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How I made a cowl steer blister............

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Stu D Baker, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,627

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois

    First off, I apologize for my small cluttered work area. The hobby stuff is not the same priority as the money stuff. The side cover that I need to fabricate, will be made out of .040" aluminum. Sorry I don't know the spec number. It's a sheet that's been against the wall for quite some time.

    I'm making this for a guy in our car club, who is building a Model A RPU and is planning to install cowl steering. Don't know what box he's using, and sorry, I don't have any photo's of his project. I will say that he builds some really nice stuff. Like most of us, he does what he can himself, and friends and club members help out where they can.

    We all know that there are several different ways to fabricate a cover and the fabrication can be of any material you choose. He said he would like a polished aluminum cover and to follow the build theme, he thought rivets to fasten the cover would fill the bill.

    I decided to build a hammer form for this, in case I want to fabricate additional covers. I had a short length of treated 2 x 12 left over from a summer deck stair repair, so decided to use that for the hammer form. The down side to this is that there was a fair size crack in the board, but I "beefed" it up with some scrap aluminum diamond plate. Normally, I don't think you would need to reinforce if the wood was not crap. Rather than using clamps for the hammer form, I decided to use 4 (1/4x20x3") hex bolts. I laid out my proposed shape ( about 4"x7") with a bit of taper towards the tail end, and transferred the shape to the board. Using a Bosch saber saw, set at a 30 degree angle, I carefully cut the shape. The top piece of the hammer form was cut about 1/4" larger than the bottom and no angle cut. I wanted the angle cut to give the aluminum a nice consistent surface to lay into while hammering.

    I sheared a piece of the aluminum to size. Got the hammer form ready and before I begin, the aluminum needs to be annealed. For those who don't know, the annealing process physically softens the aluminum so it can be worked easier. There's a specific temperature the panel should be heated up to, but I can't tell you what it is. I can tell you that if you take a torch (no oxygen) and soot the panel up, then go over the panel and "burn" the soot off, you've annealed the panel. Got to take a break. Next post I'll start hammering!!! Stu
     

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  2. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    pasadenahotrod
    Member
    from Texas

    Can't wait to see the finished product.
     
  3. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,627

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois

    The annealed piece of aluminum is placed into the hammer form and the form bolted tightly. Remember, I'm going to "move" and stretch this piece to a 2" bump with my hammers, so it really needs to be secure in the form. Some metal fabricators drill a couple of holes into the aluminum to "pin" the piece and keep it from sliding, however, by using this huge hunk of wood and bolting it tight, there should be no movement.

    I'm hammering on my sand bag only because it's at a good work height. Later on, when the aluminum "grows", it will be hanging out of the form and resting on the bag. After 5/10 minutes, you can see the aluminum "sinking" into the form. I'll hammer some more and be back with more photo's. Stu
     

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  4. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,627

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois

    Bear with me......I'm a computer idiot. I'm sure there's a better way to post a tech, but I'm lucky to get it this good.

    After hammering for about 30minutes, I'm busting the form open to let you see the actual progress. Normally, I wouldn't open it until I was finished, but I really wanted everyone to see the progress to this point. Back into the hammer form and about 30 more minutes of beating, now you can see the blister starting to peek out the bottom of the form. If it wasn't on the sand bag, it would have nowhere to go.

    Needs a bit more persuasion, and then it will be time to planish the surface, or "fine tune" the blister. Be back in a few. Stu
     

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  5. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,627

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois

    Okay, out of the hammer form to see the result. Not looking too bad. Just need to fine tune it with a slapper spoon. When a dolly is placed on the backside of the work, and you "slap" it, you begin to see the surface begin to shine. The slapper brings down the high spots and the dolly brings up the low areas.

    I'll do some more slapping and my next post will be TA DA!!! You guys can be the judge. Stu
     

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  6. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,627

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois

    After a bit more slapping, I think it's there. Sorry, but it's not getting the full polish until after our Hamb n Eggs breakfast tomorrow a.m. (maybe a show and tell event). I did one earlier and polished it. The polished one does not have the "teardrop" taper that I have on the one made this afternoon. Both done totally by hand (no fancy smanchy tools) in the same hammer form, although a bit different technique to achieve the taper look.

    My vote is the teardrop taper, although, the other is nice too. Which ever one he decides is fine. Then I need to trim, leaving a nice lip for the rivets, and trim a relief slot for the pitman arm movement. Once I get this last one polished up, I'll post up a picture. Thanks for looking. Stu
     

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  7. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,352

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    Nice work! Thanks for sharing this


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
     
  8. nice! thanks for sharin.
     
  9. Doctor Detroit
    Joined: Aug 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,015

    Doctor Detroit
    Member

    That is really cool. Nice job... I learned a little somethin'.
     
  10. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,793

    tfeverfred
    Member

    Great work! Thanks for the "How to...".
     
  11. Mattilac
    Joined: Oct 27, 2007
    Posts: 1,145

    Mattilac
    Member

  12. nice. I leaarned something today.
     
  13. lawman
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,665

    lawman
    Member

    Now that is some nice work. Wish I could do that !!!! LOL
     
  14. I love it when craftsmen show there work, and how to do it.
    You sir are a craftsman, thank you.
     
  15. Budro35
    Joined: Dec 22, 2007
    Posts: 114

    Budro35
    Member

    Very interesting to say the least!! I may need to try this............
     
  16. motoandy
    Joined: Sep 19, 2007
    Posts: 3,307

    motoandy
    Member
    from MB, SC

    you the man Stu
     
  17. langy
    Joined: Apr 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,735

    langy
    Member Emeritus

  18. silent rick
    Joined: Nov 7, 2002
    Posts: 4,126

    silent rick
    Member

    thanks for posting bill. who's building the rpu? can i call dibs on the one he doesn't want?
     
  19. I made a blister for my transmisson tunnel (shifter arm hit the side) and i was miserable trying to control the shrinkage around the teardrop. Now i know a wood buck will solve all this..
    Thanks for the tricks, great work..
     
  20. The blister looks great and the ideas you laid out can be used to accomplish basically the same thing if someone wants to put the time in it,,thank you for posting. HRP
     
  21. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman
    Member

    Pretty impressive for an old guy!
     
  22. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,627

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois

    Why thank you. That's a great compliment coming from from a young kid. Stu
     
  23. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,627

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois


    Rich Dickie from St. John, Indiana. Actually, The guys at breakfast (S.W. Chicago) this morning mentioned that you probably needed a steering cover. If you have your box mounted and know the amount of room you need, I can make one to fit your project. Are you at breakfast in Indiana next week? I've been wanting to stop by and see you guys, so maybe this is a good reason. Stu
     
  24. silent rick
    Joined: Nov 7, 2002
    Posts: 4,126

    silent rick
    Member

    i'll be at breakfast next week. i missed our breakfast this morning, had family in town and they wanted to eat somewheres else. val and i are still wanting to attend the sw chicago breakfast one of these days.
    my steering is still in the planning stages but if you come to breakfast, we can drop by the garage afterwards and check out the T.
     
  25. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,627

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois

    Looking forward to next Saturday a.m. in sunny Indiana. Stu
     
  26. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,392

    manyolcars

    There is always a lot of gloom and doom in the news but with guys who have skills like this I venture a guess that we are going to be OK
     
  27. Bobert
    Joined: Feb 21, 2005
    Posts: 820

    Bobert
    Member Emeritus

    Thanks for the Show and Tell this AM. Neat tech.
    I still think that 3 bubbles on the skirts would be weird though.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  28. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,627

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois


    Bobert, sometimes it's a lonely world for a trendsetter. Stu
     
  29. Great tech Bill!
    I see that you made it out of aluminum. I am thinking about doing a blister soon but thought about using carbon steel and not aluminum. I think I heard SK or AK carbon steel would be more forgiving to work with than cold rolled. I could be completely wrong. Dunno.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  30. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,627

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois

    Interesting. I'll have to check and see how far a piece of 18 ga will move. Stu
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013

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