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Technical Attn metal fab guys

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Rocket Man 57, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. Rocket Man 57
    Joined: May 21, 2016
    Posts: 33

    Rocket Man 57

    Kinda new around here so I'm not sure how or where to ask, but here it goes. I've been a mechanic for a while but I've just gotten in to the hobby. I have a pretty fair set of tools as far as wrenches and the likes at home so I'm covered there. I'm wanting to start getting in to metal fab since it opens so many more options as far as customization. So far I have a small mig welder and an oxy-acetylene torch. I'm trying to figure out what I should get next. I've been looking at a shrinker/stretcher or a bead roller. I would love an english wheel, but I don't think I have the room to use one. I've got a one car garage which is currently quite full with a 57 olds so any new tool must be able to be put away somewhere. So what tool do you guys recommend I add to the collection next?
     
  2. RMONTY
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 2,187

    RMONTY
    Member

    What do you want to do first to your car? Do you have the tools that are needed for that? Start with what you got, make due until you can hone your skills with the minimal amount of tools, make some money doing it, and buy a tool that will cut your time the most, then do it all over again, and again.
     
  3. 56 Dodge Pickup
    Joined: Jul 1, 2009
    Posts: 1,816

    56 Dodge Pickup
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    Go with a Tuck Puck and a planishing hammer instead of the English wheel. pick up some used body hammers and about anything metal can be used for a dolly just use your imagination. Check out my build thread all the matl work was done with out a lot of expensive tools. Have fun even the mistakes you make you will learn from Hobo Jim
     
    clunker likes this.
  4. choptop40
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,764

    choptop40
    Member

    What he said ....cool you're getting into the metal fab..I cut my teeth on basic tools . Amazing the knowledge that's available online , videos and more...you'll love the Hamb....best place on earth and the nicest people...keep us posted when you start your first build....
     

  5. 117harv
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 6,590

    117harv
    Member

    No disrespect, but one of the best tools is the search function here. There is a wealth of GREAT info on this subject, many threads that will help you decide what is best for you/beginers.

    I would buy some basic hand tools for body work/fab, angle grinder, body hammers and dollies and a good wire feed welder, 220 is best...imo
     
  6. Rocket Man 57
    Joined: May 21, 2016
    Posts: 33

    Rocket Man 57

    Holy smokes you guys are fast. First build is underway. Restoring a 57 olds 88. I want to upgrade the brakes to a more modern setup with the booster/master on the firewall and front disk, but there's a good chunk of the HVAC system in my way. The goal is to make it look like it came from the factory that way. There's going to be some cutting and patching of the firewall. There's some smaller holes in the rocker panels that need some attention, but they can wait til the car is up and running. Right now the engine and front clip are all over the garage.
     
  7. get a hardwood stump and put a "dish" in it. Use some body hammers and a tuck tool to form some curves in some scrap 18- and 20-gauge sheetmetal. Once you start to feel comfortable with what the metal does when you work it, look for a planishing hammer to speed up metal shaping. These are relatively cheap ways to get going on body work and fabrication. Sheet metal brakes, beading, shrinker/stretcher will come as you feel ready.
     
    carolinakid likes this.
  8. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 7,397

    anthony myrick
    Member

    watch some videos and practice
    if you can make it in paper, you can make in in metal
    metal work is a combination of shrinking and stretching
    you have to learn how to read what the shape wants
     
  9. The hardest operation to do is shrink metal. Any thing with curves will go better and faster if you can shrink it fast and easy. You can shrink it with a stump, and puck, tucking fork, or a shrinker.

    They have small bench top E wheels too for smaller parts.
     
  10. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,036

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    I would recommend getting something that cuts metal besides a grinder with a cut off wheel. a Beverly shear would be the best, but they are expensive. wish I had bought one 20 years ago but never did. I have an air powered nibbler, an old electric Stanley shear, and Milwaukee shear that looks like a drill with scissors up front.
     
  11. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 7,397

    anthony myrick
    Member

    this wheel house was made using the tuck shrink method
    it was planished with a body hammer over an acetylene bottle cap welded to my work bench
    the fold up to the body line was a creasent wrench bend
    I used a cheap HF shrinker/stretcher to fine tune the upper part that made the lower half of the body line
     

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  12. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 4,387

    southcross2631
    Member

    some good metal working books. Read them and see what tools the pros use. Learn to make wooden bucks and pound metal into shapes like fender well lips etc.
     
  13. Rocket Man 57
    Joined: May 21, 2016
    Posts: 33

    Rocket Man 57

    Thanks for all of the responses. Lots of good information and things to consider. As much as I want something sexy like a bead roller, I think I should get a designated set of body hammers and dollies first. Time to upgrade from the old scared up ball peen. Also going to have to upgrade the air compressor before I start trying to run any serious cutting tools.
     
  14. So I read everything to this point. I agree with all above said so just some personal experience to date. I've done a fair amount of Tin work. What I seem to find from others is they try to do to much with a Mig welder when they have a gas torch on hand and would have been a much better choice. Now that's just me and my preferance. I just flipped over my 70th B-Day and have been learning all along. I also am a pretty fair Tig welder and so I have choices. You might be shocked to see some finished work and then find out I gas welded it. My advice is to get good with what you already have first then add things as you expand what you do. Meaning become a grate gas welder then try to do the same quality welds with your Mig machine. Once you can do that moving to a Tig machine will be easy but even then you'll find yourself picking up that old tripple Ott gas torch. Also don't just follow what others are doing. Think for yourself. A lot of these builds right here are built like a Freight Train. Holly Smoke's! Just think about it and you'll do just fine.
    The Wizzard
     
  15. Yaaa, you pretty much need hammers and Dollies before a bead roller. Unless you'll be doing bead roll arts, which is pretty damn cool!! But I still thing they use hammers Dollies chisels and sand bag.


    Nice !!!!
    That's a lot of tucking and hammering.
    With one of them $30k power hammers and $1500 shrinking dies you could make that wheel house from one piece in under 30 mins.
     
  16. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,914

    Squablow
    Member

    Once you have hammers and dollys, you'll want a big wooden stump, an anvil, and a big bench mounted vice. A big vice with a couple pieces of clean, sharp edged angle iron makes a good basic cave-man brake, and a more rounded set of angle iron pieces can make bends that aren't sharp. If you can't afford a real anvil, a chunk of train track works good, I have a couple of those.

    Shrinker stretcher is nice to have, mine are mounted to a piece of tubing so I can clamp them into my big vice. That way they don't need their own permanent stand. It's a little clunky to take them in and out but it's a real space saver. If you're on a super budget, you can make a real basic shrinker by welding pieces into a pair of vice grips, there's good articles out there on the web about how to do it.

    I have an English wheel but I never seem to use it. I keep a few old fenders/hoods/roof skins around off of cars that I've parted out and when I need a shape I can often find something close off of one of those pieces and just cut it out and start from there. Cheaper than buying 4x8 sheets and seems to weld nicer too, at least to me.

    I also hold onto old hammer heads, axe heads and interesting chunks of heavy steel to use as dollys, and I have a few sections of really solid 1" plywood cut out in matching pairs to use as hammer forms.

    Some of the best stuff for metalworking is the cheap stuff you just find around and adopt.
     
  17. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,914

    Squablow
    Member

    Also, there's a great tech piece on the HAMB somewhere about using pieces of solid round rod and a plastic dead blow hammer to pound bead roll shapes into sheetmetal, I've done it several times for making floor pan patches and it works really well, even if it sounds a bit barbaric. Longer pieces of round rod come in handy a lot.
     
  18. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,301

    squirrel
    Member

    I have done a fair amount of body work and fabrication...I have a torch and a mig welder, a chop saw, a few grinders. Two vises. Several hammers, including one body hammer and a couple dollies. I have a bunch of metal "drops", the left over pieces from cutting a piece to length. All different sizes and shapes of angle, flat, pipe, square, etc. they are very handy for making things, including special tools to shape something with.

    I don't have a bead roller or a strinker stretcher. Or an English wheel. Or a tree stump. I do spend a lot of time thinking about how to make things, when I'm working on a project.

    Maybe you should get working on stuff, and not worry too much about getting equipment, until you are in a position to really need it (like you're doing body repair or race car fabrication on a daily basis)

    Play with metal...you'll learn a lot!
     
  19. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 7,397

    anthony myrick
    Member

    Nice !!!!
    That's a lot of tucking and hammering.
    With one of them $30k power hammers and $1500 shrinking dies you could make that wheel house from one piece in under 30 mins.[/QUOTE]

    yep, I used one of those at my former work place
    it amazing what you can do with one of those
    but for the $$$ one of those cost, a little tucking and beating over a gas bottle cap does OK. just takes a little longer

    I would recommend anyone to google Faye Butler and watch him shape some metal
     
  20. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,022

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    From the soot mark down, I made the entire panel, to where it disappears behind the fender:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    With these (that is the panel, in-progress, to the left):
    [​IMG]
    And then MIG welded it in. Not my best work, but pretty good.
     
  21. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 7,397

    anthony myrick
    Member

    ^^^^^^^every metal man need some rail road track ^^^^^^^
     
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  22. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,022

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Absolutely indispensable.
     
  23. Rocket Man 57
    Joined: May 21, 2016
    Posts: 33

    Rocket Man 57

    That's some amazing work gimpyshotrods. 18 gauge? I've hacked together some floor pans with 20g with lack-luster results, but that's just flat patching that no one will ever see (I hope).
     
  24. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,257

    oj
    Member

    Here's one of mine, it has a hole I can drop things like the trailer ball or those planishing hammer dies into. Theres' a lifetime of learning in just those 2 pieces, it seems I keep finding new sides on the ball.
     

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  25. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,022

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If you can get a hunk of the aforementioned railroad track, get one. Add to that one body hammer, round head/square head combo, and a mushroom dolly. That is what I started out with, and still mostly what I use. I have a full set of body hammers and dollies, however, all I do with most of them is hit them with Scotchbrite and oil every so often.

    It is not always about what you have for tools, but how you use them. The best tool you can own is patience, and lucky for you, these days, Youtube. Everything has a video nowadays.

    Then it is practice, practice, practice.
     
  26. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,914

    Squablow
    Member

    The hitch ball is genius, I never thought of that, and my train track anvil had a hole cut in it already that is perfect for one. Glad I checked back here, that's a good idea.
     
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  27. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,022

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    18ga. What appears to be a double-step in the bottom picture was NOT done on a brake. It was done on that piece of railroad track.

    I promise you that you WILL get better. I am still getting better, and I have been seriously trying for about 30-years.
     
  28. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,022

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That is slick. I have used one, but never bothered to take it off the truck first!
     
  29. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,257

    oj
    Member

    That must have been tough flipping the truck over just to get to the right approach!
     
  30. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,022

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Big forklift.
     

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