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I just joined this forum because I have been involved in racing cars (specifically porsches) for a number of years. I've always worked on my own cars and lately I've been branching out of doing just the usual "engine and suspension" work towards body panel fabrication. So I bought some books on sheet metal fabrication and went to work beating panels...but this has brought about interest from other enthusiasts seeking aluminum body panels for their cars (NOTE: aluminum is a nice material for lightweight panels for dual duty cars used on both track *and* street - also maintains resale value). So I am being pressed by friends to make more...but panel beating is an art (which I have not yet fully mastered) and I can't meet the demand...sooooooo...I started researching metal stamping to gain more precision and volume...but I can't seem to find any info on small scale metal stamping. Is this something the home machinist with reasonable skills and a decent budget can do or is it strictly a large scale endeaver?

Thanks,

-Janus Cole
 

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Janus, not many people, unless planning on starting a buisines would consider doing this. It can be done(anything can!),but its not practicle. Most bodypanel stamping machines weigh as much as your car and just as big if not bigger. Using a vacume method cuts down on size of machine but doesn't turn out very well and in turn isn't worth the swap. Making steel dies to form the body panel is quite costly even if you had the press to use it with, ans since you need a new die to do each different body panel (1/4 panel, hood, front fender etc) It is very impracticle like I said unless you plan to make it a career or a part time buisiness. I've made very small things such as emblems and such with small steel dies and a large press at the machine shop I orkk at, but that is by far not anything as large as a body panel. 4Jaw would have some better/more information for you, but as to my knowledge is typed above. I have hammerd a good many body panels so if you would like help with that let me know. I wish you well.

HK
 

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Check out kevin45 's post on the metalshaping site, it may help you.<a href="http://www.metalshapers.org/" target="_blank">metlashapers</a> here is.
 

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Just one of the guys
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Porsche,
it is something that you CANNOT do from home. Also if you don't have tool & die experience you wouldn't be able to do it either. It will be cost prohibitive for the DIY'er. Even small dies can run into thousands of dollars depending on the complexity. As far as stamping out something as large as a body panel you would have to first find someone to make a male and female of the panel you want, purchase the die to mount the male and female to, find a press with enough tonnage to run it. I'm talking minimum 150 ton press which is not huge by todays standards. The reason I know what I'm talking about is that I run the toolroom where I'm employed. I am a modelmaker (making prototypes), toolmaker (making tooling to hold the production parts), and part time die builder and repairman. A small die shoe (7"x10") to hold the punch and die is around $500.00. Now just figure how much for one to hold a body panel. The burden rate or labor for an outside firm to do the machine work for you would probably run $50-100,000 and up depending on the size. Now that is for one panel and you would have one for the opposite side also. Now you know when you buy something why it cost what it does. If it is a popular item and really sels then the price drops. The only way you could make money is you would have to have one hell of a demand for the product. This isn't to bust your bubble just to point you in the right direction.

Kevin
 
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