Made my own T5 shift stick

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by zookeeper, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Thought you guys might enjoy this kinda play-by-play of how I made my own shifter. Anyone who knows me can tell you exactly how cheap I am, and I like to do everything myself. So when I saw the price of a shifter stick hovering over $100 and then there's the chance it might not even be the right bend, I decided to just make my own. I'm a machinist, so in my spare time, during long-run parts, I drew up a shifter that was 1" taller and 3" farther back than the original '89 Mustang shifter I got with my trans. I wanted it to look like a Hurst stick from the '60's yet be a one-off, so I also put the "GT350" on both sides in the same font as the side stripes on the car.
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    Once I sent that program out to the CNC machine, I scrounged up a scrap ( it was a small scrap of cast-off plate I squirreled away for just such a job) of old aluminum plate and cut it into two parts, one for the shifter and one for the fixture plate.
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    A quick drill on the plate for some fixture holes and then in went the fixturing plate which needs to be drilled and tapped both for the first side as well as the mirror image for the second side.
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    Now that both plates are pre-drilled, I bolted them together and let-'er eat.
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    after the first tool is done, at least it looks like a shifter, but still needs some finessing on the edges to look finished, so out comes the radius mill for a quick pass
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    Here's the semi-finished part after it's been radiused and engraved.
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    The tab on the end is now clipped off at the bandsaw and the end threaded for the shifter knob. Then a little time on the buffing wheel will make it really look right.
     

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  2. That my friend is bad ass!
     
  3. The second part of my home-brew project was more out of necessity. I wanted the whole thing to look kind of "factory" so I bought a repro shift boot and bezel, only to find the bezel didn't cover the hole I had to cut in the carpet to get my original auto shifter out during the T5 swap. So, once again, I found a scrap of aluminum and set to work, fixture was pretty much the same thing and I held onto it in the center, which would be cut away anyway.
    shifterpics092.jpg
    Does that look like something you'd bolt in your car? Well it's now in mine!
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    Tapping holes at 500rpms
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    Cutting the outer contour
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    Finished top after the radius is cut.
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    Flip it over, and hog out the bottom so it's the same thickness as the original.
    In case anyone wonders why any sane person would shoot pictures with the doors of the CNC machine open, here's what you see with the doors closed.
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    Not exactly what they show you on TV and a good reason to be sure where the cutter is going to go BEFORE you hit the "cycle start" button.
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    After the bottom was all cut away, it's almost a shame to turn it towards the carpet. I always liked the look of machined aluminum.
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    My plate is about 1/2" per side bigger than the stocker to cover my carpet hacking.
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    Not the best pic, and the fingerprints don't help show how nice it looks polished, but I like both the look and the fit of the finished part, plus I made it myself for free!
     

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    kknip likes this.
  4. Thanks, I love seeing how stuff is made and hoped you guys would as well.
     
  5. That's awesome! I only wish I could make something that cool.

    I made mine out of a snapper lawnmower shifter. Cut it, bent it, welded on a bolt for a hurst shift ball and painted it the same color as my car. It was supposed to be a temporary shifter until I get a good hurst stick but I've had it on there for a year.
     
  6. need to punch out about hundred more :nice:
     
  7. Very nice indeed!
     
  8. You should really think about making a few and selling them. Im sure theres A LOT of people out there with T-Rex syndrome that would really benefit from a nicer shifter.I have a B&M ripper, its a little short, but not a problem. A longer shifter arm would definately be better.
     
    zookeeper likes this.
  9. i for one like to see the way things are made.most people just buy the finnished product without a clue how it is made. not being just a tight wad ,i too like to make my own parts. i realy like the look of machined aluminum ,i like it beter than chrome.
    i would like to see more ,how things are made threads.
     
  10. I've thought about it (and my wife is really pushing it!) but wonder how many I could sell and what's a fair price. I'm sure I could sell them unpolished for a low price and have even thought about offering whatever the buyer wants engraved, even their personal signature if that's what they want for a reasonable fee. Maybe I could make a small run of 20 or so and see how it goes.
     
  11. Best bet is make a smale run, put on Ebay or local car shows.

    Me personally, i like it alot. Most people try to get the most money they can and kill their potential sales. Everybody likes to save a buck and make a buck, but being that you have more of a niche market, there really isnt a lot to compare it to to price shop.

    Good luck.
     
  12. I would be interested in buying one.... THAT SHIFTER IS SWEET!!!!!!! I wish i had the knowledge and access to the machinery to do things like that....
     
  13. Nice work man! I love it when folks just go out and SOLVE IT. :nice:
     
  14. Stay tuned. I'm gonna look into material costs and clear it with management at work, maybe after hours or something and make a few to test the waters. Rest assured they will be quite affordable since I'd be more interested in getting a few out there for feedback than making a fortune. Thanks to everyone for the encouragement!
     
  15. I want to think that E-bay would be a good place to get a base line, but anymore, I just don't know. To me it seems to be becoming nothing more than a store front for folks who sell bolts for 50 dollars each! I would think you should at least be able to shoot for around a hundred on them, and go from there. The "stock" Hurst ones go for around that these days, don't they?
    How hard would it be for you to write "COUGAR" on the sides?
     
  16. Engraving anything is not hard at all. Just like any word program, I have a ton of fonts available and if it's something really unique ( like a signature or logo) I can scan it, clean it up with MasterCam and engrave it all the same. A hundred bucks as waaaay more than I have in mind at first, but yes, that's about what the Hurst sticks go for.
     
  17. Superb looks, concept and execution!:cool: If you could keep the price in the $70-$80 range, I think they sell like HOT CAKES! If you could still turn a reasonable $$ at a lower price, I believe you'd be quite busy. Just a few observations/comments/suggestions:
    A>Make one with the script "Choose Your Script Here" or similar, for ad pics.
    B>Measure/compare where your ball ends up in relation to a factory 4-speed ball and the Hurst that was an option on some models, if only for reference and advertising purposes.
    C>Determine what other transmissions it will properly fit (I think Tremec is the same) and how much modification to your program would be required to fit similar setups.
    D>Check out stock crapmaros and fartbirds, remembering that the chebby style folks use the GM version of the T5 also.

    Approached properly, this could go a long way towards putting kids through college, financing early retirement, etc, ect!:nice:
    Just my $.02 and Hopefully Your BIG $$$,
    Gene

    P.S. And by the way, let me know the $$ and consider me for your first order. Payment in advance if needed!
     
  18. Thanks, hopefully the moderators don't lower the boom on this thread because of the whole selling parts on the wrong forum because I really am getting good ideas from you guys. I am also in the middle of refining the program a touch and changing the design ever so slightly just to make it look a touch better. Also, the first run of them will be announced here (assuming I'm not banned by then!) assuming I can clear it at work. I think selling on ebay after that is a great idea and will hopefully spread the word. I don't own the CNC machine, and hopefully by doing it on my own time, my own materials and tooling and a fee for using the machine if needed they will allow it. If so, I will be cutting within a few weeks and you guys will be the first to know about it. Thanks again!
     
  19. To avoid breaking any rules here, maybe it would be best to for all interested parties to stay in touch via PM/conversation/email. It doesn't seem there should be any issues over discussing R&D, as posts about how to make our cars and parts work/fit/perform better are what this forum is supposed to be for.
    Thanks,
    Gene
     
  20. I work in the business of machining myself. I have also made my own shift handle. Little different design though. I like yours very much as it looks like it belongs in a classic. Nice work! One suggestion that may not be applicable for you but if you are looking at making a bunch of these it may save you a bunch of time. I used a water jet machine to cut out the shifter blank. No fixture needed and you cut all you can from a sheet of material. You will still need to vise them in the mill if you want the nice radius you have on your design. But still no fixture and only a vise and 2 operations to finish. I worked as a toolmaker for years before I moved into sales. I now sell Haas along with a bunch of other equipment (water jet). Anyway I recognize the great American made machine you used to cut on!