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Old 09-14-2017, 12:32 AM
longyard longyard is offline
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Default Making Aluminum Thicker? Ferrari Claim

A friend of mine attended Pebble Beach and spoke to a representative from Ferrari Classiche, the Ferrari owned restoration/certification department in Maranello.

This man claimed that Ferrari has just trade marked (his term, he didn't say patented) a process where thinned aluminum body panels can be thickened back to their original thickness.

I'm skeptical. Anyone know more about this?
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:47 AM
robtg robtg is offline
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Just a speculation, metal spraying and planishing after.
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:59 AM
Mike Rouse Mike Rouse is offline
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Just a guess: electroplating.

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Old 09-14-2017, 12:53 PM
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It is called "Bondo". I've seen enough of it used by the subvendors that Ferrari Classiche uses to outsource all their "restoration work". I've known / fixed cars that were "restored" by them immediately upon the customer getting it back after typically being over budget and timelines never met -- and being badly done. Nothing more hilarious than having the FC guy at a show talk about the "great restoration work they did" and not knowing there was another thousand hours of cleanup, fixes and more upon what they did...
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Old 09-15-2017, 12:24 PM
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The question that wasn't asked is "Is the alloy the same through out the aluminum once the thickness is increased". I don't see how it could be no matter what they did.
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Old 09-15-2017, 04:04 PM
bobadame bobadame is offline
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Seems to me that thermal spraying might work for this. Using pure aluminum powder and Argon as the propellant onto a clean aluminum substrate seems very possible. I know that when conventional milling aluminum the waste chips easily re-attach themselves back onto the parent metal. This has always puzzled me. My best guess is that the freshly exposed surface and the chips are thrown back together with enough force to get them to stick together on a molecular level because there hasn't been enough time for the aluminum to re-oxidize.
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Old 09-15-2017, 07:35 PM
longyard longyard is offline
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Thank Bob,
I've looked at thermal spraying of aluminum and in actuality it is merely a coating process, it doesn't "thicken" the aluminum any more than painting does. The material does add thickness, but it doesn't "melt" into the base metal. The splattered aluminum pieces do what's called "pancake" onto base metal. This does add any strength and isn't formable once the application cools. Again, it is merely a coating.
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Old 09-15-2017, 07:50 PM
bobadame bobadame is offline
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According to the one article I looked at about this, they claimed that the build up could be as little as .002" and as much as .025". Many years ago, early '80s I used this process to build up a worn crankshaft on a Bliss punch press then turned it down to fit new bronze bearings. The fix was still good when I left in '89.
Given the way that aluminum tries to re-attach itself during milling, I can imagine that the process might work rather well in an inert atmosphere.
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:37 PM
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Aluminum metal spraying has been around a long time. In the early 1960 air frames on air craft was sprayed with aluminum to prevent corrosion on seaplanes that were use in salt water. The planes were fabric covered. The air frames had to be preheated before the aluminum was sprayed. This worked very well but didn't produce a real smooth finish. The cost of spraying the metal frames got too expensive so it wasn't used any more for that purpose.
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Old 09-18-2017, 09:10 AM
StingRay StingRay is offline
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There is also a cold process that uses white metals that are sprayed a high velocity and cold weld together on impact. An ambulance manufacturer here in town played with it for a while to use as filler for seams on aluminum ambulance bodies prior to powder coating the entire body. I actually worked at that company 25 years ago. As I recall 15 years ago that system was over $100K. I know the guy that bought it at auction for pennies on the dollar.
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