Tag Archives: angle grinder
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So you decided to give your car a refreshing new look and it's time to strip it down to prepare the car for paint. You can count on finding some sort of surprise when tearing the vehicle down. Whether it's hidden accident damage, previous repairs, or the mummy of a dead animal; it's always an adventure when stripping a car or truck down for paint or bodywork.
I recently started tearing into my "clean" (for the east coast at least!) 1977 VW Scirocco I've owned for a few years. It had some wear and tear and some bubbling paint I wanted to address before it got a fresh lick of paint. When I began removing the fenders I was pretty surprised to find some rot in the inner fender and windshield cowl. I decided to take some photos as I repaired this area and share some tips for making a repair that will look original when done.
Here is the offending area when I removed the fender. The worst rot was in an area that sandwiched between the fender and cowl and was covered with weather stripping. So from first glance it just looked like some bubbled paint, but that was the tip of the iceberg.
I first cut out the area that was rotted until I got to solid metal and a nice seam where I could weld and blend the panel into the original metal.
I started making my patch panel by bending up a piece of construction paper to the rough size I needed, then I transferred the rough shape over and cut it out of 20 gauge aluminized steel. Next I measured the other side and marked out the bend line I needed to make.
In order to make a clean bend in the new metal I needed a metal brake. I decided to use the Versa Bend Sheet Metal Brake and put a crisp 90 degree bend in the panel on my line.
With the patch panel now formed into the rough size I needed, I took it to the car and trimmed it to fit the opening. It's here that you want to make sure the patch panel fits tightly so that you don't need any excessive welding to fill voids.
I then setup the MIG 135 with .023 Solid Core MIG Wire so I could lay small, flat spot welds on the patch panel. Setting the machine up on a similar piece of scrap metal helped me get my spot welds laying flat and penetrating correctly. After finessing the panel with Eastwood Hammers and Dollies and blending the welds with a flap disc on an angle grinder I was satisfied with the repair. I'm happy to say the patch panel looks close to original and the repair should be invisible once it has primer and a top coat on it. Now onto the next surprise!Click Here To Read Full Post...
Time and money seem to always be the deciding factor in how long a project takes to complete. After preparing Pile House for a chop my time ran thin and it took longer for me to get to cutting the roof than I'd like; but I'm sure everyone can relate when life gets in the way of a project!
For removing the roof I used a reciprocating saw and an Angle Grinder with a cutting wheel, but there are a number of different tools you could use. It all really depends on the vehicle you're chopping. I've seen others use a Body Saw, Electric or Pneumatic Metal Shears, portable bandsaws, hacksaws, Plasma Cutters, and even an oxy-acytelene torch! No matter what your method, you need to make sure you make controlled, precise cuts. I use the reciprocating saw to cut areas like the tops of the doors, the A-pillars, and the door jams where the metal is boxed. The long cuts through the sheet metal were done with the angle grinder.
With the roof cut off, we set it on the ground and cut 3" out of the rear of the cab and enough out of the front pillars to get the roof sitting at an angle I liked. From there I began slowly welding the back of the roof on. The backside needs to stay in the same position as stock (unlike a car where most of the modifications occur towards the back of the roof). I'm choosing to use the Eastwood TIG 200 on low amperage to make the welds. When the welder settings are dialed in correctly and using small .030 filler wire, I can keep the heat-effected zone low, and hammer the welds flat with the Hammer and Dolly Set. In some places there will be no grinding (nearly impossible with a MIG!) necessary. This project requires me to be crawling around the bed and cab making short stitch welds on the roof. There isn't a good spot to position the TIG 200 foot pedal during this process, so I switched the controls to the finger switch on the torch. This makes out-of-position welding much easier. The more comfortable you are when welding, the better your welds will be.
Now with the roof back in place, it's pretty obvious that I'll need to split the roof in half to move the front portion to match the A-pillars and add a filler panel to the gap. On classic trucks I like the factory rake of the pillars, where-as on coupes and sedans of the same era angled pillars can really help make the car look like it's going fast when sitting still. Once I get more spare time and an extra set of hands, I'll start cutting the roof again and get everything sitting where I want it to, then more welding and hammering can occur. Stay tuned, I'm just getting started!
-Matt/EWClick Here To Read Full Post...
One of the next big projects planned for Project Pile House is performing a mild chop and smooth job on the cab and roof. We started the process in a previous post where we showed you How to Shave and Smooth Unneeded Holes in the bed and cab. Today we decided to really dig into this next part of the project.
Since the roof will need to be worked and modified in a number of spots, I decided to use our 7 Inch Cleaning and Stripping Disc Kit on an Electric Angle Grinder to quickly strip the top half of the cab and doors down to bare metal. This will allow us to easily mark, cut, and weld the roof as we get it situated in it's new, lower position.
Next I decided to remove the drip rails. This modification isn't a new one in the Hot Rod, Street Rod and custom world, but it's definitely one that's always debated. The original drip rails were in pretty sad shape, and I prefer smooth customs; so I decided to remove them with the angle grinder. I'll come back with a Flap Disc and bring the rough-cut edge flush with the roof. The drip rail is composed of 2 pieces of metal pinched and folded over, so I will have to weld the two pieces together and blend them before the truck is "done", but we'll wait until the chopped roof is back in place to finish that portion of the job.
While we were on a roll, Mark R. (of Eastwood R&D Corner fame) helped me measure out the lines for where the chop would take place. After a little head scratching, and test fitting me (the driver) in the truck, we decided on a 3" chop that would take place below the rear windows and bring the lower "reveal" or contour of the rear window openings down to match the height of the lower door window sill. This would also bring the roof seam down to match with the top of the door, and make the size of the side door glass close to the that of the rear and cab-corner windows (I really like symmetry in custom cars!). With the lines laid out with painters tape, I'll be gearing up to make the cuts in the next week or two. Stay tuned, we'll be filming and posting a DIY video showing how we chop the roof. We're excited to see how Pile House looks with a fresh chop and shave!
-Matt/EWClick Here To Read Full Post...
PileHouse is starting to shape up and we can now envision what the truck will someday look like when it's "done". But I still felt that the front end needed "something more". After staring at it over lunch one day, I decided that the truck needed a custom bumper to "complete" the front end. My only rules were that it had to flow with the grill trim and relatively flat front end. So I took some measurements, snapped a few reference pictures with my Iphone, and headed off to one of my favorite places; the New Ringgold U-Pull-It junkyard. This place is HUGE and they're nice enough to drop all of the "classic" cars and trucks in one section where you can rummage around. It's there you'll find everything from a 40's Ford to an El Camino or even obscure European classics like a Renault LeCar. This place is a hotrodders dream! All you need is a battery powered reciprocating saw, some hand tools, a tape measure, and a good imagination to find parts for your custom project.
So I set off with my bag filled with Eastwood Hand Tools and the portable reciprocating saw in hand. After a couple hours measuring bumpers, and scratching our heads, my buddy Matt R. and I narrowed it down to two vehicles. Eventually we chose the front bumper off a 60's Chevy Corvair van (obscure enough for you?!). The length and shape was pretty darn close to the stainless grill trim on PileHouse, and I was sure I could make it work. We quickly got down to business and cut the bumper off so I could bring it home.
With bumper and truck meeting for the first time, I can see that although the size was "close", the bumper was still going to need a few inches chopped off, and the radius changed to match the front of the truck.
I started by marking the corners of the bumper where I wanted them to sit and noted some measurements of the bumper and the front end while on the truck to give me some reference points throughout the project. Next I pulled out the angle grinder and cut the bumper in half in the center, and laid it back in place.
After test fitting the bumper halves, I overlapped them in the center to give me an idea of what had to be removed to get the bumper to the correct length. Once I cut the excess off I found an additional cut had to be made to allow the bumper halves to lay back to match the curve of the front end. With this last cut made, they were sitting exactly how I wanted and I spot welded them in place until I could join them together. Finally, I welded some small strips of metal in place to join the halves temporarily.
With the bumper now shaped to fit the front end of PileHouse, I removed the tack welds on the corners and put the bumper on the work bench to add braces to the backside and ground off the temporary front braces. Next I had to fill the opening that was created when the radius was changed. I found that the last piece I cut off was a good fit after a little sanding. With the filler metal set in place, I began welding it all together with the Eastwood MIG 175. After welding the seams up on both sides I took the angle grinder with a flap disc and blended the welds. A few minutes of grinding I had a smooth, invisible transition where I had modified the bumper.
With a complete front bumper bar, I test fit it one more time. I'm happy to report I now have a bumper that fits perfectly and I'm only out about $30 and a few hours of work! From here I'll fabricate some simple bumper mounts to bolt it to the chassis, and then we can move on to the next step in making PileHouse road worthy!
-Matt/EWClick Here To Read Full Post...