Sheetmetal Tips???

atomicjoe23

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Anyone have any good tips for making sheetmetal for buggies from scratch???

I just experienced the pain of making sheetmetal from scratch for the first time over the past 3 days. . .and it sucked!!! I had to cut, trim, re-trim, trash, and start over 3 times before I got 3 panels correct. . .one was a flat firewall, two were side skins with one break in them (no sheetmetal brake, just a jig table, a piece of square tube and some clamps). . .and the next and final two pieces have a 4.5" radius in them to match the roll cage/chassis. . .not gonna be fun from what I have just experienced. . .we're hoping that we will have access to a sheetmetal shop to do them because they have a slip roll, but that's not guaranteed. . .

. . .so those of you with sheetmetal experience please share some tips and experience!!!

Thanks!!!
 

ZTFab

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If you don't use CAD, patterns are your friend when it comes to sheet metal.

Make each piece out pf poster-board before you cut any metal.
 

atomicjoe23

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I did use CAD for the original design. . .and I did use patterns, but I didn't have poster board so I used plotter paper so. . .the pieces came out a little on the large size (which is better than small). . .it was my fine tuning that ended up making things to small. . .

. . .I had a nibbler and a shear and that's it. . .the shear ended up being better than the nibbler. . .made the lines straighter. . .I guess it will just take a lot of practice. . .
 

Mike @ pit b

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Being a sheet metal worker (construction, not cars) if it's one thing I know and have learned the hard way, you can always make it smaller, you can't make it bigger.

ZTZab has it right. Just cut out templates and allow just a little bit extra for curves.
 

RL Detroit

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Anyone have any good tips for making sheetmetal for buggies from scratch???

I just experienced the pain of making sheetmetal from scratch for the first time over the past 3 days. . .and it sucked!!! I had to cut, trim, re-trim, trash, and start over 3 times before I got 3 panels correct. . .one was a flat firewall, two were side skins with one break in them (no sheetmetal brake, just a jig table, a piece of square tube and some clamps). . .and the next and final two pieces have a 4.5" radius in them to match the roll cage/chassis. . .not gonna be fun from what I have just experienced. . .we're hoping that we will have access to a sheetmetal shop to do them because they have a slip roll, but that's not guaranteed. . .

. . .so those of you with sheetmetal experience please share some tips and experience!!!

Thanks!!!
Being that have just completed my buggy body less the hood and this is the first time for me also I can feel your pain - best plan is keep it simple and take your time. One panel a day is not bad

Good luck
 

Chase 2

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Poster board patterns.
 

atomicjoe23

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I used posterboard and that template came out way better than the plotter patterns did. . .ultimately what worked the best (but wasted sheetmetal) was to cut the sheetmetal out using the poster board patterns and then I would have to fine tune the sheetmetal. . .then I would re-cut out a fresh piece of sheetmetal so that it would be nice and clean. . .

. . .not the most time or cost effective way to do things. . .I have 4 out of the 6 pieces of sheetmetal now completed. . .the other two have to get done tonight because they have to go to paint tomorrow and we have to leave for the race on Thursday morning. . .and the sheetmetal is required for the race (although the paint is not!)

Next buggy I think that I will use Dzu's fasteners with the backing plates riveted directly to the tubing instead of making tabs/gussets and welding them into the corners of the chassis and then trying to drill holes in the sheetmetal that will line up with tabs/gussets. . .wasn't very much fun!!! I was using well nuts (rubber expansion nuts) in the tabs and they work pretty good, but I thought that they would allow for more misalignment between the sheetmetal hole and the tab hole. . .and they don't allow very much really. . .

oh well live and learn!!!
 

randy s

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Being a sheet metal worker (construction, not cars) if it's one thing I know and have learned the hard way, you can always make it smaller, you can't make it bigger.

ZTZab has it right. Just cut out templates and allow just a little bit extra for curves.
when you're long, you're never wrong.
 

movindirt

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If someone ever invents a saw to cut things longer they will make Bill Gates look like a poor man!

Lets see some pics of the finished product (@ the race is cool) and good luck at the race, don't f up the sheet metal! :D
 

RojoOjoRacin

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I did use CAD for the original design. . .and I did use patterns, but I didn't have poster board so I used plotter paper so. . .the pieces came out a little on the large size (which is better than small). . .it was my fine tuning that ended up making things to small. . .

. . .I had a nibbler and a shear and that's it. . .the shear ended up being better than the nibbler. . .made the lines straighter. . .I guess it will just take a lot of practice. . .
Depending on how thick the material is, It also helps to have some red & green offset snips.
 

Wild bill

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Start out with the smallest panel located in the least visiable place. Your first few will look like crap so they will be located where only you will see them.
 

truck poor

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I haven't done alot of sheet metal projects but i've been making my templates out of rolled roofing flashing. It cuts easy with snips, it's pliable and you have a pattern/ template that will last awhile.
 

atomicjoe23

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If someone ever invents a saw to cut things longer they will make Bill Gates look like a poor man!

Lets see some pics of the finished product (@ the race is cool) and good luck at the race, don't f up the sheet metal! :D

I'll post pic's tonight. . .just got back from the race last night (remember this is a collegiate mini-Baja. . .so it isn't a full size rig). . .we did really well for a first year team. . .we passed tech, were able to race, and we didn't break anything that we built. . .we did smoke the clutch going up a hill in the last 15 minutes of the 4 hr. endurance event though. . .
 

clogking

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A quick note on existing Dzus tabs. I took a dzus put a spot weld on the end, chucked it up in the lathe and machined it to a point. Then just put it in the tab and tap lightly with a hammer and bingo centered punched.
 

ZTFab

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A quick note on existing Dzus tabs. I took a dzus put a spot weld on the end, chucked it up in the lathe and machined it to a point. Then just put it in the tab and tap lightly with a hammer and bingo centered punched.

S&S engineering has been making those for years. They work great and they sell them for $3.50
 

90ranger2wd

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what material aluminum are you using? 5052 or 3003h14? thickness?? .050 or .063?? the 3003h14 is a lot softer material and is easy for forming but it seems maybe too soft? correct me if im wrong, just what ive heard
 

atomicjoe23

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I'm not sure what alloy the aluminum is. . .I can double check (it will be a while. . .the shop is closed for a vacation period) on the alloy, but it's 0.065"

Thanks for the tips guys!
 

DBMETALWORX

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s&s engineering has been making those for years. They work great and they sell them for $3.50
kartek sells them. Make sure you get several, so you can do a whole side @ once. Great timesaver..
 

DBMETALWORX

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what material aluminum are you using? 5052 or 3003h14? Thickness?? .050 or .063?? The 3003h14 is a lot softer material and is easy for forming but it seems maybe too soft? Correct me if im wrong, just what ive heard
i like the 3003 h14 .063" myself. It forms and welds really well. Though the 5052 is a little cheaper, only 10 bucks or so, depending on vendor. Also the h-14 anneals easily if you work a peice too much.
 
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