Make your own Harley-Davidson Chrome accessories – Part 1

When asked about the fuel consumption of my Harley-Davidson Road King Classic, I usually answer: “As long as I pay more for chrome polish then for fuel, I do not care to know!”

I decided early to have as the 2 main colours of my bike: black and chrome, and looking at the numerous catalogues selling bling for a Harley-Davidson, you need a strong “She-who-decides-what-to-buy” in your family for not to ruin your finances completely.

Black and Chrome

Enjoying my DIY, I started a small project back in May, when I bought my GPS Navigator, a Garmin Zumo 660, a project to build my first own real chrome accessory.

Not because its cheaper, it never is, but because it is fun to design a piece of accessory, build it yourself, and at the end having a quite unique piece of metal on your Harley-Davidson. One that nobody else can have, one that is not build in large quantities in China and shipped world-wide, but build locally, one that I can claim to have build myself.

Step 1: The Idea

Having “Chrome” as the basic theme of my Road King Classic, I did not like the cheapish plastic look of the Garmin ZUMO 660, and specially not the connection unit when the navigator is not attached. I did not want to put the expensive electronics unit into a chrome bath, although I was tempted, but that would have been fatal, instead planed to improve the looks of the naked connection unit:

Step 2: The Construction

Building accessories from sheet metal is not very difficult, as long as you keep straight lines. All you basically need is a metal cutter and a metal bender. This is the part where the project turns a bit expensive, specially if you do not have the right tools, and do not want to rent them for a day, but buy them. Using the word “expensive” I do not mean that it will ruin you, but if you buy tools for 200 GBP to build just one single unit, the price of that unit will be… 200 GBP.

If however you build 100 units, that will become boring, but your tooling-costs will spread an lower themselves miraculously to just 2 GBP per unit. Simple economics, no need to go to university for that. As I did not plan to build 100 units, just 1, I braced myself for a really unique, but expensive piece of chrome. At the end I build 10 units, to achieve unit costs that would feel at home in the retail price lineup of Genuine Harley-Davidson Accessories.

Here you can see the Sheet Metal Cutter and the Metal Sheet Bending Brake I bought over the internet:

Cut & Bend, and your prototype Ver1.0 is ready:

Cutting the metal sheet…

Bending the metal…

and there is your nearly finished prototype Ver1.0:

 

 

Try, learn, analyze, and ask friends what they think of your new “invention”, and you quickly bin your first proof and adjust some features. Then Cut & Bend again, and soon you will have your Prototype Ver2.0 .

Here a picture of the units nearly build, pre-chroming:

And this is packing them for mailing to the chroming factory

In Part 2 of this report I will talk about: small setbacks and adjustments, the unexpected help by the Leading Ladies of Gary France, Polishing and Chroming, why I build 10 units, and finally how my first self-made chrome accessory looks on a Harley Davidson Road King Classic.

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