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Old 12-23-2004, 01:02 AM
Randy Ferguson's Avatar
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metalshaping and panel replacement '40 Willys roof

Someone said something about free metalshaping lessons a few weeks ago.............Better late than never, huh!!!



I hope to write several tutorials on the rebuild of this '40 Willys coupe.
I was contacted by the owner to build this one, after another gentleman had started on it, deciding it was more than he was willing or able to handle.
In speaking with him, he convinced me that there is a need for '37-'42 Willys replacement panels, so he has agreed to give me extra time for the build to allow me the needed time to build patterns, bucks and forms for offering a complete line of replacement panels for these coupes.
In this tutorial, we'll be dealing with the issues of replacing obsolete sheetmetal in an area with lots of detail.
The original roof sustained a hard hit sometime in it's past and was previously 'repaired' with about a 3/4" thickness of lead.
This area is impossible to get to from the backside, so repairing it is a near impossibility.
The heat of all the previous work and tons of hammering from the inside of the roof panel with a pick hammer had eliminated any chance of saving this one. The metal was ground so thin that it literally had holes ground through it in several spots where the pick hammer had been used. If you look closely in the photo, you can see a couple of the holes and also notice the thickness of the lead. I melted a section of it out so it would be apparent how thick it is. There is supposed to be a reverse curve in this area, but due to the severity of the damage, it was just filled completely with lead.




The damage runs from about two inches below the top of the windshield, across the entire top of the door and down to the beltline, including most of the sail panel, which is where the holes are left from heavy grinding.



In order to make a new panel for this section, I had to rely on the information from the right side of the roof to provide usable patterns for the damaged left side. In order to gather this information, a flexible shape pattern was made, comprised of sign makers transfer tape and reinforced strapping/shipping tape.



This is the best method available for copying existing shapes, as all pertinent information is captured, and it can be used as a road map to guide in the shaping of the new panel.
In addition to the shape pattern, I also indexed it, and made corresponding contour gages to make sure the final arrangement is correct. These will not be used until the flexible shape pattern fits tightly to the new panel, insuring that the proper amount of stretch and shrink has been introduced properly. If the shape patterns has areas that fit either tight or loose, this tells us that there are areas that still need to be stretched or shrunk. Properly indexing the shape pattern will insure that it's placed on the panel in the exact same location each time it's checked for fit. Areas in the shape pattern that are fitting loose, tells us that the metal needs to be stretched to fill this void, whereas areas that are tight, is an indication that there is to much material present in that particular area and it either needs to be shrunk, or the area around it is needing stretched. It's always best to slowly bring up the low spots (loose areas in the pattern) rather than resorting to shrinking high spots. This a slow, meticulous process, but the results are amazing!
Once the flexible shape pattern is fitting the panel, the contour gages are used to make sure it is in the proper arrangement (form)
Without a buck to clamp the panel to, this is all we have to go by to get the final arrangement correct. It will take some manipulation by hand to get this final arrangement, but the panel will want to go, simply because the proper amounts of stretch and shrink has been placed in the proper areas.
This part of sheet metal shaping take some experience to understand, but once it's learned, it makes duplicating panels much easier than any other method, short of building a buck.
I'll add photos of the contour gages later, as I failed to get a picture of them.

I made the decision to make this panel in two pieces. I split it in an area that requires the least amount of shaping. This not only makes it easier and faster to shape, but also maintains maximum thickness of the material, which in this case is 19ga. cold rolled steel.

Here, the panels are shaped and ready to be welded.



And here is a shot after welding and planishing the weld seam.




It's obvious that the edges need trimmed and the flanges tipped, but the initial shape is there and now we can focus on tipping the edges to form the flanges for the door jamb and windshield opening.
Creating the joggle to conform to the top edge of the door is a painstaking process, but one that has to be done, so you just have to be very patient and get it right in order to look good.

Here a few shots of the new roof section ready to be welded in.









I'll be installing this panel next week, and will add more then.

Randy Ferguson
Ferguson Coachbuilding
Robinson, IL
(618) 544-2972
rodbuilderandco@frsb.net
www.metalmeet.com

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Old 12-23-2004, 07:31 AM
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Beautiful work Randy!

John
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Old 12-23-2004, 09:58 AM
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Randy,I must say, that is some of the best metal work Iv ever seen!Please post more!
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:04 AM
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Trying to put the body-filler companies out of business?

Need to put step by step on CD an sell-em!
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Old 12-23-2004, 11:18 AM
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body filler?????
What's that???!!!!???

Thanks guys.

Randy
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Old 12-30-2004, 02:55 PM
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websters dictionary....craftsman

Absolutely never ceases to amaze me just what you can pull off!
Randy the handmade aluminum fender was a masterpiece, but this time your pulling off miracles!
Really refreshing to see what somebody can do with the right frame of mind and talent....
Heck go for it then you can become the panel king!!
Good luck with the replacement panel biz I am sure that you will shine!
Happy new year to ya!
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Old 12-30-2004, 03:27 PM
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I'm just speechless! And what a great subject to be massaging!
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Old 12-30-2004, 05:32 PM
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Randy,

Is there any way you can put this in your project journal? Should also put the thread on the aluminum fender in there too.

Guys,

As you can see Randy is incredibly talented and he is about the nicest fellow you could ever meet. No real fancy tools there just a tremendous amount of skill and dedication. If you need metal work done the right way you won't go wrong with Randy.
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Old 12-30-2004, 05:47 PM
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Hi guys,
Thanks a million for the kind words.

Mr. advanced design is too modest to tell you folks that he's been over the past couple days helping me install this panel. It's a bit more than one guy can really handle without some help. The extra set of hands is a huge help.

The new panel is installed and almost metalfinished. If all goes well, I'll be finishing it up tomorrow, then I'll post the next series of the tutorial.

Sleeve396, no miracles here!! But thanks for saying so.

A.D., I'll try getting my scrap (book) moved to the Journal.

Randy
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Old 01-08-2005, 10:39 AM
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Hi Folks,

Here's part two, with the new panel installed.

The inner structure was shoved in about 3/4"-1" along the top of the door opening. Getting that straight was also a challenge!! advanced design, a fellow member here, got to help with that.

To aid in getting the panel in the right spot. The centerline of the roof was marked and careful measurements taken from the center line to the edge of the shape pattern. The shape pattern was then flipped and the measurements duplicated on the opposite side.




Here's a couple shots of the section cut out, just prior to trimming for final fit.





I installed this panel with a combination of MIG and TIG welding, but was in too much of a hurry to get it done to take pics of the process. That's all been covered before anyway, so here are the pictures of the finished panel.











That last pic will need to be replaced. I must have flinched when I pulled the trigger!!

Randy Ferguson
Ferguson Coachbuilding
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www.metalmeet.com
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Old 01-08-2005, 02:44 PM
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simply beautiful. As allways completely amazing work.

any chace you could get someone to film you while you work, and make an full length version of how you do such amazing work. That's my beef with car shows on tv, is they give you about 30seconds of that work showing the beginning and then the finished product, and then the rest of the show is all drama.

There is nothing like watching a master at his craft
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Old 01-08-2005, 05:43 PM
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You could probably talk me into it if there is enough interest.

Not sure how many people would want to watch me work???!!!
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Old 01-08-2005, 06:38 PM
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Well, all one can say is you do amazing work. Where did you learn your craft at such a young age?

Thanks again for this post Randy. Excellent!!!
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Old 01-08-2005, 07:25 PM
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Hi Chopper64,

Thanks for the compliments!

I have been shaping metal for about 5 years now. I have had an interest for years, but didn't know anyone who did this type of work, then I ran across an internet based discussion group about 5 years ago. The fine folks I got to know through the group headed me in the right direction and 4 years ago we started having week long gatherings we call MetalMeet. It takes years to learn this craft, but getting out in the shop and taking the time each day to learn it will speed the process greatly.

If you're interested in this craft, come visit us at www.metalmeet.com

Randy Ferguson
Ferguson Coachbuilding
Robinson, IL
(618) 544-2972
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Old 02-01-2005, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Randy Ferguson
body filler?????
What's that???!!!!???

Thanks guys.

Randy



Well, at Dutch's place, it was hamburgs and hot dogs.....

Is he doing that again this year? I'm still willing to "donate" my 39 Chevy 2dr sedan for a chop (and section, if time permits LOL).

Heck, I'd even FEED everyone!

Jeff

PS
You guys HAVE to see Randy pummel steel.
Randy, AKA Mighty Thor, makes it look EASY. It is, if your Popeye.
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