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Old 11-10-2017, 08:49 PM
Just Lookin Just Lookin is offline
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Question Aluminum or Steel Separate tools?

Hello,

There are many posts out there describing the differences between shaping aluminum projects, steel projects and exotic metals. Cleanliness, welding techniques and materials are also often discussed.

My basic questions are much simpler. Is it necessary to have/use separate tool sets when working aluminum or steel? Are the answers the same for

- hand tools
- wheeling machines
- shrinker/stretcher dies
- beading dies?

If the same tools are used, must they be cleaned between projects? How? How clean is clean?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-10-2017, 10:51 PM
crystallographic crystallographic is offline
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Originally Posted by Just Lookin View Post
Hello,

There are many posts out there describing the differences between shaping aluminum projects, steel projects and exotic metals. Cleanliness, welding techniques and materials are also often discussed.

My basic questions are much simpler. Is it necessary to have/use separate tool sets when working aluminum or steel? Are the answers the same for

- hand tools
- wheeling machines
- shrinker/stretcher dies
- beading dies?

If the same tools are used, must they be cleaned between projects? How? How clean is clean?

Thanks in advance.
Hi Rick,

I've noticed that most problems with paint adhesion to aluminum body work comes from poor shop practices, hence "some people" are loudly demanding separate shops and tools for aluminum work and steel work.

This may be a good solution for some companies, however I don't believe it is a worthwhile practice in ALL cases. If the craftsmen ("techs") are taught good shop procedures, then they can work an aluminum car with cleaned tools, separate abrasives, and a curtain or two shielding the work from steel slag and spatter from neighboring grinders and welders. But this takes organization and adherence to procedure.

As far as cleanliness goes, I don't think you need to get an autoclave for your hammers and dollies - BUT you should scrape off the undercoat, rust, and weld spatter and wipe them clean with solvent and then give them a quick dressing with some 320 paper on the working surfaces - before bringing them in contact with clean -or dirty- aluminum body work.
Wheelinhg machine tooling should be cleaned to bright before doing aluminum, if steel was done prior. Gripper teeth in shrinker/stretchers should be brushed bright with ss toothbrushes and maybe even some solvent. Check the roller faces on the rotary machine(s) to make sure they are bright.
Etc, etc, etc.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea that a little care towards having clean tools for aluminum work is a high priority, along with clean work surfaces and fresh abrasives.

The word "quarantine" may help to clarify the need for steel-working grinders/welders being a safe distance from the aluminum working area, as the hot particles can embed themselves firmly enough to cause intergranular corrosion from beneath any and all coatings of any sort.

Be mindful and be careful when mixing steel work with aluminum (or stainless) work.
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Last edited by crystallographic; 11-10-2017 at 10:57 PM.
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  #3  
Old 11-10-2017, 11:36 PM
Just Lookin Just Lookin is offline
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Thumbs up Just what I wanted to know

Kent,

Thanks for the depth of your reply. It addresses exactly the level of my newbie concerns. I thought it might be silly to ask whether one would have 2 of everything, but I did not want to assume... and hopefully we'd all pick up a tip or 2 on keeping tools clean enough to 'play nice' between the metal types.
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