Tag Archives: forming

    • We have a Brake Pedal and The Firewall Becomes Three Dimensional

      In the last update I was working on cutting out metal to make the firewall and mocking up my new brake pedal setup from Speedway. Since then I've been pretty busy making something from nothing. I had to initially tackle how I was going to mount the brake booster and pedal assembly under the cab. The first problem was that where the pedal bracket needed to live the S10 chassis started to pinch in and put the pedal on a weird angle. This kit was made for an earlier frame that's mostly straight/flat and like anything with a custom build, I had to get creative.

      I first used some jack stands to hold the brake assembly in place and eyeball up the position it needed to be in. I then traced out the area that the mounting pad for the pedal bracket needed to sit. I decided I could make a "cheese wedge" shaped mounting box that I could sink into the frame rail so that the pedal bracket would sit straight and everything would jive. I used 1/4" plate and copied the mounting holes to the base plate and welded the mounting bolts to the plate since they'd be hidden once the box was built. I used our Small Magnetic Welding Jig Set to square up the pieces and welded them together with the TIG200 DC Welder. The result was a strong mounting box I could sink into the frame and mount to the pedal box. I made my cuts in the chassis and mounted the box into the frame. Once I was sure it was square, I tack welded it into place with the MIG175 Welder.

      Now that I had the shiny Right Stuff Brake Parts mounted in place I dropped the air suspension and checked my clearance when aired out. The booster sits a couple inches below the chassis, but even when the body is sitting on the ground the booster has 4 inches or more of clearance. I'd probably rip the front end off before the brake parts were touched. That would be a BAD section of road even here on the east coast!

      My celebration of having a brake setup was cut short when I slide the Speedway brake pedal on and found that the brake pedal landed where my throttle pedal should be. I like to heel-toe my brake and throttle when driving.. but this was unacceptable! I decided to cut apart the brake pedal arm, shorten it, brace it and move the pedal over a few inches so that it sat where a brake pedal should. I also had to "clock" the mounting tab for the linkage under the pedal so that the pedal sits up high enough that it won't contact the chassis when I am pushing the pedal. I again used 1/4" steel plate and the TIG200 DC to box and brace the pedal to handle the force of pressing the brake pedal. Don't mind the rough floor in the photos, we just welded that in temporarily to keep the cab from flopping around while we worked on the roof chop and the firewall.

      With the brake parts mounted in place I could finally turn my attention back to the firewall and engine/transmission tunnel. I started by making the back side of the firewall setback. I used one of our Adjustable Profile Gauges to transfer the radius of the top of the TCI Auto Transmission to the panel. After tracing out my pattern I cut the rough shape out of 16 gauge steel with our Electric Metal Shears. Now the electric shears work really great for cutting laser straight lines and gentle curves, but when you need to make a tighter radius cut those shears are out of their element. I decided to mount up one of our Throatless Shears to make the cuts I needed. The nice thing about the "throatless" shear is that you can go as slow or fast as you want so that you can make some really clean, accurate cuts. I cut out the top curves to match the top panel I made on the english wheel, then cut the transmission tunnel radius and I had my second panel of the firewall made.

      Now with the back panel of the firewall channel made, I decided that I wanted to ditch the panel I made on the english wheel and form the panel out of one piece. I decided to use 18 gauge steel and form the piece using our Shrinker Stretcher Kit to make the panel match the radius of the main portion of the firewall we had made already. I cut a piece of 18 gauge a little longer than I needed and broke a 1/2" bend on each side of the panel. These edges will allow me to work them with the stretcher to get the radius I need on the panel. This panel was a little more difficult to make as I had to evenly stretch each side little by little as I went to get the shape the same on the entire panel. I actually went a little far when initially stretching the shape I needed and I had to work backwards with the shrinker in a few spots to get the panel back into shape to match the panel. That's the nice thing with metal is that you can always undo what you've done if you stretched or bent the metal a little too much. Once I got the shape close, I used the hammer and dolly to match the rolled edge we made earlier match with this new panel. Then I used Cleco Clamps to hold the pieces together.

      Now that I have the pieces in place I can start to see everything taking shape. I need to tackle making the wheel tubs for the front wheels and the transmission tunnel next. I'm hoping I'll be able to start melting all of this metal together with an Eastwood Welder shortly! Thanks for watching!

      -Matt/EW

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    • Forming The Firewall and Gathering Steering and Braking Parts

      After getting the old swiss cheese firewall removed from the truck I started making the new firewall for Project Pile House. I started by having one of our tech advisors Sean help me make a cardboard pattern. Once the pattern was made we scribed out the shape onto our metal using a pick from the Eastwood 4 Piece Puller/Scraper/Pick Set. I decided I wanted a smooth firewall for a "cleaned" look. Because of that I won't be running beads in the firewall so I opted for 16 gauge sheet metal.

      I wanted to make clean cuts in the metal so I decided to put our Electric Metal Shears to the test and make the majority of the cuts with them. I know we only rate them to 18 gauge, but I had heard rumors that these were actually tested up to 16 gauge with no issues. I was pleasantly surprised that the shears (with well-used blades even!) cut right through the 16 gauge with no issues. I can't say how pleased I was to make those long cuts quickly with the shears. I then fired up the Versa Cut 40 Plasma Cutter to make the cuts for the radii on the tunnel notch and top outer corners. I made the cuts in a single pass with the machine on 110V at around 18 Amps and 60 PSI.

      Now that I had the basic shape of the firewall cut out I did some minor trimming to make space around the headers and the valve covers for engine movement. I next made some "witness" marks in the firewall and the truck to have a quick way to match up the firewall each time I fit it. I want to make the transition into the firewall tunnel as smooth as possible so it gave me a chance to try out some new prototype tools we've been testing. We're currently working on a set of universal vice-mount T-dollies that I thought would be perfect to tip the edges of the firewall where transitions into the tunnel. The trick with these is to allow the metal to hang just over the edge of the dolly and use your body hammer to form the metal around the radius of the dolly. The result is a smooth bend in the sheet metal. Look for these to be out sometime in May or June!

      By tipping and rolling the edges on the transmission tunnel transition I also added some additional rigidity to the panel that I could feel instantly after I was done hammering. I decided to test fit the panel again so I could mock up the top panel of the tunnel next. The top panel needed to have the same contour as the opening we cut in the firewall and the only good way to make that was by using an english wheel to roll the contour into a piece of sheet metal. I began by making a pattern to match the cutout in the firewall so that I could check my progress as I went. I used our new prototype Eastwood English Wheel to roll the mild curve into the panel and after a few a minutes I had a piece shaped appropriately.

      I then used a couple clecos to hold the top panel in place. The fitment is pretty good and it should all blend together pretty nicely once it's welded. I still need to tackle the rest of the tunnel and begin mocking up the steering column and brake pedal before I can finally weld the firewall in place.

      Just today I got some steering column parts and a frame mounted brake pedal assembly from Speedway Motors, so I should be able to steer the truck from inside the cab shortly. I've already got a nice chrome Right Stuff Detailing GM mini brake booster and master cylinder sitting on the sidelines ready to mount up once the fabrication is done so I can make Pile House stop too! Stay tuned, things are getting interesting!

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    • Winfield Chop Shop Tour Houston, TX - Part 2

      After the seam was welded, Gene and the crew went ahead and made a new panel for the one rear corner to make it all fit seamlessly. He used Eastwood Plastic Metal Shaping Hammers and Sandbag to form the panel and get the rough shape that was needed to fit the roof.  Click Here To Read Full Post...
    • Eastwood Metal Working Tip- Forming Metal with Items You Have Around the House

      Metal working is definitely an art that takes a lot of practice to master. In the grand scheme of things I am definitely wet behind the ears when it comes to metal working. It seems each time I tackle a new project, I learn a little more. A common misconception when someone thinks about metal working is that you need a huge shop full of industrial sized machines to successfully shape and form metal. It's easy to see why people come to this conclusion; watch just about any Hot Rod, Chopper, or custom car TV show, and you see them using all of these giant industrial sized machines that cost a fortune. Those tools are great,and amazing to use if you have access to them. But you can build a lot in a home shop with an arsenal of a few essential tools. Some of these you can even make yourself!

      Bending radiuses in metal is one of the more difficult tasks you may come across when honing your metal working skills. This is something that was often a mystery to me, and a task I thought required an english wheel. Once I started doing some poking around on a few popular metal working forums, I noticed that many of the seasoned veterans were using homemade tools to form curves and even recreate original embossed shapes in panels. They are using everything from logs and tree trunks to metal pipes and pieces of scrap metal to build some pretty beautiful things.

      This got me thinking, with a few simple Eastwood tools, and a couple of items you could find laying around your home, you could really build some neat stuff! I decided to show how we recreated the curve in the driver's door of Project Pile House using a stainless pipe, a vice, and a couple of our Metal Forming Mallets.

      The picture below shows the condition of the door when we started. Not only was it rotted out, it also had a bad dent repair done many years ago. Because of this we decided to replace the door skin just above the damage.

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      Once we cut off the outer door skin I took the picture below to show the slight radius the panel had to it originally. This is what we wanted to recreate.

      After putting a flange on the new door skin, we cut a slit in the top of the flange to allow us to form the radius in the panel we need to recreate. We grabbed a piece of stainless pipe we had that is about 3", and clamped it in the vice. We then took out our Metal Forming Mallet Set and began slowly beating the edge of the panel over the pipe to get a radius started.

      After some hammering and test fitting, we finally got the radius very close. We then used the backing strips in our Panel Install Kit to to get the new skin attached.

      Once that piece was tack welded into place, we test fit and continue welding like we've already shown you in previous tech entries (you're on the home stretch!).

      Once you get over the idea that you always need to use special tools to form metal, you will find yourself looking at things differently when working in the garage. I know I've got the word out to some neighbors about getting one of those big old stumps they have laying around. I plan on making it into a metal working "station"! Give us a shout if you have a cool idea for a metal working tool, we'd love to hear your ideas!

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