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Thread: Metal Fabrication Discussion

  1. #1
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    Also probably too little too late, but a tip from my civic and used HEAVILY in my current install:

    I often want to put gear where I want to absolutely minimize mounting plate thickness. What I do is use 16ga steel for heavy stuff, 22ga for light stuff (though more and more I fall back on 16ga, it is easy to weld without a gas welder). Then forget screws or inserts, just drill a hole and tap it. Instant GREAT mounting surface.

    For speakers, I'd definitely contract a sheet-metal machine shop to make your parts, just to keep everything dead-nuts flat. Cost for 2 will probably be the same as cost for 4 or 10, so you could have some spares and sell a few.

    For other equipments, perfectly flat isn't so big a need, so you can jigsaw it or bandsaw it. I fell on a hand-me-down craftsman bandsaw THAT I LOVE FOR CUTTING FREAKING METAL. It's the only way to fly. Second best was table mounting my jigsaw, but it doesn't come close to the bandsaw.

    But regardless, metalfab is the only way to go for cars, and chances are you already have 90% of what you need to get into it. Jigsaw for cutting sheet, grit blade in your miter saw for cutting bar, cheap welder from craigslist (I like stick and gas, most people opt for mig, EVERYONE likes tig, noone can afford it ), and some taps. You can do the dumb think like I did and buy a set, or you can go out and buy the expensive 8-32 and 10-32 tap and screw the rest, since these two are gonna be your work horses. You'll break the 8 and 10 taps from a cheap set in no time and buy the nice ones anyways.

    And don't forget a bandsaw if you find one at a garage or estate sale Mine is worth EVERY INCH of the 32 dedicated inches of shop wall space it occupies.

  2. #2
    Big Daddy Chad's Avatar
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    if you get damn handy with a pneumatic cutoff wheel you can do some amazing stuff, it takes time but you can do it.

    I trust myself doing vasectomy with one if need be.

  3. #3
    Devil's Advocate Adam_MSS's Avatar
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    Steve (or anyone else) what do you use to coat your bare steel pieces? Something simple like metal primer or cold galvanizing compound, or something more elaborate like powdercoating.


    This is a timely discussion. I was actually looking at mig welders this morning, trying to decide how much of a machine I really need for light fabrication. Looking mostly at Hobarts. A Miller would be nice, but I don't think I'd ever use it enough to justify it.

    I figure for heavier work (should I ever get another Jeep) I might be looking at stick anyway, so there's not a lot of sense in going overboard on a heavy duty mig machine.
    You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right. - R.Munroe

    The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them. - W.L.Bragg



  4. #4
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    right there with you on metal fab.

    I went with a 1/4" thick aluminum sheet for my recent amp relocation and it was perfect. Strong, light and small. Planning on redoing all my controller hookups as well to the back of the car on a metal shelf that's underneath the rear deck.

  5. #5
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    Adam, it really depends on what kind of metal and what kind of look/durability you want to go with. For aluminum you might not bother doing anything on it. I had my aluminum amp frame powdercoated for durability and the mounting plate itself I painted with some enamel paint after using a good etching primer since you won't ever see it and it won't come into contact with anything. For steel proper paint prep is critical or just spend the cash to do powdercoating. If I had the space I would love to get a small powdercoating rig. If you want to go cheap and durable look at Por15. Won't look pretty but it'll keep it from rusting and it'll take a beating.

  6. #6
    Founding Member IBcivic's Avatar
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    Adam, what will be the heaviest gauge, you expect to weld? And are you looking at 120volt or 240v MIG units? If you plan on welding thin stuff, do yourself a favor and get a gas bottle/regulator set-up. Flux-core leaves alot of slag in the welds when it is used on really light stuff. Also, Your lungs will thank you.
    The little Lincoln 140c , I just bought, runs on 120v and has a dual-driven wire feed, which keeps the wire feeding very precisely. And it has voltage regulation for a smoother, almost spatter free weld.

  7. #7
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    simple paint for me after a wirewheel scrubbing, unless it will take major abuse. I put together a clutch riser pedal in my car (I'm 6'3". I just had the seat REALLY REALLY far back) and coated it in a really great rubber. No problems.

    As for a welder, I wouldn't buy anything but Miller or Lincoln Electric. I'm sure there are better boutique brands out there, but I'm not a welder. Just a hobbyist. WAY more expensive than your 110v buzzbox from kragen, but will actually you know, weld. I saved money by buying craigslist.

    I'm not a fan of wirefeed welding, but I would NEVER buy flux core. Definitely straight to MIG if I wanted a wire welder. Always seemed to prefer stick and gas. Especially for sheet metal, gas can allow for some BEAUTIFUL welding. I really need to invest in a good rig

    -------------

    Here's another good tip. I needed to stack amps, but the mounting plate needed to be in BETWEEN the amps, not stacked amps on top of a plate. So I used 16ga steel, drilled the holes and tap them. I then mounted the amp using 1/2" machine screws, not 1/4 or so. This created four studs on the backside, I slipped the second amp right over this and tightened four nuts to secure the second amp.

    I actually did this for four amplifiers installed inside the rear quarterpanel of my honda civic. Left plenty of space in the other side for three home audio processors, a fifth amplifier, and a CD player brain.
    Last edited by Whiterabbit; 09-22-2010 at 11:40 PM.

  8. #8
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    What I'm looking for tips on is making homemade steel chassis that don't look like shite. Surely there are some tips and tricks out there. Without buying a gas welder and special stamps.

  9. #9
    Founding Member benny's Avatar
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    Chassis for what?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by benny View Post
    Chassis for what?
    Doesnt matter. general purpose. What is electronics today is mechanics tomorrow is aesthetics next week.

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