Saturday, January 22, 2011

Metalcraft 101

One of the good things about this experience is that you develop an appreciation for how things are done. For example, how you fabricate an replacement panel is a mystery, but once you know how it's done, it's hard to consider that you ever thought that there was another way of doing it.

For the near-side panel, for instance, Aaron and The Dude first had to make patterns out of wood that would accommodate the necessary flanges and bends that were required. For the gas filler hole they made the wood pattern and then screwed it on the inside. Then they bent the metal inwards. They removed the screws and the wood and welded the remaining screw holes closed. Of course! That's exactly how I would have done it!

The first photo below is a general before and after picture. It's satisfying to look at. The second shows the jig-forms that Aaron and The Dude made. The third shows these neat little things called clecos. They're used to keep sheet metal in place as it's being welded or riveted. They're used in aviation a lot, which is why my dad knew what they were. Aaron and The Dude use them to line up the part before welding it in place. The last photo is the result: a perfect weld line that isn't shrinked all up like a piece of high-carbon bacon.


Tim said...

Its looking fantastic Charlie, such an improvement between before and after.

kjashton said...

Another style of paintwork to consider is the treatment of my old JB. Instead of just the top half (above the style line) one colour and a different colour below the style line, I made my van predominantly black, with a silver style line, and then I continued the silver up, sround and forwards along the roofline to level with the start of the roof panel. The thinking was that I could own and drive a black van, but with the entire roof and back doors silver, it wouldn't get too hot inside under the fierce Oz sun. It looked real cool too, retaining the attractive overall shape of the J, whereas a Tu-Tone scheme with a horizontal split seems to take something away from the J-Van shape.