BODY­WORK TECH

Watch and learn as Chad Atkin­son teaches us how to shave

Street Machine - - Contents -

THERE’S some­thing pretty ful­fill­ing about be­ing able to work on your own ve­hi­cle. None of us aspire to poor-qual­ity work though, and un­for­tu­nately when it comes to the body side of things, it can be fairly easy to get flus­tered and just give up, or worse still, do the old bog ’n’ flog.

This is the first in a series of tech fea­tures in which we’ll delve into some of the more tech­ni­cal as­pects of met­al­work, from rust re­pair to cus­tomi­sa­tion. This is not nec­es­sar­ily a ‘how to’, but rather an in­sight into the world of au­to­mo­tive met­al­work­ing. As the say­ing goes, there’s a hun­dred ways to skin a cat, and it’s much the same with metal. While the ba­sic prin­ci­ples of work­ing with metal will al­ways re­main the same, the tech­nol­ogy side of things is ev­er­chang­ing.

So now the for­mal­i­ties are out of the way, it’s time we turn your at­ten­tion to the job at hand – shav­ing a C-pil­lar vent on a 1976 XC Fal­con 500.

STEP 01

This car is get­ting a gen­eral tidy-up and stay­ing rel­a­tively stock, but a few ex­tras will be smoothed out, such as the plas­tic vents on the rear­most sec­tion of the C-pil­lar

STEP 02

Once the plas­tic vent is re­moved we can re­ally get a de­cent look at what we are up against

STEP 03

The up­per­most sec­tion to be filled runs slightly into the fac­tory lead join. This is eas­ily melted away with ei­ther an oxy torch or a sim­ple hand­held bu­tane torch. A wire brush will also be of as­sis­tance

STEP 04

Both sec­tions to be smoothed have hard cor­ners. The idea here is to elim­i­nate the ‘stop-start’ of a cor­ner by cut­ting a curve into the metal with an air hack­saw (a die grinder will also suf­fice). This will help stop the metal from pulling and warp­ing too much dur­ing the weld­ing process. In­stead of cut­ting away the cen­tre sec­tion to make one big patch, it is left to help hold things in place

STEP 05

Clean­li­ness is ev­ery­thing. It may seem ob­vi­ous, but get­ting rid of ev­ery­thing from paint to metal fil­ings is a must for max­i­mum pen­e­tra­tion. Clean­ing both sides of both the hole and the patch will greatly de­crease the chance of por­ous welds if you are us­ing a TIG

STEP 06

Match­ing the thick­ness of the car’s ex­ist­ing sheet metal, a piece of 1mm sheet is placed be­hind the open­ing and marked out with a scribe to get a nice, tight fit. It’s im­por­tant to note that if you are us­ing a MIG to do some­thing sim­i­lar to this, leav­ing a 1mm gap around your patch will al­low for ‘weld creep’ and give you a much bet­ter re­sult. How­ever, if you are us­ing a TIG or oxy to weld, get­ting that patch nice and snug in the hole will yield the best re­sults

STEP 07

Time spent on get­ting the patch to fit prop­erly will def­i­nitely save you headaches down the track. A nice sharp set of tin­snips, as well as ham­mer­ing the edges of the patch back into shape be­fore fit­ment, will see to that. Once you’re good to go, there are many ways to hold your piece into po­si­tion. I sim­ply tacked two pieces of scrap across the top so when placed onto the ve­hi­cle the patch sits flush and matches the car’s ex­ist­ing pro­file

STEP 08

Once ev­ery­thing is tacked into place, it’s good to re­move the two pieces of scrap and give the patch a bit of ham­mer-and-dolly ac­tion. This helps to get things sit­ting were they should be, as they tend to move around when heat is ap­plied

STEP 09

Small TIG welds ap­prox­i­mately 1in in length can be used to stitch the metal to­gether. This can be done by fuse weld­ing if the patch is an ex­cel­lent fit. In this case, 0.6mm MIG wire was used as fill to elim­i­nate any un­der­cut welds. While it may not look pretty now, you don’t want to hang around try­ing to make the 1mm mild steel look at­trac­tive at this stage. The key is to move from one side to the other to keep the heat down. If you are us­ing a MIG, it’s the usual process of tack­ing, mov­ing and cool­ing. Cool­ing is best done with an air­gun and com­pressed air

STEP 10

Once fully welded, the TIG welds are eas­ily knocked down with an air sander (36-grit, then 80-grit), be­ing care­ful to keep the heat down. Un­doubt­edly the best part of hav­ing Tig­welded a piece like this is that it will re­main fairly mal­leable and can still be worked with a ham­mer and dolly to ‘re­lieve’ the metal, bring­ing ev­ery­thing back into place where it needs to be. At this stage, the lit­tle sec­tion be­tween the two open­ings is cut away and the same process is re­peated on the hole above

STEP 11

Now if you want to get real fancy and de­sire a fin­ish that is more pleas­ing to the eye, the en­tire area can be worked with ham­mer/dolly and metal file, even­tu­ally work­ing up to finer-grit sand­pa­per. This can take hours, but the re­sults speak for them­selves. This process can eas­ily be repli­cated for any hole that needs to be filled

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