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Old 04-15-2012, 08:28 PM
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Need advice on fabricating new dash

Previous owner hacked up the dash of my 54 chev pu. All the stuff circled in blue here is rusted, cut up and trash. I'm wanting to cut out the rust and smooth the dash by covering with sheet metal and welding on. However, where im am at a loss is how to bend the sheet to fit the original dash curve. Never had to curve sheet before, so this all new to me. Thanks!
Zak


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Old 04-15-2012, 10:06 PM
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First off, I would get a woodworking duplication gauge. Duplicate the damaged section in wood (preferably hardwood), essentially crating a solid buck. cut a piece of 18 or 20 gauge sheet metal larger than the damaged piece. Clamp the piece to you buck. You should be able to bend it over the buck.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:15 AM
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Luckily, that is a pretty simple piece to fabricate-I would make a pattern of the Metal you want to replace first (I use Chipboard for making patterns), then, using 18 Gauge CRS, I would cut it a little bit oversized (for holding/bending purposes).

Find a way to hold the end that starts the contour, aka the lower end (your work bench will do, using a piece of angle iron, and a couple of Vise grips to hold it-I use my Metal Brake), gently bend it upward carefully, starting at the lower end to bend the hardest part (being careful not to make any creases) using my hands to support it as I bend it, until I got the correct contour of my Dash (this process will take a few tries until you get the proper curve), then cut off the excess and weld in-

You may end up with a few mistakes (and another chance to cut and bend more Metal!) along the way (practice, practice, practice!), but in the end, this is a good piece to learn on, really-
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:20 AM
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Moving this to General Rodding Tech.

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Old 04-16-2012, 09:23 AM
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Just as 35Window said, that is exactly how I would do it. The only thing I would have put different is leaving the piece even bigger to bend. For that gentle bend that it has I would get a piece of sheet metal maybe as large as 2x2 feet and walk out to my back yard to my kids basket ball pole and gently bend it over it. Then using the templates until it was the same and find the perfect portion of this big piece to use and mark it off and cut all of the extra away.

I have found that without the proper tools leaving the metal bigger so you can man handle it is one of the biggest tricks.

Brian
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:59 PM
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thanks all, i now have my marching orders for this weekends project!
Zak
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:51 PM
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I was looking at the dash tonight, trying to get a rough game plan for this weekend of redoing the dash and have a few questions. Since I'm cutting out some big chunks of rusted metal from the original dash(one section is almost 2 feet) should I be bracing that open area before covering? I know the dash isn't really of structural importance to the cab, but it's a big gap. And if so, spanning the gap, or from firewall to the new dash layer? Or both? Last thing i want is a new smoothed dash and the old dash behind it is buckling. Thanks!
Zak
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:15 PM
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You are cutting out way more than I understood. Going that far is going to be pretty hard to do without putting an "arch" in the panel. Just bending a piece over a pipe or something like I explained earlier is going to look "bent in" in the middle even though it's flat!

Brian
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:42 AM
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Ok I get that Brian, I didnt clarify tho, if it makes a difference. I'll be cutting out 3 sections, but they will only be the middle parts(vertically). Horizontally they are up to two foot, but it is the middle @6inches vertically. Basically cutting out 3 pieces approximately glovebox sized, situated in the same place the glove box is. Not sure if I'm making sEnse or even if it matters. That's why I was thinking maybe bridging the gap horizontally, the bracing that from there to the firewall so it doesn't actually cave in. Thx
Zak
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:58 AM
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I think you will be ok-heck, I cut out the complete center of the Dash (over 3 1/2') on my Project and had no problems, but if you are concerned you could certainly put a couple of pieces of angle iron to support it while you work on it-it sure wouldn't hurt anything, and it might help-

I say go for it-Dashes are always replaceable-
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:27 AM
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Well first off, DON'T cut it all out! Leave the brace along the bottom. It isn't much of a brace but it's something.

Brian
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