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Fallen Angel

The sun descends to the horizon. The light of the quiet Kansas City suburb turns warm, then cool. At 6:00 P.M., Cory Fass opens his double door garage, entry to his metal fabrication shop.

 Metal fabricator and chopper motorcycle builder, Cory Fass, TIG welding a bracket onto the swing arm of his Harley Davidson stock frame. Fass schedules three evenings a week for two hours of work on the chopper.

Metal fabricator and chopper motorcycle builder, Cory Fass, TIG welding a bracket onto the swing arm of his Harley Davidson stock frame. Fass schedules three evenings a week for two hours of work on the chopper.

 Fass pauses at the end of a work evening for a portrait in his Kansas City garage where he works on his chopper, Fallen Angel. Fass is a Major in the United States Army, helicopter aviator and flew MEDEVAC Blackhawk in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.    

Fass pauses at the end of a work evening for a portrait in his Kansas City garage where he works on his chopper, Fallen Angel. Fass is a Major in the United States Army, helicopter aviator and flew MEDEVAC Blackhawk in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. 

 

 Fass tightening the front wheel on the bare motorcycle frame. Fass is redesigning and rebuilding his chopper after a crack in the frame took it off the road eight years ago on his way to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. 

Fass tightening the front wheel on the bare motorcycle frame. Fass is redesigning and rebuilding his chopper after a crack in the frame took it off the road eight years ago on his way to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. 

 Raised on a motorcycle lift, Fass makes an inspection of his work. He dedicates Fallen Angel to Army aviators killed during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Raised on a motorcycle lift, Fass makes an inspection of his work. He dedicates Fallen Angel to Army aviators killed during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 Smoke from lubricating oil wafts in the spin of the drill press. Fass designs and crafts custom parts for Fallen Angel.

Smoke from lubricating oil wafts in the spin of the drill press. Fass designs and crafts custom parts for Fallen Angel.

 Using an angle grinder, Fass smooths the edges of a custom bracket. Making his own parts allows him to design for visual effect rather than mechanical convenience.

Using an angle grinder, Fass smooths the edges of a custom bracket. Making his own parts allows him to design for visual effect rather than mechanical convenience.

 Fass TIG welds a bracket to the chopper frame. When all spot welding is complete, Fass will strip the chopper a second time for finish welding, metal finishing, and preparation for painting.

Fass TIG welds a bracket to the chopper frame. When all spot welding is complete, Fass will strip the chopper a second time for finish welding, metal finishing, and preparation for painting.

 Fass's reflection appears in the oil tank as he loosens the rocker box cover. The 80 cubic inch Shovelhead is the loudest Harley Davidson motor produced.

Fass's reflection appears in the oil tank as he loosens the rocker box cover. The 80 cubic inch Shovelhead is the loudest Harley Davidson motor produced.

 A moment of contemplation for chopper engineer and metal fabricator, Cory Fass. The theme for the chopper is 1930s dirt track racing. 

A moment of contemplation for chopper engineer and metal fabricator, Cory Fass. The theme for the chopper is 1930s dirt track racing. 

 Math and geometry come together on the steel bench where Fass works out the number and placement of speed holes in the skid plate. Speed holes lighten the motorcycle and fit the 1930s racing racing theme. 

Math and geometry come together on the steel bench where Fass works out the number and placement of speed holes in the skid plate. Speed holes lighten the motorcycle and fit the 1930s racing racing theme. 

 The corded drill will easily tear through and mar the aluminum skid plate. Fass uses his strength to guide the bit straight through.

The corded drill will easily tear through and mar the aluminum skid plate. Fass uses his strength to guide the bit straight through.

 Once a rough matte texture, this aluminum kick start cover becomes smooth and polished in a process of wet sand paper and polish wheel. Fass prefers the look of polished aluminum over chrome for many motorcycle parts. 

Once a rough matte texture, this aluminum kick start cover becomes smooth and polished in a process of wet sand paper and polish wheel. Fass prefers the look of polished aluminum over chrome for many motorcycle parts. 

 Fass grinds the welded seam of a bracket until it appears to be one whole peace of steel. His custom parts are difficult to distinguish from the few stock parts on the motorcycle. 

Fass grinds the welded seam of a bracket until it appears to be one whole peace of steel. His custom parts are difficult to distinguish from the few stock parts on the motorcycle. 

 Fass uses a Dremel to smooth the speed holes he drilled into a kick start arm. He grinds, polishes, drills, welds, cuts, and bends nearly all stock parts to conform to his 1930s racing theme.

Fass uses a Dremel to smooth the speed holes he drilled into a kick start arm. He grinds, polishes, drills, welds, cuts, and bends nearly all stock parts to conform to his 1930s racing theme.

 Between the vice and Fass’s hands, this curling aluminum will fit like a factory made guard over the drive belt. Fass prizes aluminum for its combination of strength, light weight, and deep reflective surface when polished. 

Between the vice and Fass’s hands, this curling aluminum will fit like a factory made guard over the drive belt. Fass prizes aluminum for its combination of strength, light weight, and deep reflective surface when polished. 

 After an evening of work, Fass’s hands show the evidence of greasy wrenches and natural oils in metal. At his current work rate, he plans on having Fallen Angel ready for the road at the end of 2016.

After an evening of work, Fass’s hands show the evidence of greasy wrenches and natural oils in metal. At his current work rate, he plans on having Fallen Angel ready for the road at the end of 2016.