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Old 08-08-2009, 02:46 PM
Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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"Basics of Basics" Metal finishing small dents.

“Basics of Basics” Metal finish small dents.
By Brian Martin

I have a couple of other “Basics” on metal finishing but never added photos (Pre digital camera). http://www.camaros.net/forums/showthread.php?t=58014 I am the one elected to fix all the little dings in new and used parts at work because I do it without filler and the paint shop doesn’t need to prime and block it.
Besides, it is great practice for “PDR” (Paintless Dent Repair) because the you have full access to the back side. You also can “give it a whirl” and if you mess up you finish it up in polyester putty or something, no big deal.

The other day I had this used fender with a few dings and thought I would capture it in photos and make a little “Basics”.

Here’s what I started with, a few little dings in this used fender.

Here is the magic tool that I was taught to use for pushing up a dent for metal finishing many years ago. A simple “Awl” is all it is.

It isn’t for big dents but for little imperfections it works great because you can localize the forces requiring very little pressure to push out the metal. It also is perfect because you can put these forces on a tiny spot without effecting the surrounding metal.

You lean down looking across the top of the dent in the nice clean shiny paint and push up a little at a time from the under side until you have the whole thing up. It doesn’t have to look perfect, you will be cutting it flat. With this little awl you can push up on an area and see EXACTLY where you are, don’t pull the tool away from the metal. Just push up from the underside with a enough pressure to see where that point is pushing as you look across the top of the dent in the paint. DON’T pull the tip away from the metal, with your fingers touching the metal and guiding the tip of the awl you can slide it over a little in whatever direction you need and push up a little there while you are watching on the top. If you are a little off, just move it to where you need to be and do it again. If you push it up too high, you can tap it down with a body hammer and something like a golf tee, that is what I use personally, a wooden golf tee. They also have plastic “punches” designed for PDR work. But I find the wooden golf tee to work like a champ. The whole point is, with the golf tee and with the awl you can target JUST what you want to push up or down and you aren’t moving metal you don’t want to.

I will put the awl between my thumb and index finger with my palm on the metal and then push the handle of the awl with my other hand. That seems to work the best so I don’t move the tip on the metal until I want to, and only WHERE I want to.

This is the big trick with this work, you have the point of the awl to push up some tiny little flaw, and you can move the tip sort of like righting a letter I on a paper with a pen, you don’t lift the pen up, you just push it across the paper forming the I. You do the same thing with the awl, slide it across the metal a little and push up again where you want to. This is exactly what the PDR guys do, you are watching from the outside to see EXACTLY where you are pushing up from the underside, you are in complete control at all times. You can’t screw up, you can’t over do it, you are in complete control at all times.

After pushing the dent up I cut it flat with an unusual tool for this, a “DA”. I use the good old workhorse a National Detroit DAQ. It has a lock on it that will turn it from an orbital sander into a “grinder’ with the pad simply spinning and not orbiting.

If you use only a small portion of the disc it is just like “filing” or “blocking” that area. It isn’t spinning around in a circle if you only use one small area right?

Just like any other blocking where you look for high or low spots with guide coat or simply shiny spots or sand thrus you do the same thing here. You lightly hit the paint holding the DA’s pad flat to the surface.

After a good inspection, hit it again.

and again..

and again..

Until it is done..

This dent required no filler, no blocking primer. Just feather it out, a coat of primer and sand and paint.

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Old 08-08-2009, 08:25 PM
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Thanx! Have you ever tried the liquid nitrogen trick to take out dents in a painted panel you don't want to repaint? I'v seen the You Tube demonstrations but can't believe 99.9999% of what is on the web. Can't figure out where that guy got the spray can of LN either!
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:07 PM
Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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The the dry ice myth (click here) it is just that, a myth. Other than it is simply cooling the metal and if you heated and cooled it with water it would react the same way.

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