Sheet Metal Fabrication Custom Sheet Metal Work
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The first thing that you need to do is to have a good Idea of what you want, you don’t want to change your mind half way through, it will waste sheet metal and money, make sure that you have spent the time to really think about the custom additions to your car.
Custom cars can, and usually do look very cool, but a poorly planed one will cause you all kinds of agony, so plan it to the hilt, even if your just doing something small, like a hood scoop, louvers, or side vents in your quarter panels.
If you car is important to you, it won’t bother you to spend some time to make it look right, so let’s get right in to building a hood scoop, most muscle car freaks love hood scoops on their cars, it just make the car look better in most cases, but if you do it wrong, it will look horrible.
First of all you need to use a micrometer, and a sheet metal gauging tool, you can buy either one of these tools at your local tool store, or off of a tool truck, it is very important that you get the right gauge of metal, or it will never look right.
Once you have got the gauge of metal measured, you can move on to measuring out the project, or the amount of metal that you need for the project, I usually measure it out and them double my measurements when I buy the metal.
If this is to be your first sheet metal fabrication project you will make a mistake or two, this is why you should always get some extra sheet metal, either you’ll measure a little wrong, or you’ll cut it wrong and end up not having enough if you don’t buy extra.
The measurements are the most important part of the process, and you should spend a lot of time on them and be sure that they are right, if you need to do them a few times to make sure that they are right then you should do it, don’t get in a hurry, this is your worst enemy while do do this kind of work.
After you get the measurements exactly right, you can head out to the sheet metal store and purchase your working stock, make sure that you don’t buy galvanized sheet metal, just plain old sheet metal, just the steel.
After you get the sheet metal, you can start to make a pattern for your project, this is where those measurements are important, all you need to do after your make your pattern is transfer to the sheet metal, and then begin to cut the pattern out of the sheet metal.
This is another area where you should take your time, being in a hurry here will make a bad outcome, so take your time, follow you pattern meticulously, cut it out and then make the folds and bends that it calls for, after you get it all bent in to place, you can weld your seems.
Make sure that you don’t try to run a bead the full length of your seem all at once, work from each end toward the middle, welding about two inches at a time, make you first weld at the front, and then your next weld at the back until they blend together.
The reason you do this is so you don’t warp the sheet metal, if you over heat it it will warp, and you might as well just throw it out and start over again at that point, so pay attention and don’t be hurried as you do the project, it’s not that hard to do.
At this point we’ll grind the welds along the seem of your project smooth, and then it’s ready to install on the car, we won’t go in to the installation on your car here, that is another article, but I hope that this has helped some of you in some way.