Tag Archives: shrinker
Recently our friend Sean at Empire Fabrication sent us some pictures of a custom airbag tub for a bagged VW Eurovan he's building for a customer and we had to share. Follow along as he shares the Eastwood tools and process he used to build the custom bag tub.
The crew at Honesty Charley and Street Rodder Magazine have been doing a great job of keeping the 2013 Road Tour car under wraps. We've been bugging them for a while for some teasers and they finally shot us a few photos to keep us enticed.
As we mentioned in previous posts, this car has had a lot of rust repair done already and equally as much custom work done. The work continues as they are whipping up some panels for the car using their Eastwood Shrinker Stretcher Set and Plastic Metal Shaping Mallets to build some panels that needed some shape built into them. Who can guess what part they're building in the photos below?!
While some of the guys are working on some final metal fabrication, the rest of the team are starting on the body work in the areas they customized and repaired already. The tedious job of block sanding the car has been made a little easier with the use of Soft Sander Sanding Blocks and the Adjustable Flexible Sanding Blocks. The car is moving along quickly and we hear it should be getting some primer and color any day now. As soon as we smuggle some pics of the car in color you'll be the first to see it! Stay tuned!
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!
By Jim Aust/Hollywood Hot Rods
Every since the first sleek new 1949 Mercury hit the street crafty restylers have lusted after examples with the roof a bit lower than the factory offerings. Sam Barris was among the first to chop his own personal Mercury, and the process would be repeated thousands of times over the next seven decades. Just as the word “custom” implies, personally designed customs each have a unique style and equally unique method of creation.
The guys at Hollywood Hot Rods have built a series of much loved custom vehicles so it’s only natural that they would have chopped a few Mercury’s along the way. Refining the process to a science, Hollywood Hot Rods get the job done lowering a lid on a Mercury (or any vehicle) with the help of various tools from The Eastwood Company. For this demonstration an Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher is used to get a few of the vital steps in the process completed. Follow along as Hollywood Hot Rods shows how they lowered a roof on this 1951 Mercury.
Chopping the top on a Mercury is so popular at Hollywood Hot Rods that they have to wait in line for their turn under the knife.
The easy part is removing the top, the tough part is putting it back on correctly.
After lowering the roof the desired amount, the corners of the windows now require reworking to close up the gaps created in the process.
This view shows the great deal of work that will be necessary to reshape the rear corners of the quarter windows.
The first step is to trim out the rear corners so that new corners can be fitted in place.
To fill the corners small strips of sheet metal are cut and folded 90-degees in a sheet metal brake.
Next up the Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher is used to shrink one edge of the custom new pieces to replicate the look of the factory corners in the newly required radiuses.
The newly fabricated pieces are carefully fit into in the trimmed out window corners.
The new window corners are tacked in place and checked again for proper placement before final welding is completed.
Once the final welding is finished the corners are shaped with a die grinder equipped with a barrel drum sanding head.
On this particular chop the decision was made to round-off the upper rear door corners rather than retain the square factory style corners.
Rather than cut the original door corners into multiple pieces, Hollywood Hot Rods prefers to create new sweeping corner from fresh sheet metal.
Repeating the earlier process, new inner door corners are made with the Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher. Once the new door corners are in place they are welded and smoothed the same way as the window corners.
Just a few steps transformed this Mercury from a stocker to show stopper! Hit the Hollywood Hot Rods Website to see more of their work, enlist their services, or buy some sweet HHR gear!