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Old 09-05-2012, 12:28 AM   #1
niceguyede's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: dallas
Posts: 631
Default Tech Week Model A floor

Since this tech week seems to have a few metal forming threads going I figured I'd jump on the wagon and throw in my bit! I have done a few floors in model A's and doing them piece by piece in the car (or truck) sucks for your back and knees! The flat parts aren't bad, but the firewall and trans humps are killers.. So on the last one I did I made a semi permanent frame so I can pull it out of the car and build everything on the bench first. This way all you have to do is some final fitting and weld it up!

First I started with a perimeter frame around the outside edges of the bracing and the clearance distance for the transmission. In this case it's a T-5. I used 1/2 square tubing that I had laying around. I used 1/4 and 3/16 round rod for the trans frame.

I forgot to take pics of the trans frame coming together, but you can see what I did here. I just bent and welded round rod around the trans to the perimeter frame with about an inch clearance between the trans and the OUTSIDE edges of the wire. This way the sheet metal will be as close to the trans as possible with plenty of room for wiggle.

After I was happy with the fit, and the ability to pull the frame in and out of the truck I started making poster board templates for everything.

With the templates made I pulled the frame out of the truck for the last time and got down to making the pans. I started by cutting out the metal and laying out the beads. Once I had my layout I bent em up in the brake and put the beads in. Then I started on the tail. I use a plastic shaping hammer and a sand bag to get a rough shape started and then finish em out on the planishing hammer. If you don't have these, go to northern tool or horrible freight. Cheap and effective! But get some hearing protection while you are there, planishing hammers are stupid loud!

Once I had the tail fitting pretty good I trimmed the shifter hole and started on the center section. A little more pounding and planishing and bending over your leg, stepping on it, pounding, planishing....etc.....you get the point. It doesn't fit the first time, ever! A little practice and patience will go a long way!

Fitting good and cleko'd in.

When I had it fitting the way I wanted I trimmed and tacked it together. A little more hammering and weld and dress. If you are using a mig welder, the easiest way to get a good fit and finish is to leave everything cleko'd together. I use a 4 1/2 electric angle grinder with a 1/16 cut off and start cutting. In this case I started at the center of the top and cut to just before it starts to curve cutting through both pieces at once. I take a small flathead screwdriver and push the sheetmetal on the bottom away from the cut. Then I put a few tack welds to make sure it stays where I want it. Make sure to keep the surface flush! Otherwise when you dress the welds you won't get that pretty seamless look! Once you have it tacked and flush, start at one side or the other and weld inbetween tacks. I tack about every inch, so when I weld I weld an inch then dress the weld. Weld the next inch and dress until it is solid. You will have to do some hammer and dolly work to keep it in shape as you go.

With the last piece of the tunnel it is just more of the same...cut, shape, fit, weld.....

Once I had the tunnel all welded together I fit the floor to the truck to make sure everything is staying where I want it. Of course it is, it is cleko'd to a metal frame that doesn't flex enough to let it get out of whack!!
With everything fitting I started welding the tunnel to the pans. Tack, tack, tack, weld, grind, weld, grind.....again, you get the point!

Until it is all one piece!!

Then I fit it to the truck and cleko it where I want it so I can start on the firewall.

More to come!!
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