Tag Archives: angle grinder

    • How to Fill and Shave Unused Holes in Your Project

      When building a custom, or resto-mod vehicle one of the most common modifications you can do is to "shave" or fill unused holes in the body of the vehicle. While I was waiting on metal to finish the Custom Running Board Build on Project Pile House, I decided to start shaving some of the unused holes in the bed of the truck. Since this truck was used as a farm truck most of its life, it's had countless brackets, hooks, and other do-dads added that left holes when I removed them. Even though the truck looks pretty rough in its current state, I have pipe dreams of this thing being a nice, solid truck someday, so shaving these unused holes is still progress!

      There are a few ways to fill unused holes in the body of your car or truck. The techniques really vary on the size of the holes. The key tip is to make sure you take the time to setup your welder for nice flat spot welds and leave time for the metal to cool between each weld.

      The easiest holes to fill are small holes about the diameter of a pen or smaller. For these types of holes I start by cleaning the area around the hole with an Angle Grinder and Flap Disc. Sheet metal on the body of cars and trucks is pretty thin (usually 18-22 gauge). So you won't have much forgiveness if you try to pile weld in the hole and you can end up with a bigger hole than you started with! For this reason I always like to use Copper Backers and Welders Helpers to back up and quickly fill the hole. MIG wire doesn't stick to the copper backer directing the weld to the edges of the hole and quickly filling small holes. Be sure to hit the trigger of the welder for a few seconds at a time. Properly adjusted MIG welders should make filling small holes only take a few seconds. A trick I use while the metal is still hot, is to take a Hammer and Dolly and flatten out the spot welds while they're still hot and soft. This will save you time and unneeded heat into the panel when you finish grind the panel with a flap disc.

      Shaving larger holes and openings in the body takes a little more time and care, but can be done with minimal tools. I again started by cleaning the area with a flap disc and angle grinder, then I took some metal from our Patch Panel Kit and traced the opening I was filling from behind.

      Once I had the basic shape, I roughly cut it out with Tin Snips. A grinder or power metal shears would work as well if desired(I've found for small pieces that tin snips work best). With the shape rough cut, I took the small piece to a Belt Sander or Grinder and carefully sanded the metal until it was just smaller than the opening I was filling (leave a small gap for the weld to bridge across).

      Once the patch panel is a good fit, I used a Magnetic Welding Jig to hold the metal in place for the first couple tack welds. Once the patch panel is lightly tacked, I removed the magnet and again use a copper backer or welders helper while spot welding around the hole. When welding these larger holes you need to make sure you jump around and weld in an "X" pattern allowing the panel to cool in between welds. Like the smaller holes, I like to hammer the welds with a hammer and dolly to flatten them out as much as possible.

      Once the hole has been filled and all of the gaps are closed, I took a flap disc and blended the weld into the surrounding metal, again stopping along the way to allow the metal to cool and avoid panel warpage.

      With some practice you can shave and fill holes on the body of your project and leave no trace of your work. Below you can see how the repair area is almost invisible and would only take a little more sanding and a small swipe of body filler to have the panel ready for primer and paint.

      Now that I have a few holes shaved on the bed of Pile House, I have officially caught the "smooth" bug and I'm already looking for other unneeded holes to fill and clean up the overall look of this project. Stay tuned for more updates as we keep working on turning this farm truck into a head turner!

      -Matt/EW

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    • Whole lot of cutting going on in here

      Late last week I spent some time cutting the bed apart to stretch it to give a more "balanced" look when viewing the truck from the side. I know a lot of people aren't agreeing, but I think in the end it will be hard to tell it was lengthened at a first glance. I took some time with the angle grinder and some thin cutting discs, removing the front portion of the bed right behind the stake post. This spot should be the easiest to blend the new panel into. After stiffening the bed up with some flat bar and rebar, and making some temporary bed mounts, we can now work on making the patch panels as well as beginning work on the permanent bed mounts and the bed floor itself. Lots of work to happen over the next few weeks!

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    • Project Pile House has a Floor

      Today is a big day for Pile House. It has probably been 20 years or more since this truck has had a solid floor. Since I decided to choose a less-than-common truck, there isn't much for replacement panels, and since it is a bit of a "mutt" anyways, I opted to just fabricate my own floors with some sheet metal from our friendly local metal shop.

      The floor from first glance didn't look that bad, I mean most of it was still there, which is pretty commendable for how this truck sat for 20+ years. But what you can't see well in a picture, is how thin the metal left was. So thin it would start to tear if you put any weight on the floor. Because the cab mounts are tied into the front floors, I choose to weld some new pans in. I made sure to tie it into the parts of the truck that are solid, like the firewall and B-pillar.

      After some work with the Angle Grinder and the Versa Cut Plasma Cutter I had the old floor out, and I was fabricating the replacement floor.

      After cutting out the metal to fit around the transmission and the back of the engine, I got it all welded in place with help from the Eastwood MIG 175. Now that it is tied into the cab mount plates I made, and the firewall, the floor is much, much stronger than before. Once the final drivetrain is in place I'll be making covers for the openings in the floor and firewall.

      Next I will be burning out the holes in the cab mount plates in the floor and in the cab mount towers so that I can bolt the cab on and off of the chassis, then make bolt-on mounts for the front end. Stay tuned!

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    • Let the cutting begin!

      Recently we introduced to you my new project, a 1950 Dodge "Pilot-House" Truck. After I did some digging, I found that there wasn't going to be an easy way to remove the original bolts holding the front end, cab, and bed on the truck. Luckily I had a number of cutting tools at my disposal and we didn't waste any time, and got the cutting started on the ol' Dodge!

      The first order of business was to get the old wood floor ripped out of the bed. It was all rotted quite badly, and I found layer after layer of wood patches. This was truly used as a workhorse, and old Whitey had just thrown plywood in each time the bed floor started to rot out. Ultimately this lead to moisture getting trapped between the bed braces as well as the bedsides, and the rot set in. You can see below the braces didn't fare too well.

      At this point, I called in the big guns, the Eastwood Versa-Cut Plasma Cutter, and this new affordable 4 1/2" Angle Grinder we now carry, to cut the original bolts holding the bed onto the frame. I was surprised that it all went pretty smoothly, and the bed came off all in one piece!

      Next is the front clip, and then the cab. In the meantime I'm on the hunt for a suitable chassis donor on Craigslist. Hoping I can score a deal in the coming weeks! Watch this space for more to come.

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