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TECH! - Fixing an Aluminum Fender

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 52pickup, May 4, 2006.

  1. 52pickup
    Joined: Aug 11, 2004
    Posts: 833

    52pickup
    Member
    from Tucson, Az

    This fender came in a while ago to the shop I work at. It is off a 1954 Doretti Swallow. It was rolled up pretty good. The guy wants to know if we can fix it...

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    When the damage happend, the aluminum work hardened, so to soften it up and make it easier to work, I annealed it. On aluminum, to anneal you take an acetylene torch, burning pure acetylene, and put a nice even coat of soot over the piece. Next, bring up a nice neutral flame, and burn off the soot. I dont quench or even use compressed air to cool it, but some people say it doesn't hurt anything.

    [​IMG]

    After I softened it up, I looked the panel over, and decided which direction most of the force had come from in the impact. I proceded to grab the wire edge with a pair of visegrips, and pull back towards the direction of force, while pressing down on the high creases. Doing that twice, annealing inbetween, got me here. Not good by any means, but a lot better.

    [​IMG]

    I repeated the vice grip method two more times, but with the fender flipped over, and pushing down on the dished area to flatten it out. A little hammer and dollie was done on the bottom edge to fix some of the tight creases.

    [​IMG]

    I dont have any more progress pics from here on out, I got too into it and forgot to take any pictures.

    Next i took the fender and laid it, upside down, into a shot bag. I then took a toe dollie, and with the slightly crowned side, beat it into the fender untill I had a decent shape into it. I dont have any fancy planishing hammers or e-wheels at my disposal, so next I found a nice flat, smooth section of concrete floor, and, again upside down, hammering from the inside of the fender, used it as a huge dollie, lightly hitting the highs first, then very lightly going over the entire area, planishing it out.

    This is how it ended up. Pictures of metal work always look better than in person, but this is pretty good for the 3 hours I put into it. It is by no means perfet, but a very light skim coat will take care of it nicely.

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  2. Flipper
    Joined: May 10, 2003
    Posts: 3,320

    Flipper
    Member
    from Kentucky

    What is a 1954 Doretti Swallow?
     
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,111

    squirrel
    Member

    probably something like this
     
  4. PDX Lefty
    Joined: Aug 12, 2004
    Posts: 515

    PDX Lefty
    Member


  5. CDNflatlander
    Joined: May 11, 2005
    Posts: 97

    CDNflatlander
    Member

    WOW! Umm, that made it look too easy, Great job.
    Thanks for posting, I learned the annealed 'trick'. Now to remember that for future use.
    CDNflatlander......not a body tech:)
     
  6. Bluto
    Joined: Feb 15, 2005
    Posts: 5,113

    Bluto
    Member Emeritus

    Doretti is a special bodied Trumph designed by Jim Sitt's wife :)
     
  7. 52pickup
    Joined: Aug 11, 2004
    Posts: 833

    52pickup
    Member
    from Tucson, Az

    Well, I'm glad someone learned something... that was what I was going for. Remember, only works on aluminum, well other metals too, but not steel.
     
  8. pimpin paint
    Joined: May 31, 2005
    Posts: 4,939

    pimpin paint
    Member
    from so cal

    Hey,

    Heating metal that has been folded, badly crushed or stretched, will help
    you to restore it to its old shape, but.......their are some who wouldn't
    call this annealing, but I would. When we heat aluminum we soften those
    grains in the metal with heat, when we heat badly crushed steel to a cherry
    red colour, and forge don't we also move those grains of metal?

    Swankey Devils C.C.
     
  9. 51 MERC-CT
    Joined: Apr 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,594

    51 MERC-CT
    Member

    Fixed one back in '58 or '59 almost the same.:) :D
     
  10. 50chevydan
    Joined: Feb 25, 2005
    Posts: 33

    50chevydan
    Member
    from Fenton,MO

    Great post, but I thought you were only supposed to use a propane torch on aluminum.
     
  11. 52pickup
    Joined: Aug 11, 2004
    Posts: 833

    52pickup
    Member
    from Tucson, Az

    I've never heard that. Some people Oxy/Acetylene weld aluminum. Burning off the soot from the acetylene is the only way I've ever hear to guage annealing alluminum.


    Heating steel and working it hot does make forming it easier, but it is not technically annealing, because it does not remain easy to work after it has cooled, which is what annealing does.
     

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