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Offline Jonathan

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DIY Tank bag...the expurgated version...
« on: January 12, 2019, 01:20:25 AM »
I've been on the look out for a decent tank bag for a while now, and I've not seen any that were just what I'm after; they're either two big, too small, don't fit well or just plain expensive for a top quality one. So after getting hacked off with reading reviews and trawling through the gear shops, I thought I'd have a crack a making one...after all, how hard can it be?  The short answer is a lot more convoluted than you might expect.

First consideration was the fit. With the exception of one or two manufacturers, the universal bags never seem to fit as well as they could; maybe it's not an burning issue for most folk, but If I'm shelling out top dollar I want it to fit properly. I'm sure you're all familiar with the X tank, but essentially, you have a flat surface around the filler cap and then two compound curves down to the seat. This is the reason why most flat bags don't fit well and why 'enduro' bags are a better option. I planned to go one step further and make something to follow the contours of the tank as closely as possible...which aint as easy as it sounds.

First job was to suss out a harness. Givi do a universal one called "Enduro system" which someone kindly posted up on here after they'd fitted it. It looks pretty good on the X, so I nicked the idea. When I was pondering how to attach it to the tank, those two hex head bolts holding the front fairing kept staring back at me...seemed like the ideal place to anchor the front....turns out Honda have done something similar with their bag for the new @twin. Didn't fancy webbing and buckles so racked my brains and remembered where I'd seen the ideal fastener....on a boat hood! they use 'lift the dot' (Tennax or Loxx) which is basically a ball latch...can't come undone unless you lift the button and plenty strong enough (I checked with the manufacturer). On order...

Here's where it all gets a bit weird...I needed something that was pliable enough to take the shape of the tank but stay put without any tension...Hmmmm :084:? I could've just gone with some cordura or similar, but it doesn't give. Thus began my odyssey (or oddity, depending on how you look at it) into the wonderful world of Cosplay....those people who make their own costumes and  dress up like Manga characters, Star wars creatures, Marvel heroes and obscure legendary figures. It's amazing what they create, but a lot has to do with the stuff they use to make it.
I came across some material called 'Fosshape'...it's like a heavy duty interlining (if you're familiar with sewing) that shrinks down 30% with a steamer or heat gun, and once dried it stays in shape. They use it for all sorts in the Theatre. I bought a big enough sheet to experiment with for 20, and it couldn't have worked out better. Heat gun was too fierce so blagged a cheap home steamer which worked a treat. 1st pic shows the harness after shrinking an oversized piece and then cutting out to a template.




Couple of brackets (mock-ups) taken of the tank mount will serve as an anchor for webbing straps. I'll use 'ladder lock' buckles rather than the usual side release type, as they're slimmer and stronger.

Now for the ticky part. Fosshape would be good for the bag sides, but arriving at the right shape was a trial. I wanted a smallish bag that wouldn't interfere with the steering, or my tackle when standing up. I used to have a profile gauge (which may have made the job a bit less time-consuming) but couldn't find it, so I went old school with a strip of cardboard, some scissors and a sharpie. This took ages...trimming a bit, trimming too much, sticking gaffa tape on to replace the bit I' just trimmed. repositioning, marking...it was a 'five brew' job (5 cups of tea) but eventually, I ended up with a side profile I was happy with. Transferred it to hardboard and cut two copies. These were then spaced to suit with a couple of pieces of wood and screwed together to make a basic 3D frame. I could now place the frame on the tank at the desired position and figure out the profiles for the end pieces. After a bit of head-scratching, I realised I could increase the capacity and still clear the bars on full lock by rounding the ends. this also provides better clearance for your knees and legs when standing....so I unscrewed the frame, chipped it back and made another template with radiused ends. This was then jigsawed out of some 12mm ply, which helped keep the sides on the new frame square to each other and vertical. the end pieces were done in the same way (cardboard and trimming) until it fit reasonably well.


Hardboard/carboard former, and lots of packing tape, with the steamer in the background.

On with the Fosshape. Wrapped the former with enough overlap to allow for shrinkage then set to work. My first attempt was pretty good, but it could be improved...



The problem was with the former. It was the right profile and the resultant form was OK but I had enough material left over to have another go, so I thought about how I could improve it. I knew I'd seen that shape somewhere before but couldn't remember where. Went to make some toast and then it hit me...a Bread bin! :001:  We used to have one of those old enamel bread bins from the fifties which was basically the same shape I was after. Ten  minutes on the internet searching for 'Retro fifties enamel bread bin' and I found what I was looking for...Exactly the right dimensions! :046:...reduced to 12 in the sales :082:





So with my last piece of Fosshape, I wrapped the bin, taped up the top edges to stop it shrinking and got busy with the steamer. Bit tricky to figure out the overlap joint but it worked out well enough. So now it was a case of trimming the new form to shape, by taking a template from the original and transfering it.

This is how it turned out...



If you look closely you'll see a black thing on top. This is some etha foam (like those interlocking foam floor tiles). I figured if I scribe around the bread bin lid, with an extra 10 mm all round, I'd end up with a foam form that could be squeezed to fit....being oversized the middle will push up to create a dome of sorts...


...and hey presto...the makings of my tank bag! in keeping with the kitchenalia theme, the blue gaffa tape makes it look like 'Cornish ware' :008:



Clearance on full lock...



That's as far as I've got with it. The next job is the bag base...

It may not be to everyone's taste, but I'm liking it so far.

In the pics, you may have noticed it looks quite tall at the seat end....this is deliberate. I'm planning to do away with a zip closure and make a lid that overlaps the bag. Hopefully it should make it more waterproof but the main reason for doing it this way is so that I can adjust the height of the bag by using webbing straps that run through sleeves in the lid,  fixed on one side with the usual quick release buckles, and snappered shut on the other...So the pic shows the bag plus lid about 20mm taller than maximum actual height, When it's done it should be 8 Litres fully closed and around 12L at max height...That's the plan, anyway





« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 02:00:54 AM by Jonathan »

Offline Jonathan

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Re: DIY Tank bag...the expurgated version...
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2019, 01:42:36 AM »
eg...


Online ThirtyOne

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Re: DIY Tank bag...the expurgated version...
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2019, 01:53:29 AM »
This is incredibly creative. Nice work. So how do you plan to build the bag and make it waterproof? Waterproof spray similar to the way camping equipment can be made waterproofed?

Offline AJC500

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Re: DIY Tank bag...the expurgated version...
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2019, 11:12:22 AM »
We'll see you on Dragons Den soon!!   :062:
The Story So Far.........
2017 and 2018: 8000miles recreational use - 89.82mpg UK; 74.79mpg US; 3.14litres/100km

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Re: DIY Tank bag...the expurgated version...
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2019, 11:35:01 AM »
Excellent work.   Really appreciate the time and effort to take the step by step photos.
Having fun with a CB500XA with Rally Raid Level 3 upgrade.

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Re: DIY Tank bag...the expurgated version...
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2019, 11:35:45 AM »
Looks good

Offline Jonathan

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Re: DIY Tank bag...the expurgated version...
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2019, 12:24:14 PM »
*Originally Posted by ThirtyOne [+]
This is incredibly creative. Nice work. So how do you plan to build the bag and make it waterproof? Waterproof spray similar to the way camping equipment can be made waterproofed?

The plan is to use 4 way stretch gripper vinyl on the tankside of the harness, and Hypalon or PVC on the upper face. This would then be edge banded all the way around the perimeter and fuel filler hole. The bag itself would be covered in Hypalon. Not sure about the lid yet. Thought about covering in Hypalon and then attaching a clear 'cap' (somehow) to act as a map pocket. Using the Fosshape stuff means that fabrics can be bonded rather than stitched, so it should be inherently waterproof. That's why I decided to do something semi-rigid rather than traditional stitched-through fabric with seams.  It's all a bit of an experiment...but good fun.
I may even look into carbon fibre for the lid. I always assumed it was stupidly expensive and difficult to use but it's essentially the same process as laying up fibre glass. There's a company in the UK that does starter kits for about 30 which would be enough to do the part. Never used it before so it'll be a good learning experience.
I reckon by the time I'm through, it'll cost about as much as I'd be prepared to pay for a decent shop-bought bag. It won't have all the bells and whistles but then I don't envisage needing extra pockets and such and it certainly won't convert into a backpack :008:



Offline gregjet

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Re: DIY Tank bag...the expurgated version...
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2019, 07:38:12 PM »
Nice ideas Jonathan.
I am most interested in the Fosshape. I see that in my future.
If you go the carbon fibre route, consider one or two layers of Innegra in the middle of the layup. Cheaper( much) than carbon and almost as light , it helps reduce the brittleness of the carbon. It doesn't finish well, so is best in the non exposed layers ( or on the inside).
I like your design approach. Hard edge at the back could be annoying when riding, possibly. Might pay to body test it before commiting to the final shape?
Interesting adherence to Kraftwerk philosophy?
I wait to see more.
How do you access the tank filler?
« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 07:39:03 PM by gregjet »

Offline Jonathan

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Re: DIY Tank bag...the expurgated version...
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2019, 03:24:38 AM »
*Originally Posted by gregjet [+]
Nice ideas Jonathan.
I am most interested in the Fosshape. I see that in my future.
If you go the carbon fibre route, consider one or two layers of Innegra in the middle of the layup. Cheaper( much) than carbon and almost as light , it helps reduce the brittleness of the carbon. It doesn't finish well, so is best in the non exposed layers ( or on the inside).
I like your design approach. Hard edge at the back could be annoying when riding, possibly. Might pay to body test it before commiting to the final shape?


Interesting adherence to Kraftwerk philosophy?
I wait to see more.
How do you access the tank filler?

I've never heard of Innegra so I'll definitely look it up, Thanks  :028: .The fosshape is doddle to use...it takes a shape well (especially if you use a little seam roller when you steam it) so could even be used as a quick and easy (an very clean) template maker for curved side panels, figuring out radiuses, mudguard curves etc. It wouldn't be as accurate as a gelcoated mold but sometimes that level of detail isn't necessary.
I hear what your saying about having a hard edge that close to your wedding tackle  :005: but I reckon I can account for it in the materials used. The fosshape would be 'wrapped' both sides in TPU, Hypalon or Cordura, so there's still a certain amount of flex to the whole thing....it'll press in but spring back to its original shape. If I did decide to use something more rigid for the lid, like Carbon fibre, it'd only be a cap, so to speak....the lid itself would be done in etha foam, so it'd be a snug, pull down fit over the bag....should be squishy enough. There's only one way to find out :001:

https://www.wonderflexworld.com/
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 03:25:45 AM by Jonathan »

 


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