Sheet Metal Break

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: Sheet Metal Break
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael J. Wilcox on Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 06:34 pm:

I am starting the assembly of my 23 Touring and I had to buy several seat panels that require tabs to be bent and holes drilled. Can I get some direction on how to make clean sheet metal bends without buying a large expensive break.

application/octet-streamHere's phase one assembly.
Resized picture (76.2 k)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jack Daron - Brownsburg IN on Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 06:38 pm:

Can you convert your picture/attachment to a JPG file,so we can see it?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John T. Tannehill III, Hot Coffee, MS on Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 06:54 pm:


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Miller, many km SW of Dearborn on Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 08:26 pm:

In my experience, a sheet metal brake is your best bet. You might be able to rent and use a siding brake if the metal is thin and bends easily.

Knowing what I know today, I would take it to a fabricating shop and ask them to make the bends. I have a 3 foot wide brake at home that I bought from Eastwood or similar place and it works great on smaller stuff but tends to deflect in the middle on larger panels.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 09:31 pm:

You can clamp the panel between two sharp cornered pieces of oak and then bend the tabs over by tapping them with a hammer. Use and old panel and give it a try and see if you like the results. You can also use a piece of hardwood as a a form and tap the metal against it with a hammer. I have done this to shape reinforcements and to make offsets in a panel. Experiment with some scrap and get some experience so your work on the real thing will turn out well.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael J. Wilcox on Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 10:31 pm:

Since I started this project I've had to learn a lot of new things like welding, sand blasting and painting. I think it's a good idea to practice bending the metal using oak. Problem solving is part of the fun in restoring a car. Not having to re-invent the wheel with every roadblock is a relief. I appreciate the forum an all the expertise of the members.

Thank you.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dick Fischer - Arroyo Grande, CA on Sunday, January 17, 2016 - 10:55 pm:

Some good suggestions here, but I think I'd start off by learning some of the In's and Out's of bending before either trying to do it myself or taking it to a fabricating shop. There's a certain amount of thinking required before bending sheet metal, and the brake isn't much of a thinker.

For instance, have you looked at the radius of bends on the original parts ? Are all the radii the same on your intended part, or do they vary ? Unless you're willing to pay a fabricator to reset his brake and experiment a bit, he won't want to do anything but stick your metal in his brake and put the angle on it. Quite possibly the guy in the shop has never actually adjusted for bend radius and is afraid to ruin the existing adjustments.

Are you going to figure out how much metal is consumed in each bend, or will you expect the fabricator to do that ? Since there are multiple bends on the same piece of metal, you need to allow for each bend or else the distances between bends won't be the same as original.

It's always a good idea to do some "test bends" to work out the bend allowances and setbacks. Usually this is done on a narrow strip of the same metal that you plan on using -- hopefully a piece of scrap that is an inch or two wide and as long as necessary to do all the bends that your final part will require.

Do you know if there is a local Experimental Aircraft Association chapter nearby ? If you contact the EAA chapter someone might direct you to a local "pro" who has a brake in his home shop and knows how to use it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Martin Vowell, Sylmar, CA on Monday, January 18, 2016 - 03:40 am:

I don't know, but judging by that picture I'd say all the required holes are there. And I can't figure out what bends you think are necessary...because that's exactly how those parts look without the body.

Besides you cant mount any of the seat boxes without mounting the body tub first. The seat boxes placement are defined by the body. For instance. The front seat box kick panel has two brackets on either side that screw to the front door frame, the rear part of the box is the kick plate for the rear seat and it screws to the inside side of the body rails. The front seat back screws to the rear of the front seat box by 10 or 12 screws (can't remember how many just now) through the front seat backs lower tack strip. The sides of the front seat back screw with 5 screws (on either side of the back) to the body wood frame just in front of the rear door frame and the upper ends fit over tabs on the body and are held flat by the seat back upper tack strip one nail on either side at the belting.

There is a structural "S" iron (this is the iron that holds the shafts for the rear fenders and top saddle arm) in the rear of the tub that has to be installed first with the body, the rear seat box fits over the bottom of those irons.

This is the rear tub part of my car before I took it apart...



Note the "S" iron and the seat box over it? See the square opening at the front of the seat box? That for the mounting bracket that hold the seat box to the frame. The sides of the box area of the seat are the wood rails



This is the front seat, you can see how the seat back screws to the rear seat door frame and how the bottom of the seat back is mounted to the seat box. The sides of the seat box screw in two places on either side of the box to the bodies wood frame and like on the back seat box there is two brackets that hold the box to the frame at the front door frame.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael J. Wilcox on Monday, January 18, 2016 - 04:36 pm:

The floor pan for the rear seat is new. There are tabs that it is now setting on that need to be turned up so it will move down between the two beams. Then it is screwed to the sides. Each side gets two screws. I need to drill the holes in the tabs. When I add the rest of the rear seat frame, everything should be ready to bolt in.
Your comments about putting on the rear body tub and braces before I can position and line up the seat frames is appreciated. I thought I could completely assemble the wood kit, nail on all the body panels and then order the upholstery. After the first six pieces of wood, I discovered that would not work. I'll get the tub on and probably be back in a couple weeks with my next question. The tack rail around around the seat backs looks really intimidating.
Thank you for your help with the details.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Martin Vowell, Sylmar, CA on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 04:02 am:

Actually the easiest way is to assemble the wood kit in on the car using the bolts and screws the kits provide, mount the body panels to the wood, then the rear "S" brackets and then locate and install your seat boxes and hang the doors. Looks like you're also missing the sides of the rear seat box though...or do you have them and just aren't showing in your picture? Some people say you should nail the body tin to the wood rails along the bottom and elsewhere I've heard some say use screws. I used boat nails, for a couple of reasons, one they're pretty tough nails usually copper plated and two they're helical...so, you drill a small pilot hole and then drive the nails in...once those babies are in they don't come out, so if you use those make sure you're fit is right before you use them.

I had to replace the bottom of the seat box too. I drilled the holes where they were supposed to go whilst it was unbent, then clamped the edge through those holes between two pieces of steel bar, then used the bar to hold the edge in my vise and bent it that way...wasn't fancy like using a brake, but it was cheap.

The seat back tack strip is pretty easy and depending upon where you get your kit usually requires very little fitting. I bought the rear one from Ford Wood in Utah and the front one from Langs...the rear one from Ford Wood required no fitting at all, whilst the front one required a little bit to get it to line up and then I had to do some fairly easy whittling to be smooth around the outside upper edge. The trick is the carriage bolts...they're not the same as the ones you get at the hardware store...they've a larger and flatter head than modern carriage bolts. The vendors carry the right ones.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 04:50 am:

That's because they're not carriage bolts, they're step bolts. Still available through good fastener sources--you used to be able to buy them at Orchard Supply Hardware even! Not since Sears, et al took over.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Martin Vowell, Sylmar, CA on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 07:07 am:

I got them from Lang's, it was easier than bolt hunting in the almost non-existent hardware stores round here. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By charley shaver- liberal,mo. on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 08:34 am:

black shoe nails are the best, hold with pliers drive right through 20 Gage body tin. you can get them at a good shoe repair shop,about $10 to $20 for a one lb box, must be the black ones, about 5/8 long ring shank. charley


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By charley shaver- liberal,mo. on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 09:10 am:

i just looked for step bolts fastenal has 1/4 & 5/16 up to 2" long. i though mcmaster- Carr had them but cant find them. charley


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael J. Wilcox on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 01:08 pm:

I wanted to let you know Mr. Vowell, that I have the rear seat sides and cross member you referenced above. They were really rusty and after sandblasting they have some craters and a small rust through in one place. I'm planning on trying some USC Metal To Metal filler to reinforce the low spots. I understand that it's hard as lead when dry. I also have a couple of doors with the same problem along the bottom on the inside. When that's done most of the sheet metal will be ready for assembly.
All the information you all have discussed is great. I need to look around and see if there are any real shoe repair shops, that use nails, left in Boise. Shoe Goo is great, but not for body panels.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 01:39 pm:

Michael, be advised that the sheet metal panels and parts you bought and already have may not be a drop in fit when you begin to put your body together.
Carefully make sure the sheet metal will fit BEFORE doing the final body assembly.
The reason is that Ford used different body makers when the cars were built.
The reproduction sheet metal will generally fit but because of minor fit up differences you may have to do some rebending or modifying to get it right.
I found this out on my 21 Touring rebuild.

Fit the side body pillars into the side body panels first then use these measurments to get the correct locations to fit them to the main body sills. This is important to get the doors to fit and work correctly.
This way worked better for me than installing the side pillars first as the instructions indicated.

This is the way Ford did it by looking at some pics of Fords body building practices.

You may have already got things fitted up
and my experiences with my Runabout and Touring wood structure may not be right for you but I hope this helps some.
I learned this from other forum members and it helped me.
Good luck!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim york, Boise Id. on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 12:06 pm:

Hi Michael, I Pmed you on a brake. Jim Y


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