Tools of the Trade

If you are going to do any porting, you will have to invest in some equipment. How much you want to spend will pretty much dictate how much porting you will be able to do.

For a clean-up and a little blending, a small Dremel and some stones can handle most jobs. Investment?....Cha-Ching...about $70.00 for a kit.

To do some more extensive bowl work and gasket matching, you will need something a little more heavy duty. A die grinder or large electric grinder will do the job. In fact, these two will do most any port work you may want to try. The die grinder in the picture, cost about $20.00. Of course, you will need a compressor and hose to run it, but it is very good for doing this type of work, mostly because the speed is so easy to control. The large electric grinder, on the other hand, has much more power, and you will need a speed controller if you want to swing some 6" carbide bits with it. The Craftsman electric grinder in the photo costs about $100.00.

If you are going to use a die grinder or large electric grinder, then you will want to buy some carbide burrs. Carbide burrs cut fast and leave a relativly smooth finish if worked properly. They offer much more precision than you can get with stones.

These two burrs are all you will need to do some bowl work and gasket matching. They will cost anywhere from $15.00 to $20.00 each, but I found these on sale for about $11.00 each. You might find these at your local hardware store, larger tool stores, welding supply houses or saw shops. They come in two pitches, for steel and for aluminum.

If you want to move some walls or work the roof or floor of a port, you are going to need some 4" or 6" carbide burrs. These guys are not cheap or easy to find. Expect to have to order these and pay about $30.00 each for the 6" burrs. The 6" burrs in the photo came from Summit Racing Equipment, and I think they are a great deal. You get 3, 6" carbide burrs (for ferrous metal), a handsome hand stitched simulated leather case (maybe it's real leather?) all for $49.99 (Summit Part Number SUM-900640, and number SUM-900630 for non ferrous bits, $66.69).

The longer carbide burrs cannot be rotated too fast because they will wobble. It is impossible to control them when they wobble, much less even hold onto the grinder, but if you are going electric, I found that a varible speed electric drill does okay for working the 6" carbide burrs. If the drill has enough speed, it will probably get you through a set of heads without too much delay. I like my battery powered drill because it is so handy and the cord never gets caught on things or knocks over my valve rack or such porting nuisances.

Stones are cheap and easy to find. They are great for bulk removal of material and for smoothing ripples left by carbide burrs. However, they are usually to big to do any precision work and they constantly change shape as they wear down. They are a must have, but not recommended as your only means of porting.

For lighting, I found my battery powered flashlight is just the ticket. It is very portable and can be positioned just right to get the light right where I need it with its rotating/pivoting lens. One of those snake lights would work well also.

Saftey is No Accident

Look closely at the carbide burr on the left. The tip and shank snapped. When this happens at high speed, you will know it. You may even decide porting is not your thing and take up bird watching, or golf. This happens often when the burr gets bound in a tight place, such as between a bowl wall and valve guide. So be wary when working areas where the burr can get stuck, or bounce between two surfaces. Reduce the speed. Of course, you would not even think of turning on that grinder without the proper saftey gear, right?

More good stuff!