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Old 05-08-2009, 09:53 PM
Kerry Pinkerton's Avatar
Kerry Pinkerton Kerry Pinkerton is offline
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Default The Art Deco Imperial Project - Part 27

THE ART DECO ROADSTER PROJECT
Late February 2009
The weekend of February 20-22 we hosted a regional MetalMeet (Dixieland '09) at our shop. We had about 30 folks sign in with skill levels from total newbie to very experienced. Quite a few worked on the roadster.
One of the reasons I'd been in such a tizz before the meet was that I was trying to get the right fender finished to the point that flexible shape patterns could be taken. Bennett Chapman led the effort on this and made the whole pattern. I then marked up the panel into sub-panels... I think there are 16 of them...ranging from fairly easy to pretty dang hard. The pattern was then carefully removed, powdered, and cut into sub-panel sections. Folks started picking up patterns, whacking up pieces of aluminum and shaping.

I was involved with the decklid and didn't spend too much time giving direction but as it turned out everyone worked together only came to me when they wanted feedback or were really stuck. By Saturday night, I had this fender kit ready to start assembly.

At the same time, I drafted Bennett Chapman and Bob Baisden to install the door skins on the frames. Will Cronkite and several others were involved and it turned into a really positive learning experience because many folks had never done it before...including me.
No one was brave enough to tip the edges on MY door (it's kind of a one shot or scrap process) so I got elected to do that part with several people helping hold and provide lights and motive power to the bead roller/tipping wheel.

Once the edges were at 90 degrees, they were slapped over by holding a dolly under the panel and slapping the edge over. Several passes made it tight.

Here Bob is applying upward pressure with the dolly while he massages the edge with the hammer.

At the same time, Joe Hartson, Matt Incho, and I worked on the deck structure. After an excellent suggestion from Dan Shady, we came up with this configuration for the structure.

It is actually made of several pieces. The fender is tipped to a 90 degree with a 1" flange. A 1/2x1/2 flange was shrunk/stretched to match up and then a false wire edge 90 was shaped to fit. All this will be welded together and provide the weather strip and drain channel. The deck lid will fit on top of the weatherstrip. Getting all this to match the same three dimensional shape was a challenge. Plus we also made a mirror image piece at the same time for the other side.
Once that was done, Joe and I shaped some 1x1x 1/10 alumimum that became the outer rim of the decklid structure. Once it was welded together, we made these neat stiffeners at the top and bottom. Joe Hartson brought a neat dimpling tool that raised the edges of a 1 1/4" hole and once those were welded in the structure got STIFF! And LIGHT!

We also got the decklid skin shaped up, determined the center lines and crimped it onto the frame. Really, REALLY came out nice. Of course I don't have any photos but you can't really tell anything until I get the other fender built and everything in place.

Alabama code requires headlights to be 24" off the ground at the center and we played around with placement and shape. I think this is it.

One final thing that got done was attaching the left front fender to the A pillar. The thing in my hand is a self clinching stud that Joe Hartson brought me. These things are SUPER. You press them flush and they WON'T come out and they are flush as you can see in the 1/4x1" aluminum piece just in front of my middle fender. A hole in the A pillar allows a nut to be spun on the stud from the backside. A small lip was turned on the fender itself and then welded to the 1/4x1' aluminum. Really worked great. Totally invisible and I can tune the door gap by adding some weld bead and filling to perfection.

My TIG welder started having problems establishing an arc so I didn't get any more welding done.
The meet was a blast and we got a lot done on this project and others. By Monday am, everyone had left and my wife and I started packing for a vacation. Before we left on Tuesday, I dropped the welder off at the local Miller repair shop and they had a new high frequency card in it (under warranty) when we got back . Love that Miller Dynasty!
I hope to start assembling the left rear fender 'kit' this weekend now that I've rested up from the vacation and caught up on a few honey-do's.
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  #32  
Old 05-23-2009, 07:51 PM
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I've realized that in my haste to get to shaping the body, I've probably cost myself time by not taking the time to build a wooden station buck up front...

When I did the second front fender, I really struggled with getting the same arrangement as the first fender. The rears are even more complex and after a couple false starts doing without, I decided to build a buck. The challenge is that the first fender is already built and I have to build a mirror image buck. Here is how I'm going to do it...hopefully it will work.

The lengthwise part was first. I have a 6' flexible contour guage and I carefully laid it guage on the completed rear fender front to back and transferred the line to some 7/16 OSB. This was then mounted to some feet, squared so it sits vertical and screwed to the table. A few holes were drilled in the fender and it was screwed into the buck to stabilize it while I made the stations.

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Because of the extreme shape of the fender, I had to make this in two parts that I can assemble once the fender is in place on the front part.

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Using some small contour guages, I made the crosswise stations. Each one is screwed into a 2x2 and that is screwed to the lengthwise portion. It is very stable but I'm not going to be using it for a hammerform. I didn't get too carried away with spacing them evenly but rather put them where I felt I needed the information. The other side is staggered for reasons that hopefully will make sense in part II of this thread.

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Hopefully tomorrow, I'll get to reverse these and convert this from the right side to a mirror image for the left. It is not as simple as it might seem at first thought. I've been noodling over how to do this for a couple weeks now. I have a plan...we'll see if it works.

Still only have 1.63 hands but cabin fever drove me out in the shop and I managed to reverse the buck.

The hard part was making sure that the ribs were in exactly the right place and orientation on the other side. I came up with this idea. I marked both sides and the bottom of the OSB ribs and simply drilled a 1/8" hold ON the line and pressed a finish nail through the hole...

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so it came out the other side...

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and that gave me a perfect locator for the reversed rib.

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Here is what I started with.

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And here it is reversed.

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Now I can make sure all the sub panels are in correct arrangement as I tack them together. This was a pain to build but in the long run it will be worth it and I'm wishing I had done the same thing on the front fenders... Ain't hindsight grand!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overkill
Just wanted to mention this, as I watched the DVD last weekend. Ron Covell has a new DVD out on how to build a fender - using a 36 Ford rear fender as the demo piece. What I found interesting was his methodical method of building a buck. There are areas of the buck used for hammer forming, other areas just to keep you on the right track. John

Yeah I understand....In retrospect, I should have built the chassis, then built a wooden buck that worked with the chassis...then when I rebuilt the chassis, I'd have to rebuild the buck...then when I went to chassis #3...well you get the idea... Nothing like having a plan right?

If I ever finish the roadster, and live long enough, I'm going to build a coupe version. I'll be able to make bondo bucks from the existing fenders and body panels. That will solve my buck problems on car #2
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  #33  
Old 05-23-2009, 07:54 PM
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Ok, I was wrong ...partially anyway. Hard bucks are QUITE valuable.

My hand is about .85 now and I'm just dealing with it. Yesterday I tried to fit the previously welded subpanels to the buck and they were not having any of it. There is so much shape and the reverses in the panel make it incredibly stiff and just won't change arrangement. After fighting and thinking evil thoughts for a while I cut them apart at the welds and started over.

Really, REALLY helpful to be able to fit the panels to the buck and weld directly on it.

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If you're really sharp eyed, you might see a small crack between the panels...Because I had already trimmed them, they don't fit together and I'll have to make a small panel, probably 2" wide to blend the two panels.

And as I started putting the adjacent panels in place, I was able to manipulate them into arrangement easily:

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I'll probably NEVER try to build mirror image panels without a hard buck again. I still want my flexible shape patterns to tell me WHAT to do and WHERE to do it but as for welding everything together, the hard buck is the way to go imo.

[quote = Abarth Dave]
Ok, I was wrong ...partially anyway. Hard bucks are QUITE valuable.

My hand is about .85 now and I'm just dealing with it. Yesterday I tried to fit the previously welded subpanels to the buck and they were not having any of it. There is so much shape and the reverses in the panel make it incredibly stiff and just won't change arrangement. After fighting and thinking evil thoughts for a while I cut them apart at the welds and started over.

Really, REALLY helpful to be able to fit the panels to the buck and weld directly on it.

If you're really sharp eyed, you might see a small crack between the panels...Because I had already trimmed them, they don't fit together and I'll have to make a small panel, probably 2" wide to blend the two panels.

And as I started putting the adjacent panels in place, I was able to manipulate them into arrangement easily:

I'll probably NEVER try to build mirror image panels without a hard buck again. I still want my flexible shape patterns to tell me WHAT to do and WHERE to do it but as for welding everything together, the hard buck is the way to go imo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abarth Dave
What do you use to cut the wood ?
and what to sand it to get it closer to size ?

I know a bandsaw would be best , but I do not have one ,

but will a bench mount jig saw also work even if its a little slower ?

thanks for the info

Dave
Dave, I cut most everything with a Dewalt saber saw. Some of the smaller sections were done on the bandsaw... a little quicker but not much. A belt sander softens the edges but I didn't worry about it unless it was too jagged for comfort.

Five or 7 ply plywood would be better but this works for what I needed it to do. That is, provide an arrangement to assemble the sub panels into the big fender.

As far as how close it is...give or take a 1/16 or so... closer than I or anyone else will ever be able to see.

This was the easiest one yet. Fit perfectly without any serious work at all. Took about an hour to weld it in.

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I'll clean up the back side of the weld and grind when I get it off the buck.
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  #34  
Old 05-23-2009, 08:08 PM
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Default Finally...back to metalshaping

It seems like it's been forever since I worked on the car. Between my hand surgery, the migration to the net site, and building the little shrinker, there just wasn't any extra time.

Today though, I took time out from tool building and actually did some metalshaping.

It took the better part of the day to put these three panels in place. I'm going to wait and do the bottom portion after I get it mounted and in place so I can be sure it matches the other side.



Next I'll grind and file these welds and do what metal bumping is necessary. The next panels are going to be the outside of the fender around the wheel opening. They look pretty close to the patterns so hopefully most the work will be tuning and welding.

I've got to start thinking about fender support and mounting structure.
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Old 05-23-2009, 09:10 PM
David Gardiner David Gardiner is offline
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Kerry thats one hell of an undertaking! How long have you been building it, you probably said but I have not read the whole thing just skimmed it (its late I will have a better look soon)

You are right it would have been a lot quicker to make a wooden buck, its the traditional way! ( I know I keep going on about the traditional methods but they knew a thing or two in the early days). If you are doing a one off like yours the normal thing to do is to build a station buck of one half and make the panels for this half, I cut out all the sections for the panels for the second half at the same time, the buck is them dissasembled and reasembled the other way round. In this way the two halfs come out the same. You get a symetrical body for half the work on the bucks. Its possible to incorperate wire into the buck so areas that you used a wire buck for could still have been done that way.

You have done an amazing job though. I know how much work is in a thing like this.
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  #36  
Old 05-24-2009, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Gardiner View Post
Kerry thats one hell of an undertaking! How long have you been building it, you probably said but I have not read the whole thing just skimmed it (its late I will have a better look soon) ...
Thanks David, I'm about 2 1/2 years into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Gardiner View Post
....You have done an amazing job though. I know how much work is in a thing like this.
If I'm being honest, if I'd known how much work it was going to be, I'd have probably never started.

Relatively few people actually design and build a car from SCRATCH and I was ill prepared for all the things that had to be done and all the things I needed to know before I did them. Instead, I learned as I went...usually during the first or second redo (not the recommended approach). Still trying to figure out all sorts of things that I should have resolved before I started.

The main reason that I didn't build a hard buck was that I didn't really have a design. I knew the look I was after. The ironic thing is that I made my living as a program manager preaching "Failing to plan leads to planning to fail!" You'd have thought would have known better.... But like many of the customer projects I was called in to rescue, "...I just wanted to get started on the fun stuff..."

Oh well. They say when you quit learning you're dead.
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Old 05-24-2009, 08:24 AM
David Gardiner David Gardiner is offline
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Thats the thing with building a station buck it allows you to do the designing in wood which is quick and easy, and you can cut away more or add to it as needed with comparatively little work and it gives you a visual guide to what the finished item will look like. I have built a few one off cars. I almost always build a buck of some sort.
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  #38  
Old 05-30-2009, 09:01 PM
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Back to some actual metal shaping...what a novel idea!

Back when I first built this reversible buck, I had a spot on the inner front that had to be cut because I had welded the sub panels in wrong. Time to fix it. From the flexible shape pattern pulled off the finished side, cut out the appropriate section for the patch.

The reverse was made using the hotdog dies in the reciprocating machine (the old one), some stump work, and some planishing on the wheel.

Lately I've been doing something that is certainly not the right way to install a patch but it's worked very well for me.

Once the patch had the correct shape AND was in the correct arrangement, I laid the panel OVER the area to be patched and clamped with some deep reach Vice Grips. Using the TIG, I then tacked the patch in place OVER the original panels.

I then took a air body saw (uses a hacksaw blade) and holding the saw so the blade leans IN under the patch, I cut through both panels starting at the top edge. The first cut was about 3" long and I trimmed off the scrap and clamped the cut edges together after cleaning and brushing with a stainless brush. Because of the undercut, the panels come together with virtually no gap. I clamp a piece of copper on the back side and, using the TIG, tacked it about every inch or so. I use 1100 rod...pure aluminum.

In the photo below, the bottom cut has not been made and you can see the overlapped panels.



The photo below shows the panel all welded. Yeah I know, I never said I was a great TIG welder. I tend to run the TIG on the back side to make sure there is complete penetration and it's blended with no cracks.



After that, a little hammer/dolly work, some grinding with the Tyrolit aluminum grinding disks, some more hammer/dolly work, and some time with various vixen files and it's in pretty good shape. Still needs some bulleye pick work and some metalfinishing but I'll do that after all the panels are welded together.



The fender is starting to look like a fender. The patch solved the flow problem.

I still want to try David's gas welding approach when I get a chance.

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Old 05-30-2009, 09:45 PM
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Kerry,

The roadster is coming along very nicely. One thing I wonder, when guys/gals build aluminum cars, or steel framed cars with aluminum panels, or all aluminum cars with zing, gold chromate, or even stainless hardware.

What previsions do you take for galvanic reaction between heavy, and light metals? I did not know if you must use some synthetic, gasket or will the painted parts be enough?

I saw the electric roadster thread on MM, and wondered the same thing with the hardware.

Any special interior detail, or are you going with simple dash, and or dash console combo?

Thanks for the update.

BH
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:00 PM
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All the steel is painted with SPI epoxe primer before the aluminum is put on. All the fasteners will be dipped as well. I'll use stainless fasteners. Basically try to mechanically isolate everything from the aluminum.
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