No announcement yet.

Panel forming using a bead roller

This is a sticky topic.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Panel forming using a bead roller

    Earlier this year I put on a metalshaping demo for some of the Stovebolt guys in the area.

    Some of the vintage tin that showed up:

    In order to have a specific fabrication project to work on, we chose the panel just above the windshield of the Task Force trucks (1955-59). This is an area commonly plagued with rust issues due to condensation inside the roof:

    Where they are now reproducing complete cabs, or roof panels with this panel attached, they have yet to market this panel alone. Since I had just set up my bead roller with the tipping wheel, I thought it would be a good candidate for fabricating this panel.

    We did start the demo by showing some basic metalshaping, including tuck shrinking using modified vice grips..

    One of the questions posed was whether it was better to use and modify poorly fitting reproduction panels or attempt fabrications from scratch. To demonstrate how "tweaking" of reproduction panel creased edges could be accomplished, the following was shown: Two folds were installed in a panel to simulate a factory bend, and then lines drawn in to move the bend to a new location. Hammering gradually from one side to the other did a fairly good job of moving the crease to the new location.

    Moving on to our project fabrication, we had brought in a sample cab for fitment. As chance would have it, one of the local guys did have one of these panels in NOS form to also use as a pattern. He has it slated for installation in his own project truck later this year.

    Using some rigid flashing material, a template was made of the upper portion of the NOS panel, and then also compared to the sample cab.

    The pattern was transferred to some 18 ga with extra material left on the bottom to make the various folds, and then cut out with snips.

    The upper portion is flanged where the roof skin folds over the leading edge, so the flaging dies were used in the bead roller...

    Next we moved on to the tipping dies for the various folds.

    Some areas were touched up with a shrinker and stretcher to help get the panel to better conform to the front of our sample cab...

    .....and compared to the NOS piece.....

    All ready for install........

    I also did an end piece using hand tools only, to show it could be made either way. (Someone shouldn't be intimidated for lack of fancy tools).

    Layout of the end only "patch panel"

    To form the upper flange, a shorter piece had been cut out and clamped to the back side, and a slightly dulled chisel used to form the offset.

    The pattern was clamped back onto our work piece to mark the bottom bends/lower edge for cutting.

    Next, as we will be hammering, I chose to use the tipping wheel on all the bend lines simply to make a better mark and keep the marks more visible.

    "Custom anvil"

    Used a body hammer on the flatter areas, and a dead blow in the radius to minimize any stretching....

    First bend at a full 90, seems to pull the panel to fit the radius pretty well.

    Continuing to the other bends, still using the round stock anvil, I did get to where I had to go back to incremental bends again when I got deeper into the radius...

    After a bit of Lancaster shrinking along the edges, it was fitting pretty good..

    The hammered version would need a bit more cleanup work, but a comparison between the two shows it definitely would be a viable option for someone without the bead roller.


    Instagram @ mccartney_paint_and_custom

    MP&C Youtube Channel

  • #2
    Nice! Inspiration. What great-looking work.


    • #3
      complex result.

      I'd be welding in one strip at a time.

      if one hammers enough, it is inspiring to realize things can be made. A car is a great place..
      Previously boxer3main
      the death rate and fairy tales cannot kill the nature left behind.


      • #4
        Thanks for the comments guys. To follow up here's the installation that the owner did on the part...

        Originally posted by olddaze
        I got the panel from MP&C and I can tell you guys, It's quite a piece of work. Thought I'd snap some pics and include you on the install.
        Here is what I started with.

        And I cut away a rotten area inside the cab. I was alittle worried that this might cause the piece down close to the windshield would get really wiggley while I was working. Access to the inside was nice though

        First off I dusted alittle paint over the spot welds and when dry, I scuffed it off with some 80 grit. Makes the spot welds show up better. Hit then all with an 1/8 bit and then followed up alittle bigger.

        I thought the welds along the windshield edge would be the tough ones. I was wrong, broke most of them loose with a putty knife.

        Comparing new to old:

        First hurdle I ran into was just getting the panel in there. I had to open up the roof edge on the corners so I could roll the new panel in.

        I also cut the panel in half to ease the work load and take the worry away of both corner being where they needed to be.

        Worked out GREAT! About two days of fitting and 15 minutes of welding.

        Instagram @ mccartney_paint_and_custom

        MP&C Youtube Channel


        • #5
          Great work. one thing I am learning is you can never have enough pair of vise grips.


          • #6
            I should have learned this years ago. I've done a ton of this stuff with strips and oxy/acetylene welding. It works but is NOT as nice as this work! And now I'm old and don't do much.



            • #7
              Nice work... I have a bead roller and a few assorted wheel...
              also have you ever used Blair cutter for cutting the spot welds...
              they work great


              • #8
                Thanks for the comments!

                Originally posted by MR P-BODY View Post
                ...have you ever used Blair cutter for cutting the spot welds...
                I had one, used it for awhile but me and them don't get along, so I gave it away. I was finding myself doing more repairs filling in large circles or repairing half moon cuts from going too far. I now use a 1/16 thick cutoff wheel in the die grinder. Work it back and forth over the spot weld, and the heat will cause the metal to turn blue when it gets thin (a bit of speed is required to generate enough heat) Then when you see silver (shiney) metal again, you are now starting in layer two, stop grinding or move around the perimeter to grind on more blue stuff until the spot weld releases. Much easier to see how far you are into the panel, less likely to cause damage like the drill throughs I was doing with the Spot weld cutter. Here's a view of how well it shows up using this method....

                Some may have better luck than I did with the Blair cutter, I say use what works best for you. But when I find myself spending more time doing repairs than it took to drill out the spot weld, time to try something different...

                For areas where I am trying to save the top panel and don't want the damage from the grinder, I just drill straight through the spot weld, and use the hole created for the plug weld in attaching the new rear panel...
                Superhero BangShifter
                Last edited by MP&C; December 3, 2012, 09:23 AM.

                Instagram @ mccartney_paint_and_custom

                MP&C Youtube Channel


                • #9
                  Just to elaborate on the various types/methods of spot weld removal:

                  What you use will largely be determined by which panel you are saving (outer or inner), what access you have to either side, and how well you and the tool work in harmony.

                  If you are facing the piece you wish to save, and the lower panel is essentially a throwaway, then simply use a drill bit the same size you would select for plug welds, and drill out the spot weld. When you place the new panel beneath and clamp it up, the hole you drilled in the top panel now serves as your plug weld hole.

                  If you are saving the lower panel, and throwing away the top, you can use whatever works best for you. There are many ways to accomplish the same thing, but if you are not proficient in using one method, try another. I think each method has it's pro's and con's, so pick the one that best suits the area you are working.

                  The holesaw type cutter typically cuts like any other holesaw does, and once the teeth start to cut a "channel", it is difficult to see how far along you are progressing. At the point the cutter reaches the second layer, which is where you would want to stop, if there were a bit of rust between the two panels and your cutter had enough speed, you would have a visual indicator in a wisp of "rust smoke" that is seen coming around the cutter. It is here that, even though some moderate speed is needed to produce this indicator, light pressure is also needed (better classified as "restraint") so that you don't go through too far and damage the second panel. In my case, I found myself going through too far, and would either need to repair the deep channel I just cut in the second layer, or would have to weld in a circle to repair the gaping hole I just left. Needless to say, I no longer use this method, and gave the cutters I did have away to someone that hopefully is having better luck with it than I did.

                  Some of the cutters have a spring loaded center punch, much like a machinists roto-bore. Even with an initial center punch used in the middle of the spot weld, These cutters have the misfortune of slipping off center, and many people will simply drill a 1/8" diameter hole, either partially or all the way thru, to prevent the cutter from walking about. I'll stop here and offer a generalized thought. If you have difficulty filling an 1/8" hole in a piece of sheet metal with your welder, you will likely have problems with the pilot drill method, and perhaps should try one of the other methods.

                  I think the Wivco cutters will work better than the hole saw type, in that they mimick an end mill, so the cutter is relatively flat on the bottom. This should give a less aggressive cut, a plus for people like me who may have a problem of leaning too hard on the cutter. The open flute design will also allow you to better see what is going on than the holesaw type, which obscures everything. It does use the pilot bit, so if that is not an issue (see above paragraph), then this is a good choice.

                  The blair cutter is available in either the spring loaded version or the pilot bit version, I think these are likely a more aggresive cut than the wivco, especially since the cutting surface is extremely narrow, so it may be more likely to pose the cut through problems I described initially.

                  The rounded burr grinder is also a good method which should somewhat limit the damage to the (throwaway) panel to just slightly larger than that of a spot weld cutter. The downside is that these also come with little tiny slivers of metal that are a pain when you get them in your skin, so it would be advantageous to address these with a vacuum cleaner/foxtail and dust pan on occasion to keep the issue at bay. A pair of work gloves come in handy as well. Keep some duct tape handy to pull out the slivers that sneak by.

                  The last method I'll discuss is the one that I use because I don't play nice with the holesaw type. I use a 3" cutoff wheel with a 1/16" thick cutoff disc and use the tool to grind away the spot weld. I find for myself, it offers a less obstructed view of any of the methods listed, and with the proper speed (fast), will give you an indicator in the discoloration of the top layer (blue or darkened) usually before you have even broken into the second layer. Basically the metal is heating up and as it starts to get thin, it heats up more quickly and shows this via a color change. The color change back to bright silver will indicate you have reached the second layer, and act as a guide where to not grind anymore (the bright area) and where to grind, the blue/dark circle surround it. The disadvantages with this method, are the top panel is basically useless now, you will need good eye protection (moreso than the holesaw type cutters), and due to the grinding particulate, will need to use a respirator/mask to prevent you from hocking up black globs shortly afterward. I usually get a 3M or equivalent paint respirator, as the typical dust masks only serve to fog up your safety glasses, and as is evident upon the removal of the dust mask, they don't work all that well. A paint style respirator exhales to the sides, away from your safety glasses, and typically conforms to your face much better.

                  Grind pattern visible:

                  That should give a brief view of both the good and the bad with each method, now it will be up to you to figure out which one works best for you and best for the situation at hand.
                  Superhero BangShifter
                  Last edited by MP&C; December 3, 2012, 09:42 AM. Reason: kant spel

                  Instagram @ mccartney_paint_and_custom

                  MP&C Youtube Channel


                  • #10
                    I'm sure you had a problem of the blair cutter moving all over.... if
                    you center punch the spot weld the spring loaded type stays there


                    • #11
                      Great information here. Panel forming has always been something that I wanted to learn. Thanks.
                      I'm still learning


                      • #12
                        freaking amazing.
                        If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower. - Mark Donohue


                        • #13
                          Thanks for the comments guys. Here's another panel fabrication on the bead roller, one of the local Studebaker owners needs some panels made for the dash of his truck (1947 M5), he's revamping the entire dash gauge/radio arrangement and needed some fresh metal to work with. Here's the existing:

                          Where the factory panel has a recess, and since he has plans for installing a couple gauges in that panel, the new will be made without the recess. The flat panel above for the DIN radio will be replaced as well, with the sides tipped for uniformity.

                          The old panel has seen some previous holes, for whatever reason.

                          Where the rubber tire on top of the e-wheel does a nice job of forming a radius across a panel, the upper portion of the panel was a bit tighter than the 3" radius anvil will provide.

                          Having just set up my bead roller with the skateboard wheel for tipping, I thought to use this with a beading die to form the tighter radius.

                          Here's the results of "rolling" the panel

                          The panel has about an 1/8" lip around the perimeter, so the radius die was changed out to one for tipping.

                          With only just over 1/8 of extra to tip the flange, this process was not that effective. Hindsight, about 1/4 left over and trimmed afterwards would have been more effective. But since the panel matched so well, lets try other persuasive devices.

                          The tipping wheel did do an adequate job of marking the crease location....

                          And the "vice anvil" and a slapper was used to fold the straight lip over to a 90....

                          A different anvil was chosen for the radiused edges...

                          And a punch used to form the 4 corner radiuses...

                          And once complete, the comparison.........

                          Then the same process was used for the upper plate. The folded edges on this will make it match the lower panel a bit better and make it look more as an original piece...

                          And the two together...

                          For now, we are leaving the mounting holes out. It may even get some studs welded on the back side, for a clean look. But we'll cross that bridge when we get there. He did drop off some more parts for the rest of the dash panels needing fabrication, so hope to add more in a week or so..
                          Superhero BangShifter
                          Last edited by MP&C; December 7, 2012, 06:44 PM.

                          Instagram @ mccartney_paint_and_custom

                          MP&C Youtube Channel


                          • #14
                            On that short of a panel I think I would have formed the lip (like you said a little bigger) first on the brake and then used the shrinker to form the radius. You do nice work!


                            • #15
                              Escaped on a technicality.