the engine, only to be black-flagged the first race. I went to the track with him one weekend, and when the car came off the track AGAIN for oil leaks, I told him to get the car onto the trailer so I could get under it, and find me a fresh cork or composite gasket. He asked, what about gasket sealer, or Silicone? I said, no- nothing but a clean dry gasket. Pulled the pan, worked the surface flat with a ball pien hammer against the trailer ramp, bolted the pan back on with the dry gasket, and sent him out to win the consolation round, mini feature, and main feature that night - without a drop of oil loss. too bad he had litteraly "pissed away" half the season, or he could have placed in the top 3 or 5 for the year. He never used RTV on that engine again.
I think you are referring to the following method:
1) Lay the gasket material on the surface that you want to make a gasket for.
2) Use a light hammer to tap the gasket material where it crosses the edge of the part which will shear the gasket material. You hold the hammer so the face hits the edge of the part at about a 45 degree angle.
3) Use the ball end of a light ball peen hammer to tap in the center of bolt holes to cut them out.
You can buy gasket material off of a roll at some auto parts places. My local bearing supply carries it in a dozen or so thicknesses and materials so I buy it there. The "real stuff" is cheap enough so you don't have to resort to cereal box cardboard.
Cutting the gasket only takes very light blows so I haven't ever seen a part damaged as a result of using this method. This is the way my father showed me to make gaskets fo the 1936 Chevrolet that I had as a teenager. This method may be frowned on now days though.
I wouldn't try this method with a copper head gasket.
You can also use a hardened ball, which is my common practice. I keep a box of old ball bearings for various uses, of which this is one. Simply press on the ball, which should be larger than the hole, to find center, then tap it lightly with your hammer. This method tends to give a little better quality hole in the gasket.
i remember using a hammer to beat on a metal(steel) transmission with a sheet of paper/coardboard that came from a roll in the old time parts store... held in place and i worked fine... i would not do it today on an aluminum transmission... you can get a set of gasket cutters from Harbor Freight when on sale for about $3.00,, i got the 11 piece set.. i think the largest is 1/2 inch... bet a search on the net will give you some idea of whats available for cutting gaskets(copper also)....
I think I have a set of those gasket punches. The problem is that there is no centering device. I was use to the rotex type turret punches. The dies have a small point at the center. I could layout the hole, dimple the center and line it up with the die.
Apparently you WANT to be a motorcycle restorer. If you were already one, you'd have this all sussed by now.
Show no fear. Use no hammers for disassembly. Unless you have to. If you have a digital camera, take lots and lots of pictures. Take well chosen ones with a regular camera if no digital is available. Take a bunch of "before" pictures so you will have them after all the work is done.
With a bit of care, the gaskets should be able to be salvaged enough to be used as patterns. If not, a bit of creativity with some masking tape will allow you to make some patterns. Worry more about the inner part of the gasket. The outer bits can usually be trimmed away after the assembly.
Gasket paper is cheap. So are razor knives.
As to the copper gaskets, if there are copper gaskets in there, you may be able to re-use them after annealing and cleaning them. If they are not re-usable, they will still serve admirably for patterns. A punch press or nibbling tool would be nice for that work. A Rotex style punch ould be ideal, though not everybody has access to one.
What make of bikes? British, Italian, Japanese, American, Other?? Lots of marque clubs out there. Most of the clubs have pretty extensive knowledge bases, and many have enthusiasts that make replacement parts as a sideline. There are just a pile of old bikes around.
Where are you at? There may be a chapter of the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group (CVMG) near you. Excellent people!
As others have said, the technique is to place the gasket material onto the part and tap gently along the edge to cut the gasket out. Small aluminium parts may not like this treatment though. Here you can draw around the part but not if it's a hollow type shape. I have placed the component on a photocopier and transferred that to the gasket material before now. This also works if you want to send a pattern to a supplier to check that they are selling the right gasket.
It shouldn't -- unless you are using the same program for news-reading as for e-mail. *Real* newsreaders (written for purely that function and no other) just treat that header the way they treat any other unknown header -- they pontedly ignore it.
And not all e-mail programs honor that (rather annoying) header anyway. Mine certainly does not. I forget whether it even has an option to turn it on, but if so, I would not turn it on. It is too easy for spammers to use it to verify that your e-mail address is valid.
I'm considering adding that to my spam filters -- to reject anything which comes in with a return-receipt-requested header (of whatever format). :-)
Often I need to cut smooth small holes in gasket materials, and I use empty cartridge cases sharpened in the mouth and chucked in a drill press. It cuts very well and smooth. The largest hole would be about .475 cut by a .45 long colt. Cut off the rim to make it seat better in the chuck. A .223 case makes nice 1/4" holes. There are a lot of availiable caes in between if you are not too fussy on size.