View Full Version : TECH: How to build nerf bars


dodgerodder
03-08-2008, 09:19 AM
Well after the recent thread about nerf bars, I have really wanted to build one for my rpu. So after work, me & my dad gave it a go.

I used 3/4" solid bar stock instead of tubing, because I could heat & bend it without kinking like tubing would. I decided that I wanted an inside bend radius of 4". The only thing I had that was 4" in diameter was a worn out holesaw, so we used that for our die. I tacked a pulley inside to help keep the holesaw from collapsing, it worked fine. We built a simple jig out of scrap steel to form the bends-the picture will explain itself way better than I could:

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4001.jpg

Now we heated and bent the outside pieces. I had to build the nerf bar out of 4 pieces, because all I had for bar stock was short pieces:

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4004.jpg

It bent really nice & easy, now I had the two outside pieces:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4007.jpg

Then we cut the two straight lengths to give the width I wanted:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4008.jpg

We beveled the edge for a nice weld joint:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4010.jpg


And the welded it up. I preheated each joint with the torch so the mig would lay a deeper, flat bead-this made a BIG difference in the quality of the weld. I have a good size mig(Miller 210), but preheating all of these weld joints gave beautiful results. We clamped it all down, I welded the 4 joints, spent some time grinding, and we started to have something:

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4009.jpg

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4011.jpg

Now we built the uprights and mounting brackets to mount the nerf bar to my frame. I used 5/8" bar stock for the uprights, & 2" wide x 3/16" flat stock for the mounts. We rounded the edge of the plate, & drilled two mounting holes:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4014.jpg

Then to bevel the edges of the 5/8" bar stock, I chucked it in the drill press, & spun it while I ground the edge down-worked slick!:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4012.jpg

Made a simple jig, and welded them up:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4015.jpg

Again preheated with a torch, and got a nice flat weld joint:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4016.jpg

We clamped up the mounts to the bars, preheated & welded the mounts on:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4017.jpg

Made some tabs to mount the plate to:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4018.jpg

And we have us a nerf bar!!:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4021.jpg

Here's a few pics of it clamped in place. I still have to drill & tap mounting holes on the outside of each frame rail to bolt it up. I am thrilled with the result!! Total cost in materials, about $30. I will have this chromed, and I really think it will be a nice focal point on the rpu, I love it! Hope this might help give some ideas-you can easily make yours whatever shape you want:

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4028.jpg

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4025.jpg


http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c35/dhdh71/Techweek4026.jpg

Hope this helps!
Dan

charleyw
03-08-2008, 09:22 AM
Nice work, good tip on the pre-heat

brady1929
03-08-2008, 09:24 AM
you are very talented, nice.

Pinstriper40
03-08-2008, 09:30 AM
I'm glad you posted this- I've got to build some nerfs for my '40 tudor sometime between now and the end of May! I've heard of the pre-heating process before but didn't know why it was necessary or beneficial. Thanks!

Royalshifter
03-08-2008, 09:58 AM
That is a cool tech.

K13
03-08-2008, 10:06 AM
Looks great! What do you use to get the scale off of the hot rolled steel that you use? I always have a hard time and I always notice that you get a nice uniform finish with no scale.

haroldd1963
03-08-2008, 10:18 AM
Great Tech article. That pickup is looking awesome!

fef100
03-08-2008, 10:28 AM
Nice job, great finished product.

PBRmeASAP
03-08-2008, 10:40 AM
Very cool, i've been thinking about building something for my truck and now i know how! THANKS, excellent tech

Cajun Kenny
03-08-2008, 10:42 AM
very cool stuff , nice tech..

Tudor
03-08-2008, 11:29 AM
very COOL man. Nice work. Looks great - I have been wanting to build something for mine too.

Tulsa oldskool55
03-08-2008, 11:41 AM
I think it's great that you made this yourself with stuff that most of us have. I was wanting nerfs for my ride and now I know how,Thanks for the 411

Mullda
03-08-2008, 11:44 AM
Sweet!! That is a great post. Beautiful work.

Norrland
03-08-2008, 11:47 AM
Cool!

Thanks for the tech tips. Will use Nerf Bars on my 41 Ford Tudor cause i think it's cool

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g297/Henry_J/saleortrade20026.jpg

Tony
03-08-2008, 11:48 AM
Nice tech..Was planning on doing a rear nerf for my own truck, so this came at a good time..
Thanks :)

Tony

dodgerodder
03-08-2008, 04:17 PM
Thanks a ton for the nice words guys, I am really glad that this helps out. It really was a fun project to do, and cheap too!


I'm glad you posted this- I've got to build some nerfs for my '40 tudor sometime between now and the end of May! I've heard of the pre-heating process before but didn't know why it was necessary or beneficial. Thanks!
Yeah, preheating it really helped out a ton. Since the 3/4" stock is so thick, and the weld area so small, it would be tough to build up heat at the start to get a nice penetrating bead. Once it was preheated, as soon as I struck the arc, the puddle was digging right in deep from the start.

One funny word of caution though. My dad would heat each joint with the torch, move away and then I would start welding quickly while it was nice & hot. Well we had a freaking mess going on around the clamped up jig.

So my dad did he torch thing, I told him it was ready to weld, and he moved away with said torch. As soon as I started welding, I feel a great amount of heat from the top of the back of my head, followed by the familiar nasty smell of hair on fire.

I must have done something at some earlier point of my dads life to p#ss him off, cuz he torched the back corner of my hair:eek:
And all I could do is pat it out and keep welding, cuz this was a very visible weld that would REALLY show once this is chromed. The things we do to build a car. My dad got quite a kick from this. Even after showering, I can still smell burned hair:o
I guess(he says...) that the torch hose got caught arounnd a pair of vice grips as he was pulling away, aiming said torch at my noggin.....

Looks great! What do you use to get the scale off of the hot rolled steel that you use? I always have a hard time and I always notice that you get a nice uniform finish with no scale.
I fight with it all the time. Some mill scale seems to jump right off with only a cup brush on the grinder, other pieces are tough to even blast off in the sand blasting cabinet:confused:
If it is a small enough piece to fit in the cabinet, I blast it, then hit it rice a rice cake(Norton) on a 5" angle grinder. The rice cake really smooths out a piece nicely. Then I will hit it with the bench grinder/wire wheel and it almost looks polished.

I also am a really big fan of Picklex 20. Once you are done grinding/prepping, you spray this on, let it sit for a half a minute, hit it with a scotchbrite pad, and wipe off with a rag-it cleans a TON of gunk from the part, and really makes it weld up beautifully. It also prevents flash rust on steel to-cool stuff!

Cool!

Thanks for the tech tips. Will use Nerf Bars on my 41 Ford Tudor cause i think it's cool



Cool sedan man, I would love a 40/41 Tudor

Hackerbilt
03-08-2008, 07:21 PM
You really do some nice work DR! Right from day 1 your posts have been interesting and the projects cool.
The Nerfs are dead on...but the procedure and the setup is the most interesting of all.
GOOD stuff! ;)

zman
03-08-2008, 07:32 PM
i like a lot....
I'll borrow some ideas as I'm building the push bar for my truck...

floored
03-08-2008, 09:32 PM
Ya think maybe Pop's has a case of hair envy?

dodgerodder
03-09-2008, 12:50 AM
You really do some nice work DR! Right from day 1 your posts have been interesting and the projects cool.
[
The Nerfs are dead on...but the procedure and the setup is the most interesting of all.
GOOD stuff! ;)
Thanks a ton for that. I have learned so much from peoples threads here, I am always happy if I have anything that could help somebody out.
The nerfs really made me happy- the jig was really simple, 20 minutes of time and a lot of scrap useless stuff. It kind of got me thinking how cool it would be to spend some time making up a somewhat universal bending jig, with removable round dies of various sizes that you could unbolt and swap out. It would take a little time to make, but it really would be useful to have-maybe a future project once the rpu is done

i like a lot....
I'll borrow some ideas as I'm building the push bar for my truck...
Pushbars would really be similar to build, I'd love to see pics once you do yours-that would be a cool tech post for sure

Ya think maybe Pop's has a case of hair envy?
If he did he doesn't anymore, I have a nice melted patch now:p

hillbillyhell
03-09-2008, 12:56 AM
You're beyond ready to own a TIG, you know this right? ;)

That's a pretty sweet looking nerf bar Dan.

dodgerodder
03-09-2008, 01:05 AM
You're beyond ready to own a TIG, you know this right? ;)

That's a pretty sweet looking nerf bar Dan.

That is the problem-I do!! My dad really treated my and got me a Syncrowave 200 at Christmas, I just need to figure out how to use it:o

I know once I learn, I would probably use tig for most everything, I just need some seat time. What I REALLY need is find somebody willing to spend a few hours with me for pay. I would love to find an experienced tig weldor that would do that.

Hmmm, maybe you need a little Florida vacation................

hillbillyhell
03-09-2008, 01:07 AM
Haha, I dunno that I'm all that great at it, but send me two plane tickets, business class please. And I'll need a day off to go to Sarasota.

C9
03-09-2008, 08:54 AM
Nicely done.

Some of you guys are making it tough to vote for a tech week winner.

I especially like the jigs you made.
Those go a long way toward making parts that match.
Not like the good ol daze where you heat it up, bend it around a pipe or similar and then do a few reheats to make the bend right and also match.

Pre-heating the bar is a good idea.
Done that with a gas welder before gas welding a heavy part - 1/4" butt-weld to extend an old style scatter shield.

What did the nerf bar end up weighing?
Probably not all that much and in a light car with strong engine that's the right end to add weight.

Far as the hot rolled scale goes, would using cold rolled be cost prohibitive?
I use it for machining stuff and use hot rolled for most welding projects.

Seems like cold rolled could save a lot of work in the polishing dept.

dodgerodder
03-09-2008, 11:30 AM
Nicely done.

Some of you guys are making it tough to vote for a tech week winner.

I especially like the jigs you made.
Those go a long way toward making parts that match.
Not like the good ol daze where you heat it up, bend it around a pipe or similar and then do a few reheats to make the bend right and also match.

Pre-heating the bar is a good idea.
Done that with a gas welder before gas welding a heavy part - 1/4" butt-weld to extend an old style scatter shield.

What did the nerf bar end up weighing?
Probably not all that much and in a light car with strong engine that's the right end to add weight.

Far as the hot rolled scale goes, would using cold rolled be cost prohibitive?
I use it for machining stuff and use hot rolled for most welding projects.

Seems like cold rolled could save a lot of work in the polishing dept.

Thanks C9 for the nice words. The jig really was helpful, and really easy to make too. I was wondering if this was going to be stupid heavy, but all said & done it probably weighs 10 lbs or less. I agree with you, I could probably use a few hundred pounds there to help with traction:p

I also really try to use cold rolled too where I can, it really makes it way easier to clean up. The front frame rails on the car I had bent from 3/16" plate into the c-channel, and it is SUPPOSED to be cold rolled. But, the mill scale can barely be ground off:confused: Weird, I will end up having the frame blasted before paint anyways

Dan

Evel
03-09-2008, 11:47 AM
That RULES!!!

I love how the holes on the rear are expose behind the nerf bar...I can't wait to see your RPU done,, its going to be really kick ass~~

I want to eventually want to make a small nerf bar for the front of LW...


go man go!!!

englishrodder
03-09-2008, 12:02 PM
Nice work,

dodgerodder
03-09-2008, 04:46 PM
That RULES!!!

I love how the holes on the rear are expose behind the nerf bar...I can't wait to see your RPU done,, its going to be really kick ass~~

I want to eventually want to make a small nerf bar for the front of LW...


go man go!!!

Thanks dude! You realize that you're the one to blame for this though-when I saw your coupe's nerf that did me in. After that I had to try & build one. I really love the way the license plate mount area of your nerf bar fits the same radius of the taillights-too cool!

I really would like to see more pics of front nerfs too. Front nerfs seem harder to pull off though-they either look great or not so great. When they look right it's killer though

Thanks again man, I appreciate

Dan

rd martin
03-09-2008, 05:33 PM
cool post im building a copy of an early digger you gave me an idea for a cool push bar thanks want to see that rpu done.....

BenW455
03-09-2008, 06:42 PM
Super nice work. Thanks for the tip on pre heating.

325w
03-09-2008, 08:41 PM
They look great. My welder friend bent mine cold with a bending jig he has mounted to the floor. I used 5/8's all the way cause he that in stock and it was free. Jig are tool has a long handle and different size dies for bending tube are round stock.

Tin Can
03-09-2008, 10:38 PM
Nice tech. Like the nerfs

Richard D
03-09-2008, 11:57 PM
Dan, your work is more and more outstanding all the time.

Evel
03-10-2008, 12:25 AM
Thanks dude! You realize that you're the one to blame for this though-when I saw your coupe's nerf that did me in. After that I had to try & build one. I really love the way the license plate mount area of your nerf bar fits the same radius of the taillights-too cool!

I really would like to see more pics of front nerfs too. Front nerfs seem harder to pull off though-they either look great or not so great. When they look right it's killer though

Thanks again man, I appreciate

Dan


hahaha Sorry...

I got to say I was so stoked when I won that on Epay... I think my max bid was 1000.00
I really wanted it... It was off an old Hot Rod and the chrome is shitty but its old Chrome
and boy I love me old chrome...

it's weird behind the plate it looks like it had 2 lights
and maybe a club plaque in between them... theres definatlly no way a normal plate was mounted on there,,, when I found the 50 Buick tail lights I knew that those were what needed to be behind it they were just perfect...

Nerf bars RULE...

Rice n Beans Garage
03-10-2008, 10:46 AM
Excellent work !, Thanks for sharing your tech with the steps and photos !!

N312RB
03-10-2008, 10:50 AM
what are you using for your taglight/holder? Excellent tech...

evilgenius
03-10-2008, 11:27 AM
good god that is nice work.

dodgerodder
03-10-2008, 05:21 PM
hahaha Sorry...

I got to say I was so stoked when I won that on Epay... I think my max bid was 1000.00
I really wanted it... It was off an old Hot Rod and the chrome is shitty but its old Chrome
and boy I love me old chrome...

it's weird behind the plate it looks like it had 2 lights
and maybe a club plaque in between them... theres definatlly no way a normal plate was mounted on there,,, when I found the 50 Buick tail lights I knew that those were what needed to be behind it they were just perfect...

Nerf bars RULE...
That thing was made to use with those taillights. I wonder what kind of car it was built for originally? That thing couldn't have worked out better for you-I like the mounts on the frame for it too. I wish somebody could invent a new chrome process that gave it that look of an og chrome job. I guess that's one of those things you can't really fake though.

Dan, your work is more and more outstanding all the time.
What's up Richard?? Thanks man, I appreciate! I actually think that I am just getting better at taking pictures:p. Seriously though, that is the coolest thing about this hobby-every day is a learning experience, always room to improve

what are you using for your taglight/holder? Excellent tech...
It is an old one my pops had, but they are available now thru Bob Drake as repops-they are real cool & simple looking I think. Here's a link to the new ones:
http://store.bobdrake.com/19licplatlig9.html

fiat128
03-10-2008, 06:01 PM
This is a really great tech. Great fab skills too. I was looking at the truck and trying to see how you did the rear suspension and frame. Do you have any pictures of that?

Very good looking truck (you should do a tech article on how you are making the top with the blue tape as a guide, that looks very worthy of tech here).

sutliff fire
03-10-2008, 06:46 PM
great bars, great tech

dodgerodder
03-10-2008, 07:53 PM
This is a really great tech. Great fab skills too. I was looking at the truck and trying to see how you did the rear suspension and frame. Do you have any pictures of that?

Very good looking truck (you should do a tech article on how you are making the top with the blue tape as a guide, that looks very worthy of tech here).

Thanks man, here is a link with rear frame pics:
http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=240412

The top still needs lots of tweaking & fitting, but the tape did help give a good idea of the overall shape. I have seen threads with guys using plastic sheeting and similar things to see the tops shape too. Once I get to the point of fitting the bows I could show some pics of that for sure.

rat bastad
03-11-2008, 12:43 AM
Ultra kool....nice welding. I must try heating up my shit before laying welds and see how they come out.

Thanx for sharing....

Rat

continentaljohn
03-11-2008, 08:00 AM
Great stuff Thanks