Need info from those who've made their own panels w/ raised ribs

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Mar 19, 2010
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I'm going to rig up to make my own floor pans and repair patches for my wheel well tops on my 83 BJ42. I want everything to be identical to factory, so I would like to get some fabrication/tooling tips from the guys who have done this before and stayed true to the original stampings.

Is making your own press with a bottle jack (or two) and flat bar as your dies the best/cost effective way or is there another (besides buying them premade)? Also, if I go this route, is it possible to get the rounded ends of the ribs by rounding the flatbar that I'm using as my dies or do I have to cut/hammer/body fill the ends of the rib to get them to look right? Am I going to have uncontrollable warpage/creasing/cracks if I try to make the rounded ends?

The plan for my dies is to get some 3/4 to 1" thick flatbar, cut to appropriate width, bevel the edges and round the edges the same as factory or slightly smaller/steeper angle on both the top and bottom pieces of flat bar and making the lengths adjustable by making the dies in 3 pieces so that I can use the same rounded ends , but cut different straight lengths of flat bar to accomodate making longer/shorter ribs and just tack them together.

Any help/ideas or input is appreciated.
 
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Jun 15, 2008
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I'm going to rig up to make my own floor pans and repair patches for my wheel well tops on my 83 BJ42. I want everything to be identical to factory, so I would like to get some fabrication/tooling tips from the guys who have done this before and stayed true to the original stampings.

Is making your own press with a bottle jack (or two) and flat bar as your dies the best/cost effective way or is there another (besides buying them premade)? Also, if I go this route, is it possible to get the rounded ends of the ribs by rounding the flatbar that I'm using as my dies or do I have to cut/hammer/body fill the ends of the rib to get them to look right? Am I going to have uncontrollable warpage/creasing/cracks if I try to make the rounded ends?

The plan for my dies is to get some 3/4 to 1" thick flatbar, cut to appropriate width, bevel the edges and round the edges the same as factory or slightly smaller/steeper angle on both the top and bottom pieces of flat bar and making the lengths adjustable by making the dies in 3 pieces so that I can use the same rounded ends , but cut different straight lengths of flat bar to accomodate making longer/shorter ribs and just tack them together.

Any help/ideas or input is appreciated.


I would think you'd be ahead of the game to make your panels, and then just take them to a fag shop and have them rolled. Unless you plan on doing a bunch of it I don't see it being worth your time and money. On top of that I'd be surprised if the average bottle jack had the stones to stamp your sheet metal. Twenty or thirty ton isn't much when it comes to stamping.
 

3DAMAN!

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There is a very good write-up with some really detailed pictures some where on this web site I think.
I don't think the guy was in in the US. And I don't think it was the man in Pakistain eather.
He made his own panels and hammered them in with a few simple hand tools.
Maybe some one else will remember it and post up.
 
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I built a press with some old I-beam. The thing weighs in around 500lbs and has a 20ton bottle jack (because I was too cheap to buy a 40ton). Anyway I also built a press brake. It easily bends 20ga, 18ga, 1/8th in plate, 3/16ths, even up to 1/2in plate with very little effort. I assure you it would work fine with pressing ribs into sheet metal, but it is probably easier to have someone roll some ribs into it. For a one time operation. Now if you see yourself building more of these, make you own tooling, but not real economical for a one time operation.

Depending on the material thickness you could use a shot bag and a hammer and form your own ribs.
 
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thanks for the replies. I usuaully get my stuff made at a sheetmetal shop anyways, but thought I might try it myself... like someone said, it's easier that do get someone else to do it. I thought of hammering them, but would they be full of peen marks? I might even cut some ribs out of an old vehicle that are identical in dimensions and then weld them in if all else fails.
 

scottm

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Have you gotten a quote from your sheetmetal shop? I have a shop that does ribs and louvers for me much cheaper than I can do it, and I've got welders and fabricators and sheet metal tooling.
 
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not yet, but I just got my spot weld cutter and some new sheet metal tools to start cutting panels out to bring in to get a quote. I'd like to see if they can do identical ribs though... that's the only thing I'm worried about. Close isn't really an option for me, except for maybe the front floor pans. I just need to patch the areas where the roll cage bolts to the wheel well tops, so they have to match the others exactly... either that or I'll have to cut the whole wheel well tops off.
 
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yes it would be easy, but considering how simple most of the panels are, it will be way cheaper to make them or get them made locally. Besides, judging from most of the floor pans I see for sale, they don't look exactly like factory. I need the two front floor pans, rear posts, wheel well tops only and one quarter panel (not completely rusted around wheel well spotwelds, but ruined from a previous grinding/bondo job). There is so much undercoating on the rig that all the rust is from the inside out. The driver's side floor pan that I cut out looks like new on the bottom, except for the holes from the top where it is pocked/rusted marked all over.

I've been reading up on making my own panels and I found something on a VW site about this guy in southeast Asia that restores old vw's and he hand hammers all his panels with a dull chisel and they come out looking better than anything. These vw panels he's making are more complicated than anything on a cruiser. It would blow your mind to see the simple tools he uses. I lost my bookmark for that forum though and can't find the damn thing again. I tried making some raised ribs using his techniques and it does work... I just need to make a dull chisel up that is a little wider and set my workspace up better. It just takes some time, templates and technique. I'm still toying with making a press. This may be the simplest, least time consuming way. You don't need a 100 ton press to put in one rib at a time and do it without warping your piece as long as your using real heavy sheet metal from what I can figure out.
 
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check this guy out in the Phillipines who makes all of his own VW panels by hand with a hammer, dull chisel and block of wood. Vintage World Rides :: View topic - Restoring on Splitty 67 Double cab 2nd page
He's making much more complicated floor panels than on a LC and doing a nice job. I tried making a raised rib the way he does it and it works, it just takes some practice and time... lots of time. Also, from what I've read on metalmeet forums, all you need is to make a male die out of hardwood with a router and use a piece of urethane rubber or even a rubber floor mat on the bottom and press your ribs in with a 20ton press. It works the quickest and easiest without distortion from what I can tell and would be the best way to make ribs for the cruiser, especially for wheel wells.
 
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There are many different ways to form metal. Much of it can be done with a hammer and an old stump. You don't need modern tools. They do however make it much faster and easier.
 
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I'm on my summer vacation now, so I'm going to get a 20 ton hydraulic/pneumatic jack and make my press frame this week. I expect to have something I'll not be ashamed to show in a week or two.
 

bobm

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4 Runner NB. If you dont have any luck send me pics and dimensions of the parts u need. I will see what I can do. I make pans for The FJ55s
IMG_0623.jpg
 

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