If you are new to this thread.
Please refer to:
FAULTLESS SPEEDSTER PROGRESS PART 1 (Sept. 18th)
The left side was not as easy as I thought it would be. I thought I worked out the problems I had getting things to line up on the first side but side two was much worse. It has something to do with the sequence of where I started to tack it down (I think). I started at the top of the spine at seat brace so the door cut out would line up. Anyway, I ended up with a horrible looking buckle in the lower side. No matter how I fitted the piece, something would be way off. I checked the template against the body frame and it still fits perfectly. I laid the template back on the sheet metal and it too is cut out exactly the same. I finally got it all to fit but it required pulling the sheet completely off after starting a row of ring shank nails.
1st PHOTO SHOWS IS AFTER ALL THE PROBLEMS WITH THINGS PROPERLY ALIGNED.
The entire spine has a welded bead now and I'm simply cleaning up the edges with a light skin of filler. If you look on the lower left side the BONDO patches there are the result of counter sunk nails. You should not normally drive nails to the side (rather the tab underneath as it will cause puckers. In this case, I had to after a half day of hammer and dolly work in a tight space to fix the big pucker and crease above those patches that I put in the side mishandling the installation.
A special thank yougoes out to my dear wife Elizabet who had the patience to help me figure out what I was doing wrong as the curses started flying from my workshop into her kitchen.
I guess if this were 'real easy' everybody would be making Speedsters in the spare time.
Here's the tail end after a lot of hammering. It wasn't really that bad. It needs a little filler to address a few dings and grinds but it came out fine. I caught a few balls of hot slag that crawled past the leather apron like I always do when welding something from underneath, ow.....
We have a little leeway here on the seams because the 15/16 in. wide trim strip mounts right over it.
Welding the two door cut out sides is not necessary and in the old days they didn't but I like the solid feel it gives. This also gives me a water tight overlap. I'll drill the five simulated rivets tomorrow and I use an aluminum backer plate to cover my tack welded seam inside. Weld is not ground down yet so it looks a little messy in this pic.
OKAY I'LL POST SOME PICS IN A FEW DAYS WHEN IT'S ALL CLEANED UP AND PRIMED. Jimmy
LINK TO PART I
Sorry I should have included this at the top!
I'm impressed. Compound curves are a challenge to get right on small bits and the big stuff......
I'm guessing because you have a Cleco tool kit you know a bit about skinning aircraft.
Well done Sir!
Beautiful work! One of these days I'll build the speedster that is stuck in my head....
Looking good! You should have heard me when I was putting the steel over the wood frame for my boat-tail.
I guess I need to make up a story or just assign it to some original company, even if I know it isn't. Otherwise I will just keep referring to it as the "not a Mercury" boat-tail.
Thanks for the updates! And keep that daughter getting better.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
IF you decide you dont want this body after you have completed it... PM me for my mailing address. Ill pay shipping
Brian, I live across the road from what they call 'Aero Estates'. It's a private airport where each home has it's own hanger & taxi lane. I have formed some long-term friendships over there with several DIY aircraft builders. I've learned some valuable tips and 'how to's' from watching them through the years. Wish I knew what any of those guys have just forgotten.
Here's a pic of the place I took a few years ago. That's my motorcycle in the foreground.
Oct. 2nd, 2012 - A bright and sunny Fall afternoon.
I'm starting backwards today so the first shot is the tail section as it was this Sunday. Still some tweaks but it's now looking like I feel its supposed to look based on the reference pictures I 'm using. FYI: Keep in mind that during this process, the entire body was jacked up off the frame and pushed a bit forward so that's why it may appear out of alignment in the picture.
I thought I'd add some other info that may be useful to some and common sense to the more experienced (I include myself in the 'some' category)
Here's the Ring Shank nails. There may be a better fastener for tacking down your sheets or there may not. I did a lot more welding than I had planned and actually overlapped the two tail sections welding the seam and then filing down and filling the overlap to make one smooth rear section. It will still receive a trim rail down the seam that you will see shortly. I did the same with the two door entry sections. I didn't like the idea of a water trap between the sheets so I closed them tight with small welds and lead. The rivets and even the seam are more cosmetic now (period looking) but the fasteners do add some stiffness to a weak point of the door cut outs by adding the backing plate on the inside.
When I made holes to fasten the sheets to the wood frame I started out pre-punching them with one of those aviation type hole punches. This is a fantastic tool. You can spend some real money and get a real one like, Roper Whitney's #5 (new & used made in USA) or for under $40.00 bucks you can buy one made in (Do I need to say where?). My 'probably CHICOM made' version has been working just fine and if I ever find the real McCoy at a swap meet I'll replace it. I tried a center punch and immediately saw it was causing a distortion in the sheet well beyond the hole. The other way is to use a drill with decent sharp bits, this way you also start an undersize pilot hole that makes driving those ring shanks a little easier.
Thought I'd show you some of the other tools that came in handy. I use lots of hammers. This pic is not all of them, in fact most of the true body hammers were still sitting in the cockpit of the car when I made this photo.
CLAMPS: You will need lots of em. Even more if you decide to do some welding. This style is handy but frankly I have used at least every common clamp you can think of. Pony clamps, pistol grip bar clamps, C-Clamps (little to deep throats), vise grips, pinch clamps, CLECOs, welding clamps. You can get by wiht a few I suppose but I like to have the right clamp rather than always trying to make something else serve as a substitute (been there done that). Those little hand sheet metal bending tools are super handy too especially when you need to start folding your sheets under to make a tab. If you have a sheet metal brake/bender big enough to handle the job and trust your measurements to the last 1/16 of an inch...God Bless!
Following Jerry's suggestion, I am making a beaded clip to go around the back section of the seat frame to cover the exposed edge. The photo's are just fooling with a short scrap to get the bead placement right so it's flush on one side and lines up with the real bead (tubing) around the door cut-outs. Had one strip all finished but got a little 'out of sync' shall we say with the shrinker and I'll need to start over tonight.
ANYWAY- That's it for today, didn't want the thread to fall too far down the cracks & get lost.
Black and Decker has a drill bit they call the "Bullet" that has a small starter point that usually doesn't need any center punching. The rest of the bit is concave so that it cuts from the edge in. It actually cuts a small disc and makes a nice round hole in sheet metal without a big burr on the underside, and doesn't catch or bind as it goes through the last little bit.
Good to see some more update! It may be a little later than hoped for, but it is coming along very nicely.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Jeff, Say no more, I'll see if they sell them at my local. Thanks, I'd like to try that.
Wayne, As always, thanks for the kind words and encouragement.
Since I have nothing to report today because I'm going back to make a new attempt at the beaded clip for the rear seat frame and Just to keep things interesting, here's a photo of my Great Aunt (maternal), Dolly Curry in 1909. The car is a very rare 1909 American Traveler Underslung. The guy at the wheel is the driver/mechanic provided by the car maker.
You can read about her cross country adventure with my Great Grampa, Lewis in this car through a small photo essay using the caption at the bottom of the photo as a guide and search for: Dolly Dimples in the photo archives.
Apparently the family had money back then but after the depression, they permanently joined the ranks of the regular working class. I met her when I was a kid and she was a true Grande Dame. I think she sent me a plastic model kit of a WWII era submarine as a birthday gift once.
To keep this post on topic, I plan on naming the Speedster Dolly Dimples!
Jimmy - back to the workshop
That is a terrific picture! That car must have been incredible to drive. It looks MASSIVE and powerful.
Something about your picture of your Aunt rang a bell....found this in my photos....
Wow!~ That's something. Here's another photo that shows the profile better. This time it's my Great Grandpa, Lewis at the wheel.
The Blackhawk Museum in Danville, Ca. Has a permanent exhibit of a similar American Underslung with mannequins dressed up in period costumes too like like my Aunt and Great Grandfather. I've not been to the museum but I've seen photos of the exhibit.
I wonder what size those wheels were!
Gotta love those American Underslungs! The American Standards (I am too sleepy to look up in the book what they called them) also. The Underslungs required special large wheels and tires for reasonable ground clearance on the roads of the day. Someone on this forum posted the tire size a couple years ago. If I recall close, about 36 or 37 by about 4.5. The only early car I know of that took anything larger was the Sears model L with "high-wheel" pneumatic tires. But they were skinnier.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
From what I know of my Great Grandfather, he likely never owned that lovely car just borrowed it for his own publicity. He combined the car with his own publicity campaign through a newspaper publishing company he partially owned. They traveled cross county ( I think the started in Pennsylvania ended in Utah) in the car advertising; "Find Dolly Dimples- $5,000.00 Reward" (a popular cartoon strip at the time and also a famous circus Fat Lady).
Based on the little I know about the contest, nobody ever won $5,000.00. He must have been quite the Dandy in his day because my 90 year old mom just got a solid gold Dunhill lighter of his appraised and guess what? it's ironically worth about $5,000.00! He must have misplaced it at some point or left it by accident at my Grandfather's before 1929 (the crash) because he surely would have pawned it later in life.
Back to the Speedster. Trying to slit some more brake line and I'm having nothing but trouble!
I made a brake line slitting jig. Basically a block of steel with a hole to pass the brake line through. A slit cut in the block edge intersects the hole. On my mill, (you could use a drill press), I place the slitting saw in the slot, pertruding into the hole. I then hand feed the brake line into the block and let the saw do its work. Obviously, the saw should rotate such that it would push against the brake line, rather than grab it and pull it into the block.
Don't make the guide hole too close in size to the brake line. After the slit is cut it will leave a burr that would jam the brake line in place if the hole were too close a fit.
FIRST - I am not feeding the tubing from the wrong side as the picture may appear. I stuck a scrap in the exit hole just for illustration. It's normally fed from the other side (there was currently a BMW motorcycle parked in the way that I didn't want to move when I took the photo).
Jerry, Always helpful advise.
I used a wood feed guide. It smokes like Hell when the blade gets hot. Do you use cutting fluid? I tried some but it threw so much smoke, I had to stop. I know what you are saying about setting the blade depth so the blade wont pull and jam (did that). I did have a pretty bad burr on this last length that caused the tubing to get hung up, I'll increase the Dia. a 32nd or so.
My biggest problem currently is: The tubing starts to twist as it get hot and it starts to cut the slit out of alignment by 15-20 degrees if I keep going. I tried to prevent this by holding the tip of the tubing with vise grips but still it turns eventually jamming the saw blade. This phenomenon begins after the first 14 inches or so. Almost seems like its warping from the excessive heat.
I'm running my drill press arbor speed at 2050 rpm. I could change the ratio to a higher speed, max = 3050rpm. Do you think I'm running the blade at the right speed? It seems to struggle and overheat already. The blade by the way is a decent quality HSS slit saw not a Harbor Freight junk blade.
This tube slitting fiasco has turned out to take more time than than a body panel!
Why not put a little guide at the outboard side of the slit? That will keep it straight. I'd slow the blade down, not speed it up.
Why not make the exit hole a bit larger than the infeed hole?
Both very sound suggestions. I'll give both a try and update the results. Jimmy
Thank you James for posting the picture. Up until now I could not figure out how those cuts were done.
Seems to me if you drill a hole straight down in the top of the wooden block and set a funnel in it and pour in soluble oil the heat could be kept at a minimum.
Here is how i use to do it . Feed the tube with the saw in reverse . Hold with vise gripes and watch the twist . I roll a wire edge now a lot easier and dont worry about solder joints coming loose . Good luck . Bottom of tail is the hardest to get right. M
I liked your comment about the number of clamps needed. Here is a photo when I did the final mounting of the tail of my ABC Speedster. I found that the sheet metal fit was slightly different every time I put it on (and that was many). When you welded the seam, didn't it burn the wood frame underneath? The wood in my original frame had several burn spots from repairs to stress cracks around the trunk lid. Do you have an original body to pattern this one after. Sorry, I have been off the forum and have not been following this project, but it looks neat. See also http://www.mtfctulsa.com/ABC_Bodies/.
Amen on the bottom of tail. That's the last piece of tubing I installed, it was a real challenge getting that double twist to stay in line with the slit. Since nobodies paying me (I love retirement) I could take as long as I needed so inch by inch I was able to coax it down and around the tail bottom. I did end up doing it in two sections. A little mig weld or two and the seam is no longer visible.
I'd like to see how you do your wire edges. I have a bench mount bead roller and a Pexto rotary former and some mandrels that should work, I hope to try my hand at some wire edge forming this winter.Not sure what type of wire is used, copper? steel? Aluminum?
Thanks for sharing those pictures. I remember following your build before I started mine. I have a DVD that shows all the body kits that were available and the ABC bodies were really something. To answer your question about welding over the spine: I nailed the right side fully over the spine. I overlapped the left side a little past the center line welding a tack every six inches. I use a wire feed mig turned down to a low setting and if you do it right it comes out similar to a spot weld. As far as I can tell it would not have burned the wood. I followed up putting a similar tack weld about an inch apart, I then ground them down, re-welded any that looked weak and eventually filled the faint lip with standard body filler. It came out quite well and feels very solid. I'll be using marine bump/rub bar as trim that will further cover and secure the two halves.
Question 2. No, I don't have an original to work from, it's similar in design to the Faultless Raceabout they once offered, I used reference photos from others who have built these and lots of pictures & made some sketches. If you go to the second message in this thread, you can see the frame design and early photos.
Today, just cleaning up the final details of the rolled edge and other body imperfections. Next is a pair of air scoops. Still entertaining the idea of inset tail lights in the tail but I have to make some drawings first to see if it would look right.The Rodders call this 'Frenching' but
it goes waaaay back before the hot rod days.See photo examples of the inner cans.
The hot rodder/custom guys used to call them Frenched in lights!
Your project is looking good!
Spindle speed too fast, should be about 700 rpm.
You are spot on. Many of the suggestions helped (vise grips & enlarging the guide hole) for instance but the biggest problem was apparently the high speed I was running the saw. I slowed it down by half the previous setting and sure enough, things started working much better. Still not sure if cutting oil helps or not.
As I keep saying, it's a lot of trial & error. I've been out of the workshop for a long time. If I was working for somebody, I'd have been fired on the first day.Jimmy
PS. Here's my favorite: 19XX Whatthehellizit chain drive Speedster. It appeared on eBay some time ago.
So, now that the slit is in the tube, how will you bend it around the curve without it opening up and distorting?
It's a challenge at times but it can be slowly coaxed along the curves with a small rubber mallet and gentle pressure. I use clamps and tiny tack welds to hold it in position as I move along the contours.
The problem I encountered in a few tight spots was not the slit opening up too much, rather the slit closing up too tight. After a few distortions & failures, I ran a soft soldering rod up inside the tube, made my bends, and pulled out the rod. A more malleable copper line may be a good alternative. Not sure. If you can make the steel high pressure tubing work, I must say, it really helps add some needed rigidity to the body panels' exposed edges.
If I could, I'd much rather do a real rolled edge with wire as Tom suggested if I can master it later on. Jimmy
I have a 1907 REO 1-cyl to make the front hood trim for. It uses a piece of 1/4" brass tubing that has 1/4th of the tube cut out instead of a slit. It is soldered to the front corner of the hood. I figured on doing like you said, filling it with solder prior to bending it, to keep it from collapsing, then carving out 1/4 of it to fit the hood.
I helped a friend with some slit tubing many years ago. I quickly decided to teach myself to roll the sheet metal around wire. I have done it that way ever since. Soft steel wire, chain-link fence wire works well, even cold rolled steel rod although it is a bit tough to bend around complex curves. Size of rod/wire determines size of the rolled edge.
One of the original bodies I restored used 3/8 steel rod.
If that car you have pictured above was on eBad, I missed it. That looks like fantastic potential. Do you know anything about it? Have any more pictures of it? Anyone know what happened to it?
Chain drive and rear suspension would indicate mid'10s. The wheel, tire size and instrument cluster would indicate early to mid'20s. The bodywork would appear to be a professional grade race car.
Your car is looking good!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
As you've already begun to discover, you're spinning the cutter way too fast. Even as slow as 150 RPM would be best and cutting oil will help. Yes, it will smoke. Set up a small fan nearby to blow the smoke away. Keep in mind also, to solder or weld the piece on later, you'll need to clean every trace of oil away.
As to the twist. I had forgotten about that, but it did the same when I did this. It's not a big deal however. When the piece is all done just grab it and twist it back straight.
Wayne, no info on the old Speedster from eBay. It was quite a while ago. Funny you mention the chain link wire, I was just looking at the stuff at out local Farm & Fleet and thought it looked like a good candidate. Long winter ahead so I'll have plenty of time to practice.
Wayne, is that video similar to how you learned to do it? I was wondering what those wire crimping grips are called he uses and where I might search for some. They look very useful. No matter what keywords I search for, I can't find them, I get jewelry tools or dead ends.Jimmy
That is pretty much how I do it. I mostly use Crescent wrenches to start my bend, working slowly to reduce metal stretching. Channel Lock pliers work it over well, and vise grips help to squeeze into place and hold one area while you work another. You do sometimes need to use a torch to shrink or stretch metal on turns. He must be using some really stiff wire to need a torch to shape it. I have always bent the wire or rod cold. I even bent that 3/8 rod cold, although I used wrenches and even an electrician's tubing bender to do it.
Hammers, chunks of steel, dolly blocks, and dull chisels are good for closing the rolled metal tight.
Good luck and have fun!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Probably the last installment for PART II.
I wanted to show the clip I made for the bare edge around the rear seat frame. For a change, I had no problems pretty cut-n-dry stuff if you take your time with the shrinker. I tack welded it in place on top (tiny spot type welds) and ground the weld beads down flush. I sweated lead to close the seams for an airtight, flush fit. I took this off a dozen time to get a tight fit before tacking it down for good. The nails are brass dome head nails that looked like tiny rivets. The nails have function on the big tab where they are driven into the wood frame but they were mostly cosmetic on the upper edge.
I used a PEXTO rotary former to roll the bead as it has a better guide fence for small work like this rather that than Woodward bead roller.
Watch for PART III.
I'll be installing the stainless trim on the tail and hood surround this weekend. Hoping I don't kink the stuff when I bend it over the tail section! I was warned at the boat supply place that the pre-drilled holes in this 3/4 stock are a weak point for the bends.
Fingers crossed, Jimmy
Sorry for the delay in postings, quite busy dealing with our daughter's health issues of late.
I did a lot of little detail fixes that aren't worth showing to the body skins. I made headlamp brackets and restored a couple head lamp shells from a box of swap meet shells and rims. All were pretty bad but I made two decent ones. Wasn't till I mounted them and stepped back that I noticed one had a drooping eye. After taking some measurements, I discovered the stem on the driver's left headlamp was bent forward a good 3/4 inches. A vise, a metal template from the other headlamp stem, an acetylene torch and a pipe wrench made quick work of the leaning headlamp. I had a set of lenses that were covered in red over-spray from some many decades old respray that I've yet to clean.
QUESTION??? WHERE DO I GET THE ORIGINAL STYLE CASTLE NUTS? DO THE REGULAR BIG 3 DEALERS OFFER THEM? DIDN'T SEE THEM IN THE CATALOG. ALSO, IS THERE A FLAT OR SPLIT WASHER AT THE BOTTOM TOO?
I finally got the stainless trim to fit nice around the cowl. I hung the former ring and web lacing for the hood too. Firewall will eventually have a metal skin with some bead design eventually.
This is the drooping one after it was bent back to original position. Paint has not been color sanded or clear coated yet so it looks a little rough in photo.
She's starting to look like a Speedster finally! I like the profile & wish it was on a lowered chassis but first things first!
If the lamps look off in this pic, it's because of two things; I don't have the castle nuts to tighten them down and radiator shell is not secured, just held in place with a couple pins for the photo.
I still plan on covering the fire wall in metal.
When everything is bolted down in its proper alignment, the radiator to firewall brace is installed, the hood fits very nicely on this set-up.
That's it for this weekend. Jimmy
P.S. Can anybody help me out (sell me) a reflector for my headlamp? I only have one decent one. Need not be 'real nice' just not rusty. I hate to go on T-bay and pay double.
SORRY IT WAS LATE, I GOT TIRED AND I UPLOADED TO PART II NOT PART III
Oh, well. Good looking on the speedster!
I shouldn't say this, but I have used silver spray paint on a couple car's headlamps. Didn't look all that bad. The nice thing is, they are easy to change later if you find some nice ones.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I almost painted the rings silver. One actually was plated but too worn to use.