Tag Archives: TIG Welding
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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!Click Here To Read Full Post...
It's a known fact that a set of wheels can make or break a car. We've seen some of the biggest "junkers" become legendary with a nice set of wheels and a ride height adjustment. The opposite can happen when you have a nicely restored vehicle that has dirty, beat-up, or badly finished wheels. It can ruin the overall appearance of the car or truck. We're here to show you how to make your rolling stock look as good as your ride with these 10 tips to powder coated wheel perfection.
1. Preparation Is Key!- Powder Coating, like traditional paint, requires a clean, dry surface for the best results. We suggest to media blast your wheels down to bare metal for the best powder adhesion. Powder coating is a "high-build" coating that will fill the texture left by media blasting. Eastwood offers DIY Media Blasting Kits that make it a pretty affordable option. The other option is to remove the finish chemically or mechanically. Both methods can be quite messy and time consuming, but they do the job. Once the wheels are free of any old coatings, wash them down with a solvent like PRE or After Blast to remove any grease, dirt, or grime. At this point we'd suggest wearing clean rubber gloves. The oil from your skin can transfer to the surface and actually cause imperfections in the powder during curing. Remember, the cleaner the better!
2. Pre-Bake Wheels- The wheels on your vehicle are subjected to some of the harshest conditions on your vehicle. They see extreme temps, brake dust, grease, grime, salt, and anything in between. No matter how often you cleaned the wheels (especially cast wheels), they'll still have some residue or contaminants baked into the metal. Those contaminants can release when the wheel is heated up. If that happens when baking and curing your powder, it could cause popping, bubbling, or even a fisheye effect in your cured powder. We suggest to bake your wheels at 350-400 degrees for 30 minutes to an hour to assure that you have released and baked out the years of contaminants in the metal. This way when you apply the powder and cure it at a similar temperature, those contaminants would have already been released.
3. Assure you have a good ground connection- Grounding your wheels to the powder coating gun is very important. Most wheels have some tight corners and crevices that can be difficult to get the powder into. The static charge that is created by grounding the wheels and charging the powder is what helps the powder cling into every crevice. Without a good ground the powder won't stick in these spots and you'll get an uneven finish. We've had luck by running thin metal wire around or through each wheel and then connecting the ground to the metal rack the wheels sit on for coating and curing. This allows you an easy spot to clamp your ground clamp to the rack or even the wire under the rack.
4. Hot-Flock you wheels- "Hot-Flocking' is a procedure where you preheat the part and immediately coat the wheel. The hot wheel will help the powder "stick" to the surface easier as the powder may begin to melt as soon as it hits the surface. This technique takes some practice to perfect. You will need to be quick with laying the powder down so the part doesn't cool too much. Also be mindful to avoid laying too much powder during this method as you can get "runs" or "clumps" of powder that will collect in one spot.
5. Use High Temperature Masking Tape- Use this high temp tape to mask off lug holes, hub bores, and any other areas that have a tight tolerance and could cause issues when refitting the wheels. You can also use this tape to mask off portions of the wheels to apply a second coat of powder for a custom application.
6. Apply Clear Coat Powder- Use your choice of clear powder to add an extra layer of protection to your wheels and make cleaning brake dust and road grime off easier (high metallic and textured powders especially hold dirt and grime!). Additionally our high gloss clear powders really give your finish a "deep" "wet" look.
7. Protect the inside of the wheels- One of the nice things about powder coating is that it helps seals the metal and keep your wheels from corroding. We have found a good practice while powder coating your wheels is to apply a layer of powder on the inside barrels of the wheels to protect them from corrosion. The inner barrels or hoop see the harshest conditions. You can make the coating as basic as satin black powder or go full custom and use an eye catching Translucent or Candy Powder.
8.Remove anything that shouldn't be coated- If you don't want it coated or it can't handle the heat, you must remove it before starting the process. This includes valve stems, sealing rings, trim pieces, lug covers, hubcaps or center caps, etc.
9. Use metal or high temperature filler on damaged wheels- Have a wheel with some "curbing" or damage? Use an all metal filler like Lab-Metal to fill and sand imperfections smooth. Powder Coating can have some filling properties, but heavy scratches or gouges need to be filled. Alternatively you could use an AC/DC Tig Welder to weld and fill major damage.
10. Use a Quality Powder Gun- As mentioned earlier, powder coating wheels can be difficult with all of the crevices and tight areas you need to coat. Not all powder coating guns are created equal and you need to make sure you use a gun that has the ability to switch to a lower voltage that allows the powder to cling to those hard to reach areas. Our Dual Voltage Powder Coating Gun is one example of an adjustable voltage gun.
If you follow these tips and take your time, you can make your wheels look as good as the rest of your ride and last just as long too!Click Here To Read Full Post...
The last time we checked in with Street Rodder and Hollywood Hot Rods the paint on the body was still wet. Since then they've been busy getting the car ready for the first leg of the Street Rodder Road Tour and it's unveiling this weekend. We got these sneak peeks from the crew over at Street Rodder Magazine just the other day.
After rolling the car back to Hollywood Hot Rods from the paint shop, Troy and crew were ready to start buckling down and assemble the Ford. This is the fun part most times, but it is a tedious process installing all of those freshly painted, chromed, and powder coated parts!
With the exterior starting to look pretty complete, they moved on to the interior. The team decided to go for a classy, but custom retrim in the 40 Ford. They had some help from a local interior shop to help them meet the deadlines, but it is coming together great. We are loving the color-matched piping details, it really pulls it all together!
With the Ford looking more like a complete car Troy and his crew moved on to mounting up the drivetrain and making the new Ford Racing Coyote V-8 crate engine live. They opted to go with electronic fuel injection to get the most power out of the engine AND the best fuel mileage possible (for a flowed 5L 302 Mustang Boss Engine that is!). Instead of screwdrivers, carb synchs, and their ears, these guys are using a computer to tune the engine so this car will run as well as the latest pony car from the Ford stable.
With things really coming down to the line for the Road Tour and the debut this weekend the team at Hollywood Hotrods is really buckling down. Stay tuned for the finished pictures of this beautiful 40 Ford and make sure you come out to the kickoff of the east coast leg of the tour on July 14th at the Eastwood Summer Classic! Thanks for watching and we'll see you in July!
-Matt/EWClick Here To Read Full Post...
Anyone that follows our posts here will notice that I am a fan of lowered vehicles. Could it be my fear of heights? Honestly, I'm not sure, but everyone can agree a car or truck that's "in the weeds" sure looks heavenly!
As I get older I want my custom vehicles to ride better, even when they are extremely low. It's not fun riding on the rubber bump stops and dreading every imperfection in the road! With vintage watercooled VW's this is a big problem enthusiasts face. I recently found a set of early-spec"rebuildable" strut mounts and I decided to gut and raise them to gain some shock travel and improve ride quality.
Since I needed an oddball sized piece of tubing to build the extension, I had a piece of 11 gauge steel rolled to match the diameter of the strut mount shell. I then used the vice and a pair of Eastwood Locking Pliers to clamp the rolled metal together. I then chamfered the edges and used the Eastwood TIG 200 on 220v to weld the two ends together. The result was a nearly flush joint that just needed a small amount of finish grinding.
With my "tubing" now formed I chamfered the edges of every piece to help me make a flush weld joint. I started by clamping the bottom halves in the vice and tack welding them together. This allowed me to flip the mount over and weld it in a more comfortable position. I set the TIG 200 to a max amperage of 140 amps and used 1/16 Steel TIG Filler Rod to join it all together and fill the chamfer I made. I repeated the process with the top cap and I soon had a mount that looked OE, but is 1.5 inches taller.
I am still working on making my weld puddles all look uniform, but I have come a long way since I first began learning to TIG weld on the TIG 200 about a year ago! With a little patience and a lot of practice, it really opens up what you can fabricate!
-Matt/EWClick Here To Read Full Post...
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