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How to Build a License Plate/Taillight Holder

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This is a time filler for those rainy days when you can't get out for a ride, but would like to do something bicycle inspired anyway.

You need to source some 1/8" aluminum plate from your local metal supplier, it's about $8 sq. ft.

Tools are minimal: jigsaw with metal blade, drill and bits, files, centre punch, hammer, felt pen. You will also need access to a bench vice to bend the metal over and bar clamps to secure the material down as you cut and work on it.

First step is to tape your pattern to the unprotected side of the aluminum sheet. Centre-punch your holes and use a felt pen to transfer the shape to the aluminum. Use a jigsaw to cut out the shape, take your time and don't push the blade through the material too quickly.

Aim to cut off most of the black line, leaving yourself a little room to smooth the edges. Drill all the holes including as many as you can fit around the rectangular hole where the taillight will clip on. Unless you're lucky enough to have a dremel, you'll need to use files to clean up the hole and outside edges.

All that's left to do is bend the mounting tab in a vice, mount on your bike and carry your message forth!

The template file can be downloaded here

Materials Selection

One side of the aluminum sheet comes quite nicely polished but is very easily scratched while working with it. Leave the plastic cover on until the very end to reduce the number of marks occurring.

Prior to bending in a vice you can sandwich the mounting tab between layers of plywood or scrap aluminum to reduce the chance of the vice jaws leaving impressions or otherwise damaging the finish.

Blank Cut Out and Finished

Here's the blank cut out, mounting tab bent and edges cleaned up. Depending on how much time you wish to invest, you may polish up the edges with a dremel or a buffing wheel.

Bolt On And Admire

Just bolt it on to your fender stays, should be no interference even if you are currently running fenders. The taillight clips on securely, I've never had it fall off once. A nice easy extra piece of bling for your cruiser.

Style & Safety

Showing a bit of extra style and safety too. I generally prefer to view a bicycle from the drive side, you may wish to mount your plate the other way around or even eliminate the taillight mount.
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