30 May dB25: The belly of the beast
We’re back with another update on our Ducati dB25 Limited Series. We’ve begun the exciting process of shaping the aluminium body panels that will be used to create our moulds, enabling us to produce the panels in carbon fibre.
Creating the body panels is a little like working on a jigsaw puzzle, first you complete the sides and then you fill in the middle. So, for us setting the mounting points for the fairing, tail and belly pan has given us our edges. We’ve now begun the exciting process of filling in the middle starting with the belly.
As well as being a nice shape the belly intake provides an air path to the oil cooler mounted under the engine.
The difficult thing about our puzzle is we have to make the pieces! Aluminium is a fantastic material to work with but requires patience and a good understanding of how to work it. In its current state the belly is made up of 8 different pieces, all carefully shaped, trimmed for the perfect fit, then welded together before planishing and smoothing.
The shaping process starts with annealing the aluminium to soften the material making it easier to shape. Then through the use of various hammers, dollies and the English wheel we stretch and shrink the panel to produce the desired shape. As we do this the material work hardens and so sometimes a second annealing process is required.
To see the first panel produced is really bringing the whole project to life for us and working with aluminium has been a welcome break from the past few months of intricate subframe designing.
The next step is the radiator intake. This part will link the belly to the nose fairing, while providing an air path to the radiator. We’ve made good progress on this so far and connecting these parts together is really starting to give this bike some character. We’ll be sharing more on this soon…
Laser Cut Components
With every component on the dB25 we have to think about how we can reproduce the part in the most effective way possible. After we’ve prototyped a part we’ll draw up the design before laser cutting in either steel or aluminium. This process enables us to laser cut, fold, weld and finish every component for each bike so they’re ready to go when we need them. We’ll prepare the carbon fibre body panels in the same way making the assembly of each dB25 a smooth and quick process.
Any day now we expect to receive our CNC machined parts, including the final rear subframe and top yoke. We’ve also completed the mould that’ll be used to create our polymer fuel tank. This is being prototyped this week and once complete will allow us to start working on the tank skin – one of the most defining features of the build.
We’re approaching a time in the build where all our work over the last few months is starting to come together. We look forward to sharing more with you very soon.
Thanks for reading