Tag Archives: tech tips

  • 5 Tips to Make your Bead Roller work Better

    Bead rolling is one of those sheet metal fabrication tools that looks easy to use, but there are countless tricks to get good looking, consistent beads. On Project Pile House I have over a hundred feet handmade panels rolled in bead roller (Easily!) and I've picked up a handful of tips along the way that make life a LOT easier!  Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • What is a Flange Joint and How Do You Perform One?

    When it comes to auto body patch panel installations, no joint is more useful than a flange joint. A flange joint is very similar to a lap joint except that the area that is overlapped on one of the metal pieces is lower than the rest, making both pieces at equal elevation when welding. ....  Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Rebuilding the front suspension with a custom twist Part 1- Front air ride on a Chevy S10

    After I got the custom rear air suspension built for Project Pile House, I could now move on to the front suspension. The rear was relatively easy since there was a ton of room under the bed, but the front isn't so easy. After some research on mini truck websites and the S10 forums, I found that most guys suggested upgrading to the larger 2600 series air bags in the front when you are planning a V8 drivetrain (as I am). The 2500's apparently require much more air to get the truck up to an acceptable ride height and driving the truck at those high pressures makes the ride very harsh. Ideally for the best of both worlds you want the vehicle to ride at a mid-range pressure that will give you a nice ride, but still handle well. The downside is that the bag is obviously larger and requires a bit more modification to the spring pocket to fit.

    I began by disassembling the front suspension, you can see above it was definitely time to address the front steering and suspension components on this chassis! I started the job by removing the tie rods out of the steering knuckle. Many struggle dropping the ball joints and popping the tie rod out of the knuckle when doing this job. I was taught a trick long ago that makes the job really easy.

    What you want to do is remove the nut from the tie rod (or ball joint) and clean off the outside of the pocket where the tie rod is seated. Look for a casting mark where the knuckle was formed. Some vehicles (like this one) it's a flat area, while others it's just a rough raised line. You then take a large hammer (I like to use my 5 pound sledge), and take one REALLY good swing at the pocket; aiming directly for that casting mark you previously found. If you have good aim and swing hard enough, this will shock the conjoined parts loose and the tie rod or ball joint will be free enough that you can pull them out by hand. Sometimes the tie rod will even just fall right out. This is a great trick to show off to your friends and has saved me loads of time over the years.

    After knocking the tie rod out, I moved on to removing the bolts holding the shock in place. I then used a jack to compress the coil spring and slowly dropped the jack down relieving the pressure off of the spring. With the spring pressure relieved, I could remove the spindle, control arms, and other steering and suspension parts. This procedure was a good test for the new Eastwood 1/2" Composite Impact Gun. Even with the extra long air hose we have running to this side of the shop (can cause a pressure drop), it performed flawlessly removing bolts that probably haven't been touched since the chassis was newly assembled!

    With the old suspension out, I now could start on the front air ride fabrication. The nice thing about these larger bags is that they give a ton of lift when aired up, but when fully compressed they are probably a 1/3 of the size of the stock coil spring. For fun I sat the two next to each other before I began the job. Talk about a huge difference in height!

    That's it for the first part of this tech series, stay tuned for our next entry where I will show you how we mated the air bags to the stock suspension and chassis. Then we clean and detailed it all with some help from some Eastwood chassis coatings!

    -Matt/EW

      Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Media Blasting Basics- 5 Tips to make your blaster work better

    Eastwood Dual Blaster Pressure Blaster

    Media Blasting is a pretty simple process when you break it down into the basics. You mix an abrasive media with high pressure air and shoot it out of a small orifice in a gun/nozzle. Media blasting is extremely effective if you make sure you follow some fairly simple tips. In this tech entry we will cover the basics you need to follow when blasting with a pressure blaster.

    1. Proper Equipment- The number one thing that will cause a media blaster to work incorrectly is a compressor that can't keep up with the blaster. Be sure to check the ratings of the blaster you are purchasing (or own) against your compressor. Ideally you do not want your compressor to be at max capacity when running the blaster. Constant running of the compressor without rest causes excessive heat which creates moisture in the lines and can cause clogs in the blaster (another reason to have a proper Air Management System). Remember that media blasting requires a high amount of constant pressure to work effectively and if your compressor can not produce the volume required, the blaster will NOT work correctly.
    -The industry standard for pressure at the nozzle is 80-100 PSI. Less than this and the media will not have the force needed to properly remove material. Running much higher than 100-120 PSI can exceed the blaster tank maximum pressure and cause the media to disintegrate when it hits the surface and reduce the cleaning abilities.

    2. Hose Length and Shape- While it's nice to have a long air hose that can reach anywhere in your shop or driveway, it can drastically hurt the performance of your media blaster. Try to keep your hose as short as possible and free of any bends or kinks. Excessive lengths and bends can cause the compressor to work harder and decrease performance. Keep the same tip in mind with your blaster hose. Every loop or hard bend in the line will cause a significant drop in pressure (we've seen 5-10 PSI for every hard bend or kink in the blaster hose).

    Eastwood Air Dryer System

    3. Water Is The Enemy- We hinted at it above, but we can't stress enough how important it is to have a proper air separator or dryer in line on your compressor. We suggest adding a new Inline Disposable Air Filter each time you start a new blasting project. They are cheap insurance to avoid those wet clumps of media blocking up your pressure blaster.

    4. Properly Adjust Blaster- Most pressure blasters have similar deadman-style valves that block air or media. These valves do not always need to be opened fully. Each media/nozzle combo and job require different settings. A general rule of thumb is that your air to media ratio should be 90/10. Too much media will kill the end media pressure when it leaves the nozzle. We suggest doing a test run and slowly open the media valve until just after it starts removing material off of the test piece.

    5. Technique- One negative thing that often gets said about media blasting is that it can warp thin panels and actually damage parts by removing too much material. This can usually be chalked up to improper technique. You want to have a steady side to side movement when blasting. DO NOT stop and blast in one concentrated area for any long period of time as it can warp thinner panels and remove too much material on some surfaces. Additionally, keep your nozzle at a 60-45 degree angle and aimed in the direction you are moving when blasting. This will help the media clean more efficiently and helps avoid sitting in one area for too long.

    Follow these tips and make your blasting jobs go as smooth as possible and do the job right. If you have any further questions about blasting feel free to send us a message or jump onto our forums and join our technical discussions!

      Click Here To Read Full Post...