Register now to get rid of these ads!

Building a '32 style frame for the Rafter Project

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SamIyam, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. "Rafter Project" aka Bonneville Car... aka Bomb Factory Hauler... aka The "T"...

    I wanted a frame with character.

    More often than not, when race cars get built... and the sticks of square and round tubing start flying... little thought is given to the aesthetics of the actual rails.

    I struggled at first... "should I build a simple rectangular tube frame, and hide it with a belly pan?"


    "should I built a frame with a little charcter and put it out there for all to see?"

    I decided on the latter.

    I have a repop '32 frame... but after a quick tape measurin'... I knew it wouldn't work.

    What is it about the '32 frame that looks so damn good?

    For me, it's that reveal... you know, the one that the original '32 running board and fenders followed?

    That, and they taper really nicely toward the front, with the top edge of the frame going upwards from the cowl to the radiator shell kinda like a Bleed Sweep but not so drastic.

    When TCI started re-popping the '32 frames back 25+ years ago... the lower edge was sharp, and they just looked out of place.

    American Stamping rails and others look right, and are made out of new steel...

    The problem is, the T body I am using for our bonneville car is straight at the bottom so the frame rails would need to be straightened... and then taper in towards the grille shell.

    Do I buy a pair of blank rails, flatten them out, then box them in?

    Seems like a lot of work.

    So after some more measuring of my '32 chassis... I figured that some 2 x 6" .120 wall would have enough meat that I could whittle away a frame that had the same side profile as a '32 chassis... with that reveal.

    I also figured it would be straight to match the T body, and strong enough for our Bonneville car.

    So I bought a 20' stick of 2" x 6" .120 wall.

    Then flthd31's post came along... man was it timely!

    Here's his post in case you haven't seen it:

    It was inspiring for sure... but it seems like a hell of a lot of work for what I wanted to achieve.

    So here's how I did it:

    Make a template of my '32 frame... 1/4" masonite worked fine for this:


    Made a pie cut and welded it back together to get the up-sweep. You can see it here:


    Cut the bottom part of the tube away to it could be welded back after I take a pie cut for the bottom edge:


    Cut the pie out and the lower edge of the front frame horn... I used my template as a guide for my plasma cut:


    Clamp and weld it back together... I used a screwdriver to move the tube to match the edge piece. The side piece has collapsed about 1/8" when I removed the edge.


    Use "close eyes and tack weld" method... scuse the crappy picture:


    Finished side profile... I ended up cutting the frame horns off because they didn't end up exactly the same. I will make new ones and attach them later... as I am doing something different up front...


    What isn't shown is the finsihed welded and smoothed rail... I forgot to take a pic.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  2. On to the reveal! This is the FUN part!

    I traced and cut the reveal into the side of the frame rail... it's an exact duplicate except only shorter because the T body is shorter and I wanted the rear fender reveal in it too... not just the upsweep for the front fender.

    I cut it with my plasma cutter:


    Next up, beat the lowet bead down about 1/4" with a hammer and smoothed off chisel... I measured this so it was exactly the same as my repop frame.

    Tools of the trade:

    After a good beating:

    I then clamped the thing with a piece of angle iron so I could bend the upper part down to meet the lower radius... this is the same as the repop rails:



    Done... You can also see in this shot where I had to heat and hammer the lower dip where the upsweep is... the lower crown of the tube was enough to support most of the lower bend... but as it upswept, there was not enough to hold the edge:


    I then welded it up:

    And ground and sanded it down:


    The only real tricky part was getting the rail straight after welding the reveal. The tube taco'd on me... but with a little head from the rosebud and quench from a wet rag, it was back and within 1/16" from straight.
  3. gnarlytyler
    Joined: Feb 2, 2007
    Posts: 1,004


    Sam that looks great and is gonna give great character to your project.. :)
  4. 6deucecaddy
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 714


    Man that looks good. Saving $700 bucks never seemed easier.

  5. Stovebolt
    Joined: May 2, 2001
    Posts: 3,361


    Great tech thread.

    My "32" rails were made in the same manner, except the reveal was formed using 9mm bar, welded into the gap created by cutting the sidewall of the rails

    Just another variation on the theme.:)
    bct likes this.
  6. Like the spider said as he walked across the mirror... "That's one way of looking at it!"

    Isn't it neat how we all figure out a way to make this stuff?

    I'll post some more pics as I go... if there is any interest in seeing the project progress.

  7. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,165


  8. Terraizer
    Joined: Jul 18, 2006
    Posts: 510


  9. Thanks guys!

    Tim and I are planning on running a flathead four banger in the car at Bonneville...

    We'd like to get the chassis done this year, take it out there for the tech guys to look at it, and then bring it back the next year painted, plumbed, wired and running!

  10. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 11,309


    Hey Sam !
    Excellant work, I like how you did that, please keep the thread going with updates on the build.......I'll be watching you.
  11. continentaljohn
    Joined: Jul 24, 2002
    Posts: 4,804


    Very Cool and just love it what its really homebuilt:D. How long did it take to beat the edge in? I got to try this real soon! Looks great!
  12. It took me probably a good hour of hammering to get the lower edge beat in place.

    The wife was like... "Are you DONE yet?"

    I put ear muffs on... and my right forearm is nice and toned (it has been since I was young because I work on stuff... no, really)

    I worked my way down and back, down and back probably four times or so.

    I'll put pics up as I go... maybe not this detailed... but I will giev ya updates.

  13. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,248


    Your posts are always interesting and worth the reading Sam.
  14. Jeem
    Joined: Sep 12, 2002
    Posts: 5,885

    Alliance Vendor

    I got it! I was a little confused. I re-re-reread your original post.....

    Glad to see your building a sexier frame. Some of you drag types DO tend to go strictly function and little form!
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  15. duecevw
    Joined: Sep 1, 2006
    Posts: 176

    from oc calif

    You built that frame faster then it took me to order mine from So Cal Speed. Very nice work.....
  16. HomemadeHardtop57
    Joined: Nov 15, 2007
    Posts: 4,221


  17. Sam, why wasn't Tim helping....or did he hold the camera?

    BTTT, great tech:D


  18. Funny, thats how my pal Randy has done em and EGGZACTILY how I intend on doing my A...................only with a twist;)

    Looks real nice Sam.
  19. PoPo
    Joined: Jan 3, 2008
    Posts: 1,102


    i love it.. makes me think I could actually do it myself too.. awesome and nice work.
  20. Sam F.
    Joined: Mar 28, 2002
    Posts: 4,225

    Sam F.

  21. Bad Ass post. Are you using 2x4 or 2x3 steel for the rails and what wall is it?
  22. That's the real point of the post... this is something anyone with a, die grinder, welder, hammer and torch could do... The plasma made it easier, but it isn't required...

    AND, it's quick and dirty.

  23. It's actually 2x6...

    The '32 frame I have is actually taller than 6" by a tad... the wall thickness is .120

  24. thanks for the info and keep us posted on the build.
  25. All the cool kids are using 2x5:D;)

  26. Is that to give it a channeled look?

    Funny thing is... I'm gonna channel the body an inch and a half... and 2x5 would have worked out really well!

  27. Yup!:eek::D
  28. Kevin Lee
    Joined: Nov 12, 2001
    Posts: 7,436

    Kevin Lee
    Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Nice. That couldn't have been easy grinding and sanding that little inner radius at the reveal?
  29. Flapper wheel Kev;)
  30. BUmp for such a cool tech piece!

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.