From Kit Car Builder magazine
THE ART OF METAL FINISHINGThe Art of Metal Finishing
Len Ewell, 06 May 2009
How to prep fabricated parts for paint, powdercoating or chrome
story & photos by Len Ewell
In building our own cars there is often an apprehension about certain tasks if they involve welding and metal finishing, such as frames, body supports, roll bars, headers, sidepipes, etc. There arenít any real short cuts to getting a piece of metal ready to be painted, powdercoated or chromed. Tools, technique, and practice, also known as experience, are the real keys to this kind of project. And with a few inexpensive shop tools anyone, with a little practice, can become good at this.
Most of the tools used here came from Harbor Freight, with the exception of the carbide burr, which is available at machine tool stores for about $20. Also, we are using a 110-volt MIG welder with shielding gas, and working out of our garage. In other words, if we can do it, you can too! Now, we all like new toys, and as luck would have it, just as we were getting ready to do this article, we received a new toy with a lot of applications, so we decided to include it along with the rest of the tools we are using.
You know the old saying, "measure twice, cut once." Well, this new tool called the PipeMaster, just made our job a lot easier working with round-tube stock. It comes in a dozen different sizes from one inch to 4.25 inches and itís also available in metric sizes from 12.7 through 107.95. Itís a great aid for fitting two or more tubes together and getting the right fit every time. So letís get started.
PO Box 12858
Mill Creek, WA 98082
We're using one-inch steel tubing here. Slip the PipeMaster over the tubing and determine the angle of the intersection
Push down until the spines fit comfortably around the bottom tube.
Next raise the tool up the tube and mark the cut with a felt-tip pen.
Cut to the approximate shape with a Sawzall, then trim closer with a sander.
Finish shaping with a die grinder fitted with a carbide burr.
Check for final fit.
Tack weld both sides, then complete the weld.
Remove any bumps where welds overlap using a 4 1/2" grinder.
Shape the weld using a die grinder with a carbide burr.
Smooth the intersection from the weld to tubing using a 4 1/2" flap wheel (80 grit).
Final sanding is done using a hand-held belt sander.
The 1/2-inch wide belt is ideal for reaching in tight places...
...and transitions from flat to curved surfaces.
Final finishing is done using a drill-mounted nylon abrasive cup brush.
And here is the finished item ready for paint, powdercoating or chrome.
From the December 2008 Issue of Kit Car Builder Magazine.