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Last is­sue we cov­ered a sim­ple method to rough in a ply­wood buck for shap­ing a fuel tank us­ing some 3/8-inch ply­wood. This is­sue I will take that same buck and fin­ish it off so it is suit­able for mak­ing pat­terns for the fab­ri­ca­tion process.

In the next is­sue I will use the same pat­tern mak­ing tech­niques we learned in a past is­sue on this buck. I’ll fully pat­tern this tank and trans­fer pat­terns to alu­minum and then be­gin the met­al­shap­ing process.

As al­ways feel free to ask ques­tions or make re­quests for fu­ture is­sues by reach­ing out to me at HB


The first step is to smooth out the tran­si­tions where all of the ply­wood ribs/struc­ture in­ter­sects one an­other. I’ll use these smooth tran­si­tions to fin­ish the buck. 2

What I’m go­ing to do is fill all of the voids in the struc­ture with some 1-inch-thick closed-cell in­su­la­tion board. Here I have some scraps left over from a con­struc­tion project. 23

In this process I will use the struc­ture it­self as a pat­tern to size the foam pieces to be cut out.


I use a band saw to cut the foam board. It can be cut with a scroll saw, jig­saw, or even a util­ity knife if you don’t have a saw avail­able. I re­peat the process of cut­ting pieces of foam stacked along­side each other to fill the voids of the buck.


Any method of sand­ing can be used here. I use a pneu­matic an­gle grinder with a Roloc sand­ing disk to rough in the shape and then did my fi­nal fin­ish­ing with sand­pa­per on a sand­ing block.

5 I use hot glue from a hot-glue gun to se­cure the foam in place.


Af­ter sev­eral voids have been filled, I start the process of smooth­ing out the sur­face us­ing the ribs of the buck to dic­tate the shape.


I con­tinue to fill the voids in the bot­tom and op­po­site side. Then I sand them smooth as I go along. If you have not al­ready fig­ured it out, you’ll want to cut all of the foam pieces a lit­tle over­size to help min­i­mize the voids in the sur­face.


Once all of the voids are filled and sanded you should have a very good three-di­men­sional vis­ual of what the en­tire body of the tank will look like. Don’t be con­cerned about the sur­face be­ing flaw­less or if there are some voids in the foam. We will still have a good sur­face to lay and pull pat­terns from for the metal shap­ing process.

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