Tag Archives: fabrication

  • How to Build Simple Engine Mounts for a Hot Rod

    To me building a hot rod or custom car is all about building with what you've got, using some ingenuity, and making things from scratch. Sure you can point and click with your mouse and buy a "hot rod in a box" from online vendors, but I think that those cars lose the soul that makes a hot rod so dang cool. Recently I built a chassis for a 1930 Ford Model A coupe I'm putting together and I needed to make some simple motor mounts to attach the Flathead to the chassis. I know you can buy some, but where's the fun in that?! I decided to show a simple way to make some mounts from scratch.   Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • DIY Removable Exhaust Hangers

    Adding a new exhaust system to your ride but don't want to use the cheap parts store hangers and clamps?

    Lets face it we all know how horrible they are,  aside from just looking tacky, they almost never last.  The U-bolt clamps are just as bad, you better hope you have them exactly where you want them because chances are, once you tighten them down they are sure to be rusted shut in a few weeks.


    Here is a way to make your own custom exhaust hanger using one of those cheapo parts store hangers.  Its simple, cheap, and even allows the whole system to be easily removed.


    What You'll Need:

    - Universal Exhaust Hanger with an open, pivoting end. (It must be this style, you'll see why later)


    - 1.25 " X 1.25" piece of 1/8" steel

    - 5/16" or 3/8" Thread bolt about 1" long, lock washer, and hex nut.

    - High Temp Paint (to prevent rust)





    First you will need to cut the end of the exhaust hanger, with a Cut off Wheel, along the line drawn. This piece can be thrown out.



    After the end is cut off you will be left with a tab sticking straight down.



    Clamp the square tab to the hanger with enough room to drill a hole big enough for the bolt you are using, in my case it was a 3/8" hole.  Mark the center of where you want the hole to be and use a Center Punch to indent the metal so the drill bit doesn't wander.



    With the two pieces clamped, use a Step Bit to drill a through both pieces so the hole will remain in line.  Pass the bolt through and tighten by hand so the tab remains square. Step bits make easy work of drilling large diameter holes, an essential tool when doing any type of metal fabrication.



    Using jack stands or wire position your muffler or exhaust pipe in the location you want it to sit under the car.  It is a good idea to determine where you want to mount the hanger to the body or frame of the car first, to insure the hanger is long enough to reach the pipe. (As an example I am using a piece of exhaust tube on a work bench and the hanger suspended from a piece of metal in a vice)



    With the hanger mounted under the car, align your exhaust pipe exactly where you want it to hang.



    Tack weld the tab to the exhaust pipe or muffler.  Remove the supports holding up the exhaust and check the positioning.



    If is where you want it, finish the weld along the tab. Allow the metal to cool off before unbolting the hanger.



    Once it is cool to the touch, remove the bolt.  Creating this custom exhaust hanger will cost about the same as using those tacky U-Bolts, and it makes exhaust removal a breeze.  All that is left to do is a quick coat of High Temp Exhaust Paint and you'll have a simple rust free solution to mounting your exhaust system.


    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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  • Fitment Issues with Stamped Patch Panels

    In the past finding replacement body panels for a classic or antique car was very challenging, usually they would have to be taken off of a broken down or wrecked car.  If you could find one it was great because its sure to fit as long as its not damaged.  Present day those old cars are becoming harder and harder to find and the junk yards are filling with late model imports.



    Companies like Auto Metal Direct (AMD) and Classic Industries have opened up a new market by offering brand new stamped panels for hundreds of cars all the way back into the 1930's.  These two are by far the leaders in the business because their parts have been fine tuned to have the best fitment and their higher prices reflect the quality.


    Are There Other Options?

    Budget builders have found some relief because there are a few companies that offer the same parts but at a much lower cost, the only issue with these is that they have a reputation of not fitting the way they should.

    If you're on a budget and have some metal fab and bodywork experience, the cheaper route may be the way to go. You are still getting brand new metal that is meant for your vehicle.  These panels will  be very close but may not have the exact body lines, missing mounting holes, and sometimes be slightly too long or too short.

    Camaro Freak, on the Hotrodders.com forum, had these same issues with a new driver side door for his 69' Camaro.



    After aligning the body lines with the front fender and rear quarter, the fitment was completely off.



    Along the front fender the door gap was tight at the top and grew wider as it got closer to the center body line.  Towards the bottom the door sits slightly inside the rocker and fender.  If you look closely the peak of the center body line is also a slightly different shape.



    There were similar problems where the door met the rear quarter panel.  The door edge above the handle mount looks like it is a different shape causing a larger gap along the top edge.


    Whats the Best Solution?

    nova hood

    Deciding which route to go can be difficult because there will be a trade off with both options.  It really depends on how much body work you want to put into the car, and how much you are looking to spend on the project.

    Depending on the part and how complex it is, the more expensive parts will be worth it in the long run. For example, if you need an entire fender or door skin the big name brands are the way to go because they will be the closest match to your car.  But if you just need a patch panel for a smaller area that does not intersect any body lines, the cheaper metal will save you a lot of money because you will need to do some fabrication anyways.

    If you run into any of these issues Eastwood has everything you need to fabricate and modify those patch panels to have the perfect fit.


    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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  • Sheet Metal Cutting Tips and Tricks

    Working in sheet metal can be fun, and it can be frustrating, but if you like old cars eventually there will come a time when you will need to cut, and eventually even weld sheet metal. At first glance it seems as if it would be like working with paper or cardboard, just a little tougher, but paper products don’t stretch and deform like metal does when you try to bend, shape or cut it. Here are a few simple rules to make metal work easier.

    When working with sheet metal, always wear long, thick, leather gloves because it only takes a small slip to be cut to the bone with the sharp edge of a metal piece you are working on. Long welding sleeves are not a bad idea either, because sheet metal can cut deep, and accidentally slashing your wrists can be a very serious injury. Eye and face protection is a good idea as well.



    Tin snips or Aviation snips, are just like scissors for metal, and are great for smaller cuts or lighter gauge sheet metal.

    3 pane  

    Snips come in left, right and straight versions, color coded in a nautical fashion:

    Left = Red

    Right = Green

    Straight = Yellow

    Cutting with snips can be time consuming and physically taxing on your hands and arms, but great for cutting complicated, small shapes. Snips also leave an edge that is often a bit ragged and curved from the cutting.


    For longer cuts, or just getting the job done faster and neater, there is the Electric Metal Sheer. An electric motor moves a small block up and down, pinching the metal between it and a fixed block on the other side.  The uniformity of the cut is much better with the electric sheer, and the quality of the edge it leaves is better too. Plus it takes no effort and a lot less time to use.



    The small cutting blocks, compared to the size of the jaws on the snips, make it easier to use the sheer to cut out tighter curved lines in metal parts. Most electrical powered sheers have no problem cutting though up to 16 gauge steel, which can be nearly impossible with a pair of manual snips.



    Clamp your sheet metal securely to the table or bench so you have both hands free to maneuver the sheers around. This will make things much easier.  Straight lines and even fairly tight curves are much easier to make with the electric sheers.  To smooth out the slight curve the sheers sometimes leave, if you have an English wheel, you can just use the flattest bottom anvil, and roll the edge through with minimal pressure.


    Just like any cutting tool, electric sheers will eventually become dull over time.  We sell replacement jaw sets for our electric sheer but don't worry, you wont need a new set for a long time.

    So these are some basic tips that should help you to cut and shape metal pieces for your next project quicker and easier. With a little practice you’ll be able to cut metal as if you were a school kid making paper snowflakes.

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  • DIY Custom Spoiler End Plates

    Car enthusiasts are always looking for a way to have their car stand out from the crowd but buying off the shelf parts will only go so far.  There is a good chance that someone else out there wive the same combination of parts.  The best way to give your car a one of a kind look without fully custom fabricating is to buy something off the shelf and modify it your self.

    spoiler before

    Thats exactly what I did with this aftermarket spoiler that a friend put on his Sentra SE-R.  Of course this look isn't for everyone but there is one flaw that is more than apparent.  The endplates that this spoiler came with do not fit the rest of the part, and they had to go.  Sure there are numerous companies that sell "custom" end plates that you can easily swap out, but again anyone can buy those same ones, what's unique about that.


    Spoiler 1

    After some brainstorming we came up with a design that he liked and sketched it out on a piece of 14 GA Aluminum.


    Spoiler 2

    With one edge of the metal clamped down on the edge of a bench, I used my Air Body Saw to cut out the first plate.  I used the first, cut piece to trace the second one, so I would have two exact pieces.


    Spoiler 3

    The tricky part was determining the bolt hole locations. With the old end plates mounted we held up one of the new ones to its respective side and traced the old endplate onto the new one with permanent marker.  We then unmounted it and marked off the bolt holes with the old plate lined up to where it was previously traced.


    Spoiler 4

    I determined the correct hole size my test fitting different size drill bits into the old plate until I found the one that fit the best.  I then used a small drill bit as a pilot hole and then drilled the new plate to the proper size.

    To get the holes in the same place on both pieces I matched up the first plate to the second and used a marker to trace the holes.  I drilled these out the same as the first.



    Spoiler 5

    With both plates drilled I wanted to test fit them on the car to make sure the holes were in the correct spot and that both were matching.


    Spoiler 6

    Since the edges were still rough I used an 80 Grit Flap Disc on an Angle Grinder to smooth out any minor imperfections in the cut and round off the edges.

    I then went over both sides of the plates with 400 Grit sand paper to create a level surface to paint on.  The sand paper also helps the paint adhere to the metal because it leaves small scratches allowing the paint to also have a mechanical bond with the metal.  After both sides were completely sanded all it takes is a quick wipe down with PRE Painting Prep and they are ready to be primed and painted.


    Spoiler 7

    Before applying color I sprayed the end plates with EW Self Etching Primer with will create a better bond to the metal than just the paint would by itself.  For color I used EW 2K Satin Black Aerospray, this two part catalyzed aerosol spray paint is like having real automotive paint in a spray can.  Once it hardens it creates a much more durable finish that will not be affected by solvents like a normal spray paint would.


    IMG_3069 IMG_7273

    After they have been mounted on the car the difference is drastic,  the shape of these fit the spoiler to now have a consistent look.  No one else will have these endplates making his car truly one of a kind.  With the right tools and a little creativity you can fabricate parts for your ride so it'll stand out from the rest.


    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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