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got any ideas?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Mike Britton, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. OK,I'm back. ferrying Crissie back and forth to chemo treatments gives me too much time to think about this project. The greaseslapper is a 'glass '29 A that has a competition weight body. The doors are glued shut, and I have vacillated back and forth on the idea of opening the doors since the start of this project.
    My lovely wife, who, as you know, is never wrong, has said from the beginning that opening the doors would weaken the body too much to run on the street.
    I now agree with her.
    Now, I'm planning to run 1"sq. steel tube around under the top edge of the cockpit and build a steel frame to stiffen the thin body. My question is, how do I bend the 1"sq. tube? Would I be better using round conduit to build the skeleton?
    I could use the typical electrician's bender to bend that stuff.
    Would wood ply cut to fit and epoxied in using the West marine epoxy system be strong enough to stand up to crawling over the top? If I use wood, I would "skin" the inside of the body with 1/8" ply to stiffen the body even more. Weight isn't an issue with a 454.
    I know T buckets are "wooded" in, and this method would by far be the easiest to do, but those bodies are much smaller in cross section than an A body.
    I have most of the body issues ironed out, except how to strengthen the top of the cockpit so it doesn't give under the weight.
    The original builder has the body mounted so that the only weight on the body is the body itself, and it works fine as such. After the floor and firewall and rear bulkhead are glassed in do you think wood stiffeners virtically along the doors would be enough?
    Can you tell I'm having a hard time seeing this part of the project in my feeble mind? Thanks, Mike
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  2. Another shot of the body, I don't know how to put more than one photo in a reply, sorry.
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  3. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223

    F&J
    Member

    I messed around trying to bend square and rectangular.


    I can measure gauge size of these tomorrow. The stuff that bent real nice was 1/2" square. It will bend around that tight corner on the rear body. I did not have any luck with bigger sizes when going for a tight bend. I tried sand, heat, etc, but could not get it done.

    My project was a 32 coupster cut off with just a thin edge at the tops of all the body panels. I also used the 1/2" to make a skeleton frame for a lift off sheet metal, fake cabriolet roof. It's all pretty strong.

    If you use the 1/2" sq at the top edge where the bends need to be very fussy, then you could add larger square/rect a few inches below the 1/2" where you won't need a bend; just do a welded 90*...then tie the upper and lower tubes together with sheetmetal. I did just that, to beef the B pillars. I should take a pic :rolleyes:

    I made a simple jig to bend the 1/2" sq tubing. Just a round object welded to a 1/2" thick junk plate that was maybe 8"wide x 5 feet. Then put a stop somewhere near that round object to hold one end of the sq tube, then work the long end by hand.

    Larger tubing would be a lot stronger for your body if you can do that tight bend somehow. I can't...and don't see how it would bend that tight without some special bender.
     
  4. BTT? Anybody else?
     

  5. borntowrench
    Joined: Jan 7, 2009
    Posts: 28

    borntowrench
    Member

    You could use the larger tubing and just fabricate the tighter bends with four pieces of flat steel. two pieces cut to the shape of the curve you need, then two pieces rolled or formed to the outer and inner radius. weld, grind, done. the gentler curves could still be done with a setup as you described welded to a workbench...just a thought.
     
  6. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    On a 27 glass body, I used 1" sq. 14ga. tubing with saw cuts about a 1-2" apart, depending on the radius. Started with a larger radius so when the saw cuts were welded it would shrink close to the desired radius, then it was real easy to tweek it for a tight fit. I also cut in a door on the pass. side and it is plenty strong. Here's a shot, taken some years back, of it under construction, so it's not real clear but you can get the idea. All in all it was a lot easier than I thought it would be, just real time consuming.
     

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  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,698

    squirrel
    Member

    It would probably look better if you used bent round tube.....
     
  8. duke460
    Joined: Jan 7, 2009
    Posts: 192

    duke460
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    I built a fiberglass Cobra a few years ago. Where the body attached to the frame, around doors, hood, door jams, trunk hinges, latches, etc. cut 1/4" x 1" aluminum bar stock and bent, formed, cut to fit the contour of the body. Used Epoxy to bond it to the fiberglass, then glassed over with 2 layers of fiberglass mat. Easy to work with alumimum. Can drill and tap for mounting hardware. Strong and solid when it was all bolted together.
     
  9. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    That's what we used to use back before glass bodies came so complete. Unless you are building a roll cage, neither steel nor wood will make a big difference in an accident. Wood is a lot easier to shape. I recently saw a 27 glass body that I built a frame for...30 years ago. It's been down the road many many miles since it was made back in the 70s. It still looks the same and the doors still open and shut the same. Those were the days when you had to get itchy to build a glass car. The young guy did all the wood and glass work. He opened the trunk too. The young kid is almost 50 now.:D

    It's funny 30 some years ago a young kid wanted to build a nostalgic car long before the HAMB or the internet. It's still running the flathead and the T-10 out of my 62 Corvette.
     
  10. I don't see any squared off flanges where you would WANT to use square tubing. The flanges I see on the body are rounded, thus use round tubing. Easier to bend and form.
     
  11. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    One advantage of using sq. tube is that it makes installing the upolstery real simple. I just used trim screws, but the hidden spring clip thingies would work just as well.
     

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  12. I've vacillated back and forth to lend an opinion, but I don't know what vacillated means
     
  13. burnin53
    Joined: Mar 22, 2009
    Posts: 596

    burnin53
    Member
    from cuba,n.y.

    I used one inch tubing to frame my roadster body,just cut,bent,welded and sanded smooth.
    I think other methods will work but seem to make the tubing buckle into itself.
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    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
  14. studeynut
    Joined: Mar 13, 2011
    Posts: 290

    studeynut
    Member

    Here's the trick for bending square tubing. Lay a peice of round bar on the tube and hammer it in so it concave on the one side, but just in the area you want to bend, then just bent the tube over a round item, like a pipe, wheel, etc.. Works on 1/2" and 1" thin wall tubing, alot easier than cutting ang welding
     
  15. Webster say's.....:sway, totter; also :fluctuate. :D
     
  16. As Jake on 2 1/2 Men would say....Oh man, why didn't you just say sway?:D:p
     
  17. Ruiner
    Joined: May 17, 2004
    Posts: 4,145

    Ruiner
    Member

    From what I've heard when you use wood to stiffen up a fiberglass body, over time the places where the wood is epoxied to the body will show on the outside of the body because the fiberglass and wood shrink and grow at different rates...
     
  18. fitzee
    Joined: Feb 26, 2003
    Posts: 2,862

    fitzee
    Member

    I made a simple jig on my welding bench when I built a T frame for a friend. It was a simple setup and work like a charm. You could tighten up the turn but this is the one I needed for this projects. I made each bend from a piece that was 5 or 6 feet long.Made it easier to bend.

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  19. burnin53
    Joined: Mar 22, 2009
    Posts: 596

    burnin53
    Member
    from cuba,n.y.

    A lot of the bends I needed were compound curves,so I think cutting and welding was the thing to do.
     
  20. Wow guys!! Thanks for all the pics and ideas! Now, if I build a steel frame, I'll want to encapsulate the framework into the body between the outer skin and the inner skin I would build to hang the interior on, right? So the body would bolt to the chassis through the floor instead of the stiffener frame being mounted to the chassis and the body hung on it, right? The stiffener would be part of the body and come and go on and off the chassis with the body. I'm starting to understand.
    And, I'm beginning to believe the round conduit might be the thing to use. Easily bent, and although nasty to do, weldable.
    So, the instrument panel stiffening assembly would also be part of the body and not part of the chassis? I have a 2"x3" hoop under the cowl where I originally intended to hang the pedals that the firewall will bolt to, are you saying I don't need to tie the "dash " panel to that hoop? Won't I get a lot of cowl shake if I don't? Or, will the fact that I've stiffened up the body close to the firewall be sufficient? The last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time on this body only to have it flop around like loose sprint car panels. My time is cheap, and I'd really like to keep this old body simply because this was the car as it was raced in the '70's and '80's. I intend to install a "bedframe" style rollbar that I could use to attach the " stiffener frame to in the back, and build the under dash assembly so that it attaches to the hoop in the front.
    With the rest of the "stiffener attached to the floor, I'm beginning to see a fairly strong inner frame assembly.
    I think I have it. Thanks, for helping me see the forest. Mike
     
  21. Thanks, Fitzee! One picture really is worth a thousand words!;)
     

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