Tag Archives: tools

  • DIY Custom Spoiler End Plates

    Car enthusiasts are always looking for a way to have their car stand out from the crowd but buying off the shelf parts will only go so far.  There is a good chance that someone else out there wive the same combination of parts.  The best way to give your car a one of a kind look without fully custom fabricating is to buy something off the shelf and modify it your self.

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    Thats exactly what I did with this aftermarket spoiler that a friend put on his Sentra SE-R.  Of course this look isn't for everyone but there is one flaw that is more than apparent.  The endplates that this spoiler came with do not fit the rest of the part, and they had to go.  Sure there are numerous companies that sell "custom" end plates that you can easily swap out, but again anyone can buy those same ones, what's unique about that.

     

    Spoiler 1

    After some brainstorming we came up with a design that he liked and sketched it out on a piece of 14 GA Aluminum.

     

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    With one edge of the metal clamped down on the edge of a bench, I used my Air Body Saw to cut out the first plate.  I used the first, cut piece to trace the second one, so I would have two exact pieces.

     

    Spoiler 3

    The tricky part was determining the bolt hole locations. With the old end plates mounted we held up one of the new ones to its respective side and traced the old endplate onto the new one with permanent marker.  We then unmounted it and marked off the bolt holes with the old plate lined up to where it was previously traced.

     

    Spoiler 4

    I determined the correct hole size my test fitting different size drill bits into the old plate until I found the one that fit the best.  I then used a small drill bit as a pilot hole and then drilled the new plate to the proper size.

    To get the holes in the same place on both pieces I matched up the first plate to the second and used a marker to trace the holes.  I drilled these out the same as the first.

     

     

    Spoiler 5

    With both plates drilled I wanted to test fit them on the car to make sure the holes were in the correct spot and that both were matching.

     

    Spoiler 6

    Since the edges were still rough I used an 80 Grit Flap Disc on an Angle Grinder to smooth out any minor imperfections in the cut and round off the edges.

    I then went over both sides of the plates with 400 Grit sand paper to create a level surface to paint on.  The sand paper also helps the paint adhere to the metal because it leaves small scratches allowing the paint to also have a mechanical bond with the metal.  After both sides were completely sanded all it takes is a quick wipe down with PRE Painting Prep and they are ready to be primed and painted.

     

    Spoiler 7

    Before applying color I sprayed the end plates with EW Self Etching Primer with will create a better bond to the metal than just the paint would by itself.  For color I used EW 2K Satin Black Aerospray, this two part catalyzed aerosol spray paint is like having real automotive paint in a spray can.  Once it hardens it creates a much more durable finish that will not be affected by solvents like a normal spray paint would.

     

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    After they have been mounted on the car the difference is drastic,  the shape of these fit the spoiler to now have a consistent look.  No one else will have these endplates making his car truly one of a kind.  With the right tools and a little creativity you can fabricate parts for your ride so it'll stand out from the rest.

     

    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW

     

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  • Quick Project- Portable MIG Welder Torch Holder

    It never fails when you're using your MIG welder, you set the torch down to adjust, hammer, or to lift your helmet and you can't find a good spot to hang your torch. Worse yet, the hot tip of the welding wire pokes you in the leg and burns you when you go to set it in your lap. I'm always looking for ways to consolidate my tools and make myself more efficient. I decided to make this quick little MIG Torch holder that fits on my magnetic ground post. Great beginner fabrication project!  Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Tips to tuning up your metal fab tools.

    You change the oil, rotate the tires, wax your car to keep it in tip-top shape right? Well why not your tools? Metal fabrication tools get used hard and often we forget that they need maintenance to keep them working well. I put together a handful of tips that will help you keep your tools cared for.  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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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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  • How to make a Custom Metal Hood Scoop from Scratch- With Ron Covell

    Ron Covell is a master of forming sheet metal by stretching, bending and shaping. He has made a series of how to DVDs which Eastwood carries, in which he teaches you how the things he makes look so easy. He also does classes and workshops all over the country, including at Eastwood headquarters in Pennsylvania. He uses our tools, and for several years now he has attended the SEMA show in Las Vegas and demonstrated them, from hammer, sandbags and dollies to the English Wheel. One of the projects he likes to use as an example is a traditional styled, hot rod hood scoop out of 1/16 inch thick aluminum, from start to finish in less than an hour.  Click Here To Read Full Post...