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Old 03-30-2008, 06:17 PM
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pictures of a 34 ford PU or simmiler box cab needed

I got a frame for a 51 ford with a bed on it but I was thinking "What if I fabbed my entire cab out of alum in the same style as an old 34' ford or simmiler boxy cab?"
I wanted to know if any one had any pictures of inside the cab without any interior in place so I can the the structual "meat".

I have a welder that can weld alum with so I am set with that , but I thought it would be really neet to have it all pop rivited together with minimal welds.

Has anyone done this? Can some pointers be givin to me? Will it just be goofy or would the be in true hot rod fashion using what I have on hand?

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Old 03-30-2008, 06:56 PM
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Could be cool. Nothing non-hotrod about that idea.
But.... Give your pop riviter to a friend and tell him not to let you have it back until you're done welding your structure, no matter what you do.

Larry
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Old 03-30-2008, 07:07 PM
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I don't know of anyone on here who's done a body in aluminum and pop rivets. So maybe you might just be the first one on the block. I think your biggest challenge will be to keep the shape you want. It seems to me you either have to build using the "skeleton and skin" method (building a "frame" for the body and then attaching aluminum panels) or you need to have the tools and expertise to form the panels to be self supporting (to be able to hold their shape in all directions).

If you do not have a lot of experience at body fabrication, I can't think of a better teacher than simply buying some aluminum sheet stock and taking a swing at it. You'll lean a lot very very quickly.

I don't know if you'll find these journals helpful (since neither involve aluminum or pop rivets) but they do provide step by step detail of using the "skeleton and skin" method of fabrication on steel cars.

The journal for building this roadster is here



And the journal for building this sedan/delivery/pickup (still under construction) is here



Good luck with the project idea...and keep us posted if you proceed with it.
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Old 03-30-2008, 07:41 PM
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Some revisions to my plan are: using tube for the frame might be a better decision than using c channel. My inspiration was looking at my johnboat and repairing with pop rivets has been just so easy. Also I included a picture of what I would make with the a bending brake and some heavier gauge sheet for structural integrity as with some additional protection from a roll bar and a tube running down your A post. Then how about building a jig that I could run a plannishing hammer down to add ribs and give myself some more integrity to the stretches of sheet.
Also I am wondering if even having doors would be worth my time. At first I wanted some rectangular doors from a donor vehicle but now I think no doors would be easier for my first build like this.
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Old 03-31-2008, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
add ribs and give myself some more integrity to the stretches of sheet.
The strength of a bigger panel comes from a slight compoung curve. That's the hard part about a complete handbuilt body.

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Also I am wondering if even having doors would be worth my time. At first I wanted some rectangular doors from a donor vehicle but now I think no doors would be easier for my first build like this.
I'd do the doors. It will make for a better finished project. The hard part would be making window openings that don't look like old aluminum porch windows.

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My inspiration was looking at my johnboat and repairing with pop rivets has been just so easy.
If they have made airplanes for 80 years with rivets, why can't you build a strong body? I am not a fan of rat-rods, but I don't think that is your goal. I CAN see a homebuilt body that looks awesome by using strong alloy rivets, but only if you get away from flat sheet aluminum panels. You need to find tooling to make all your panels a compound curve. If it was done up like a light plane with the same details, I can see it looking cool. But proportions, scale, and strength details need a lot of planning.
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Old 03-31-2008, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by F&J
The strength of a bigger panel comes from a slight compoung curve. That's the hard part about a complete handbuilt body.
What F&J is talking about here is the "panel" technique of handbuilt bodies. And I would agree it is the most difficult and challenging of the coach building methods. It takes some very refined metal working skills to do correctly. This is pretty much what you see in modern day cars.

But when you tear apart older 20's and 30's cars you will find much more of the "skeleton and skin" method of coach building. Sometimes a wood skeleton was used, sometimes a metal channel of some sort, or sometimes just heavier flat stock behind the skin. Also, coach builders used strategically placed "beads" or accent lines which help to maintain shape and strength of the panels.

There is also another technique of coach building which I call the "Frankenstein Method". This is where existing body panels with the correct compound curves that F&J mentioned are cut from various donor cars and then welded together into the shape of the body style you want to mimic. A great (and beautiful) example of this is Rob (Chuck) Berry's scratch built body in this journal

One final method of coach building that I should also mention is fiberglass. This technique requires an entirely different set of skills and tools than metal coach building and is no less challenging or time consuming than the building in metal - at least from my limited experience. New Interiors built the yellow roadster you see in the avatar for his journal here along with a nice demonstration of the fiberglass building process - for some fenders he did.

My advice to any novice embarking on coach building in metal is to stick with the skeleton & skin technique or if you have access to a lot of pre-existing body panels, the Frankenstein technique. I think the novice will find these more manageable and less frustrating than the more challenging panel fabrication method that F&J is talking about.
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