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Story of learning Aluminium Gas welding & Building Aluminium Tanks

I wanted to make the tank out of Aluminium so it can never get the rust as well as I also took it as an opportunity to build my first aluminium tank and experience the process which can help improvise my skills of shaping aluminium.

It was early 2018 when I was working on the Royal Enfield Cafe Racer kit. My initial idea was to build all the parts from Aluminium, something which I had never tried before. I had just shifted to my new workshop and it was going to be a difficult task to work on aluminium. I lacked both the equipment and skill set for working on aluminium. I could not even experiment as the TIG I had bought earlier was not AC/DC. When I inquired for the machine capable to do Aluminium welding, it was very costly, almost around 50k so there was no chance I was going to buy it. So only option left was Gas welding setup as it was cheaper compared to the TIG welding.

So, I setup everything as per YouTube videos and with the help of some information available on internet. As we all know, things look much easier on YouTube but they never turn out to be when we actually get down to doing it.

I started wasting a lot of aluminium during this. I practiced for a week and learned some basics with which I could experiment on actual parts. I had wasted almost 4x4ft 1.5mm aluminium sheet but it was all worthy.

Then I took the risk of trying my new welding skills on actual part which was fuel tank, I somehow managed to weld the pieces but the welding line were very rough and I faced a lot of difficulties during the final finishing, as I wanted to keep the bare metal finish.

Sadly, after wasting two weeks, I decided to switch to Mild steel for completing the kit on time. As in business there is always a time limit which you cannot cross. The project turned out great and I got busy with other things.

After a year I got the opportunity to restore A Mini Bullet 200cc. All the original parts of bike were in good condition expect the tank. It was totally rusted and in a bad shape.

I decided to the take help of my denter who was a master at building tanks. I had experience of building new tanks but had never tried my hand at restoration. In addition, I was helping out with the family business so time constraints were keeping me at bay from experimenting.

The denter collected the tank from shop and I instructed him to restore the tank and surprisingly he came back after 3 days with a new tank. It was a replica of an old tank, When I asked him why he made a new tank instead of restoring the old tank he said that the original tank was in bad shape and could not be fixed. So, I asked him what he’ll charge for the new tank he had made and he told me that he’ll let me know.

Next day I fitted the tank on the bike, as all the work on the engine, carb etc was done. When I saw the complete bike for the first time, I didn’t like the overall design coming out mostly because of the tank shape.

"When I explored bike’s original pictures in the beginning for the very first time , that time also I didn’t like the shape of tank but restoration means keeping things original in shape and stance."

I sent the pictures to the bike owner, he was pleased with what he saw and felt that it looked just like the original. However, I was not happy with the tank and wanted to make sure that it had excellent design and stance, reflective of the other bikes that I had worked on.

I got busy with other work and after few days the denter came back to check if I have fitted the tank. I asked him again what’s he going to charge for the tank as I had some experienced with him before charging much higher than what its worth. After thinking for 10mins in front of me he said minimum 12k for sure!

At first, I really thought he is joking but he said it twice and I was shocked! A tank smaller than Enfield tank, should not cost this much! Despite being handmade I felt he was charging too much. So, I told him that I can only pay him 6k but