Media Coverage on Specialty Cars

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Allot of people think that building your own parts from raw material is too difficult and costly in the long run and can only. It's not like you're building an engine-there is no set way to accomplish the task but some basic techniques are used. The materials , how to bend and shape the pieces and the ability to use math to find the dimensions and basic welding. Tri-C Engineering was highlighted to help show these basic skills to create this chrome dashboard for this '53 Buick convertible.

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Tri-C used a 1x3-inch piece of 0.090-inch-wall 1018 rectangular steel tubing to create this particular piece. A stop was made from a 1/4-inch-thick strip of steel plate and to get the radius a piece of 3-inch-diameter 3/8-inch-wall steel tubing was used. The fixture Tri-C created was used to bend each piece of 1/4-inch-round steel and bent to the point shown above. Since it springs back to a 90-degree bend the location of the bend isn't that critical because a grinder will be used to match t

In most cases intense heat could warp small pieces like these beyond the point of straightening. The TIG welder eliminates this problem by allowing more precise control of the heat.

To bend the steel a fixture was welded together using some scrap metal. (Saving pieces of scrap metal is very convenient and shouldn't be thought of as throwaway scarp!

A sparkling chrome face plate custom built is hinged to the dashboard that folds down to access the controls of the radio. Since it is chromed a 1/4-inch-round 1018 cold-rolled steele will be used instead of aluminum. More than 50 feet of steel into 10-inch lengths and then the ends were ground to a smooth surface on a belt sander.

The next step was to compare the bent pieces and then run through a slip roller twice to approximate the shape of the stock insert.

The photo to the left was run through the slip roller. To keep the steel rods from heating up a Hobart TIG Wave 250 welder was used with 1/16-inch steel filler rod to weld the 1/4-inch round pieces of the framework.

Once all the raw materials were prepared, a fixture using 1/4-inch-thck aluminum plate was fashioned to use as the base. 1/4-inch round tube bent by hand was used to match the bottom shape of the stock insert used as a guide and 0.40-inch-thick pieces of aluminum sheet were used as spacers giving this old '53 convertible a custom sparkling chrome dashboard.