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Eastwood Chatter

  • Sound Deadening Paint Sprays and Mats - Benefits & Application Tips

    Cars have come a long way since WWII, but they haven’t really gotten any more enjoyable, which is why we all still like to play with our old cars. Plenty of people will argue about whether a new Honda Accord could beat a first generation Mustang in a race (it probably would, no matter whether a drag strip or a road course), but no one is going to argue about how much quieter it is inside the modern car. Sure that’s both good and bad; we want to hear the 289 roar, but that freeway drone gets old after an hour or two.
  • Can You Powder Coat Glass?

    We all know you can powder coat metal but what about other materials such as glass?  In order to powder coat an item there is really only one determining factor, it must be able to withstand 400ºF. Metal is one of the best materials to powder coat because it conducts electricity, allowing the charged powder to be drawn to the part thus completing the circuit.  That leaves out all other non conductive items, can they be powder coated too?  Hot flocking is the most common way of powder coating non conductive objects by heating them up to temperature, pulling them out of the oven and then applying the powder without needing to connect the grounding cable or plug in the gun.  The part is already hot so the powder melts on contact.  Once there is full coverage you put it back into the oven to finish curing.  This method is proven and utilized by many manufacturing companies but there are some other little known tricks to coat materials like glass without having to heat them up before.
  • How to Reduce Moisture in Compressed Air Systems

    Part of getting a good paint job is having good quality air coming out of your compressed air lines. This is also important when powder coating and media blasting too. Besides the typical separator and desiccant attachments for removing moisture, there are planning, periodic maintenance, and plumbing steps you can take to help with this issue.
  • Generator Buyers Guide

    Things to Consider When Shopping for a Generator

    We all like to get away from it all once in a while. Whether that is to a cabin, a remote off-road campsite, the racetrack, or just the parking lot of your favorite team’s stadium chances are there aren’t any electrical outlets handy. Having a portable generator means getting away from it all while still taking a lot of the modern conveniences with you.

    Portable generators are also great in any emergency where the power might go out. Even if you just use it to keep the refrigerator running for a few days, a generator can pay for itself after the first storm in food that didn’t go bad. Plus you’ll be able to keep your cell phones charged, and listen to the radio, or watch the TV news for important updates.

    If you live in a rural or suburban area on a big spread of land, having a generator to take out to a far corner of your homestead is easier than running hundreds of feet of extension cords just to get some work lights or run a portable compressor. The bigger units will even allow you to run a MIG welder and do portable repairs in the field, without having to haul everything back to the shop for welding.

    So, we’ve established you need a generator, so what should you consider before buying?

    (Warning: There will be math, but we won’t quiz you on it)

    1. Wattage – Generators are rated in the amount of watts they can put out, usually with a peak number and a lower continuous number. This makes it easy to figure out how many light bulbs you could run off of it, but not much else is typically rated at watts. A 3000 watt portable generator rated at 2800 continuous can light 46 lightbulbs with a 60 watt rating. For tools and appliances with an electric motor the starting wattage can be a lot higher (2 to 3 times higher) than the continuous draw, that’s why they are rated that way. Most appliances have an amperage listed in their documentation, as do most tools. The formula to convert is an easy straightforward one: Watts = Volts x Amps. So multiply the rated amperage by 120v or 240v and you get the needed wattage to run it. Our MIG 135 welder rated at 20A 120V maximum input would need 2400 watts running at full power.
      Gennie Chart
    2. Voltage– The MIG 135 welder brings up a good point, if you plan on running any tools or appliances that require 220V power you had better buy a generator that puts out 220V. Of course, you already know what sort of power your tools require, but if you plan on using it for emergency backup it is important to check things like furnace and hot water heater requirements. Who cares if you can watch TV and the food is still cold when you can’t heat the house or take a hot shower?
    3. Noise – This isn’t much of an issue with emergency backup usage, as it is at campsites and the race track. If you buy a cheap generator with a loud engine that runs all night you will not have any friends in the pits or campground. Be sure to look at the Db rating of the lower cost generator before you commit because you may have to be the one listening to it all night.
    4. Pull or Electric Start?– Usually the higher wattage rated generators come with electric start, instead of just a pull cord. A pull cord is fine, and when in good order, any generator will start up with a few pulls, but the 12th time you have to start it on a week-long trip you may regret not getting the pushbutton start.
    5. Run Time – If you plan on using your generator to run lights on a job site all night, or keep the fridge cold in an emergency, you are going to want an 8hr or more run time on a tank of fuel, or you are literally going to lose sleep over it. Remember running time is usually calculated at half load, and do the math again with the formula above.
    6. Portability – This will always be a compromise, the more wattage a generator can put out the bigger it usually is. If you plan on needing power somewhere really remote and rough, and having backup for your whole house, you may need to buy 2 generators. A 7500 watt generator typically weighs close to 200lbs, which is going to require a lot of muscle to carry over an unpaved trail, even with wheels on it.
    7. Fuel – Most small to medium sized generators run on regular gasoline. But for RV usage and rural backup use diesel power is the way to go because the motors are more rugged, and diesel fuel is stable in the tank for a lot longer than modern gasoline. Some generators are configured to run on propane or LPG as well, which doesn’t produce much carbon monoxide, so can be used in tighter quarters where the fumes from a diesel or gasoline generator would make people sick.



    Eastwood’s 3000 watt generator is rated for 2800 watts of continuous usage. That will easily run most refrigerators, and a few of other appliances, as long as they don’t all start at once. Remember, anything with an electric heating element is going to be a wattage hog, a hot plate or electric griddle can use 1500 watts. We already talked about the MIG 175, but air compressor motors can suck up even more juice, especially when they first start. For example a 1hp motor can need 4500 watts to get going, so check what the motor on your portable compressor says before buying the generator.



  • English Wheel Metal Forming with Ron Covell

    Ron Covell is a master at shaping sheet metal, with how-to classes and videos that have helped thousands of people learn this skill. Eastwood sells just about every tool you could possibly needs to make custom compound curved shapes in sheet steel and aluminum. Let’s go over a few basics with Ron as he demonstrates Eastwood’s Benchtop English Wheel, among other tools.

    As an example Ron is taking round flat discs of metal and shaping them to match the curves of one of his custom motorcycle gas tanks. Always where leather gloves when working with sheet metal, or the English wheel. Sheet metal edges can cut you when you lease expected. The English Wheel is one giant pinch hazard by its very design.

    English Wheel 1

    The English wheel is a simple machine with 2 hard steel wheels between a giant C Clamp.

    English Wheel 2

    Lower wheels, or anvils as they are called, come in a variety of curvatures. Always start with the largest radius and work your way smaller as needed.

    English Wheel 3

    The lower wheel can be raised and lowered with a larger screw wheel. It can easily be adjusted with your hand, or your foot if both hands are busy.

    1) Ron begins with a flat round panel

    English Wheel Tech 12) Give the upper wheel a little spin to make it easier to slip the metal between the wheels

    English Wheel 4

    3) Work the metal in and out of the wheel, starting from one edge

    English Wheel 54) Work toward the middle, then back out again, moving in and out and moving it sideways a little with each pass

    English Wheel 6

    5) Work the wheel on the panel the way you would mow the lawn, back and forth moving over a little bit with each pass

    English Wheel Tech 26) First work it back and forth in one direction, then turn it and work it again

    English Wheel Tech 3

    English Wheel Tech 4

    7) Here you can see the tracks of two different passes through the wheel, with the tracks being about 60 degrees apart from each other. Turn the adjustment wheel about an 1/8 turn and wheel it again

    English Wheel  8

    You can make the same shape faster by first beating the panel roughly into shape with a teardrop mallet and sand bag.

    1) Beat it and shape it into a lumpy panel approximating the shape you want

    English Wheel Tech 9

    2) You end up with a very lumpy piece of metal. The next step is to use a normal body hammer and forming head to flatten and smooth out the metal more accurately

    English Wheel 403) Now that you have a lumpy panel with about the right curvature and shape, use the wheel to smooth it out uniformly

    English Wheel Tech 104) Using only a very slight amount of pressure, roll the metal between the wheels

    English Wheel 6

    5) With each pass it will get smoother with less bumps. You may need to go over it with a file to reveal the high and low spots that need attention, then wheel them again, changing direction slightly every time you roll it

    English Wheel 11

    6) Eventually with practice, and enough work in the wheel, you will be able to get it nearly smooth

    English Wheel 5

    7) The final shape is correct and the surface is getting almost smooth enough for paint. Finishing passes are done with less and less pressure

    English Wheel 15

    You can also us the wheel to roll out dents and dings in any body panel small enough to fit in the rollers the same way.

    The only real way to learn all the intricacies of shaping metal with an English wheel, forming heads, and teardrop mallets is practice. One of the mistakes most beginners make is starting with way too much pressure. Remember, the way you fix a wavy panel you caused with too much pressure, is by wheeling it again with much less pressure at a different angle to the first wheeling. The more consistently you can space your tracks, the less wavy your panels will be. The closer together you make the passes, the more highly crowned the metal shape will be. For flatter panels make the passes further apart.

    You can also get a step-by-step demonstration of Ron's metal work as he makes a custom hood scoop, and a motorcycle gas tank on Eastwood blog, or YouTube Channel.


    Check out the Eastwood Blog and How-To Center for more Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

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