Bodywork, Paint, Interior, Trim, & Wiring

discussions about bodywork, paint, interiors, trim, audio, electrical components, wiring, etc.

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BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5602 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

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English wheel
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: December 07, 2007 10:34AM

I just brought in an english wheel for a job we're working on. We'll modify it to bend long thin tubes from aluminum sheet by changing out the top wheel and flipping the whole thing upside down among other things but I'm going to try to make sure we do it in a way that's reversible. Since it's for making prototypes, eventually we'll be done with it and I'll have the task of disposing of it. Anyone have experience with one of these? I've been told it's mainly used to iron out wrinkles. What are the uses that would make it worth keeping and using up floor space?

Jim


danmas
Dan Masters
Alcoa, Tennessee
(562 posts)

Registered:
10/28/2007 12:11AM

Main British Car:
1974 MGBGT Ford 302

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Re: English wheel
Posted by: danmas
Date: December 07, 2007 11:40AM

Jim,

I've wanted an Eglish wheels since I was 15, and read an article about them. A good craftsman can build an entire car body, using nothing but the English wheel and a welder - compound curves and all. It is for much more than smoothing out wrinkles. Every piece of steel on the MGB can be duplicated using this wheel.


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2529 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

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Re: English wheel
Posted by: rficalora
Date: December 07, 2007 12:11PM

I'm with Dan... An english wheel can be very useful if you know how to use it. There are several sheet metal tools I'd like to have (& learn to use well) -- english wheel, flanger, bead roller, etc... May never get any of them, but the floor space reason is gone since I ran across this a while back... [www.lowbucktools.com].

It's essentially a "multi-tool" of metal working... & for those of us who like to build stuff, the concept here is a set of metal working tools that fit a common frame -- english wheel, bead roller, etc -- EVEN A LOUVER PRESS ;)... you build the frame & get the tools you need as you need them... I ran across it in one of the car magazines & it got great reviews in terms of quality.


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4370 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

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Re: English wheel
Posted by: Moderator
Date: December 07, 2007 01:22PM

I want an English wheel sooooo baaaaaad! I think it would be more accurate to say that an English wheel is for making convex or concave three dimensional shapes from sheetmetal. But there are other tools you need too - a good shrinker, a torch for annealing, flanging tools, bead roller, etc.

I want to recommend a spectacular book I found a couple weeks ago called "Advanced Sheet Metal Fabrication". (Author's name is Timothy Remus. Published by Wolfgang Publications. ISBN 1-929133-12.) Don't be put off by the cover graphic-design, which is ugly. The 300 color photos inside are just amazing... My wife the professional artist was even impressed. This book is good enough to sit out on her coffee table. Even if you never use a single one of the advanced sheetmetal forming techniques in the book, it's still inspirational.

The book shows complete car bodies being made (a replacement body for a 1950's Lotus racecar and also reconstruction of a hand-made antique Alfa Romeo body, as I recall...) Interestingly, although English wheels are used in the book's example projects, there are a lot of cases where the craftsman prefer a Yoder hammer for forming concave panels.

(The Ron Fournier book "Metal Fabricator's Handbook" is also excellent... and actually a LOT more applicable to what we do. I like it so much I have two copies.)


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5602 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: English wheel
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: December 10, 2007 03:29PM

OK, I'm convinced. We'll be running the first test parts tomorrow and if all goes well may be finished with the equipment in a few months. I tend to try and salvage everything usable anyway so that will get put back as it was.

Jim


V6 Midget
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

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Re: English wheel
Posted by: V6 Midget
Date: December 10, 2007 04:08PM

Jim I just got mine a couple of months ago and haven't had much time to practice with it. It's definitely a nice tool to compliment a planishing hammer and a shot bag and mallets to smooth out the ripples caused by these tools, but it will also stretch metal into a curve and depending on how you run the piece through the wheels you can create compound curves with it that are almost impossible any other way. I'm currently working a piece for a lower front valance which has compound curves in three directions. I used a shrinker stretcher to form the general S curve as seen from the top and now am using the wheel to work that so that the face will have a gentle bulge to match the curvature of the front sheet metal on the car. I have both of Ron's books and they are excellent, but still not a lot of information on the English Wheel. I guess it just takes a lot of practice to figure out what it will do and how much pressure to apply to the piece. You'll get lots of practice on you prototype job, enough to figure out if the wheel will be of use to you in the future.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5602 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: English wheel
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: December 13, 2007 08:56AM

We ran some aluminum sheet, maybe 18 or 20 gage. First I swapped out the 8" diameter flat wheel (anvil?) for a 6" one with a urethane face and we used that one with the 2" radius wheel to bend the metal in one axis only. I also inverted the C frame by welding on a small piece of rectangular tubing and drilling a new set of holes in the frame. That worked pretty well and we will continue our modifications to the machine so that we can roll a full circle. Basically I will replace the lower die holder with a blade made from 1/4" plate so that the ends of the piece can approach each other. Since the urethane wheel requires only light pressure to form the bends that should do the job, and it will be removable so that when the job is finished it can be put back as it was. Motorizing the anvil will be the next task.

Jim



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