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Old 07-30-2004, 12:21 AM
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Best Body Panel Cutting Tool

I am looking for ideas on what is the best cutting tool to cut out quarter panels with. I have several air tools for cutting, but I am looking for something that will cut a straight line quickly and neatly. I have read that a skillsaw with a masonary blade works well????? Ideas or comments please.

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Old 07-30-2004, 04:33 AM
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An air nibbler would work well...
A die grinder (air or electric) with a cutoff wheel would work well...
An air chisel would work well...
A plasma cutter would work well...
There are a number of options that all work well so take your pick...
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Old 07-30-2004, 08:09 AM
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I do this stuff everyday and I'll tell you I use many tools for the job depending on a few factors. I may use all of them on the same job even.

Die grinder with a cut off wheel (the thinest one, 1/32") is my tool for the job 80% of the time. However, I don't make real long cuts with it, usually less than a foot. If you run a piece of masking tape along the line and hold the tool steady you can get a pretty controled cut. Never try to just set the blade thru the metal and go, run it back and forth on the line thinning the metal, then let it fall thru and cut. The disc will last a LOT longer and you won't create as much heat.

I use an air saw with a "jig saw" sort of blade in it as well. This little tool works well on the longer cuts.

I use an air chisel sometimes on a long cut as well, but usually just to cut the panel off and get it out of the way and then use more civilized tools to get the rest off.

After die grinder or saw on a long cut I would use tin snips to (right or left hand cut allow for a nice straight line) to fine tune the cut to perfection.
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Old 07-30-2004, 11:16 AM
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Thanks for the ideas so far. I have all of those tools and I am very profcient with them as I have worked in metal finishing for over 18 years. The body saw ( air jig saw type) is probably the best I have found for a long cut. When possible, I take a straight edge and clamp it to the piece, and allow for the offset from the angled foot and ride the foot along the straight edge. This dies make a nice cut, but the flex in the blade will still tends to wander from time to time. I am looking for a method that yields a tighter (if possible) joint. It would be nice to get away from the fine tuning as much as possible. As usual, I am probably being to anal, but thought maybe someone out there may have a better method.
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Old 07-30-2004, 06:24 PM
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I'll tell you Ron, taking to pair of tin snips and trimming the edge after cutting it with a saw or die grinder is the fastest way to get it perfect, I think.

Use the new panel as a template and run a nice sharp awl down the line. After roughing the cut, you can make a perfect line with the tin snips. If it isn't perfect, running a vexon file on the top of the edge will surely produce perfection. I weld seams like this with my jewlers torch with next to no filler rod. If any is needed I use .023 mig wire. You just can't get any more perfect a seam, and I just don't see how you could get it any faster.
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Old 07-30-2004, 10:54 PM
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Wow Martin, Jewelers torch! Interesting idea. I never thought of that, I have a micro torch tip. I wonder if that would be better than my 110 MIG for less distorion? Hmmm, maybe time for some experimentation on some scrap?
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Old 07-30-2004, 11:58 PM
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I am not sure your "micro tip" is as small as we are talking about. The Jewelers torch that I have is so small that you can solder on a circuit board with it! You can't even light it with a striker, it needs an open flame.

I weld with the largest tip that came with it. It is available from Eastwood click here for $179.00 but I bought mine from Sunchaser tools Click here for only $100.00, and it is the exact same brand.

I call it "The poor mans tig".
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Old 08-04-2004, 03:51 PM
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Ron,
I saw an article about doing this, so take this for what it's worth....

First they cut all they could out that would be replaced by the new quarter with an air chisel or comparibly quik to use tool.

Second, they locate the new quarter on the car precisely where they want it & used Cleko (sp?) pins to temporarily hold the new quarter panel in it's respective location. (note: prior rough cut should over lap the new quater, or should that be underlap? - anyway the new goes over the old, with me?)

Third, they take their tape & mark off the cut that would allow them to cut through both the new & old quarter @ the same time.
This cut (was shown using a cutoff wheel- 1/32 thk) doesn't necessarily need to be prefectly straight because the cut is made in both pcs @ the same time & once the final cut is made the new qtr can be removed along w/ a small section of the old.

Lastly, the new quater should line back up with the new cut in the body & can be tacked in - "should " being the key word here.

Hope that helps some.
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Old 08-04-2004, 10:00 PM
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Hey Ron......
Do you actually own the Buick in your Bio pix?
I have a 51' Special, just curious.
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Old 08-09-2004, 09:44 PM
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cutting a pannel?

the other night I was up late and saw another one of those infomercials on TV it was on a cutting tool worth looking into,it didnt need a start hole and could cut from the center of materal and cut like a hot knife thru butter.Iam not a body man,but the the thought interests me.it was called the roto zip. any one herd of this or used one?just an idea from a wrench..later Jake
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Old 08-10-2004, 11:23 AM
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speaking of poor man's tigs...

I recently picked up a smith AW-1 torch with AW200 tip. This is what "Master Wray" used back in his gas welding days. The MECO torch sold by tinman is also quite popular but looks awkward to hold.
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Old 08-11-2004, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by MARTINSR
I am not sure your "micro tip" is as small as we are talking about. The Jewelers torch that I have is so small that you can solder on a circuit board with it! You can't even light it with a striker, it needs an open flame.

I weld with the largest tip that came with it. It is available from Eastwood click here for $179.00 but I bought mine from Sunchaser tools Click here for only $100.00, and it is the exact same brand.

I call it "The poor mans tig".
Very interesting concept Brian!! Just wondering if you can run a continuous bead w/o much warpage or still have to jump around & stitch??
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Old 08-11-2004, 11:23 PM
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You need some tacking and short beads as with any welding the metal, no matter how good you get it, wants to move a little.

But it GREATLY reduces the heat involved.
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Old 08-12-2004, 01:32 AM
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to cut a good distance and keep the hole straight i use an angle grinder with a zipcut disk, works well and since the blade is longer than a cut off tool's blade (about 2 times the diameter) it's easier to keep it straight once you've started in the right direction
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Old 08-12-2004, 03:42 AM
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The problem with cutting thru both panels at once is that you guarantee you will have a gap at least as wide as the thickness of the cutting wheel. You might be able to angle the wheel to compensate but then you would be welding a razor thin edge on one of the pieces.
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