Rear axle cover.

January 6th, 2014

Tonight I came home from work and went out and started on the rear axle cover. This is a tricky piece I’ll have to do in three parts. The idea is to have a nice curved cover so there are no sharp edges in the boot to catch things on.

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The flimsy bit of wood shows about where the top will be forming a shelf where the petrol tank will sit. I started on the vertical part first though. It’s just a piece of steel bent into a curve to clear the D of the axle and with curved top edge. I roughly bent it all by hand which is easy since I am using 0.8mm panel steel. I am not sure how rigid it will be when done so I might hammer a swage into the flat bit of the shelf or even braze another piece of square steel tube right across the frame for it (and the petrol tank) to sit on.

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You can see with the rough bends how it’s a double curve. To form the top curve you pucker the edge then shrink those back into themselves to maintain the curve. To form the puckers I used some adjustable pliers. You bend it over and twist it into little peaks. The peaks then get shrunk down.

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A bit of hammer and dolly work to smooth things out and it’s starting to take shape.

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It looks rough but it’s all just steel so you just go back and make it pretty with the hammer and dolly later. Smoothing out the top curve out takes some of the curve out of the whole panel but when I add more curve to the top edge that will come back again.

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That was about as far as I could go however as all the dollys I have don’t have enough curve in them to match the curve in the panel. Hammering against them just flattens things out. Will have to see if I can borrow the ball stake off Joss. The top piece will have a similar curve on it’s edge that will match the edge on the vertical piece. Those edges are then gas welded together and the whole lot hammered to make it nice and smooth.

The funny thing is after countless hours (months!) of bashing aluminium with little visible effect doing all that above to the steel only took me about 30 minutes.

 

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