Sunday, September 5, 2010

McArlus Cars - 7

More from Simon.

I have finally finished and fitted all of the aluminium panels on the two cars.
Many have actually been done for some time, but I have made it a rule not to do an update until everything is done on both cars.
Ken’s chassis was done first, largely so I could get it out of my garage and clear some room while he organized to clean it up and paint it. I’m not sure how he’s going but I strongly suspect it looks much the same as it did 2 months ago when it left my house, but at least I don’t have to look at it and walk around it!
I had the sill panels and the underside front floor panel folded “professionally”, by that I mean done poorly by people who should have known better, the sill panels were sent back for a second go.
These were the first panels I fitted before moving onto the top, more complicated ones.
I tried to do a nicer job of these than on the yellow car, by trying to make neat bends and folds where the panels change angle as they meet the chassis rails and go around corners. Initially these were just done with some blocks clamped in a vice, although I soon bought some pieces of hardwood and drilled a series of holes in them, in pairs, so that they were easily and quickly adjustable for various size of panel. It worked quite well.
Keen eyes may notice the removable section in the side panels of the footwell, immediately behind the triangular shaped panel. This is there so that if I ever get around to making and fitting sway bars, they can be fitted, and changed, without dismantling half of the car.
Less obvious is the joins necessary in the side panels where they have to fit in and around things like the fuel tank mounting brackets.
I thought I’d show a couple of tools that I have recently bought that have proved invaluable, particularly in this part of the project, but as usual I’m finding more and more uses for them.
Firstly the microstop countersink. This tool allows me to countersink holes in the aluminiun, or fiberglass, to a precisely adjustable depth without any danger of going too far. I have a range of sizes of cutters that screw into the cage for different diameter fasteners. I started using the countersunk rivets on the under body largely because at different times with the yellow car, even a minor excursion over a ripple strip or similar could tear the heads off all of the rivets, leaving the aluminium flapping rather embarrassingly in the breeze! They also look a real treat!
The other thing is clecos. These come in different diameters and grip length sizes. Basically they can be used as an easily removable pop rivet for anything that is to be fastened together. They allow me to exactly fit, remove and refit panels brackets, anything I like, as often as necessary like quickly and without damage, they are fantastic.
Both of these tools have come from ebay. At first they have been from Australia, but now I buy a lot tools a bits and pieces from ebay America, where all of this stuff is plentiful and using significantly cheaper ( often 50%) even taking into account exchange rates and the shipping costs. Just last week I received a new Longacre camber castor gauge that was less than half of what the same thing would cost me in Australia.
It’s well worth a look.

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