Well, juggling work, 4 kids, fixing the results of mother nature's onslaught, and honey-dos running out my ears, I finally got the chance today to cut the panels out for the copy of a body found by Stuart Hale and, as promised in the original thread, I am posting a few photos. If you are interested, the old thread is here http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/44749.html?1201728029
Most of the time I use 20-gauge "black" steel to make body panels, but the week that I went to pick up the steel for this project my supplier was out of stock so I settled for 18-gauge cold-rolled steel. A little more expensive, thicker, and harder to work with, but I have no concerns about strength. It will however add a few pounds to the body.
After the mill oil was cleaned off with lacquer thinner, the patterns were laid on and the best way to use the sheet was decided. Lots of waste doing a curvy project like this. All the straight lines were marked with a Sharpie, but the edges that will be wire-beaded were marked with a compass set to mark a line approximately .325" from the pattern. This is because the wire bead needs extra material to be rolled around the wire, and that is the approximate amount necessary for the .1825" wire I am using.
Today, I got out my trusty Harbor Freight electric shear and waded in. Straight lines were cut directly down the inside of the lines transferred from the pattern, since these aren't critical for finished dimensions. The curved edges which will form the cowl and cockpit edges were cut in two stages. First, the metal was cut near the lines, but leaving 1/2"-1" extra material. The shear is easier to control when taking off the narrow strip on the second pass and doens't distort the edge like it will cutting a line with a lot of metal on both sides of the line. Hand snippers were used to remove the notches for allowing the bottom edges and body joints to be bent in the brake (straight bends) or with the tipping wheel on the bead roller (curved bends). I use a body saw generally for this, but since the corners will have a welded reinforcement I won't have the likelihood of stress cracks to deal with.
You may notice that the bottom edge of the one half of the seat back has not yet been trimmed off. There is a reason, and I'll get to that when it is time to finish those sections.
Since I am supposed to be working on a kitchen ceiling today, I will get on that for awhile before the boss returns. I'll get some more work done later this evening or tomorrow morning and post some more pictures.
That's terrific! I've always wanted to try to fabricate a midget body, but have never had the guts to do it. What is a "tipping wheel" and does the "bead roller" encase the wire as it rolls? Sorry, I'm not familiar with the tools of the body trade.
Thanks for the running explaination of what you're doing - it's fascinating.
Nice Job Ray, It shows you know what you are doing with metal!
You are one talented guy Ray. I was really impressed with you postings on the steering case bushing work.
Years ago I had some project to do and borrowed a nibbler. I couldn't control that thing and it walked all over the new metal. Worse than that it spit out little pieces of sharp metal that looked like finger nail clippings. I walked around in tennis shoes and those things got into the soles. Over the next few weeks they just kept going in deeper and deeper until I was walking on them in the bottom of my feet. I ended up throwing away the shoes.
Thanks for the call last weekend--it was a treat to talk to you "in person".
Lookin good. Hopefully, someday, someone will show me how to do that and I'll have the tools to do it, cause it looks like fun....
Hey, are you going to Chickasaw?
Hopefully, someday, someone will show me how to do that and I'll have the tools to do it, cause it looks like fun....
I can say this,I bought 1 of those shears like Ray is showing in the photo,and that #### thing will go thru a piece of sheet metal so fast you better not blink.
Mine came from the "freight" to. 29.95 and a warrenty can be bought for around 10 bucks and it will be replaced free for 2 years.If you take it back,you can buy a warrentee for the exchange tool and keep on going.
Sheet metal is a funny thing for me.If I need to build something from angle or channel or something heavy,I can fiqure and measure and cut and do what needs done and be happy with the result.But when I pickup a piece of tin,for some odd reason my feeble mind goes blank.
Ray keep us posted sir.
I've got a number of different shears but the one I like best is like Ray's. I have a couple of the scissor type but they don't make turns well. I have one like Tim mentions but it IS hard to control. It works best at a lower pressure. I converted that one into a light-gauge edge tipper.
Thanks for the compliments, fellas!
Bob, yes the bead roller first shapes the edge, raising a bead to the outside of the body and turning a flange toward the inside. Then a second set of dies roll the flange over and close it on the wire. A tipping wheel is another die that has a dull point pushing the metal into a rubber or other soft material roller. It makes a bend in the metal simliar to what the brake does, but it allows curved bends that you can't do in the brake. I'll post pictures, don't worry. By the way, you don't have to have a bead roller to do this. If you have a router and a block of oak, you can do it. Takes longer, but can be done! If you want to know how lemme know.
Tim Jeandevin; I've had some good teachers, talented old fellas that aren't with us anymore. After 25 years, I'm still learning. Every project is different, and no matter what you know, there is always something else to learn!
Tim Moore, Thanks! I think Ken can probably attest to this; Don't wear those shoes on your wife's carpet! Those little nail clippings will hook in the carpet and pull out of your shoe sole. Then, they lie in wait, upturned, until the wife walks though barefooted. Uh...not good! They are best used running against a piece of plywood or other edge as a template. I've got two different styles that work right opposite each other, and they are good for certain applications but not everywhere.
Stuart, I'm gonna take enough pictures that hopefully anyone can figure out what it takes. These panels that don't involve compound curves aren't hard at all. It's nice to be doing something that doesn't take mallets and sand bags or the English wheel and planishing hammer. We'll get together this summer sometime and I'll show you. Maybe even better, we can get together and build your aluminum body?? If I get everything ready, we can get it built on a weekend day. All the hard work will be finished after I'm done with this one, so it will take less than a day to cut it out and roll it up. Like I said, the wood work will take longer than the actual time spent shaping the metal. No Chickensaw this year...my daughter's birthday is that weekend and I promised all the kids I'd miss no more birthdays to play with cars. Too many years they played second fiddle to my addiction.
Ken, thanks for your comments. Its always reassuring to receive a compliment from someone else familiar with the process. Your expertise is an asset to the forum, and I hope between you and I and the others on here we can help someone else. I also have one of those near $200 Milwaukee shears, and in addition to not making a curve well they also are very expensive to own. I wore a set of blades out, and when I went to replace them I found it was better to buy another shear. I like the cheap HF one, and as long as you don't blink as Mack stated they are pretty darn good for the money! Can't beat the price, and so far I have had no complaint with it. Cuts super fast and haven't begun to wear the cutters in over two years of use.
Mack, I've seen your talents and you should be proud. The one thing that is necessary with sheetmetal is practice and learning to undertand what area needs to bend, shrink, or stretch in order to get the desired shape. It's not difficult, but not something a fella can just do on a whim. I'd be ashamed now of some of the metalwork I did even 10 years ago. Believe me, I've wasted a lot of metal and had to re-do a lot of parts that I messed up. I learned a lot after I started doing magazine stories. It didn't have to be right the first time, as long as the final pictures that went to print were right!
Sorry I haven't updated more on this yet. I'm working to satisfy the wife and her need for a finished ceiling, but last night I worked on two plywood templates to get the contour of the cowl opening and dash area symmetrical. I'll update tonight.
thanks again, all of you!
Okay, so I didn't update last night, sorry about that. Temp dropped and I'm still in the garage instead of my shop so had to let the wife have her bay last night.
Got the buck made to shape the cowl over and keep it symmetrical. Nothing special, just some scrap wood. Clamped the sheet over it and worked it down a little at a time with a rubber mallet and wood block to distribute the blows so as not to dent the metal. This will be used to get the body's rolls to match up and keep the correct shape during the bead rolling. I'll roll the bead aound the cowl, then put the body back over the buck to make sure it is still in the shape I want it to end up when finished.
Looking good! If spring will come soon enough so that you don't have to heat your garage, you just might be able to take your racer to the big T Party!
Seth, who detests "garage" projects this time of the year. :-)
Seth, I used to heat the shop all winter when I was using it to produce income, but with $3/gallon for fuel I don't care to spend $30 a weekend just to play. The garage stays warm all the time without any additional cost, so I'll just bide my time. It is a bit of a pain to have to move everything so the wife can park in there. I do wish I had my lathe, bead roller, and brake up here though!
I detest this weather! Hope it's warmer there than here! But wait, you can do a lot of your MAG-POWERED REGULATED CHARGER KITS in the house, can't you!
LOL! Unregulated full-current charger kits also, and maybe some other surprises that I've kept to myself. :-)
I remember one winter when it was very cold - may have been the year the mighty Red froze over. I was rebuilding a six-cylinder Mercedes engine and when it got super cold (to uninsulated me, anyway), I brought the two double-barrel Solex carburetors inside to rebuild them. I bought plenty of time by doing that!
Actually, today it is warmer outside the garage than inside the garage, so I'm working on the bunker rake (outside) instead of Dad's MG (inside)!