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Technical Shaping up a heavy 32 axle

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by the pinstriper, Apr 5, 2020.

  1. the pinstriper
    Joined: Jun 2, 2011
    Posts: 151

    the pinstriper
    Member
    from duxford UK

    Right here we go, the slippery slope starts now.

    a little something for my own build, the usual small burst of something when I can fit in between the day job and taking time off of customer stuff in the shop. I have been wanting to do this for some time now, I have had this thread on my phone for wha feels like for ever- as ever the internet is to thank for these ideas that seem to get stuck in your head.

    the master Harv and his legendary thread-
    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/peaking-polishing-a-32-axle.854718/

    With the current craziness of the world I decided this would be a nice escape, plus it was a great excuse to by some more tools and order heaps of consumables and take something on I hadn't before, learn and develop some new skills along the way.

    I started out with great expectations of getting this done in a couple of days, boy was I wrong! I started shooting bits for a video too, this soon went out the window once I start scattering tools and consumables about the place trying to figure out the best way around each section, whilst trying to determine my version of Harvs master class in the above thread.

    [​IMG]1 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2 by joe curtis, on Flickr



    Heres a selection of before shots of my axle, I had it blasted a while ago ready and already aborted this project. A little dust off, I was feeling pretty happy how much of a good example I had. With the long term vision of this going out front of a 32-A chassis for my coupe, I have no plans of what finish it will be. I just wanted to see if I could make it as nice as Harvs.

    [​IMG]3 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]5 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]6 by joe curtis, on Flickr


    I set out by attacking the main top and bottom faces, looking back I "de-peaked" pretty early in comparison to Harvs guidelines. Its not shown well in my phots but I took a bit of height off the ridge top and bottom to create a shallow peak, which in the end I rolled the top off for a nice low crown. How on Earth he keeps a high pea on there that well I beyond me. I went in with a 36grit sanding disk on a plastic backer on a grinder opposed to the flap wheel Harv suggests. Heres some shots of the bottom side where I had to go in and fill the most.

    [​IMG]7 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]8 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]10 by joe curtis, on Flickr




    Tops and bottoms roughed and filled, I headed back into the dirty room to clean it up and move onto the centre of the axle. I didn't want to jump right in and rough the entire axle up to start with as I was again, learning on job. If I had to do another roughing the entire axle first would no doubt save me a lot of time opposed to dicking back and forth as I did for a few days.


    Reverting back to Harvs guidelines, from what I interpreted anyway- flap wheel the returns on the beam, digging in slightly to get the pits out from the transition of the return lip, and main body of the I beam section- before moving onto the centre of the I and running the tip of the flap wheel top to bottom in small strokes moving down the beam. Coming from more of an industrial side of metal where I weld and blend boxes a fair bit, i have never got on with keeping areas flat with a flap wheel. I stay away from them as much as I can for flat work, but I can safely say this project has given me a new found love for them! Here you can see the return edge cleaned out, and filled again ready for a going over again.

    if you look closely you can note one side of the axle I had gone a few steps further than the other side. Note the pitting on the centre here too

    [​IMG]11 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    This side I had done the top to bottom strokes, then went over with a 20mm wide finger belt sander, then a 40mm wide flap wheel on a hand held die grinder. You can see that's where the grained looking finish comes from, if your a metal or consumable nerd you can see each section has been hit, or unto a set point and what's used. You can see here the high and lows on that joyful centre section still too

    [​IMG]12 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]14 by joe curtis, on Flickr


    Onto that nice end shape we love, these shaped up fairly easy and fast, I went in with the finger belt sander first- as you can see I hadn't hit the side walls yet. I used a 150 grit 15mm wide flap wheel on the air die grinder for those. I also hadn't used these really before, once the edges flick off they profile to the job nice and you can get a super nice finish fairly easy, just keep the little bugger moving at all times. Note at this stage the bottom was a bit more refined in bulk, the slab face of the axle I hit too, all main detail areas hadn't been touched.

    [​IMG]15 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    With everything shaping up nice, it was time to get stuck into the details. As I hadn't done this kit of thing I went back to what I know, colour it up, mark it out and follow scribed lines. The way light hits these surfaces its easy to make it look not quite right, but really hard to get it decent. Here im making out the big radius on the outside edges. I left one of these ends untouched through out the project unkownly- it was great as I could revert to how the shape in the original was. Its say to start removing metal with out considering final shape when your chasing pits. You can I see i opened the main edge transitions out with my tools, mainly to get as much as a uniform shape in these parts as possible.

    [​IMG]17 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    a quick look back to see how far its come to this stage, note the wide transitions to the wishbone mount areas compared to the large radius on the outer king bin boss end. Something I hadn't really picked up on until I started this. Not being around these old ford parts for long its nice to really focus on one piece and feel as if your learning with it as you go.


    [​IMG]4 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    Leaping forward a few steps onto the end details, the parts you will never really see at all but the bits I feel came out the fastest with less hassle. You may note the shape and finish refined a lot more on the axle in these photos. i thought by this point this was the last hurdle before a final blocking and papering. How ever the main centre section is currently still, kicking my ass.

    the before shot

    [​IMG]18 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    I turned a simple top had boss to clamp into the axle to get the outside edge as round as I could. You can use these as a guide and file the shape in nice and safely. I didn't go fulll bore and try to make it perfectly round on the inner section due to the shape being "flattened off" on the front and back sections. This just gives the impression to the eye its nice and round, takes a lot of the guessing out of it.

    [​IMG]19 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    That centre rib, simple file that bugger off. With this being a small area I didn't want to hit it with power tools to rough incase I went too deep. Plus I love a good file up, nothing is as good as a file. You can see again colouring and marking scribes to try sharpen up the lines on the return edges.

    [​IMG]21 by joe curtis, on Flickr


    Back onto the power tools, Bosch 12v battery "Dremel" with some small drum sander jobbies. One of those amazon deals "1000 piece kits" for £7.99 I had this from another job which I didn't use these on. Luckily I found 5 or so spindles so I mounted a load up and went into cutting the new shape into the ends, using the tip of the radius to form a uniform shape all the way around the perimeter of the recess.

    [​IMG]22 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    I flipped the axle onto its side, and ran it essential side to side, levelling the middle out to where I dug into the ends forming the radii. Then worked in half sides round and round on the other axis/motion with a 30x15 flap wheel on the air tool. crossing paths to smooth it back out, again using a worn down flap disc wedging it into the new form rads.

    Little file up to take edges off and get some smoother transitions, 150/240 paper and some red scotch these come up fairly easy.

    [​IMG]25 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]24 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    Now this is where im currently at, endless blocking and finger sanding. As I mentioned above the main centre is kicking my ass, I thought I was ready for the final stages, standing back and feeling chuffed with my achievements but im not quite there. I have a few high and low wobbles, they are fairly minor but I can seem to block them out with the energy levels I had at the end of day 3. I decided to tidy up and walk away before it beating me. Regain some positivity and head back at the tail end of next week once I have some more customers work done. With the currently situation of not having a day job to go to, it seems this is a nice distraction to pick up and crack on with, opposed to be being sick of the sight of.

    Anyway here's where im at on the ends
    [​IMG]23 by joe curtis, on Flickr



    A quick look over the tools I used, the most handy thing I found was cutting a crappy old file up, and welding the handle on top. Super handy for that joyful centre section blocking. Also gives your hand a rest from using a block and paper, until you slip off the paper and wedge your file into the job.

    [​IMG]26 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_5717 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    the table is a new version of the chassis workmate, the quick clamps in top come out- very handy for clamping axles in to clean up, how ever it is very low. Great thing to have about for odd jobs, folds up nice and flat too.

    Thats it for this week hopefully I can post some "finished" photos of this next week.

    Anyone who has done this or similar work, please post away with maybe where I went wrong or attacked this in an alternative manor to how you would. Already have the next pieces lined up for cleaning up.

    Cheers Joe
     
  2. sliceddeuce
    Joined: Aug 15, 2017
    Posts: 2,982

    sliceddeuce
    Member

  3. prpmmp
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 1,062

    prpmmp
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Awesome!! But, Ah never mind!! Pete
     
    loudbang likes this.
  4. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,012

    Tim_with_a_T
    Member

    Really nice work! In the past, I have started a similar task on a ‘37-‘41 axle, but gave up after I ended up with a SoCal dropped axle. I will use the Ford axle later in life and finish what I started. I used very similar tools to what you used from memory. I like the idea of the file you cut up and welded a handle 90* to the surface. That would have come in handy! This is where I ended up with my SoCal axle, drilled and sanded by me, and front suspension- ‘37-‘41 bones and spindles, the rest aftermarket or home-brewed. My stuff didn’t come out quite as nice as yours is shaping up, though!

    314964FD-6D9A-4225-8829-179AA1C50F5D.jpeg

    83A2DAAC-A1EE-449C-953F-504DEFCA05A8.jpeg

    563B61D4-F101-4A4F-A37B-90B3EADDF0E6.jpeg

    95CA26FF-7987-4EF5-BF24-2C9032BB2818.jpeg

    8D6FE672-A6E7-4FB8-83CE-A48D2FB3D4FF.jpeg
     

  5. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,327

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That is looking good and I can imagine the hours you have in it.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  6. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,441

    BJR
    Member

    That looked great..... until you drilled it full of holes. :D
     
  7. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 4,127

    sloppy jalopies
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The detail... wow... don't think a Heavy ever looked so good !
     
    Outback, loudbang and the pinstriper like this.
  8. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,188

    deathrowdave
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from NKy

    Fine as wine
     
    loudbang and the pinstriper like this.
  9. ratrod0
    Joined: Apr 15, 2005
    Posts: 1,083

    ratrod0
    Member

  10. Soviet
    Joined: Sep 4, 2005
    Posts: 727

    Soviet
    Member

    When the car hobby meets art. Nice work!
     
    loudbang, the pinstriper and 32Rules like this.
  11. silent rick
    Joined: Nov 7, 2002
    Posts: 4,017

    silent rick
    Member

    that is beautiful, a work of art. thanks for posting
     
    loudbang and the pinstriper like this.
  12. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,167

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    Inspirational , I say . Great work.
     
    the pinstriper likes this.
  13. 392
    Joined: Feb 27, 2007
    Posts: 1,166

    392
    Member

    Impressive Great job.
     
    loudbang and the pinstriper like this.
  14. the pinstriper
    Joined: Jun 2, 2011
    Posts: 151

    the pinstriper
    Member
    from duxford UK

    Great work on your axle too Tim. Looks like that polished up a charm.

    thanks for all the kind words guys. Hoping to finish this up the tail end of the week coming. Will fire some finished photos up, I hope!
     
    loudbang and Tim_with_a_T like this.
  15. the pinstriper
    Joined: Jun 2, 2011
    Posts: 151

    the pinstriper
    Member
    from duxford UK

    Heap more photos from yesterday, I had to sacrifice my nice files to get the centre as flat as I could. I think I have wasted a lot of time going about this the way I have. I think I jumped to soon on refining the surface finish with out realising I hadn't got it as flat as I could be. Most of that maybe down to wanting to cut good files up.

    I spent another 7 hours on the one centre section, I still feel it could be better but its going to have to do for now getting me through phase one. The next step will see it getting handled a fair bit and no doubt re-sanded before it can retire up on the wall for a while.

    Here you can see the low spots, I used the file on the side and laying flat

    [​IMG]1 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]16 by joe curtis, on Flickr



    finally fairly flat, I still had a small low at each end where I was only working unto one start/stop with the big battery whizzer, you can only see it when you look right down the centre of the beam. When you get the light right you can pick up the sections which I filled too, once its sanded these are harder to spot thankfully.

    [​IMG]17 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]12 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]8 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]5 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]20 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]19 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]9 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]7 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]8 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]4 by joe curtis, on Flickr

    [​IMG]21 by joe curtis, on Flickr
     
  16. rod1
    Joined: Jan 18, 2009
    Posts: 715

    rod1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    What a beautiful ton of work.Put some Velvet behind that axle,and do some Glamour shots.Pure porn..
     
    Jungle Jalopy and loudbang like this.
  17. loudbang likes this.
  18. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 3,324

    Fortunateson
    Member

    Excellent work, now go and paint it black! LOL. Seriously, well done. I'm not patient enough todo mine like that. Maybe I'll paint it black and forget about it!
     
  19. hotrodlane
    Joined: Oct 18, 2009
    Posts: 143

    hotrodlane
    Member

    Dude, You are clearly at the top of your craft! The axle is beautiful! Too beautiful for me even and at the point all the ford character it had is now gone. Sorry to say it but it now looks fake. I know that some guys are gonna bash me for that statement do to all your hard work that has been done. But it is just too nice! You are a true craftsman
     
    prpmmp likes this.
  20. Wow....that's beautiful! I was lazy and after I drilled it, I sent it in for a Jet-Hot coating. 34axlecoatedone.JPG
     
    Tim, Rolleiflex, alfin32 and 2 others like this.
  21. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 930

    Joe H
    Member

    Joe, I notice your tool choices include a Makita die grinder, hows that working out? I want to move away from air powered tools when porting cylinder heads. Is it as noisy as air?
     
    Jungle Jalopy likes this.
  22. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 5,371

    -Brent-
    Member

    Wow. Beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing it. Now there are two threads to use as guidelines.

    How many hours do you think you've got into it?
     
    Outback likes this.
  23. Outback
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 1,148

    Outback
    Member
    from NE Vic

    Wow, that looks beautiful!
     
  24. prpmmp
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 1,062

    prpmmp
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    X2!! I could not come up with how to say it,You hotrodlane explained it for me!! Its is truly beautiful!! Pete
     
  25. Sculptive Design Co.
    Joined: Jul 23, 2018
    Posts: 72

    Sculptive Design Co.
    Member

    Amazing work! Where did you get your abrasives from?
     
  26. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,389

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

  27. Jungle Jalopy
    Joined: Mar 31, 2010
    Posts: 234

    Jungle Jalopy
    Member

  28. wheeldog57
    Joined: Dec 6, 2013
    Posts: 1,811

    wheeldog57
    Member

  29. AULIZ
    Joined: Oct 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,000

    AULIZ
    Member

    Nice job. It´s hard work when grind, sand... IMG_3812.JPG IMG_3815.JPG IMG_3817.JPG

    few years ago I fixed coupe dropped 32 heavy axle, wishbones (30hours. last sanding 1500 wet). After those pics I packed those and send to Sweden my friends crome coating company (Dala Krom).
    ah
     
    akoutlaw and -Brent- like this.

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