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The Garage Motorcycle Related Discussion (Yamaha XS650, other makes and models, and anything else motorcycle related including tools and gear)

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Old 05-11-2011, 07:58 AM   #1
xander18
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Default Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

I would like to make X75 Hurricane-like sheet metal for my cafe (Pic).

I was going to model it in CAD, cut it into manageable sized pieces (I want exposed rivets anyway) then section my models and make wood molds/templates for the maybe 3 or 4 pieces on each side and start hammering aluminum down, potentially heating it for the smaller radius curves.

If anyone knows anything about beating on aluminum does this sound like a good way to do it? I'm concerned about using softer aluminum and having hammer divets all over it that I can't get out. Any particular kind of aluminum I should be looking for?
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

www.allmetalshaping.com is a great site. If you want a video check out http://www.metalshapingzone.com/shop/start David has free you tube videos-I would suggest dropping the $$$ for his DVD.

Aluminum is easy to work. You want .063 3003 H-14. The h-14 means "half-hard" and it's easy to shape without annealing.

John
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:24 AM   #3
Punkskalar
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

All of this bike is hand shaped aluminum...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idhUVnlsINg

Not exactly a How-To, but definitely an inspiration... You'll want to soften the aluminum before going to work on it, or it will stress crack and fatigue. You'll work harden it as well, so you'll need to anneal it often.

Hammer marks are gonna happen, you'll want an english wheel to work those back out...


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Old 05-11-2011, 08:37 AM   #4
xander18
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hooktool View Post
www.allmetalshaping.com is a great site. If you want a video check out http://www.metalshapingzone.com/shop/start David has free you tube videos-I would suggest dropping the $$$ for his DVD.

Aluminum is easy to work. You want .063 3003 H-14. The h-14 means "half-hard" and it's easy to shape without annealing.

John
That DVD looks like it will be well worth the money. I'm all about building my 'skill toolbox' and metal shaping is near the top of the list. That 3003 looks decently affordable too, so excellent news for the ol' piggy bank.
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

You don't need to anneal the 3003 h14. You can smooth it with hand tools, too.

John
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:32 PM   #6
xander18
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hooktool View Post
You don't need to anneal the 3003 h14. You can smooth it with hand tools, too.

John
No english wheel?
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

If you want "coach maker" results, at a minimum you will want a sandbag, mallets and an English wheel as well as cutting tools. You can make simple curves without these tools but for compound curves you will want them. It is an art. Bear in mind that aluminum will work harden and annealing shouldn't be ruled out.

Good luck! I look forward to seeing your results.
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

No english wheel-that's why you need to see David's DVD. I have a high end english wheel, but often smooth with just a slapper or spoon over a dolly or shaping head. I do more shaping in a stump than a sandbag, and use hammers that I make.

Here's the biggest aluminum project I've been around, it belongs to a friend in Huntsvlle, who is one of the owners of the AllMetalshaping.com site. It's made from 3003, no annealing at all. Many of his friends make sections using patterns he supplies, so we may not even know what part we are working on. I've made several parts for it, some were wheeled, some not. There should never be hammer marks as they will not really come out-as opposed to "walnuts" which are the dents made from the hammer and can be smoothed. Hammers/mallets with wood/plastic faces won't mark, and steel hmmers are shaped so as not to mark.

Look at David's youtubes vids, and check out Allmetalshaping.com for a few evenings.

John
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=924 over on chopcult short, but sweet.


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Old 05-11-2011, 06:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

John, that is gorgeous. Lemme hijack my own thread for a moment here, what chassis is that on?

I guess I'll order the DVDs and watch them before I ask more questions
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:43 PM   #11
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

Custom chassis, built in his shop. A GM straight six. Beyond that I don't know, I'm not a car guy-just help him make parts to learn. He has a metal shaping gathering there a couple times a year. You can find the thread by searching for "Imperial Bugatti" on Allmetalshaping site.

John
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:12 AM   #12
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

Damn! That DVD comes out to $60 USD? For one DVD? Seems a bit high. It's making me think twice about ordering it.


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Old 05-12-2011, 11:14 AM   #13
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

That is steep. But if it truly is a zero to hero kind of a tutorial it's probably worth it. Does anyone actually have this thing and can attest to how good it is?
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:27 PM   #14
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

I'm looking and trying to do the same thing. I've basically just started pounding on metal and working it into some sort of simple shape. I need to make some slappers to get the metal smooth, but it's a start.
The chop cult article is similar to what I'm going for. Most of my reading suggest you just need to find or make up your own tools. Easier said than done, but I figured if I can learn to build a bike and work with the electrical I can figure this out as well. Plus it's really relaxing to bang on some metal after a long day at work.
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:17 PM   #15
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

The DVD is worth the money-he's one of the best in the world, and its well thought out.

Once again, for FREE, you can go to allmetalshaping.com, also metalmeet.com. There is enough metalshaping content on those to keep you reading for months. A lot of car guys, but quite a bit of motorcycle related stuff, and lots of basic 101 type stuff.

You might be surprised how little you really need to get started, or how (relatively) simple it can be.

John
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:22 PM   #16
xander18
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

John, I'll go with the DVD when my 'fun money' account replenishes. In the meantime I'll probably make some tools, buy some scrap and start banging on it.
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Old 05-14-2011, 05:22 PM   #17
oldbiker
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Default Re: Anyone know anything about shaping flat aluminum (sheet metal)?

my deceased older brother in melbourne was a great hands on with cars and motorbikes he built s spot on panwl van deseamed ,,, later purchased an italian solt top ,,which had an aluminia body,,i did see it stripped ,,and alas ,,never saw it completed regards oldbiker
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