Tag Archives: metal fabrication

  • Buyers Guide: When to Use Rust Encapsulator VS. Rust Converter

    Our tech team answers a lot of technical calls and emails each day and there are a lot of common questions asked and advice given. Many of them are about when and where to use our different coatings and paints. Rust products might be the most confusing as far as when to use them and which one is correct for your rust situation. I decided to put together this quick article to help you decide when you should use Rust Encapsulator vs. Rust Converter.


    Rust Encapsulator

    Rust Encapsulator is one of our oldest and most well known products we sell. We've been an innovator in rust treatments and this product has stood the test of time. Encapsulator is probably the safest and most universal of our rust products as it doesn't much care what it is applied over. Below are some examples of situations where Rust Encapsulator is ideal and where another product may be better.

    Ideal Encapsulator Uses

    1. Surface Rust- Encapsulator will easily go over areas of surface rust and stop the rust from spreading. One medium coat usually covers light surface rust.

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    2. Medium Rust- This is rust that is more than just surface or flash rust, it may have started to lightly pit the metal, but hasn't started to affect the rigidity of the metal. Start by wire wheeling or mechanically removing any loose rust and apply 2-3 medium coats to get complete penetration into the rust.

    3. Bare Metal- Rust Encapsulator can be used over bare metal, but I wouldn't suggest it over an epoxy or etch primer if you ONLY have bare metal to deal with. It can be used to quickly seal bare metal in a pinch to avoid flash rusting as well.

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    4. Mixed Surfaces- Rust Encapsulator is the best rust product to apply over surfaces that might vary in grades of rust, have bare metal or old paint present. If you have an area that you cleaned to bare metal or repaired and there's still rust around that area, I'd suggest Rust Encapsulator.

    Poor Uses

    While Rust Encapsulator can be applied to almost any surface, it isn't always the best option. Below are instances where we'd suggest a different product for the best results.

    1. Over rubberized undercoating or heavy duty anti-rust- Undercoating and Anti-Rust are great products for undercarriage, or hidden areas on a vehicle but using Rust Encapsulator over them is unnecessary and isn't using the product to it's full potential. I absolutely prefer to use it as a base under rubberized undercoating for piece of mind.

    2. In hidden, boxed, or hard to reach areas- Rust Encapsulator needs some basic prep before application (wire brush loose rust and degrease with PRE). It also needs complete coverage to properly stop the rust and it can be tough to get it to cover properly on an area that hasn't been prepared completely. For hidden, boxed, and hard to reach areas we suggest our Internal Frame Coating.

    Rust Converter

    Rust Converter is a coating that will convert heavy rusted areas into a protective polymeric coating with little prep. This product works well when used as directed, but doesn't have room for error when it comes to using it on the incorrect surfaces. Rust Converter NEEDS 100% rust present in order for it to work correctly and to fully cure. The surface does need to be top coated after cured. For the best protection we suggest to apply Rust Encapsulator over the Converter and then top coat.

    Ideal Uses

    -Medium Rust- Areas that are completely covered in substantial rust are ok to use Rust Converter on as long as it isn't mixed with bare metal or other coatings around it.


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    -Heavy, Flaky Rust- Rust Converter works best on rust that is HEAVY. This would be scaly rust that has begun pitting the surface and has covered all of the metal. We still suggest to knock off (wire brush/wheel) the loose, flaking rust before applying the product. The goal is for the entire surface that is rust to turn a purplish-black once the converter has finished curing. It may take 2-4 coats to fully convert a surface.

    Poor Uses

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    -Bare Metal- DO NOT EVER apply Rust Converter over bare metal. This product needs 100% rust present for it to work. In fact virgin, clean metal could actually flash rust if Rust Converter is applied and left on it.

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    -Mixed Surfaces- Rust Converter needs 100% rust present in order for it to fully cure. This means it won't work completely on areas that are a mix of rust and bare metal, or a mix of original paint and rust. If you're trying to treat small rust spots that have paint surrounding them (that we assume you don't want to damage) you can use Fast Etch to saturate the area and get into those small rust spots. Then touch up with paint as needed.

    -Painted or coated surfaces- This product won't work on bare metal areas to protect or prevent from rust. If applied to areas that are painted or used to coat for prevention the Rust Converter won't fully cure and the surface will stay sticky.

    If you follow these quick guidelines you can quickly determine if you need Rust Encapsulator or Rust Converter. Feel free to drop us a comment if you'd like to see a buyers guide for any other product.


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  • 5 Sheet Metal Projects to Get you Work in Aluminum

    Aluminum is one of those materials that a lot of beginners and DIY guys and gals in our hobby tend to shy away from, especially sheet aluminum. The reality is that once you have an understanding of how it reacts when shaped and welded, it's a beautiful material to work with and it can be formed into complex shapes much easier than steel of the same gauge. It also saves weight and can be mirror polished without rusting. Today we're going to focus on 5 projects you can do yourself to get your feet wet in Aluminum work.  Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • 5 Easy Ways to Strengthen Sheet Metal

    When you get a piece of flat sheet metal it tends to be very weak and it can be bent quite easily. So if it is so weak, why do we use this stuff for the bodies of our cars? Why not a heavier metal like metal plate? If we did that our cars would all be styled like and as heavy as a tank! This means none of those beautiful curves you see on classic cars (I don't want to live in that world!).  Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Metal Cutting & Shears FAQ

    Can I cut sheet metal with a plasma cutter? – Sure you could cut sheet metal with a plasma cutter, if you have one, but it’s can be like hunting ducks with a bazooka. Plasma cutters will easily cut through metal from over 1 inch thick, to thin body work thickness. But if you are planning on cutting sheet metal for body work make sure you plasma cutter has fresh consumables and is "tuned in" with the correct settings or it could leave a rough edge on the metal that is more work to clean up than the actual cutting. Plasma cutting is best used for metal thicker than the 18 gauge that can't be easily cut with sheers or snips.


    Can I use an oxy-acetylene cutting torch for sheet metal? – Yes, but the edge left on the metal will be even rougher than the plasma cutter. Again, the cutting torch is best used for more structural steel thicker than the 18 gauge that can't be cut with mechanical means.

    What is the difference between shears and snips? – There isn’t really much difference in function between shears and snips. Typically snips are just like super heavy duty scissors that can cut through metal with nothing more than a little leverage and the strength of your hand. Shears feature much greater mechanical advantage, or are powered by compressed air or electricity.


    I need to cut a complex curved shape in sheet metal, what do I use? – The simplest way to cut a curve in sheet metal are right or left handed aviation or tin snips. They are small and can even be used to cut holes in sheet metal that is still a part of your project car. For shop use a bench mounted throatless shear can be very useful for making curved cuts.  For real tight curves the nibbler shears can be dropped into a ¼ inch hole in the middle of a panel and make very tight curves.


    Is there a simple and effective way to punch round holes in sheet metal without distorting it? – Eastwood’s heavy duty punch kit will put perfectly round holes up to ¼ inch and a bit larger in most metals up to 16 gauge thick. It is designed with mechanical advantage to deliver 2000lbs of force with just your hand. It is a much better, neater option than trying to drill holes without distorting the metal.

    What is the difference between the red, green and yellow snips? – The yellow handle snips are to cut straight lines, and can’t form curves very well. Green handled snips are for cutting curves that go toward the right, or clockwise. Red handled snips are for cutting to the left or counter clockwise. This is basically a universal color code used by all manufacturers that was set in the Aviation industry.

    Are there any special precautions for working with sheet metal? – Good gloves are a must. Recently cut sheet metal is surprisingly sharp. Just a little slip can cause a serious cut on your hand, wrist or arm. Otherwise, no special precautions, just the usual gear like safety glasses.

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  • Smoothing the Back End- Frenched Taillights on Pile House.

    I will admit that I tend to over think things when I am building a custom car and sometimes I mock something up and I don't like it or decide I need to tweak the original idea. A while back I decided on a set of '62 Oldsmobile 88 taillights for the back of the truck. I liked the lens shape and chrome trim on them, but the bezel had peaked ends that made it tough to sink them into a relatively flat panel. For the sake of getting "something" in the rollpan I temporarily made brackets to slide them into the panel. At first I was "ok" with how they looked, but the further I got with building the tailgate on the backend I knew in the back of my head I needed to revisit how they were sitting.   Click Here To Read Full Post...