If you want to get started in DIY Fabrication, then this is your opportunity. While fabrication can be difficult, making your own Leaf Spring "Shackles" is a great way to get accustomed to, and practice, some of the more important skills that fabrication requires.
In this episode, I go over what you will need, and a step by step process of how I created these shackles. Fabricating shackles, and designing your own custom length shackles, are two different things. Because of this, this particular episode is more focused on making a set of shackles that copy measurements of other preexisting shackles. For instance, you can follow these steps if you would like make some shackles that are the same length, as other shackles that you have seen on other vehicles, or on line.
What's NeededYou will need a few materials to be able to do this project. Here is a list of what you will need:
- Steel Stock
(3/16" [5mm] to 1/4" [6mm] is usually good. You may need to use a thicker material for special HD applications. Even though, this would be rare. Flat bar or plate is fine. )
- Metal cutting tool
(An Angle Grinder is Suggested, but Chop Saws, Drop Saws, Band Saws, and Plasma Cutters are all capable of doing what is needed.)
(Any hand drill will do, but having a powerful hand drill with a decent set of internal gears is best)
(I usually start with an 1/8" [3mm] bit [or so] and work up to the size hole needed. In this particular case, I didn't have a 9/16" [14mm] bit available, so I used a step bit.)
(While I used an Angle-Grinder for all sanding done on this project, with precision cuts, and hand sanding you could do also complete this project. A hand sanded finish will make this project considerably longer in completion time though.)
(Just about any industrial or automotive coating can be used, as long as the steel is prepped and pre-cleaned well.)
(Using a degreaser, dish soap, thinner, or denatured alcohol is best. Making sure that what ever cleaning material/chemical you use doesn't use silicon or leave an oily residue.)
I would like to make a brief note on the purchase of an Angle-Grinder. One of, if not the, most used tools for any king of fabrication is an Angle-Grinder. So, even is the cost of the Angle-Grinder and accessories/disks make your Shackle project more expensive than buying a set, think about it as making your next project cheaper. In the 4 years that I've been working on Off-road Vehicles, I can't remember a project in which I didn't use an Angle Grinder. Come to think of it, I've worn out 2 Angle-Grinders completely, and I'm now on my 3rd. So, you will be best served by buying an Angle-Grinder now, for this project, and considering it as an investment in future projects. Buying a good quality Angle-Grinder will save you money and headaches in the future as well.