to start fabricating?

PBC_Tacoma_Kid

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Ok well ive decided im really serious about having my truck built but dont want to pay giant sums of money for someone to do it. I want to starting fabricating for myself but not quite sure where to start, I thought about taking some classes at the local JC but the stuff I will learn doesnt seem what I want to know, I have already taken basic welding classes when i was in highschool but thats about it, I have lots of experience with wood working and construction so im good at building stuff. So do I just get tools and mess around or anyone have some suggestions? I know guys like fish just started like that and are getting pretty good at it. If so what do i need? Mig welder, tube bender and some dies, notcher, saw, maybe a oxytorch? im guessing ill need 2000 dollars or less to get started? I hope this post makes sense, How did all of you guys get started that fabricate? Any help is much appreciated,
Thanks
Brandon
 

1992f150

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The main problem will be trying to design the front suspension.

Azusa: shame of the foothills
 

PBC_Tacoma_Kid

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actually i didnt mention i will probably buy a arms built, mostly want to to do rear shocks and bedcage, then eventually full cage, a arms would be too much for me,
 

Kritter

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I think 2k is a good start. I would start with bumpers. I would wait to do cages for a while though. If you do it wrong and you think it's right, it could cost you your life. Practice with cheaper materials until you get good.

Kris
"I was thinking the exact same thing about you..."
 

ntsqd

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Design is the tough part, not that fabricating stuff is always easy. When you go to the races or events, look at how what you're currently working was done on other vehicles. Ask yourself "Why did they do it that way ?" Once in a while there is no reason, most of the time there is. If you can figure it out, or somebody familiar with the vehicle in question will tell you, file that info away. It will help you at some point down the road. Try to learn from other's mistakes, not just your own.

If a local college offers a Construction Management degree, see if you can take their "Strengths of Materials" class. Normally you'll need at least Trig and some physics classes. This is 'the' class that will help with a lot of design questions. They probably have a class in Engineering with the same title and it's nearly the same class, but the math physics requirements are a lot greater. The CM version will tend to be more practical and less theoretical.

TS

"It only seems kinky the first time"
-- Bumpersticker seen in Lost Wages
 

cleartoy

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Ive been around fabrication for awhile now. I didnt get my feet wet till Feb of this year. I went out and bought a MIG for a good price at Air Gas. I got the bender and 2 dies from JD2. I already had a sawzall. I got a grinder and went at it. First just started welding beads in a straight line, getting the power and wirespeed matched. Had to develop a hand speed not to slow(burn holes) or too fast(not enough penetration). Once that was decent, started welding tubes together.

First thing i did was make a front bumper. It was a start, but left alot to be desired. Then i made some shock mounts, and went from there. I found that having the right tool for the job costs money, but can cut down the fab time tremendously. Ive added a 14" Chop saw and Notcher to my arsenal and have since made a total of 5 bumpers, 4 sets of shock mounts, cross over braces ect... Once you have your tools you just pay for materials.

You will make mistakes, but you learn by doing wrong. School is a good thing, but you need some hands on training as well.

I say, get a MIG for starters, a chop saw or sawzall to cut metal, and a grinder to get down to bare metal. Till you can weld, you dont really need a bender, however, if your going with JD2, there is a 4 week back order. Others carry in stock.

94 Toyota stdcab 2x4
99 Yamaha YZ250

Got Sand??
 

Tom_Willis

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And before you do all that go to MDR contingency in Lucerne this Friday, bring a happy-snappy camera, ask lots of questions of everybody there, look at the fab shops who carry parts for your ride. You'll see about 40 race trucks and three times as many prerunners. This is the most cost-efficient way to get advice. And bring ice, too.
 

Bham_Mike

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Doing your own fabrication is very rewarding. However, its not as easy as it looks. Take your time and practice a lot. Don't get in a hurry to build a truck. I've been welding for over 25 years and bending tube for about 12 years (not as a profession). I also work in engineering as a mechanical/piping designer, so I have a decent background as a fabricator. With all this I still have reservations about taking on certain projects. Anybody can lay a decent looking bead with a mig welder, but that doesn't make you a fabricator. Bending tube takes alot of planning and patience. You just can't put tubing in a bender without a plan, start of bend, degree of bend, length of bend, tubing stretch. Knowing your bender, every die will bend differently and different wall thickness tubing will bend differently. Multiple bends are also challenging. Get a degree off and you end up with a piece of scrap.
I still have the first truck I built years ago. I did a straight axle conversion and a motor swap on it and drove it a lot. I look at it now and it scares me to death to drive it. It is ghetto fabulous. Its now a future project and I don't drive it anymore. Be careful, know your limitations and practice.

Mike
 

Kritter

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Maybe you could find a fab shop to volunteer at doing the crap work nobody wants to do and learn tricks hands on from them.

Kris
"I was thinking the exact same thing about you..."
 

ntsqd

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Man, if you can do that you'll learn more there than anywhere else. Especially if you are working bits for your truck as you go along. Nothing makes what you've learned or seen stick better than applying it right then.

TS

"It only seems kinky the first time"
-- Bumpersticker seen in Lost Wages
 
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