Is it the most soothing, beautiful thing you'll see today? Possibly.
Shiro Nakajima and his shop 46Works specialize in fabricating custom parts for BMWs, in the foothills of the Yatsugatake mountain range in Japan. They also produce exquisite videos about some of the work that goes into fabricating those parts, and if you’re as big a fan of watching processes like this as I am, you’re in for a treat. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Japanese; many of these videos are helpfully subtitled in English.
This video takes us inside a BMW R100RS restomod project that Nakajima currently has underway. The stock bike has cast wheels, and there’s a special hub on the stock rear wheel due to the bike’s shaft drive and cantilever swingarm setup. The design called for spoked wheels instead. A challenge, certainly, but not an impossible one if you’re Nakajima.
If you spend any amount of time watching his 46Works channel videos, you’ll see that this guy will make just about anything himself. Need a new bespoke bracket to fit something correctly to your vintage BMW? No problem, he’ll just carefully measure and design the correct thing, then use his mill, lathe, and assorted tools to create something exquisite out of a formerly lifeless hunk of metal.
Still, Nakajima said, he’d never made a wheel hub like this before. There’s a first time for everything, especially when custom fabrication is your business. So, he grabbed a 15 kilogram (or 33 pound) solid, rounded slab of duralumin (a strong aluminum alloy that includes copper), and got to work, documenting the entire process in this video. Honestly, I could watch it a few times in a row and be completely happy. The surety of motion and the neat little intricacies as you watch him carve a wheel hub out of this big metal disc are astounding.
If that’s not enough in itself, you also get to watch him spoke the thing, which is its own treat. To finish, he designs and machines an elegant little carrier to hold the brake caliper where it needs to be. It’s icing on the cake at this point, but who doesn’t like icing?