4/1/2007: Metalwork 9: Progress

So just to recap..

The back of my car had a large, but difficult to photograph, dent.

got a rear clip from a parts car
but the bottom was full of bondo and fiberglass
so I spliced together the bottom of my original panel with the top of the other..
initial fitting

So, in April, I finished welding in the large panel on the back of the car:

Painted inner panel
Clamping it in Place
Seams tacked every inch or so
Welds Finished and Ground

I found that the flexible-edge 2” sanding discs available through mcmaster carr do a very nice job on grinding these welds.

I also finished this patch on the side of the car. I’d been working off and on on this one for quite a while.

I decided to do this patch because there was a crease that went along the side of the car, through this area near the wheel. I couldn’t adequately straighten it, because it was impossible to get good access behind it.

cut out damaged area
hand-formed patch

The patch was first shaped on a beater bag with a plastic mallet. I then fine-tuned the shape and put the crease in by hammering on a post dolly in a vise. I used the post dolly and a slapper to planish out all the low spots and get the thing pretty smooth.

I got to a certain point with it where it was very close, but not quite perfect. The patch was sitting a little too flat on the car at the wheel edge, and the crease was slightly off center on the bottom, not matching up with the body line as well as I would like.

I put the patch aside for several months, and then took another stab at it. Before starting over, I decided to see if I could fix the patch I’d formed initially. I used a new tool, a bead roller equipped with a tipping wheel attachment. The bead roller is a harbor freight unit I reinforced for strength, and the tipping wheel attachment came from Hoosier Pattern. (they sell them on ebay).

A Tipping Wheel
A tipping wheel is designed for putting a curved bend into a panel. It’s basically a steel wheel with a somewhat sharp edge, kind of like a large pizza cutter, that is pressed into a plastic lower wheel with a groove in it. As the top wheel pushes the metal into the groove, it forms a “V”. You can steer the panel as you go through the roller to make this line curve.

By running this over the body line on the patch a few times, and working it some more on the post dolly, it was able to straighten the line into perfection.

The other problem, the patch being too flat in the vertical dimension, was solved by using a shrinker-stretcher to fine tune the flange that wraps into the wheel well. Once this was done, the patch fit perfect and I welded it in:

Hard to see now, huh?