Emergency Brake

Last Update 12/24/05


The following are brackets I made for my emergency. Calipers are Willwood spot calipers available at Jegs or Summit. This setup (each side) is comprised of two brackets (.20" steel), three 1 3/4" 3/8" bolts (fine thread) with LOCKNUTS , 3/8 washers, and six 5/16 rubber spacers. 



Making things out of steel require some tools. With limited tools, fabrication requires some thought. The following are some basic tools and methods I used.



A note about safety. Wear your goggles! Especially with the high speed rotary tools. I have had pieces of the Dremel cut off wheel break and cut skin on my face. 

Second, do not wear gloves! I know it's tempting but as a kid, I has a glove get caught on a drill bit and wrapped my fingers around the bit. I still have a crooked finger today.

Third, use ear protection. You loose hearing, you never get it back.....What?

(click for larger image:)

The drill press is almost a necessity for this job. Hand drill possible, but tough. 2 axis vise can come in handy. Air driven high speed tool (cheap from Harbor freight) with cut wheel for cutting steel. Carbide tool a necessity for shaping and cleaning up steel after cutting. Dremel tool required for cutting out small radius. First is the template. Print this out and make sure the 10" dimension measures 10". If so it should be pretty close.
NOTE: Three holes on the small bracket and the large bracket are in the same location. It helps if you can drill through both brackets at the same time to locate these 3 holes. It will make everything line up in the end. Using the template and a punch, first punch one of the holes. Drill a pilot hole (something like 1/8", put a nail through the template and then use the punch to mark the rest of the holes as well as the edge of all lines to be cut.
Drill the curves with the 1/8" bit close together. Drill at the slowest speed. I use oil to keep some of the friction down. I spray WD 40 on the bits after 1/2 way through and after all the way through. This helps keep from burning up the bit. Cut the line with the air tool and cut wheel. 
Using the Dremel and cut off wheel (several wheels) cut out small radius where you drilled the holes. Clean the edges with the high speed air tool and the carbide bit. Put the piece in a vice. Get a good carbide bit. The stone bits simply won't cut the steel (unless your in jail and you have a couple years to kill). I actually did much of the part clean up with the carbide bit and the drill press using the 2 axis vise...Like a mill. I don't recommend it though. It is not what the drill press was intended for and it's very hard on it. If you do though, set your drill speed as high as it will go.
The grinder helped with cleaning some of the external edges but is not necessary. Belt sander helped clean up some of the inside edges. This sander helped clean up some of the outside edges.
  Drill all holes 3/8 inch. I have found step drills to be very good for this.  




This is the basic idea of how the caliper is mounted to the axle with the lever being pulled toward the axle. The caliper can be disassembled. The lever needs to be removed by driving the pin out. It must be reassembled correctly. It must be 

A. On top

B. pulled toward the axle not away.


The rubber bushings should be on both sides of this small bracket.....NOT like the photo that follows. NOTE 1:  Nuts should be lock nuts!

ADJUSTMENT NOTE 2:  Use washers to get the caliper centered on the rotor. 1 washer put the caliper right where it needed to be.

The gap should be kept to a minimum. The rubber will allow the fixed part of the caliper to move a little so it can clamp the disk. 


This is correctly assembled. Notice the rubber is on both sides of the small bracket.

ADJUSTMENT NOTE 2: Fine tuning can be done with tightening the rubber. Try keeping the rubber from being compressed very much. If it is too tight, add another washer to the caliper (prev photo).


Brackets for the brake cable. Brake cable is a generic emergency brake cable from Jegs. Finished brake.  


This is what I did. I hope others try it but I take no responsibility for errors or problems. I would love for others to try it and will try to update this web page with any new information in the process.