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Art & Inspiration The History and Art of Engine Turned Material - Lets See Yours

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Speed~On, May 17, 2017.

  1. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 1,617

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    Member
    from Upstate NY

    Now that's a tach!
     
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  2. Bert Kollar
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,139

    Bert Kollar
    Member

    I wrap tape around a fine wire brush to keep it from flaring out then grind the face flat. Can resharpen if needed. Been doing it for 30 years and even sold some panels. Works on stainless or aluminum, polished is best
     

    Attached Files:

  3. IMG_2159.JPG I did this on stainless steel with a half-inch Cratex. I was going to put in a 3-3/8" hole in the middle for a tach, with an oil pressure gauge on the left and a water temperature gauge on the right in 2-1/16" holes, but I'm going to have to start over because it is a half inch too deep for the overhead console I've crafted for my '29AA. I may use this for my engine stand, or send it on its way to someone who needs it later.
     
  4. Speed~On
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 1,488

    Speed~On
    Member

    @osage orange I have this if you're interested, I just finished this one.
    11" long
    7 1/2" tall ( at its peak in the center)
    Center hole 3 3/8" for a standard tach or speedo
    IMG_2819.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2021
  5. Thanks for the offer, Speed-On, but I made an engine-turned panel 5-3/8" deep for a console that is less than 4" deep, so I've got to go in the opposite direction. Just gives me an excuse to play with the drill press and Cratex again. Practice makes perfect, or good enough for my purposes.
    By the way, what are you guys using for a hole saw? I just used bi-metal, and it doesn't hold up very well to stainless 14-gauge. Anyone using diamond-tipped?
     
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  6. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,417

    Deuce Daddy Don
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  7. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 2,576

    David Gersic
    Member
    from DeKalb, IL

    Carbide. Low speed, heavy pressure, lots of cooling oil.
     
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  8. Thanks, David. I use pipe threading oil and it helps.
     
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  9. fleetside66
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,856

    fleetside66
    Member

    This one sure doesn't look like it was done by hand...a bit too perfect. I think it was from the 1980's.

    IMG_7935.jpg
     
  10. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,347

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

  11. Speed~On
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 1,488

    Speed~On
    Member

    I had a fellow hot rodder and HAMBer stop bye my place as he's looking to have some panels engine turned. He's building a '40 Ford coupe and with nice weather quickly approaching he's looking to make some progress on his build.

    Here are the 3 panels.
    Paenl10.jpg

    Panel11.jpg

    Panel8.jpg


    It's difficult to see in the photos, but these panels are a little rough. I pulled out my buffer as I wanted to start with the smoothest and shinest surface possible.

    The weather was decent enough today and I was able to buff one panel before the cold air and flurries began.

    Panel6.jpg

    Panel7.jpg

    Cleaning the buffing compound out of the holes;)
    Panel5.jpg

    Panel4.jpg

    This particular aluminum is pretty hard. Also, it was difficult to get the panel as smooth as I'd prefer which made engine turning this panel a little more challenging than most. Because of these two factors it made my Cratex stick far more susceptible to scaring, which in turn wants to make burn marks in the swirls.
    It's a balancing act, you allow the stick to have contact with the aluminum juuust long enough to make a nice swirl, but not too long or it will create an ugly "burnt swirl". The challenge with this piece is the aluminum is so hard I had to slightly increase the contact time or the swirl would be too light and looks faded......too long and you'll create a burnt swirl. Walkin' a fine line.
    Panel3.jpg
    20220325_164257.jpg

    Panel1.jpg

    Panel12.jpg

    This is as far as I could get today. 2 more panels to go.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2022
  12. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 2,576

    David Gersic
    Member
    from DeKalb, IL

    Looks great. I have an aluminum lump of column drop I have been meaning to polish and turn. Waiting for better weather, it’s too cold and rainy here for running the buffer in the driveway, and it makes too much mess to run it in the garage.
     
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  13. My dad and I engined turned some steel for my Rambler's center console 20220214_173237.jpg 20220214_190134.jpg 666748262.jpg 20220214_190422.jpg 20220214_190157.jpg
     
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  14. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,903

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    I didn't review every reply or example but there's some groovy stuff here (pun intended). I always liked the tighter pattern, like a bunch of crowns visually. 1/2 circle down, 1/2 circle over. 1/3 works too. I think industrially multiple arbors were used and the whole panel was only moved 2 or 3 times to whatever square footage was being done, vs 1 arbor, 1 guy, 1 machine but we gotta do what we gotta do. I always used cut scotchbrite pads, red for stanless, grey for aluminum, penetrant for lube and pad life.
     
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  15. Osoty
    Joined: Nov 21, 2017
    Posts: 113

    Osoty
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Nice work guys
     
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  16. Speed~On
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 1,488

    Speed~On
    Member

    Onto the next panel today. The surface was quite rough so I took off a layer of aluminum so I had a smooth surface to work with. Then onto the buffer, then a good polish.

    Once that was complete it was time to do some engine turning.

    After I worked the panel for a while I took a photo of it next to the 3 hole panel which I have not started preparing yet. It may be difficult to appreciate in photos but these panels definitely require some prep work.

    20220328_141658.jpg

    20220328_140619.jpg

    20220328_142418.jpg

    20220328_144930.jpg
    20220328_152428.jpg

    I think this one turned out a bit nicer. Far less issues as the extended time spent preparing the panel sure paid off during turning.

    Onto the next one soon.
     
  17. Speed~On
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 1,488

    Speed~On
    Member

    Well after some snow yesterday, today brought warmer temps and sun. Since it was so mild I was able to pull my buffing wheel out to the driveway (pretty messy) so I let that crap fling outside.
    This last panel needed a lot of prep work. After a lot of sanding, buffing and polishing it was ready.
    20220401_160257.jpg

    20220401_160335.jpg

    Initially I was a little concerned this panel wasn't going to turn out well. As I laid the first row I knew it was going to come out nice.

    20220401_163534.jpg

    20220401_163735.jpg


    In the end I was really happy with the results.
    20220401_164913.jpg

    20220401_164907.jpg


    Hopefully our fellow HAMBer and hot rodder will be pleased with the results.
     
  18. Speed~On
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 1,488

    Speed~On
    Member

    Since I was working on gauge panels today, I also
    finished this one.

    IMG_20220401_202308_418.jpg


    Now to list it for sale
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2022
  19. Speed~On
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 1,488

    Speed~On
    Member

    Quite some time ago a friend laser cut some dash panels for me in exchange for engine turning some items for him. He used several materials for the dash panels such as stainless steel, aluminum and copper. The copper dash panels really caught my eye when he dropped them off as they looked amazing in their raw form. They are quite thick as well. He was anxious for me to engine turn a copper dash as he was convinced it would look amazing. For some reason I was a bit skeptical as I was thinking the swirls would be dull and give more of a brushed look.

    Fast forward over a year to today. They say idle hands are the Devils playground. This afternoon I was bored and looking for something to do. There, hanging in my garage was a rack of dash panels that have sat for far too long. I pulled out my buffing wheel and polished one of the copper dash panels

    20220728_155329.jpg

    Initially I had no intention of engine turning the panel but curiosity got the best of me. I decided to run a few rows of test swirls on the backside of the dash; if it looked terrible I could easily sand it off and buff it to a shiny finish.
    20220728_155049.jpg

    I sent a txt to @fleetside66 looking for his opinion. His response was, "Are you crazy?? of course you should engine turn it"

    So under the drill press it went...
    20220728_161738.jpg

    As I made the first few passes I was surprised as to how great it was beginning to look. I made several observations as well. 1) This thick copper was a very friendly material to engine turn. Sometimes certain materials do not take well to being turned. Also, the stick can influence the outcome. The medium grit stick was perfect. 2) I was wrong (and glad I was) as the swirls were not a dull brushed look, but rather a beautiful shiny swirl that looked very nice (and similar to the type of swirl I'm accustomed to seeing when turning stainless steel).
    20220728_162823.jpg


    I was rather ecstatic with the end result. I must say engine turned copper looks AMAZING! I'm kinda chuckling as this panel has been hanging in my garage for over a year as I was apprehensive to engine turn it. It's one of those instances where you say, "I should have done this sooner". At any rate I have more of these copper panels, some of which are modeled after the vintage Stewart Warner 5 hole Navigator dash and accept the larger 2 5/8" gauges.

    20220728_164115.jpg

    20220728_164109.jpg

    20220728_165557.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2022
  20. foolthrottle
    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,311

    foolthrottle
    Member

    1952 MG
     

    Attached Files:

  21. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 4,013

    bchctybob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    A very long time ago I read an article in a magazine about home engine turning dash panels, so I ran out and bought a handful of Cratex sticks and, being young and impatient, I free-handed an aluminum gauge panel for my ’33 5W. It came out ok, but I didn’t want to do it again.
    Fast forward to a year or so ago and my 215 Buick powered ‘57 Morris woody desperately needed a dashboard redo. I’m older and wiser (lazier?) now, so I just ordered up some pre-turned material and went with that. It’ll do.
    A66256B1-9165-4610-BA9D-372A63911DC9.jpeg
    In the car with the rechromed wooden wheel….
    E2DDD6A1-46F5-455D-90D4-1F0023DE05B7.jpeg
     
  22. e1956v
    Joined: Sep 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,990

    e1956v
    Alliance Vendor

    TJ that looks fantastic, I don't know if I have the patience to engine turn, but this makes makes me want to give it a go.
     
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  23. Speed~On
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 1,488

    Speed~On
    Member

    Thank you @e1956v I can tell you that you certainly have the patience to engine turn. Repairing gauges is a far more detailed and tedious task.
    I have a hot rod friend that lives in another state. This past Winter he wanted to try engine turning so I gave him a quick tutorial via Messanger. He practiced for about a day, after that he was ready. He has a very nice steel 1932 Ford 3 window coupe with Ardun heads. He was so impressed with the beautiful results of engine turning that he turned his firewall, dash, radiator, door panels and a host of other parts on the car. Point being, once you see how great it looks, you will be hooked.

    Once you start laying the rows, it goes pretty fast. I engine turned that copper dash in about 20 minutes. The most time consuming part is repositioning your guide after each row.

    With your talents, Rusty you would have this down after turning a few practice pieces.
     
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  24. e1956v
    Joined: Sep 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,990

    e1956v
    Alliance Vendor

    How hard was it to make your guide? Have any pointers?
     
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  25. Speed~On
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 1,488

    Speed~On
    Member

    @e1956v

    I made this guide with an 8" long scrap 2x4. I bent a piece of metal that creates a gap (j channel) between the piece you're engine turning and the guide.

    This gap allows you to lay your first (top) row and allows the Cratex stick to hang over the top edge of your piece.
    20220729_144638.jpg

    In this photo you can see where the gap is important. You don't want the tip of your Cratex stick to come in contact with anything else while laying your top row.
    20220728_162823.jpg


    I cut a piece of metal and screwed it to the top of the 2x4. I use vice grips to clamp my guide to my drill press. After you lay each row, you have to release the guide and line up your next row. This is why some people dislike the work involved in engine turning as it's a time consuming/tedious process. I however do not mind it, I enjoy the time in my garage. Turn on your XM radio and enjoy the work.
    20220729_144629.jpg



    20220729_144623.jpg

    I recently engine-turned copper...and it looks quite amazing.
    20220815_174222.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2022
    kadillackid, Shadow Creek and e1956v like this.
  26. Speed~On
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 1,488

    Speed~On
    Member

    Here is a dash I've been working on the past month. Vintage aviation and hot rods have many parallels so I thought I'd make a WWII inspired dash. All these gauges work great and are ready for someone's hot rod.
    IMG_4203.JPG

    IMG_4188.JPG

    IMG_4233.JPG

    IMG_4237.JPG

    IMG_4220.JPG

    IMG_4246.JPG

    @kadillackid @Scramboleer @Squablow @fleetside66
     
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  27. e1956v
    Joined: Sep 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,990

    e1956v
    Alliance Vendor

    @Speed~On Thanks TJ, I appreciate you taking the time to answer and demo.
     
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  28. Loving that copper, great work and photos, thanks Speed-On...
     
    Speed~On likes this.
  29. fleetside66
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,856

    fleetside66
    Member

    I'll second that on the copper.. and I'm assuming you have to have a lighter touch?
     
    Speed~On likes this.

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