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Old 05-08-2009, 08:49 PM
Kerry Pinkerton's Avatar
Kerry Pinkerton Kerry Pinkerton is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Near Huntsville, Alabama. Just south of the Tennessee line off I65
Posts: 7,435
Default The Art Deco Imperial Project - Part 24

Starting in the middle.
For several reasons, I'm shifting future documentation of the roadster to this web site. Ultimately, I'll get a unique URL and link directly to it. But for now, just follow the path on my signature. I'll rewrite the existing saga in this format as I go along but for now, we'll just start from now.
Most of December was spent in bumping and metal finishing the right front fender that we built at MetalMeet 08. One significant lesson learned is that it is really hard to try and metal finish an entire panel made up of welded sub panels. It can be done but I don't think it's the way to go.
In the middle of January some friends came over for a while and we worked on the panels.
The goal was to try and get many of the sub panels built for the door skin and the fender on the left side...all while keeping it symmetrical with the existing left side. Joe Hartson arrived first and we spent a coupled days bumping and filing on the left fender to get it smooth enough to pull a flexible shape pattern. Friday, Bennett Chapman and we had all three of us working on the fender.
Friday afternoon, Barb "Coppretta" Lawrence came out and wanted to work so I quickly pulled a pattern on the right side door skin. While the top part is pretty nasty, the basic door skin is fairly straight forward and pure stretch.

One of the ewheels I have set up is 'short' and it was perfect for Barb. Notice the tape on the edges. When wheeling, the tape will keep you from rolling off the edge. If you're making a pure stretch panel, you don't want to stretch the edges. I'll credit Kent White for that trick.

Tipped the lower edge and did some shrinker work to get the correct profile. Once it fit the flexible shape pattern, it was a very easy push down to the door frame. Kent White (TinMan) talkes about the "two finger rule", that is, if you can push it into arrangement with two fingers, it's good enough.

Decided not to make the top part the way I had originally intended so I shaped and welded a couple small pieces on the top ends. Still have to do some filing and tip the edges but it fits the frame very well.

Meanwhile, Joe and Bennett had finished bumping on the fender and started taping up the flexible shape pattern. Bennett is the one in the chair.

The fender looks really good with tape on it.

One of the smarter things I did was mark the pattern for how I wanted to make the sub panels BEFORE it was pulled from the car.

All the edges were marked on the back side with a sharpie and trimmed back to the panel edge after the pattern was pulled.

The reference marks also came to be something I was glad we did. It really helped when I was lining up the panels for welding.

Everyone chose a panel and had at it. Bennett had to leave the next day so he chose the 3 panels on the outside. The one show here is the side of the fender behind the wheel well opening.

Barb chose the front fender top...a basic bowl shape. Although it was only her second aluminum panel, she got it to 90% in short order.

Joe hung around for several days and made quite half a dozen panels. Barb's "short wheel" worked well sitting if the panel was small enough.

As Joe finished the fender top, I started welding them together and metal finishing the seams. Here is Joe holding 4 of his subpanels. The other two can be seen behind him on the car. One thing we discovered is that small reverses are MUCH easier than large ones. We decided pretty quickly that it was much easier to weld two panels together than shape it in one piece. The panel in Joe's left hand was a real bear. We chased the last 10% of the shape all over the panel. Ultimately I scrapped it and started over and made it with a seam down the middle. We probably had 6 hours in the panel in Joe's hand and I put a couple more in it before I started over. The new panel including the welding and metal finishing only took about 2 hours. I'm still not the best aluminum TIG welder in the world but at least I'm not afraid of it any more.

Bennett even got my Grandson mason got in the act. (He's standing on a milk crate)

Here are some of my Vixen files. The bottom file is a double convex and the one above it is a flat face convex curve. The one to the side is a straight convex. Somehow my bullnose file didn't get in the photo. They all get used....a lot.
Kerry Pinkerton
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