Part 2--Metalshaping/Panel Replacement '34 Chrysler fender - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board -- Hot Rod Forum

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Old 06-01-2004, 12:31 AM
Randy Ferguson's Avatar
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Part 2--Metalshaping/Panel Replacement '34 Chrysler fender

Hi Folks,
I posted a tutorial a few days ago on how to fabricate and install body replacement panels on a '34 Chrysler fender. In that post, I mentioned that the damage was so bad that I was not able to get enough information to make the part, but that the owner had an original car that was usable to make a plaster of paris mold to give me the surface information needed to make the part. This mold was taken off the right fender. When I spoke with the owner about doing this, I told him one side would suffice. So what to do now??? The left fender needs the same treatment, but I have no pattern for it!!!
Barry K asked me a while back if a pattern could made off an existing part, without damaging the paint. Although this one isn't painted, the process it the same. Tonight, I will show how to make a pattern off an existing shape. If you were to be involved in an accident, in which a body panel was so badly damaged it was beyond repair, and no parts were available, you might find this of interest. By having the mold from the right fender, transfering that to a wireform/bondo buck and making the part, I now have the information needed to make the panel for the left fender. This will probably be a two part post, as I haven't finished the panel yet, but plan to this week-end.
The right fender has the panel installed and has been metalfinished, meaning that there is no need for body filler. 2-3 coats of primer will take care of any minor imperfections. This will allow me to make a flexible shape pattern from it.
To make the pattern, start by laying strips of 1"-2" medium tack transfer tape on the area needing copied. (The transfer tape can be purchased from your local vinyl sign shop.) If you lay each succesive strip overlapping the previous one, it will make it easier to pull off of the panel. You want to make sure the tape lays down tight against the surface, or it will not be a good pattern. Any loose areas in the tape, will defect the quality of the part.

Fiberglass reinforced strapping tape is then used to hold the transfer tape together and to add strength to the pattern. In most cases, 1 layer over the top of the transfer tape will provide you with good results, especially for 1 time usage. I run the strapping tape at a different angle as the transfer tape to tie it all together, then run a single strip of strapping tape around the perimeter for added strength.

A Sharpie can be used to mark the perimeter of the panel to give you a better idea of where the true edges are. Transfering the edge cutlines onto the metal will help to align the pattern in the same spot each time. It is very important that the pattern be indexed to the metal to insure it is fitted at the same exact spot each time it's layed on the metal, otherwise, you will fight it the whole way.
Here is the flexible shape pattern, flipped inside out for use as the pattern for the left fender. Along with it, is the blank of metal, cut about 1" oversize all around to insure there is enough to trim off later. Laying the flexible shape pattern on the flat piece of metal tells where the metal needs stetched, or shrunk. I chose to make this one by stretching only. Normally I would try to split it close to 50/50 stretch and shrink, but this panel isn't so extreme that I can't get by with it. It won't thin out very much at the thinnest point. By the way, I'm using 19ga. commercial quality cold rolled steel. Nothing fancy! All the marks on the blank is used as a guide to tell me where to stretch. The flexible shape pattern tells exactly were the panel needs stretched. Any areas on the pattern that doesn't lay down tight against the metal, is an area that needs to be stretched.

This is after about 5 minutes of hammering on the beater bag. The flexible shape pattern tells me that it's very close, with just a couple small areas that still fit loose to the panel. It will need run through the english wheel to planish the lumps and bumps and to further refine the shape.

After running it through the english wheel and smoothing it all out, the shape pattern tells me that there are still some small areas left to be stretched. I can lightly tap these areas by taking it back to the beater bag and just giving it a few love taps, or I can crank up the pressure on the e-wheel and do it that way. No bigger than this panel is, I chose to do it in the wheel. Just a few minutes and the shape pattern was fitting tight all over, which tells me the panel now has the right amount of surface area in the correct spot. Although, the panel looks way off, it's only an arrangement (form) issue. I can bend it around by hand now in to any arrangement I want and not change the surface area (shape)
Just a little manipulation and it'll fit great!! I'll make some contour gauges off the other fender to use as a guide for re-arranging it into the desired form. That will be in the next installment though.

I think I made this panel, and this post, in about the same amount of time!! 2 hours

Randy Ferguson
Metalshaping & Kustom Paint


Last edited by Randy Ferguson; 07-25-2004 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 06-03-2004, 07:27 PM
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Great articles! I have only a novice with metalshaping and panel repairs to that extent, but the more I work on my project, the more I love metalworking. Would love to make it a living at some point. IT's so great! Keep those articles flowing! Thanks!

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