One day in the summer of 2022, a black Harley pulled up in front of our store.
The person was Mr. I , a Harley-riding game developer whom we had met in June, and he had something he wanted I to make.
Mr. I speaks English, so I asked him about it while using translation software.
He said, “I want to travel all over Japan while working. I want to travel around Japan while I work, so I would like you to make me something that I can attach my work computer to the Sissy bar (the backrest attached to the backseat) and that is stronger than the net I have now and that can be opened and closed.”
Initially, my mind was filled with question marks.
I thought I couldn’t do it because it was too different from the work I normally do, so I said,
“I’ll find someone else who can do it and introduce them to you.” , “I will find someone else who can do it.”
But Mr. I said, “Why don’t you give it a try, and even if you fail, I will pay you for your work. “
I appreciated the words, but I still did not feel comfortable accepting payment if the product turned out to be unusable, and did I have the confidence to make it well.
However, I thought that there were not many people who would let me take on a challenge like this, and I wanted to support Mr. I’s journey, so I decided to give it some thought for the time being.
Let’s get to work
I consulted with Mr. Ishii, a senior staff member, and based on the 3D design I had received from Mr. I, I also drew drawings to develop my own image.
I thought I could do it somehow, so I decided to start work on it.
The material is brass. I purchased it from Kakui Copper Shop in Kyoto.
Kakui Copper Shop is a metal shop that I have visited frequently since I was a student, and they are a kind and courteous store where I can purchase brass in the exact size I want.
First, both sides of the L-shaped angle are cut at a 45° angle and brazed from the diagonal.
The other frame is also brazed by cutting the edge of the plate at a 45° angle.
Unlike brazing tin, brazing brass requires a little more skill, as the surrounding area also needs to be warmed up.
After the surrounding area has reached a high temperature, fire is applied to the brazing area at once.
When brazing two or more parts, if the melting points of silver brazing filler metals are the same, the first part may come off when the second part is brazed.
Therefore, if a paste of abrasive powder is applied to the part where the brazing point is not wanted to come off, the brazing can be done without coming off even if the silver brazing filler metals have the same melting point (metalworking trivia).
After brazing, an oxide film will form, so so soak the product for a while in dilute sulfuric acid (sulfuric acid dissolved in water, about 10%).
I hammered the part that attaches to the sea bar, thinking it would look cooler with a texture.
After this, a matte black spray will be applied on top, but I polished it because I thought the cleaner the substrate, the more beautiful the finish of the paint would be.
At first, the color of the brass as it was looked good, but as Mr. I said, the matte black color was better suited to the Harley.
The solidly built hinges were purchased from Muro Hardware Store.
Founded in 1805, this hardware store has a long history and stocks a wide variety of traditional Japanese hardware such as sliding door pulls.
What to do about the hardware for the opening and closing part was my problem. If the installation width is large, you can probably find sturdy hardware, but for a narrow installation like this, it was difficult to find small, sturdy hardware.
I tried to order some on the Internet, but they were not strong enough to withstand the vibration caused by driving for a very long time.
Finally, I found the C-1007-12 catch clip with stainless steel lock manufactured by Takigen.
When I came across this fitting, I finally saw the light.
I was worried about whether I would be able to joint the bike properly even after it was actually finished.
I borrowed the bike for a day to check the position of the holes.
I needed to lengthen the screws connecting the case to the rear fender, so I had purchased the same diameter screws in advance, but even though the diameter was the same, the pitch was different and they did not fit.
I was puzzled for a while, but then I went to Harley-Davidson Leo in Takaragaike for the first time.
When I entered the store and said, “I am making a kind of case to be attached to the sea bar of a Harley rider who is going around Japan, but I am having trouble finding a long screw to fix it in place,” the kind clerk (or manager?) Mr. A, who is a Harley Davidson Leo employee, told me that he had found the case by chance or necessity. Mr. A knew Mr. I and found some screws for Harley.
When I tried to pay him, he said, “They are used screws, so there is no way to put a price on them. He gave them to me for free.
I was very touched by his kind consideration. It was the moment when my impression of Harley became 120%.
In fact, the position of the mounting holes was different from where we had originally envisioned, but we managed to fix it in place by adding additional parts. The cushion was attached to the inside to prevent vibration.
I was so preoccupied with the production that I didn’t take many pictures of the process, but I put certain materials together and created a video using DaVinci Resolve for the first time.
Mr. I left for his trip on September 14, and I am relieved to see that so far the case has not been broken or anything. I think I have grown through this case making project, and I felt new discoveries and people’s kindness.
I am grateful to Mr. I for giving me this opportunity.
I also enjoy the occasional travel newsletters from Mr. I, and wish him all the best.