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Old 02-15-2012, 01:32 PM   #1
BigV
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DIY 4 Ball Shift Knob

Happy Valentine's Day!

You know those gifts for yourself that you give to others? This is one of those gifts. My girlfriend's (seriously, we're gonna have to come up with a better term here... let's us think about this, k?) vehicle has a manual transmission. And the shift knob has come loose. It was rattly loose before I met her actually. I tried fixing it and shimming it and it just wasn't working. Every time I shifted from first to second gear the damn knob would come off in my hand, usually spoiling the shift, my movement in traffic, depleting my reserve of colorful language, etc. So, I decided to make a shift knob for my own satisfaction her and give it to her for Valentine's Day. Here's my brief construction journal. Side note, most of these pictures were taken with my backup camera, and I am not happy with the macro results, or the white balance. That's why you were mistaken about the 2 ball. Sorry.

First of all, I called around to find individual pool balls. I got a 4 ball, it's PURPLE, one of her school's colors. I found one at a local game equipment supplier for a good price. I brought it home and secured it in my drill press vise. I didn't think it would move around much, and I really didn't want to mar the surface, that's why you see the towel here.

I picked a spot to drill that would let the "4" on the driver's side be prominently displayed. It turned out to be a little off the center of the circle of the bottom "4". I did try to drill straight into the center of the ball.
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I read a lot about how to do this and the shift levers described had either threaded or splined ends. I ignored the threaded ones since her vehicle's shift lever is splined. That was kind of too bad, since using a standard hex nut built into the ball would have made things a lot simpler. Everything I read about this process warned to GO SLOW. That meant slow drilling and starting small, and working up to larger and larger bits. I knew I was going to redrill this hole so I didn't care precisely how many 32nds it was. I just picked a smallish drill and got started.
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The balls are made out of some material that has flecks of red and green on the inside Here's a shot of the tailings from a vein of red. Weird. Also, I thought they might be ... pressurized or something. One time when I was drilling, I'd work the bit down, then back up, down with a little more pressure, up again, just taking small bites like you would normally do, I backed the drill all the way out of the hole and there was a POOOF and a cloud of ball dust coughed out of the hole. It was very surprising. I later figured out that the hole was collecting the dust and shavings, but not getting them all backed out via the twist of the drill. When I backed the whole drill out, the hot air found a vent and whoosh it all came out. Working faster would have prevented this kind of thing, fortunately, there was no harm done, but it was a surprise.Name:  P2050286.jpg
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This is what the first hole looked like after I cleaned it up. Shiny!!
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Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. -- Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and writer (121-180)
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:51 PM   #2
BigV
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I got a bigger drill and began to enlarge the hole in the ball. This is the same picture from the What is this? thread. I thought it was kind of a neat picture. Notice how the step is square, despite having a pointed drill. Interesting, to me at least. This shot, blurry as it is, also shows how deep the colors are.
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When I was done enlarging the hole, I got to take it to a different part of the house where the lighting is different and I took this picture. I thought it came out pretty nice.
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However, I was making this in something of a vacuum. I didn't have access to her vehicle, so I couldn't test fit the new shift knob on the shift lever. It turns out the shaft is 5/8" in diameter. I found out this fact by sneaking into her car, measuring the circumference with some paper, measuring, doing the math, etc. .64". Crap. My biggest twist drill (not a spade bit) is 1/2". So, I had to buy a new tool. This is a mixed blessing. I have a lot of drill bits, just no 5/8" bits. Until now. You know how much one bit costs? That size will run you $17. Yikes.

Also, when I had access to her car, I no longer had access to my drill press. I borrowed her corded variable speed drill and bored it out again just holding the drill and the ball in my hand. "Here, hold my whiskey and watch this" kind of setup. It worked out ok thankfully. I even got to rattle the drill around in the hole making it bigger than 5/8" and roughing up the inside of the hole.

I took the silicone-y rubber-y finger grip-py part off the bottom of a pen and put it over the splined end of the shift lever. No camera at this point, still in stealth maker mode, sorry. This would give my slightly oversize hole something to grab onto.
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Then I gave it to her and she was quite tickled. I told her I hoped this would help her think about me as she drove. Many laughs on both sides, and here's what it looks like installed. I am quite happy with the result, a pleased girlfriend and a cool project!
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:58 PM   #3
Perry Winkle
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Cool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post
This would give my slightly oversize hole something to grab onto.
Where's Sheldon?
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:07 PM   #4
Sundae
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Love it V.
Big knob jokes notwithstanding.

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Old 02-15-2012, 02:11 PM   #5
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Looks good. I like how the number is tilted so it faces the driver. Nice touch.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:13 PM   #6
BigV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perry Winkle View Post
Cool.



Where's Sheldon?
lmfa(hole)o!!!
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Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. -- Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and writer (121-180)
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:14 PM   #7
BigV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundae View Post
Love it V.
Big knob jokes notwithstanding.

NOT?

You did see this part, right?
Quote:
I told her I hoped this would help her think about me as she drove. Many laughs on both sides
Thanks!!
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Remember:

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. -- Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and writer (121-180)
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:16 PM   #8
BigV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
Looks good. I like how the number is tilted so it faces the driver. Nice touch.
Thanks! That was my intention, and I just eyeballed it. har har!
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Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. -- Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and writer (121-180)
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:27 PM   #9
Sundae
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post
NOT?
You did see this part, right?
Yar.
Just saying it was good work even without that reference.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:47 PM   #10
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Next step: Make it so the number changes to indicate which gear it's in.

We should be able to come up with a way to do that!
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post
$17. Yikes.
ƒucking yikes.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:52 PM   #12
infinite monkey
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Mount a magic eight ball.

(No BigV, I don't want you to "mount" the magic eight ball...let's get through this one without a double entendre fit for a 12 year old.)
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:04 PM   #13
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Very cool. nice job.
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:50 PM   #14
footfootfoot
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Cool. Now I want to make a three sided 60° V block for drilling spheres. I wonder if they make them?
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:51 PM   #15
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Can I have one, please?
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