Secret Trike

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My nephew has commandeered our neighbor’s utility tricycle for the past couple of summers. Even though he was too small for it that didn’t stop him from riding it all over the neighborhood. Our neighbor’s mom wanted the trike back so it wasn’t going to be in the area anymore. The search was on for a ratrod replacement. This was going to be the biggest surprise bike yet! As long as the rest of the family could keep it a SECRET….

This is what I was using as inspiration.



A neighbor in NJ had an old Joannou trike for me. I wish I had a picture of it, but it looked just like the one in reanimator’s "Joannou Model De Luxe" thread. It was cool, but not as big as I was planning on. On the next trip to the swap meet I found this.



Now that’s what I was looking for! There aren’t any pictures of the original trike because I started tearing it down right away.





Okay, so those skinny tires weren’t going to cut it. What about matching all three?



Not bad, but it wasn’t enough….. Time to cannibalize the plethora of OCC’s my friend and I had seem to have acquired. Forks, front wheel, and rear wheels laced to the original trike hubs. Oh and 4 rear fenders.







Looking good. It’s long. I like it! The headlight I picked up from the same swap meet fits right in.



It was shaping up nicely, but I knew I could make it look longer. I swapped the apes out for a set of lower cruiser bars.



I didn’t have any wagons that were going to fit in the space so I had to come up with something. I decided I wanted to do a wood bed pickup bed. I had some foam insulation board kicking around from making RC airplanes. Using that to mockup the bed was easy.





This thing was going to be heavy once I finished it so I added a three speed hub.





In order to tension and align both of the chains I made two “lollypops”. The washers go over the three speed axle and the all thread goes through tabs I welded to the frame. The nuts are then tightened/loosened to move the hub and tighten the long chain to the crank. I then move the rear axle to tighten the second chain.



So now that the drivetrain was sorted out, I could get started on the bed. This was going to be my first TIG project. A couple of pieces of sheet steel and a benchtop metal brake and I was on my way.







I trimmed the non-flared ends of each of the four fenders and tacked them together. I also added an OCC chain guard.





I had the sheet metal started but it needed a frame. I laid out couple pieces of angle stock to figure out how to set it up. I needed to keep in mind how I was going to mount the decking to the bottom of the bed.





After I had the frame tacked up I needed to mount it to the trike axle. It needs to be mounted to the axle so that it would move with the rear tires when they are aligned and the chains are tightened.









I wanted to make side fences, so that meant the bed needed stake pockets. I put some wood stock through the router so that it would fit in the bends when I made the pockets. I cut some more steel sheet a little oversized for what I was going to need.



I clamped the sheet into the brake and bent to ninety degrees.





I marked the stake width.



After marking, the piece was placed back in the brake and bent to ninety degrees again.





Oversized pieces were then marked and cut to fit.







Pieces of rectangular tube stock were tacked in as a stop for the fences.



Now that I had the pockets done it was time to start assembling the bed. I tacked the bed panels together and then to the frame. I guess I did something right, the diagonal measurements showed that the bed ended up square.













The tailgate needed some ears for the latches.





A friend had an old motorcycle tank kicking around his garage that he was willing to donate to the cause.







The tank came from a motorcycle with a straight top tube and was not going to sit as low as I wanted it. So it went under the “knife”.



 
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Even though I have no plans for putting gas in the tank I wanted to close it up so that there wouldn’t be a chance of bees making a nest in it.

























I was hoping to attach the batteries for the lights to the gas cap, but they were going to need more juice than AAs. So I welded up a strap to hold six D cells within the frame and hidden by the tank.







Back to work on the bed. I welded up a couple pieces of tubing to make it look like the rolled sheet found on truck beds.









Okay, so now that the metal work was winding down it was time for the wood work. When laying out the frame, I spaced the angle iron crosspieces so that they lined up with the carpeting strips I was going to use to cover the flooring. I took a snapshot of how I modified the carpeting strips to work with the carriage bolts. Working from left to right: stock hole, started to square out the round hole with a file, hole completely square, filed to size.





Here it sits with the wood work all fabbed up.









Since these pictures were taken I welded in the sheet metal for the tailgate, ran the wiring, and picked up a set of white grips. I still need to paint it. Hopefully there will be some warmer drier weather coming along soon. But I plan on an aqua/white two tone to mirror both pickup trucks and motorcycles.


Even though it wasn’t painted, my nephew was really excited to get it Christmas morning. I’ll keep you updated once the paint goes on.
 
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Woo Hoo!!! Paint update! So we finally had some nice weather where I could get out and paint the tins for the trike.

I started with the orbital sander and stripped all the old paint, rust, and mill scale off the parts. A little bondo, some more sanding, and then self etching primer. They then got a base coat of white and a coat of teal where it was going to be needed. I used some steel wool to knock down the orange peel in between stages. So once the teal was dry I started to mask off what I wanted to keep that color. I used a mix of painter's tape and vinyl trim tape for RC airplanes.



After it was all masked I resprayed the white. There was quite a bit of mask to peel off so I let the white dry for a while before I attempted to remove it.





Letting the white dry before peeling left me with slightly rough ridges. I knocked them down with a little four aught steel wool before clear coating.

I had this GT sprocket that I thought would be appropriate for a "Giant Trike". That and the machined swirls had some serious potential for cool paint. A light once-over with a stainless brush on my Dremel pulled up most of the rust without removing any base metal.



A couple of thin coats of gloss black gave me enough coverage to hide the rusty patina without filling in the grooves.



A very quick touch of the orbital sander with a 220 pad knocked just enough paint off the points to give an awesome pop to the swirl.



All decked out!



One Happy Kid!



I still need to lay down some paint and some vinyl pinstripes on the tailgate, but it's pretty much done at this point.
 
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