Tech Articles

Tech articles about anything related to Eastwood Tools, Paints, and Chemicals.

  • Properly Store Your Air Hoses So They Don't Kink - Quick Tip

    Air hoses can be a pain especially if you don't have a retractable hose reel, but its important to take care of them if you want them to last.

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    If you're not ready to invest in a Retractable Air Hose, here is a quick tip to increase the longevity of your hose so it wont kink or crack.

     

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    The key to storing air hoses is twisting the hose and allow it to wrap itself.  This will create a coiling effect that won't put any extra strain on the hose.  When you forcefully wrap an air hose it stretches the rubber and can create cracks over time.

     

    Once its all coiled up you cant just leave it on the floor you need a way to mount it.

    bike hook

    A bicycle wall hook like this works great to hang the hose, because there is more than one point of contact on the hose which allows it to keep an evenly coiled shape.  You can find these very cheap at your local home or hardware store.

     

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    If you want a unique look, mount an old car rim to the wall.  Its a creative way to give your garage some character while keeping your air hose protected and off the floor.

     

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    While these are all great ways of keeping your air hose safe, the best way to keep your air hose safe is with an Eastwood Retractable Air Hose.  After you are done with the hose, give it a slight pull and it will retract back onto the reel.  If you are ready to make the investment for a Retractable Air Hose, don't hesitate, you will never have to worry about  your air hose again.

     

    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, 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.

    - James R/EW

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  • How to Prep Metal For Welding - Quick Tip

    DIRTY WELDS ARE NEVER STRONG, CLEAN YOUR METAL BEFORE WELDING

    The key to any good weld is clean metal, but what is the best way to clean metal before you start welding? Depending on the tools you have and the overall goal of the project there are a few ways to prep your metal to get a nice clean weld every time.

    The best welds come from pure clean metal to metal contact,  any foreign materials in the welding area can cause welding imperfections.  Even brand new metal must be prepped before it can be welded because there is usually a coating put on new metal so it does not rust or oxidize during the shipping process.  This is a factor that is often overlooked and will always result in a weak and ugly weld.  Be mindful, once you remove this coating the metal is exposed to the elements,  if left out unprotected steel will begin to rust, even indoors.

    To start, the type of welding you are doing will determine how you prep the metal. Inherently MIG welding steel does not need the metal to be perfectly clean. On the other extreme, TIG welding aluminum requires contaminant free metal to create a strong clean weld.  In all of the examples below you can see the difference the dull color of the "new metal" (left) compared to how it looks after it is properly prepped (right).

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    Angle Grinder with Flap Disc

    Using an angle grinder with a flap disc works great to prep steel for MIG or TIG welding.  Mild steel does not require the surface to be super clean to get a good weld.  In the picture above you can see the left side is brand new untouched steel, it may look clean but it has a thin coating like stated earlier.  Once you remove the coating with the flap disc, all it takes is a quick wipe down with Low VOC PRE or Acetone and you will be able to make clean and effective welds. This method works great for heavy welding on chassis parts, this area is always exposed to the elements which will build up contamination over time.  Take the time and clean the metal, you'll thank yourself later.

    Be careful a flap disc will remove a lot of material so don't use this on thin sheet metal, it may compromise the metals strength.

     

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    Sand Paper

    Similar to using a grinder this method will work great for MIG and TIG welding steel or stainless, but it can be time consuming and does not always remove all of the coatings. Like using a grinder, you must wipe the metal down with Low VOC PRE or Acetone before welding.  In the picture above I used 80 Grit sandpaper,  it worked well by removing the coating but also left deep scratches that may not look good.

     

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    Abrasive blasting

    If the metal you will be welding is very rusty and is not suitable to be sanded or removed with a grinder another option to prep the metal is to blast it.  After blasting the metal may look clean but it will still need to be wiped down with Low VOC PRE or acetone to remove and chemical contaminants.  The abrasive material can sometimes trap pieces of other metals that can cause the metal you are welding to rust or corrode.  Never rely on a blaster to prep aluminum for welding, it is very sensitive to contaminants that can get trapped even after wiping it down.

     

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    Cleaning for aluminum TIG Welding

    When prepping aluminum there is a slightly different process that you will need to be mindful of.  Aluminum is very susceptible to contaminants therefore the cleaning process must be done in reverse to produce clean welds.

    First you must wipe down the metal with Low VOC PRE or acetone, this will remove any oils or grease on the surface.  The next step is to remove any oxides on the surface of the metal.  To do this use stainless steel wool or a stainless wire brush on the area to be welded.  Make sure that the Steel wool or wire brush is used exclusively for aluminum to avoid contaminants from other metals.  Once these tools come in contact with mild steel they can transfer steel bits into the aluminum which will eventually create rust.  Finally wipe down the metal with Low VOC PRE or acetone with a clean cloth or rag, from here you are ready to weld.

     

    It doesn't matter what kind of welding you are doing its always important to take the time to clean your metal before welding.  Not only will your welds look amazing they will be a lot stronger which is always an added bonus.

     

    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, 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.

    - James R/EW

     

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  • Applying Filler and Glazing Putty Really Is Easy - Quick Tip

    DONT LET BODY WORK GET IN THE WAY OF FINISHING YOUR PROJECT

    One of the scariest aspects of vehicle restoration is body work, especially when it comes to filler and sanding.  The worst thing to do is avoid it until the end, then be forced to pay someone else to get the work done.  With help from Eastwood you'll, learn all the correct steps to basic body work, save money, and feel more accomplished in the end.

     

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    Above you'll see the small dent that I'll be repairing, very similar to a door ding you may get in a parking lot.

     

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    1. First clean the area you will be repairing, use PRE or acetone to remove any contaminants from the panel.

     

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    2. If necessary use a Hammer and Dolley and rough out any dents.  Depending on the severity of the dent this may not be required.  Filler should not be applied more than 1/4" thick, any more and there is a risk it will crack.  With that said, any damage less than 1/4" deep may not need to be hammered out.

     

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    3. Sand the area about 5 inches on all sides of the dent with a 80 Grit Sanding Disc on a DA Sander. During this step do not worry about getting the area completely smooth, just remove the paint to expose bare metal around the dent. If you don't have a DA Sander, a 120 Grit Flap Disc on an Angle Grinder can be used.  (Be careful, Flap Discs tend to remove a lot of material, very quickly.)

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    4. Using 80 Grit Sand Paper, hand sand the edges of the paint removed area so there is a smooth transition from clear, to base coat, to primer, then to bare metal.  Do not use anything finer than 80 Grit because the sanding scratches allow the filler to mechanically bond to the panel.

     

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    5. Mix and apply Contour Body Filler, make sure to use even pressure while applying.  This will reduce the need to go back and apply more after you have sanded the first layer.  While mixing make sure to follow the correct mixing ratio.  If too much hardener is added you will not have enough time to effectively apply the filler evenly.  Additionally make sure to use something other than cardboard to mix on.  Small cardboard fibers can get into the filler and contaminate the mix.  If you don't have Quick Sheets, take a 1'x1' piece of sheet aluminum and bend one side 2" up to 90º.  File the edges smooth and now you have a reusable mixing board that wont rust.

     

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    6. Use 80 Grit PSA on a Sanding Block for initial shaping, then 120 Grit PSA for finer smoothing. Then use an Blow Gun to remove sanding dust. During this step do not worry about getting the surface perfectly smooth, Glazing Putty is still to be applied.

     

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    7.  Wipe down the panel with PRE or acetone to remove any contaminants and oils.

     

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    8.  Mix Contour Glazing Putty making sure to follow the correct mixing ratios like stated above.  Glazing Putty should be applied very thin because it's purpose is to level any small imperfections still in the panel after the filling process.

     

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    9. Sand down the putty in an "X" pattern using 180 Grit PSA on a Sanding Block to get your final finish.

     

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    10.  Blow the sanding dust off using a Blow Gun, then spray the panel with a heavy coat of PRE. The heavy coat will help you detect imperfections.  If the repair looks good wipe it down with a prep rag and you are ready to prime and paint.

     

    Unless you are a pro, sanding blocks are the go to tool when leveling filler.  You may see others using a DA Sander but this takes a lot of time and practice.

     

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

     

    - James R/EW

     

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  • 5 Easy Ways to Remove Spot Welds

    Whats the Best Way to Get Rid of Those Annoying Spot Welds?

    While you're tearing down your project it's inevitable that you will come across some spot welds that need to be removed.  They can be a pain to remove. especially when you want to save as much of the original metal as possible.  Just like many parts of automotive restoration there is more than one way to do the same task. It all comes down to which method works best for you.  All of these methods accomplish the same goal it all depends on what tools you have and how in depth you want to go.

     

    Lets start with the simplest, Spot Weld Cutters, but even these have multiple variations.

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    The first and very common is this Spot Weld Cutter. It utilizes a small centering pin which makes contact with the panel first which stops the cutter from wandering. The pin is on a spring so once you put pressure into the panel it will depress and begin to cut through the panel. The cutting wheel is similar to a  hole saw for wood which is slightly larger than the spot weld.  These can be swapped out with different size cutting heads depending on your project.  This type of cutter has an advantage over the rest because once the cutting head bores through the first panel the panels are able to be separated. You will not be left with a hole cut all the way through both panels. Spot Weld Cutters like these range from about $25-$80. This costs more than some other methods, but it is the most professional, accurate method for drilling spot welds.  

     

    spot weld drill stockspot weld drill

    The next spot weld cutter is slightly cheaper and performs the same basic function.  This Spot Weld Drill essentially a very wide but flat drill bit with a self centering tip so it will not wander. These have an advantage of being made out of one piece of metal so there are no pieces that could break. They do have their drawbacks because each cutter is for a specific size spot weld, unlike the first where the cutting head can be changed out to accommodate various spot weld sizes. At a price point of $30+ dollars they may be more expensive than a standard drill bit, but they are far more accurate and last much longer than a standard drill bit (and won't drill through both panels as easily).

     

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    The next method is by far the most simple and easiest way.  No speciality tools are required all you will need is a drill and a set of drill bits.  This method works very well but it takes a lot more time and it can wear down your drill bits quickly.  Although it's the easiest, using a drill does have its disadvantages.  First is that it is near impossible to save both panels since you will have to drill completely through both panels.  The problem with this method is that you will not be able to remove a lot of spot welds because even the best drill bits will get dull over time.  One way to reduce the wear on your drill bits is to drill a small pilot hole first and then use a larger bit to remove the spot weld. This method is very time consuming and can be frustrating if your drill bits become dull.

    Whenever you are doing any type of drilling whether it is with a specialized spot weld cutter or with a normal drill bit you should always use some type of lubricant or cutting fluid which will help keep the bit cool and increase the longevity of your bits. 

     

    Cut off wheel

    If you don't have a drill or drill bits and you still want to remove spot welds there is another method which is more of a last resort. The tools you'll need for this are a Cut Off Wheel and a Hammer and punch or Air Hammer with chisel attachment. First cut a star shaped pattern directly over top of the weld, you will only need to cut through the top panel.  Then using the punch hit the center of the cut lightly to break the rest of the metal free.  If you are able to get to the under side of the panel this step may become easier withe use of a screw driver to pry the two pieces apart. This method should only be used as a last resort when you don't care about the top panel.

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    The last method is also somewhat of a last resort but in a pinch it will complete the same task.  Using an Angle Grinder remove the metal directly above the spot weld without burning thorough the panel.  Once you have removed the majority of the first layer of metal, use a punch or chisel and hammer to break the rest of the metal free.  If you are unsure of how much metal you have removed, hit the center of the spot weld and the outline of the spot weld will appear.

     

    All of these methods will remove spot welds but only the Spot Weld Cutter and Spot Weld Drill will allow you to remove the weld without damaging the other panel. In the long run the higher price will be worth the time they save.

     

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

     

    - James R/EW

     

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  • Never Let a Dead Battery Keep Your Car Parked

    If you store any of your motor vehicles for months at a time, this is a Must Have! When the nice weather finally rolls around that means only one thing, its time to pull out your classic and go for a cruise.  Only today there is one problem the battery is dead.  Who knows how long it will take to charge up enough to get it started and even once it does start you cant turn it off.  It could take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes for the alternator to charge up the battery enough for it to start on its own.  Click Here To Read Full Post...