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Technical Engine Turning and Bead Rolling a Hawk Dash Insert

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Irishjr, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. After a not-so-good experience with having someone make a custom engine turned insert for a Hawk dash I am going to be putting in my ’53 Studebaker Coupe (license 53 COOP), I decided to try it myself. This thread will include the engine turning process, with modifications to my drill press, through forming a bead around the edge (the hard part) that includes modifications I made to my Harbor Freight bead roller (HFBR). As of this date, I have been trying out the processes on a sample piece of stainless and it seems to be OK.

    I will update the thread as I move forward and hope I will provide some insight that might inspire a reader to undertake something similar for his vehicle or shop equipment.

    So far, this is where I have progressed on the test piece:


    The radio is a fake Studebaker AM radio that I will remove to have a modern radio behind it.

    Since, the bead rolling along the edge is the really hard part, I worked on that first, so I will fill you in on the steps I have taken. I have had the HFBR for several years, but mostly used it to form reinforcing beads on floor panels, etc. with the dies supplied with it. I found out early that the 3/8” main plate is pretty weak, so I stiffened it with 2x2x1/8 tubing a long time ago. That was a bit of overkill, but that’s what I hat laying around.

    Thanks to YouTube, I found a fella named Jere Kirkpatrick (he used to work for Carroll Shelby) who shows and sells instructions for how to modify a HFBR that makes it into a really useful and convenient-to-operate machine:

    I called Jere and told him what I was trying to do and he gave me some good advice. He also requested that I updated him on my progress, so I will send him the URL to find this thread.

    What I had felt was the right way to go in forming a bead around the perimeter of the engine turned panel was to not do it with conventional dies, which would do the edge on the rectangular sheet and then cut it out around the edge of the bead. Instead, I wanted to form it with an edge guide that will allow both convex (easy) and concave) curves as well as the straight edges.

    First, I laid out the whole insert in CAD so I could have the 22 GA. polished stainless cut out for me on a waterjet system:


    Then, after talking to Jere, who suggested that I look at using ¾” flat washers for the dies. They are 2” OD and have to have the center bored to fit the HFBR shafts. At the same time, I made an arbor to fit a lathe that matched the end shaft of the HFBR so I can pop it in the lathe and make washer dies to fit any appropriate situation in the future.

    Here’s a picture of the dies as laid out in CAD. I used a small ball bearing as an edge guide so that I could follow the edge of the part for both convex and concave curves. As I was laying it out, I discovered that I had to do the edge in two stages. First with the edge guide and a flared, but not completed edge (to clear the bearing), and then a second pass with another lower die to form the edge to lay against the dash itself:


    Here’s a picture of the completed first stage bead roller and dies:



    Note that I used aluminum for part of the die set to keep fro scratching the jewelled surface.

    I might also add that I found the gearmotor on eBay that works very well. It has a ¾” hollow shaft that required my turning and keying the HFBR shaft. It turns at 4 rpm, so I don’t need a variable speed drive. I bought a foot pedal assembly on Amazon for reversing capabilities. It had to be rewired, but it works great. I used a 4-wire trailer plug so I could easily disconnect it, as well.


    Now for the engine turning (also called jewelling). After a lot of research as to what others have done, I settled on using ½” Cratex rods and my old Craftsman drill press, along with a sliding tray system. I had the waterjet guy cut me a test piece for the jewelling that I had drawn with CAD that combines some of the shapes on the finished part, but could be cut from a smaller piece of stainless I had (I am also having him cut some practice pieces for the edge bead rolling).

    The sliding tray system uses a stationary tray with an adjustable pointer on the far edge and a sliding tray with a yardstick for indexing sided-to-side (horizontal). I highlighted the ½” increments so I would better spot where I had to line up the increments with the pointer. Since I was using ½” increments horizontally, I needed to offset every other row ¼”, so the pointer needs to be unscrewed and moved to a spot ¼: off the primary marks, and I used the same screw holes in the pointer itself. (Note: I will probably go to a 1cm horizontal spacing for the final piece to change the appearance slightly...just have to adjust the pointer offset and turn the yardstick over :))

    The stationary tray is bolted in place on the drill press table using the clamping slots.

    A piece of square tubing is used as a register to index the stationary table front-to-back (vertical). It is bolted to the table as well and then also clamps using the same clamping slots to be relocated as needed.

    The jeweled sample piece is screwed down to the sliding table using wood screws with both flat washers and nylon washer which allow the clamping without scratching the jeweled surface. I used several clamping screws so that I could remove one or more when the screws would interfere with the jewelling.

    Here are some pictures of the setup:




    As to the Cratex rods, I used a medium (brown) rod and no lubricant. I turned holder on a lathe that has a 1/2" diameter x 7/8" deep bore and a 1/4" hole that extends thru the 1/2" diameter shank. The 1/4" hole is to push the Cratex rod out. The bore is right at 0.500" to allow a rod to fit somewhat snugly. I thought I might have to add a set screw on the side to keep the Cratex from spinning in the hoilder, but it was not needed. As the rod wears down to the end of the holder, I push the rod out, put in small washers and re-insert the rod.




    Right now I am going out on the HFBR to complete the test piece and hopefully mask off and polish the edge bead. I’ll keep you informed……
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
  2. This is going to turn our well. The 'test piece' looks like the way the factory should have done it. :rolleyes:
  3. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 4,305


    Nice job!
    weps and Hnstray like this.
  4. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 2,727

    David Gersic
    from DeKalb, IL

    Looks like a really good start. I used coarse Cratex on stainless here. Medium didn’t produce enough scratching for me.

    That Cratex holder is slick. Lacking a lathe, I used a piece of K&S brass tube from the local hardware store.

    Looking forward to seeing your results.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app

  5. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,618


    I am impressed. That said I never want to see YOUR dash because it will make my stock dash look..well..crappy!!
    You are a true craftsman, looking forward to seeing more of this project.
  6. I continued to a finish point on the sample piece.

    First I finished the first stage bead rolling (with the edge guide roller). Here's a closup of a problem I encountered because of my early reinforcement of the 3/8" main plate of the HFBR, where I had clamped the adjustable mounting of the guide roller holder. Unfortunately, the concave spot over where the dash and steering column meet, interfered with the aforementioned clamp:


    Luckily, it only required replacing the long bolts and clamp bars with short bolts and washer stacks:



    So I was able to complete the circuit and then changed to the second stage bottom die, which is only a single washer change and slide the guide roller out of the way:


    So I was able to do the second stage fine, which involved running the upper roller down the gutter. However, the second stage will not allow concave curves without ruining the outside edge, so at those two places, I just released the pressure and moved the piece to an area where it would not interfer. That' a really nice feature of the Jere Kirkpatrick HFBR modifications. Flipping the cam lever just releases the pressure so I can move the piece and reengage the cam lever to keep the roller pressure the same.

    Now I have the edge sitting flat on the dash surface:


    Next, I masked off the jewelled surface and buffed the edge on the buffing wheel:



    So there you have it. I am satisfied with the results enough to call the waterjet guy and cancel his cutting the bead roller practice pieces and send him the CAD file for the final pieces, although I will probably have him cut two, just to be safe.

    I appreciate the kind comments. If anyone needs to contact me with quiestions, please feel free to message me.

    I will check this thread daily to see if anything needs addressing. Other wise I will post pics of the finished product and later when mounted on the dash.

    If anyone needs some help on the CAD stuff, message me and I will see if I can help in some small way.
    The 39 guy, slayer, Murphy32 and 18 others like this.
  7. vtx800-

    I never have liked the '53 dash. The gauges are too low and there is no room forward of the dash for an A/C unit. That's why I bought the Hawk dash on eBay.

    I'm trying to get things caught up on maintenance on 26 COOP, 33 COOP, and 40 COOP so I can get on with 53 COOP. I have a 331 Hemi/700R4 waiting to go in it. I am going to modify the front suspension by replacing the spindles and upper control arms with Camaro or Chevelle units, install ball joints on the lower control arms, and switch to rack and pinion power steering. Then comes the customizing: CHOP it, trimmed down '56 Packard taillights, and frenched stock headlights, plus some kind of custom grille bars.

    neverdun, The 39 guy, Paul and 9 others like this.
  8. GordonC
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 2,978


    Nicely done!
  9. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,347

    from Quincy, IL

    Outstanding engineering and fabrication! Really impressive piece you made there. Thanks for sharing the process.

    lothiandon1940 and weps like this.
  10. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 9,128


  11. studebakerjoe
    Joined: Jul 7, 2015
    Posts: 1,076


    Its looking really good. Ive covered many miles looking at Hawk dashes. Cant wait to see it complete. What gauges will you be using?
  12. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 2,194


    Great information; I just tried to make an under dash panel and roll a bead at the edge. I gave up after 4 tries as I wasn't able to get symmetrical beads on each side. If I used an edge guide it might be possible. The bead roller I have access to is a production model that was used to make heavy truck body panels.
  13. Wow! You sir are a thinker and problem solver!
    That panel is going to look amazing.
    Thanks for sharing all your work and tips.
    lothiandon1940 and Hnstray like this.
  14. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,996


  15. Stock looking gauges....Speedway mechanical 6-gauge set.....a Christmas present from my wife :D

    kidcampbell71, -Brent-, Paul and 5 others like this.
  16. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 2,096

    from Minn. uSA

    Hey, Irishjr;
    Thanks for the tech writeup. Very nicely done stude insert.
  17. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 33,070


    That is some nice looking work.
    TagMan likes this.
  18. MP&C
    Joined: Jan 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,468


    Jim, good chatting with you yesterday. When the 55 wagon gets back from the paint shop so we can make some patterns, we may be enlisting you for some engine turned panels for the dash and console...
  19. Same here. Just give a call.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  20. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 15,925

    from KCMO

    That wood table/ guides is genius. I’m stealing that for sure
    loudbang and lothiandon1940 like this.
  21. AndersF
    Joined: Feb 16, 2013
    Posts: 859


    I have somehow missed this all thread.
    The dash turned out great.
    loudbang likes this.
  22. AIrflow '34
    Joined: Jun 1, 2020
    Posts: 2

    AIrflow '34

  23. AIrflow '34
    Joined: Jun 1, 2020
    Posts: 2

    AIrflow '34

    I have a '63 Studebaker Hawk GT. Dashboard is yech/yuch faux woodgrain contact paper. I'd love to have SS engine turned dash on the passenger side and glove box. However, I lack the expertise and patience that you possess. Do you have any interest in making these for others. I love my GT. But, the faux wood grain is a serious downgrade from earlier models.
    loudbang likes this.
  24. Message me and we can talk about it.
    loudbang likes this.
  25. I'm baaaack!

    I'm finally getting the final panel moving. After working on a lot of other projects and finally starting on 53 COOP:

    It has come to pass that I am back on the engine turning. It took a while to get me fixing the CAD file for the waterjet cutting of the panel on the shiney stainless panel:


    Then I decided to use 5/8" Cratex rods, so I had to make a new holder. On this one I threaded the center for a long headless 1/4" set screw. I now can advance the piece of worn down Cratex by simply turning the set screw to push it forward (previously I added small washers to shim it forward).


    Then, after de-burring the backside of the panel from the cutting, it was back to the drill press with the Cratex:


    I'll keep you informed on the progress. Happy to be getting it done.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  26. Finished the engine turning on the panel today. The set screw in the Cratex holder worked out just fine. I did learn that occasionally I had to take a flat file and square off the end of the Cratex. This is especially an issue on the 5/8" dia. It especialy occurs when I do on an edge of a hole and it wears so that there is a protrusion at the center of the rod. It needs to be flat to do an evenly textured circle.

    Notice how the register tube starts out clamped to the drill press table. I then add 5/16" thick woood blocks to move the pointer table toward the post in incremental moves. After about 5 blocks are stacked, I remove the blocks, leaving the pointer table bolted to the drill pres table, move the register tube against the pointer table and bolt it down. Then I loosen the pointer table and start adding blocks again.

    Each line of circles is offset by 1/4", so I move the pointer back and forth each line and line up the pointer with the 1/2" increments on the yardstick. Boring job, but it gets it done. Also gotta hold the sliding board with the yardstick solidly against the backstop at the pointer. Don't want the circles to be squiggles!


    Set it in the Hawk dash, and it fits fine!


    Next is rolling the bead arond the edge.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
    The 39 guy, j hansen, fauj and 16 others like this.
  27. mcmopar
    Joined: Nov 12, 2012
    Posts: 1,733

    from Strum, wi

    Looks great good tech, thanks for taking the time.
  28. Wow, that looks great
    loudbang likes this.
  29. luckythirteenagogo
    Joined: Dec 28, 2012
    Posts: 1,269

    from Selma, NC

    loudbang likes this.
  30. Bead-rolled the edge. After the boring job of engine turning, this is something one does not want to screw up!:

    Insert with bead.jpg

    Now to polish the bead and do what I gotta do to attach it to the dash (temporarily, for now).
    XXL__, AndersF, TagMan and 8 others like this.

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