Fabricating an E-Type bulkhead panel -- Warning; pic heavy!!

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Offline goodfellow

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Fabricating an E-Type bulkhead panel -- Warning; pic heavy!!
« on: January 14, 2012, 07:59:24 PM »
Here is the culprit. This is the driver's side bulkhead panel that encloses the inner and outer rocker panels. As you can see, this side was pretty trashed because the battery sits right next to this panel, and the acid just ate away at the metal. Not only that, the upper tray behind this panel also was rusted and corroded.

This little project is is a bit more complicated in that a curved lip is required on this panel. First thing to do is get the old panels out of the way so that a good template can be made. Lots of spot welds to drill and separate.

Once the area has been cleaned and straightened a bit, a cardboard template is made -- this takes quite some time to get correct.

The template is transferred to 18 ga. sheetmetal and prepared to be formed. All the bends are pretty straightforward

To form the raised panel edge, a plywood hammerform is made. I took two pieces of scrap 3/4" plywood and screwed them together with drywall screws to make a sandwich.

I then transferred only the curved raised edge section to the plywood. At this point, the plywood needs to be cut to match the curved edge. You can use a jig saw, but I used a bandsaw to make things move along quicker.

Now I separated the two pieces of the plywood sandwich and clamped the sheetmetal between the halves; being careful to line up the edges of the metal to the edges of the plywood. I used "C" clamps to hold everything together.

Ay this point I used a compass to mark the final edge width of the sheet -- this is just a "ballpark" step. The final edge trimming will take place once the edge is formed 90 degrees.

Now using a soft hammer (I used a plastic mallet), the edge is bent over very slowly and evenly. By using a soft mallet, the edge will shrink and keep "kinking" to a minimum.

A rolled over section was made to stiffen the panel's upper leading edge (just like in the original)

The finished product mocked up on the bulkhead --

This took about two hours from start to finish. A new panel would have been about $75, but only made of light gauge metal. Mine is made out of 18gauge and will be much stronger than OEM

While I was at it, the rear tray section was also cut out and a new piece of 18ga was fabricated --

Just some minor adjustments to make, and some spot weld holes to drill, and the panels can be welded in place.

Hope this is helpful to some of your own metal forming projects.