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Old 08-02-2005, 05:35 PM
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ambititous project?

Alright, i'm in college but i want to get started on building my roadster, i have a bunch of time and not alot of money. I got a garage and a tig and a bunch of tools.

like 6-10k for a steel roadster body is way to much so i want to make my own. I plan on becoming very good with an english wheel and other metal shpaing tools. Can it be done? I want to find another roadster and take many many measurements and just start making it. Of course i'll make an inner steel cage but this can be done right?

I gotta start building this thing now so what do you guys think?

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Old 08-02-2005, 05:50 PM
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Well becoming very good with an english wheel is a awesome ambition but in my humble opinion starting on a roaster body is an overly optimistic goal.

Not that you cant do it, but I would think you will not save much money if any by time its all said and done.

Huge undertaking.

Rich
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Old 08-02-2005, 05:53 PM
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Sure you can but with a project that big you will need some instruction and training and even help.

Some time I think in Oct, Randy is having a metal meet in Ill again.
You will want to attend as its hands on and you will meet some of the best fabricators.

rodbuilderandco@frsb.net (Randy's email)

http://www.metalmeet.com
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Old 08-02-2005, 05:54 PM
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See cboy's project journal. He did a great job on a budget.
Scott
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Old 08-02-2005, 06:15 PM
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Yup---You sure can

yes you can build a nice car body with simple tools..Ferrari's were built with a hand hammer and a stump..

I am rolling my own so to speak and there is no teacher like experience..just get out to the garage and start beating metal and learning from your mistakes..You will soon learn about using a sandbag and stump..making slappers from old leaf springs..making your own dollies..

Making some small "things" is good practice for when you get going on the body..

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Old 08-02-2005, 07:25 PM
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Master metalmen like Marcel De ley had to start somewhere. I say get out some sheetmetal and start pounding it around. I personally have never done a project as big as you are considering undertaking, but have made plenty of patch panels. Not like you come across an english wheel in your average bodyshop. But would think if you started small and started making parts for experience, as well as classes you can do anything that you put your mind to as long as you have the finances and patience to see it through. You can make some peices by good old handforming and carefully welding them together to make a part. In the future someone who knows how to work metal is going to be a rare find. Bodyshops pretty much just replace parts now, so the only place any serious metal work is going to be going on is the custom hot rod and coachbuilders.
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Old 08-02-2005, 08:49 PM
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If your ultimate goal is to get a car built on a minimum budget rather than to master the metalworking skills required, would you consider building a fiberglass body? If you have access to an original body and are permitted to laminate a female mold off of it, you can then laminate your parts inside the female mold. Not a small undertaking, but in my view less challenging than making a body from steel. This is the route that I decided to take about a year and a half ago, and I think I would be less far along than I am right now if I'd tried to do it from steel. But, to each his own. If you're interested in this approach, let me know and I'll point you in the direction of some resources for more information.
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Old 08-03-2005, 07:15 AM
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As Swoodard23 mentioned you can see a step by step fabrication of a roadster body beginning here: http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...age=5&reverse=

Note that when you first access the journal the pages will be in reverse, so the body fabrication portion of the build goes from page 31 to page 13, if you want to see it in chronological order. (It's also entry numbers 57-147).

To my way of thinking there are two basic approaches to fabrication of a body. You can do it the way pros like Randy F. do it, forming large panels using helve hammers, English wheels, beater bags, and planishing hammers OR you can break your work up into many many small pieces, forming each piece with common hammer and dolly techniques and then welding all the smaller pieces together. As you will see if you visit my journal, I chose the second approach. I simply couldn't afford the tools and/or the time to learn the large panel forming techniques. So I did all the curves and bends using the cut and weld concept. If you can afford or have access to all the metal shaping equipment and you have the time to master the learning curve for shaping large body panels, this is the more "professional" approach. If you are a shade tree builder without a lot of funds or metal working skills, then "cut and weld" might be your answer.

BTW, here is a shot of what you can do using "cut and weld".



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Old 08-03-2005, 08:14 AM
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I agree with the other guys, if you have the drive to master the metal shapping skills that would be required to make a body, than by all means do it. And yes it can be done, there are guys, many of them who could do it, they had to start somewhere.

However, what you are saying is you would like to be the starting pitcher in a world series game. Sooooo you will practice until you are good enough and then just go play in that one game. Learning the skills to build a body like that would be a journey, it wouldn't be an "event".

If all you want is to get a cheap roadster body, start looking at alternete makes. Heck, I have a guy with a whole yard of Dodge roadster bodys across the street from me. These are solid bodys, and they are worth a fraction of a Ford body of the same vintage. I would look into that if I were to build a car today.

Brian
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Old 08-03-2005, 10:18 AM
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I rarely disagree with MARTINSR since he has a wealth of experience along these lines, but I would hate to discourage shabadobang or leave the impression all coach building is beyond the reach of the average guy with little or no metal working skill. Or that it is going to take him years to master the craft. The fact is, I am living proof that a person with virtually no metal working experience and very modest mechanical ability, can create a passable, fun, and functional roadster body - in 8 months time. Granted, the results are not going to win the Riddler Award - or even the local cruise-in night at Culvers. But I'm convinced a shade tree builder can create a fun, eye catching facsimile of an early 30's roadster with just a few simple tools and a lot of motivation. It all depends on your basic approach to the project. Whether you want to master "large panel" techniques like the the pros or whether you are willing to settle for the "cut and weld" piecemeal techniques of the amateurs.

Brian is correct that a "non-Ford" body might be a good logical alternative...assuming one can be found at a reasonable price. But keep in mind that even good bodies often require a near total rebuild to get them up to today's standards and make them truly solid and road worth. Most of the stuff I see at local swap meets and car corrals would require MUCH more work to reconstruct than it would take to build a body from scratch. Either way, lots of new metal working skills will need to be learned.

And the same is true for fiberglass bodies, whether they are home built or bought over the counter. We have had a number of discussions in other threads and I think the general consensus is that fiberglass and metal BOTH require many new skills and roughly the equivalent number of hours to do correctly.

Bottom line, I just want to give shabadobang as much encouragement as possible. The whole concept of the "rat on a shoestring" project was to build an interesting looking and fun rod on a student's budget and I think this thread is the perfect example of the kind of encouragement younger people need if they are to stay involved in the sport. I am convinced it can be done and I think our job is to share as much of our experience as possible to make affordable rod building a reality.

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Old 08-03-2005, 10:56 AM
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I have actually tried building a 34 ford body. I was planning on building it out of fiberglass. I started it when I first got laid off from a job in 2001. I started building it with plywood and foam, and it was starting to look like something, but abondoned the project because it was taking too much time and I had other projects to do, and didn't want to spend any more money doing it. If I did it again, I would go into the project with a good game plan. If you aren't concerned with all the dimensions being totally accurate, you can use a plastic model to get the shapes to build a buck weather you are going to make the body out of fiberglass or metal, or download a free 3d design program from called rhino 3.0. This is a fun program to play with, but I still don't know what all the stuff does. I actually did a pretty good model of a older cavalier I had on this program, took me a couple days work not knowing exactly what everything did. Unfortunately I lost the file for that model when windows went out on my computer so save your work to hard disk when you get a model finished. You only get 25 saves with the free program unless you buy it, so save wisely. Here is the basic form of a '69 gto I started on the program. I know it needs a lot of work and I will never be designing cars in 3d for games, but you get the idea.

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Old 08-03-2005, 12:12 PM
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Dewey,

I think thats an amazing project. As a matter of fact, I sent your link to one of my out of control friends. We both do "stupid things" and are proud of it. I was impressed by your project.

I would not want to discourage him either but in the last 25 years I have started and abandoned as many projects as I have completed. Each one of these projects cost me huge amounts of money because I do everything right. No cheap tools or materials.

So when I saw sha_ba_do_bang's post about not wanting to spend x amount of money and being in college, I knew from my past experience this might not be the best choice and as both MARTINSR and I said, it can be done. What MARTINSR said better and hit home with me was its more like a journey and not an "event".

Once again cboy you are the man! and a minority when it comes to pulling something like that off.

I think this turned into an odds/reality thread more than anything. I have no doubt that there is little I can build. I just know after 20+ years that I might learn more then I get done

Rich

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Old 08-03-2005, 05:56 PM
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I have to add my congratulations to you also, cboy. I think all of us who frequent this board have to admire your ingenuity, tenacity, and problem-solving skills. Well done!
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Old 08-03-2005, 07:25 PM
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Dewey,
We aren't that far off here I agree...... "If you have the drive to master the metal shapping skills that would be required to make a body, than by all means do it. And yes it can be done, there are guys, many of them who could do it, they had to start somewhere."

Honestly, making the panels is only part of it. I have made the complete body structure for a 20's GM roadster body. As you may know these bodies were COMPLETELY wood supported. The body panels were literally a sheet metal skin with a little 1/2" or so lip where it was nailed to the wood. The hinges, latches, dash, etc. are mounted to wood. The floor was completely wood! So though I have never made a complete body from scratch I have done the structure in one. When I think about making a body, the stucture and how to keep it all in place as the skins are made pops into my head. I have seen these type of projects in the works, it would be very overwheming to even the most ambitious home hobbiest.

I don't like to discourage anyone from raising the bar, but I do like to be realistic. If after reading all this and hopfully much more on the subject if sha_ba_do_bang goes for it he will be much more ready for the task at hand. If not, he sounds ready for at the very least to start playing with fabbing and he will make his body on the next project.


Brian
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Old 08-03-2005, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryK
Sure you can but with a project that big you will need some instruction and training and even help.

Some time I think in Oct, Randy is having a metal meet in Ill again.
You will want to attend as its hands on and you will meet some of the best fabricators.

rodbuilderandco@frsb.net (Randy's email)

http://www.metalmeet.com

sha_ba_do_bang

The International MetalMeet will be held this year in Oblong, IL October 18 - 25. You should attend if you want to learn metalshaping. Probably no better educational value anywhere.

Randy's e-mail is down for a bit as he thinks he picked up a virus and he hasn't had time to fix it. Too busy finishing a clear coated steel '40 Willys he is taking to NSRA Nationals. A tremendous example of his skill in shaping metal.
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