Sheet Metal Shaping Tools
I’ve started a journey of learning how to shape flat sheet metal into pieces that have curve to them. I’ve always admired the people that can do this type of work, and decided it’s finally time for me to start learning this. I have a few projects on the horizon that are going take some pretty serious metal shaping, and I want to be prepared for them… reference Miller 3 Wheeler. Also, in my recent work on the China Cargo trike, which has some of my very first rough attempts at shaping sheet metal and highlighted the need for more tools in this area.
Additionally, I have some older vehicles that will at some point when I get more time need some body work done on them…. see Vehicles for more information.
I started out by making a shot bag using a small leather handbag filled with a lot of tiny ball bearings. I also got some wooden head hammers that I bought on the street in the tool market of Shanghai, China.
Here’s a few pics of me making a dished area on a chunk of HDPE to make a tuck puck for shrinking sheet metal.
My homemade fly cutter made a tremendous amount of noise and chatter when it cut this dish, but it got done! This would have been so easy on a lathe, but I didn’t have one available. The results aren’t particularly pretty or even, but it does work for shrinking sheet metal!
I also bought a nice electric sheetmetal nibbler shears (handheld) in China down at the tool market. It wasn’t cheap, but for a Chinese branded power tool, it actually works really well!
I did a lot of reading on the allmetalshaping.com forum for learning the basics of making the metal move. There’s some very knowledgeable guys over there, and its definitely worth the time to read through the basics before posting. They have some really cool pictures of work the guys have done…. a really good time waster while you learn!
I’ve been looking at English Wheels for awhile, and then I came across a blog post by Oxtools that mentioned a C-clamp English wheel. I figured that would be a good one to make while I’m in Shanghai, as the small size is easier to deal with in my tiny China garage there.
From Oxtool.blogspot.ca see link above
So here’s the write-up on the C-Clamp English wheel that I’ve built: