bw120.gif (4355 bytes)

June / July 1999


NOTE:  I've edited out some of the original material that is no longer relevant, but left the stuff I still liked.    Ric - 5/30/07

Welcome to issue #2 of the Big Wig Newsletter! To see previous issues of the Newsletter, click on the appropriate link below:

In this issue:

- Updates on Customer Cars  deleted
- Big Wig Race Cars Contingency  deleted
- Cool Tool of the Month
- Tips and Tricks for Making Alum Panels
- Big Wig Music Selections of the Month
- New Finds on the WWW  deleted
- Where to see the Big Wig Cars  deleted

If you have other ideas or want to contribute an article, helpful hint, interesting tidbit, or whatever, send it in!



Cool Tool(s) of the Month

Hopefully this will be of benefit to some of the beginners out there. Having done a fair amount of aluminum work over the last couple of years there are some tools that I’ve come to depend on very heavily. At first, I think I might feature a couple of tools a month, one basic and one more specialized (or in some cases, simply – inexpensive, and more expensive.) That way, I can cover more tools faster and you can get a feel for some of the tools I consider required and those which might be just "nice to have."

Basic: DZUS tools - This is actually a set of two tools.  They are what I'd call must have tools.  Both are cheap and extremely helpfull. 

One is the dimpling tool that will countersink a hole so that a large DZUS button will sit flush in the panel.  You simply drill a hole in the panel and use the bolt to draw the countersink dies together.  Perfect every time!

The other small tool in the picture is a panel marking tool.  Once you have your DSUZ tab installed on the chassis, this tool is used to mark the aluminum in the exact spot where you will need to drill your hole for the button.  It's simply a countersunk center punch that will center itself in the DSUZ tab.  You then lay in your aluminum panel, tap lightly with your nylon hammer, and a tiny punch mark is left on the backside of the panel, right where you need to drill the hole.  I got both of these tools from The Chassis Shop. DZUStools.jpg (5398 bytes)

Advanced: Pro-Tools Electric Bead Roller
An electric bead roller is certainly not a necessity, but if you'll be doing multiple car interiors, I think you'll come to appreciate the convenience of the powered bead roller.   The other choice of course is the manual hand operated bead roller.  Both work great if you spend the money to get a quality brand with nicely made rolls.  On large panels, it takes two people to operate the manual rollers - one to guide the panel and one to crank the handle.
The bead roller I chose is made by Pro-Tools. It's got a 24" throat and is operated via a foot pedal, leaving both hands free to handle the panel.  I am 100% satisfied with this tool and highly recommend it.  They also offer the same roller without the motor in a manually operated configuration.
Also shown to the right are the step rolls that are used to put a step in the panel   either where one panel overlaps another or where you just want to create a raised or sunken area in your panel.  I use the step rolls much more than any other set of rolls I've got.


beadroller_s.jpg (4359 bytes)

steprolls_s.jpg (2958 bytes)

Big Wig Music Selections of the Month

Again, from 1999.

A critical item in the shop has to be the stereo. If you’re like me, spending so much time in the shop you get tired of listening to the same stuff on the radio all the time. So, I occasionally listen to CD’s while I work, and here are my current favorites that you would find in the player if you came by the BWRC shop:

Elvis - Greatest Jukebox Hits - For those of us that missed Elvis the first time around, this CD has about 20 of his greatest hits.  I dig it.

Brian Setzer Orchestra – Guitar Slinger – This is an earlier CD than the one listed in the last newsletter (The Dirty Boogie).  I'm still on my BSO kick, getting geared up for his concert here in August.

Monty Montgomery – 1st and Repair  – A local Austin singer/singwriter and excellent guitar player. 

Tips and Tricks for Making
Aluminum Panels

Trimming Panels:

- Use the electric shears whenever possible. They give the best undistorted edge. See last month’s "Cool Tools of the Month" for more on the Kett shears I like. It’s not possible to cut everything with the electric shears though, such as tight curves. That’s when the hand shears (tin snips) come into play.

- Lay your pattern face down on the backside of your aluminum sheet (the side of the sheet with the grade and thickness ink markings is what I call backside) and trace it off like that. That way, when you make the cuts with your electric shears, because of the way the fingers cut, you’ll end up with a frontside edge on your panel that looks more finished. It’s difficult to explain, but the shears will put a very slight rollover on the edge of the panel, and you’ll only need to run the debur tool along the backside edges in most cases.

- When using hand shears, make sure the teeth marks from the serrated edge are on the backsided of the panel. Since you can’t always cut from one direction, you’ll need at least two pairs of hand shears (right hand cut and left hand cut.) If this isn’t clear, just trust me and get a red handled pair and a green handled pair and make some practice cuts with ‘em and you’ll see what I’m talking about. These tools are inexpensive to begin with, so don’t cut cost corners even more here – spend the extra $5/pair and get genuine WISS snips.

- If you have to make a tight inside curve cut with the snips, it often bends up the edge of your panel. Before deburring, use a plastic-headed hammer to flatten the edge back out. The plastic won’t mar the aluminum. It is sometimes better to leave 1/16th inch or so extra material around the tight curves and then finish it out with the Dremmel, as mentioned below

- Another good option for making tight inside cuts is to use a hole saw in the drill press to cut the apex of curve and then cut away from it with the snips or shears.

- Use a Dremmel tool with a -inch drum sander attachment to smooth out corners, curves, or areas where there is a burr (intersection of cuts from different directions, transition from electric shear cut to tin snip cut, wherever a bump or something might be caused along the edge.

- If you have one, a belt sander is nice for long gradual curves or flat edges that need to be smoothed out. It’s difficult to smooth long edged panels with the Dremmel and get a straight edge. If you cut the panel with your electric shears though, it’ll be smooth already and relatively straight if you follow your cut marks well. I’d buy the shears over the belt sander if you have to choose a $120 item.

- On thicker edges that will be visible, such as wing edges, use a sandpaper flapper wheel in a die grinder to wipe out the cut marks and smooth out the edges. The cut marks I’m referring to here are those left on the actual cut edge itself, across the wing’s .050" or .063" thickness for example.


Coming in future newsletters – tools and techniques to help with rolling beads and a pictorial on making a panel from start to finish.  Send me a message if there's something specific you're interested in.


backhome.jpg (4173 bytes)