Scratch building details - doors, windows, etc.
Don't know about the rest of you, but sometimes I get a project in my head and I go over it up there for months, working out all the details. Usually, I end up abandoning it, but not always.
Anyhow, I've got a project bouncing around involving a scratch built body. Something in an early 30s style, but nothing that could be identified as an existing model. Still undecided if it would be coupe, roadster, or maybe RPU. Probably end up in fiberglass just because of the cost and my experience.
But one big area that I'm not able to really work out in my brain are some of the more mundane details.
Like putting glass in the doors.
Flat glass is probably easiest unless you could find something exactly the right size. But that's the easy part. What about window regulators, window channels, weatherstripping around the opening and along the outer door edge where it meets the window?
How about weatherstripping around the door area, or along the top of the window and windshield on a ragtop?
Looking at a production vehicle - all that stuff is very well thought out and it drives a lot of the little details of the body, but when you're scratch building, it would seem you need to know what sorts of assemblies and materials are going to be used in order to incorporate them into the body work up front.
And I think a lot of this is applicable when seriously customizing an existing body, or one where parts are no longer available to replace the originals.
So, how do you guys deal with these details? What sorts of parts/products do you find yourself using over and over? Any tips and tricks?
Have you read Cboy's eBook and all of his posts. Click on the eBook at the top of the page. In the old days ( The 50's for me) we used a lot of parts off our donor cars, and there were a lot of old cars left out in the brush, free parts, where everyone dumped their trash. A guy I know worked at a custom shop in L A, they would remove the metal skin from the donor body and make and install custom fiberglass skin to the body sub structure. that way you had all the inner workings. wiring, steering, brakes, already there.
Been awhile since I looked over Cboy's stuff. Probably worth another look.
Reskinning a door was one idea I had. Biggest downside is just about all the vehicles in the yards today have curved glass (necessary when using tempered glass, I presume) and the guide rails are curved to match.
But it does get you a lot of "stuff".
Been looking at compact truck and/or Jeep Cherokee doors as a potential donor for the inner section and mechanicals as their windows are about the closest to flat of anything out there right now. Would be easiest to utilize on a coupe, I'd think (haven't cut one open yet). With a ragtop/hardtop, I'm not sure how the regulators/channels would work.
I have never built a complete body but in making portions of the body if you have something to copy, then you simply copy it. When you are talking about functional parts like you are, this is easy, you copy an existing example. The windows you could simply copy a 32 Ford or Model A, use the same regulator and all. But you could also make it from scratch as far as simple universal channel found in the glass supply places, there are all kinds of thicknesses and and come in something like 5 foot lengths. Often they have a very stiff metal inside it so you don't even need a channel around it. At least not the whole way around. In my 48 Chevy pickup it has small metal channels down the front and rear of the door below the belt line, just simple 1/2" U shaped channel. Above that, there is nothing, the felt lined channel is screwed in with small screws thru the bottom of the channel, that's all there is above the belt line.
The regulator, just about any early car all work the same with a scissor action that can be duplicated in your home built door with just about any regulator. I put power windows in my truck back 35 years ago when there were no aftermarket stuff like this. I simply got a power window regulator out of a 63 Buick. I measured the distance on the stock regulator from the first pivot at the motor to the scissor action center pin. I cut the regulator off in half at a point in the middle, I cut the power regulator so that when I welded the original piece to it so the pivot points matched the original, then installed it with the pivot point at the same location in the door, worked perfectly.
But using the rubbers and stuff from another car and making those mounting points the same as the original car allows you to use all the engineering from the original car in your body that you designed.
Something just hit me as I am thinking about this walking around at work. The upper window felt channels on my truck don't have a metal channel around them, but the inside window frame pushes against them to help support them. But to tell the truth I ran my truck for a while without those mouldings and the windows went up and down fine without moving the felt window channels as they do have metal inside them.
This is the channel that I am talking about.
Automotive Window Channels - Glass Weatherstrip Scrapers - Car Weatherstripping Manufacturer UK
And how about a metal channel too!
I checked cboy's book. Lots of good info there that I had forgotten about.
Especially about building from the doors out. That makes a lot of sense now that I've been thinking about the complications involved.
When I was an engineer at Ford I had doors, locks and mech, for a while, sign off the design and put the tooling and labor cost on a product. The glass mechanism depends if you have an upper door frame like most trucks or if it is a convertible based design. Convertible mechanisms need the support of the glass all below the belt line , usually a larger glass or lower channel for support so it won't flop in the wind.
By the way, I didn't comment on the glass it's self I think you mentioned something about it. The glass shop can cut you flat safeglass in any size you want so don't worry about that.
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