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**Tech: Build your own 32 frame rails**

Discussion in 'Tech Archive' started by flthd31, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. flthd31
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Posts:
    382
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania

    flthd31 Member

    This project started with a bunch of 30-31 coupe body parts that were pretty rough. I didn’t want to spend any money on a frame of any kind because it was doubtful that the body could be assembled.
    So since I have more time than money, I decided to fab my own 32 rails.
    Back a quite a few years ago, you couldn’t get stamped repop rails. Pro rod builders used to build them something like this and some still do. It gives you lots of options for body contour and rear cross member kick-up. These rails will follow the 30-31 Model A body contour.

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    I start with a print downloaded from Westcott’s web site. Then I blew it up to full size in MS Publisher and printed it. I then taped all 16 pages together for a full size print. The lines were a little thick so I just flipped it over and refined them on the back side. I modified it a little to suit my needs. You need to subtract the thickness of the top and bottom frame pieces and also for your plasma tip. Transfer the contour onto some cheap luan underlayment and cut it for a plasma pattern.

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    To make the top profile, I drew a centerline on the garage floor and put the floor, cowl and front cross member in place using the dimensions on the print.

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    I then traced the contour onto luan underlayment and cut it. This pattern stops short of the rear axle. The frame is straight back there and it will be easier to add that section later.

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    Take both patterns and lay them together with the rear axle marks in line. Make a mark somewhere midway to help locate the top to the side when you tack it together.

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    I pieced together some .125 cold roll so cutting would be minimized. These short ends are scrapped where I work so I grabbed quite a few. The free steel was a big factor in starting this project.

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    I happened to have this long table left over from a canoe I built but any long platform will get you off the floor.

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    Leave a slight gap and chamfer both pieces on both sides.

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    Finally…ready to fire up the plasma.

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    You’ll need to make 4 of these.

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    I put these cuts in to help align the top with the side and also to square the frame when the cross members are installed.

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    To make that purdy reveal, we need to cut the 2 pieces that will be the outside. It’s cut just ahead of the line on the print.

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    Make a cut about 3 inches up from the bottom at the rear of the reveal about an inch behind the line on the print.

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    I made a form to hammer the reveal line into the rail. It’s made out of 1 ½ inch square tubing .125 thick. The pattern is made from the print.

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  2. flthd31
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Posts:
    382
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania

    flthd31 Member

    [​IMG]

    Align the form with clamps and tack weld to keep it from moving.

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    I also bolted them together at the rear.

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    Clamp the whole thing to a work bench and start pounding the edge down using a template and straight edge as guides. IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember to make a right and left by bending the edge in opposite directions. Take your time and don’t try to bend it all in one pass.

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    Align the rear cut, weld and finish grind.

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    Weld the pieces back together using the template as a guide.

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    Grind smooth.

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    I made mine a little oversize so I could trim off some of the hammer marks.

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  3. flthd31
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
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    382
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania

    flthd31 Member

    [​IMG]

    Now for the top and bottom. Same as the sides.

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    Now let’s put it together. I cut some scrap wood to help hold things a little. They don’t have to be too perfect because it’s the top and bottom pieces that give the frame its shape as you tack it together.

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    I tacked a piece of tubing on the front of the rail to keep it straight.

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    Tack both the top and bottom. The front will be too long and the back will be added later.

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    Next, I trimmed the top and bottom inside edge with the template clamped to it.

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    Square everything up.

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    Tack in the insides. I cut them into 2 pieces for easier alignment.

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    Don’t force anything too much, It should fit pretty good.

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    Now I finished up the front. Just hammer it around while tacking.

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  4. flthd31
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Posts:
    382
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania

    flthd31 Member

    [​IMG]

    Use up some of that scrap to finish up the bottom and top

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    Finish the top rear the same way

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    Weld everything up except where the x’s are marked. Take your time and skip around a lot. Do a few welds on a side and rotate. I like to position the weld joint so the ”V” is straight down (in the trough).

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    All done, now get out the grinder.

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    I tapered the horns on the inside edge using a scrap piece of metal as a guide to cut out a wedge.

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    There you have it. A pair of 32 rails pinched, kicked and boxed all in one. The main thing here is to end up with both rails the same.
    I eventually got the cross members welded in.

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    The frame fits the body perfectly. It sits right up inside the body subrails to give it a slight channel.

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    Oh, and don't worry, that grill shell will get dropped a couple of inches.
    volvobrynk likes this.
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  5. flamedabone
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2001
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    3,337
    Location:
    Drinkin' beer and building hot rods in S. Carolina

    flamedabone
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Holy shit man. That is some fine fabricating.

    -Abone.
  6. -Brent-
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
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    4,138
    Location:
    Salt Lake City

    -Brent- Member

    Welcome to the H.A.M.B! Your fabrication and quality is astounding!
  7. BCR
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    1,251
    Location:
    Riga, Kansas

    BCR Member

    Wow, very nice job.
  8. NealinCA
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    Atascadero, Calif., USA

    NealinCA
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Very nice work...and a great tech piece.

    Neal
  9. Chris Casny
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    Los Angeles/Austin

    Chris Casny Member

    Wow, superhero, simply the best of the best right there.
  10. brady1929
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    Mesa, Az

    brady1929 Member

    that is amazing!
  11. Duke
    Joined:
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    Location:
    British Columbia, Canada

    Duke Member

    Thank you for posting that, excellent tech!!
  12. solid
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    OHIO, EAST OF THE NATTY.

    solid Member

  13. The37Kid
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    Ridgefield, Ct.

    The37Kid Member

    WOW! That is one hell of an intro! Welcome to the HAMB!
  14. Great work, You sir are a craftsman!
  15. chaddilac
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    Muskogee,OK

    chaddilac Member

    WOw! that is awesome!!!
  16. brigrat
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    Wa.St.

    brigrat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    2 hands clapping! Bravo........................ take a bow, your the man!
  17. Ron Mayes
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    Bowling Green Ky

    Ron Mayes Member

    i hate you
  18. Harms Way
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    Northern Mi.

    Harms Way Member

    Great post !,..... And exceptional work !
  19. paperdog
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    MINN. JUST NORTH OF TWIN CITIES

    paperdog
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    the idea of winning tech week tools has spawned the winner...
    everyone raise yer hand tha t agrees ...

    oops hope its not too late

    total time for build?
  20. :eek:holy shit batman,........cant wait to see what the rest of your car is like. top shelf stuff right there!


    how many hours did that take?
  21. flthd31
    Joined:
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    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania

    flthd31 Member

    Everyone, Thanks for the positive replies. I lurk here every day and never get tired of reading other guys tech and seeing all the great rides. Hope somebody can use this post.
    As far as time of build… for me…the more time the better. I hate when a good project is over! Actual fabricating was less than a week. The planning and pattern making took a couple of weeks. Don’t get caught up in trying making them perfectly identical to Henry’s rails. Just try to make both the same. They will look great under your car.
  22. Mart
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2001
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    2,519
    Location:
    Solihull, England.

    Mart Member

    Fantastic work.
    Mart.
  23. Nobodys Hero
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    Location:
    New Jersey

    Nobodys Hero Member

    Amazing...love it..
  24. fortynut
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
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    Location:
    weston, alabama

    fortynut Member

    I'm going down a similar road with '40 rails and it's inspiring to see your simplified technique. I'm using the Wescott blueprint myself, as a reference. (I'm using a really nice frame as a reference.) I hadn't thought of blowing it up, but will. And, I can see that 'wood is good'. The Welders book suggests using it, and being a metal oriented person I have a block against it, but seeing your use of it, I'm having second thoughts. Thank you for sharing.
  25. Hackerbilt
    Joined:
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    Location:
    St.Johns,Nfld,Canada

    Hackerbilt Member

    Beautiful job...and a great writeup too!

    What are you shaping your welds with, and how do you get that final finish on the metal after grinding? Looks almost too nice to be just a DA!
    Handheld belt sander maybe????
  26. 8-Track
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Plymouth, minnesota

    8-Track Member

    this looks like a tech week winner!
    Great job!
  27. indawaitinroom
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    the countryside of new york

    indawaitinroom Member

    this post is amazing!
  28. irondoctor
    Joined:
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    Newton, KS

    irondoctor Member

    Outstanding!!
    Great finish work!
  29. aussiesteve
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    somewhere else

    aussiesteve BANNED

    Great post,great job and an insane amount of work.
  30. Crazydaddyo
    Joined:
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    Orange, Ca.

    Crazydaddyo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You sir are talented!!!!!! Very nice

    When you say it took a week to fab.... you meen you took a week off work to build it...right?

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