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2003 Outback Limited 2.5L H4 5MT Regatta Red Pearl w/ lift and audio system
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Discussion Starter #1
I just finished a couple prototypes of these shift knobs made from rock spheres. There are almost infinite varieties of rock spheres, the two I chose are onyx and the green one has marble in it too. There's many other quartzes, jet black obsidian, mahogany (oxidized iron-bearing veins) obsidian, snowflake obsidian, tiger's eye, jade......the list goes on forever. If there is interest in these I will make them to sell.

These are the finished product, albeit rough finished product.



It starts here. There are quite a few things that you need for the procedure, and most of the tools are pictured here. However, I will not be going into how to drill and tap the aluminum inserts or how to make the jig for holding the rock. I will be covering the drilling of the rock only




-BALLS! You can find them for pretty cheap on eBay and other places. Mine are both 2" diameter.
-Drill Press with a low gear (500rpm or so?)
-Hammer (that's a given for any DIY)
-3/4" Plywood (marine grade is best, but I don't have that)
-Safety glasses
-Diamond coated drill bit 19mm
-2" x 3/4" OD x 3/8" screw size aluminum spacer (not optimal, but that's what I could find)
-4 4.5" x 5/16" bolts, washers, and wingnuts
-Devcon 2 ton epoxy
-Lots of wood clamps and such like
-12 x 1.25 tap set
-1 3/4" hole saw w/pilot bit
-27/64" drill bit (for drilling out the aluminum spacer)
-Modeling clay
-Chisel
-Dremel with grinding bit helps sometimes





The two pieces of plywood have 1 3/4" holes drilled in them with the hole saw you see pictured. There are 4 bolts that are countersunk into the bottom of the bottom piece.

The lower piece of plywood is aligned using the same hole saw in the chuck as a guide. Once the hole saw can fit perfectly into the hole, clamp down the lower piece of plywood and lock the table adjust on the press. There's a bit of an issue here with clearance; the hole saw can barely be removed from the chuck as you see it because the table is so high. This is necessary because the diamond bit is so short.




The hole saw can now be removed. The bottom piece should be perfectly centered now (okay, not PERFECT). The sphere can be placed in the bottom hole and the top plywood can be slid down on top of it and cranked down with the wing nuts. During this time the diamond bit can be inserted into the drill.



Oh, and make sure you know where you want the hole to be on the rock. For this rock, it was easy because there was an ugly black spot exactly the size of the drill bit.



Getting there. Diamond bits should be kept cool and most of them work best submerged. Build a clay dam around the ball that will keep water from seeping past the ball or onto the wood.



Pour the water in! :eek:rly:



Drill baby drill. You have to let the bit drill itself. The weight of your arm-depending on the drill press-is pretty much how much weight you want to put on the drill press lever. More downforce will just kill the bit. It's slow going, but pretty steady. Keep pulling the bit up to make sure fresh water is getting down there.



The drill is spinning in this picture. The camera works pretty well I guess. The water is turning colors!



Unfortunately, this bit is not long enough to drill the ~1.5" that I need to before bottoming out. In order to get the extra distance I had to take the bit out and use a chisel and hammer to break the core out. The top section comes out really easy, just one quick tap.



Looks like this.



Then you've got to keep drilling until you've reached the depth you want. For me, that was 1.5 inches. Then you can remove the rock.



The lower section of the core is a lot more difficult to remove. Most of it can be chiseled away easy enough but if there's some left then a Dremel with a grinding bit may help.



There's still a little piece of rock down there that I couldn't get out. It's not enough for me to worry about.



The aluminum insert can now be installed. The 3/4" insert fits quite nicely inside the 19mm hole (19mm=0.748", but of course the hole is always slightly wider). I used Devcon 2-ton epoxy for it and it seems very strong. It's a 2-part epoxy and one of the nice things is that you can mix the two parts together by rotating the insert in the epoxy. And once you insert the insert, you can rotate it even more to ensure that there is even coverage and an even mixture.



Those little o-rings on the insert were my attempt at creating a collar for the shift boot. They're not going to work. I'm going to have to think of something else.



For reference, the 2" diameter balls are a little bit small for my hand 2 1/4" would probably be better, but my hands are a little bigger than average, I think.








 

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2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium CVT
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297 Posts
Oh man, that's awesome!
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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17,621 Posts
cool project, i thought at first you were also doing the sphere grinding/polishing.

I have some lapidary skills, but never built or bought a spere machine. Seen a few in operation, fun to watch;



Folks might enjoy looking for spheres of their State stone/rock/gem. Or , look for your birthstone!
 

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2003 Outback Limited 2.5L H4 5MT Regatta Red Pearl w/ lift and audio system
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Discussion Starter #5
Nope unfortunately I can't do that. I would really like to though! That's a cool video, thank you.
 

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2014 Outback 2.5L
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11 Posts
Awesome idea and excellent work. I wish I had that kind of skill... and that kind of shifter. :D
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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4,647 Posts
...nice balls...hehe...had to say it...:D

They are nice though
 

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2003 Outback Limited 2.5L H4 5MT Regatta Red Pearl w/ lift and audio system
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1,256 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Sorry guys, lost track of this thread.

I want to get back to making these, but I've been sidetracked..and my drill press is currently at a place that I can't go to...for reasons.

To answer the question above about the insert...I had a machinist make them. I threaded them myself to Subaru's standard 12mm x 1.25.

If anyone wants one, I want to get back to doing this! Please PM me if you're interested. Just no promises on time because this is necessarily the lowest priority.
 

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2003 Outback Limited 2.5L H4 5MT Regatta Red Pearl w/ lift and audio system
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Discussion Starter #11
I'd still like to make some of these if anyone has interest. I may be buying another Legacy soon, so I need some side money. :)
 
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