I'm back in from the "Redneck Roundup" metalshaping get-together in Rock Hill. This was a three day gathering of 40-45 people from all over the United States, plus Per "MetalmanSweden" from Sweden, and another talented metalshaper, Ben Van Berlo from Holland. I made new friends and learned a lot from watching the other guys work on their projects and the various presentations throughout the weekend. Great bunch of people and I hope to attend again next year.
One of the things I learned more about was the "flexible shape pattern". I've seen pictures of them posted on the allmetalshaping.com forums but didn't know anything about them. One of the presentations on Friday included a brief discussion on them so I thought that the passenger side fenderwell lip would be a good place to try one out.
The concept is to use reinforced shipping tape to make a non-deforming yet flexible pattern that shows how much shape a panel has so you can accurately determine how much shrinking or streching the panel needs. It also helps determine if an area of a panel has bends only- no stretching/shrinking needed to arrive at that particular shape.
I used a layer of blue painters tape as the first layer, being careful not to overlap anywhere. Then I used a single layer of reinforced tape on the spots I thought would need to be stretched, and a double layer (at opposing angles) on the area that I though was only bent- the inner flange. Once it's pulled off the panel (the painters tape makes it easy to remove) you use baby powder to kill the adhesive so it can be handled without it sticking to everything.
I didn't get a picture of it before I had removed it and used baby powder on it so I taped it back in place for a quick pic.
It doesn't look like much pulled off until you weigh down the spots that will lay completely flat, in this case the inner edge. If it will easily lay down with no wrinkels or bucking you know that that area only needs bending to arrive at its final form.
The ruffles along the outer edge won't lay flat. You can see that there is "more" tape for that section than a straight/flat piece so the new metal needs to be stretched in that area.
I cut a blank out, using the flat section of the tape pattern to mark out the inner flange's curve. I probably would have made this in a straight section and used the brake to make the first bend, then stretched and shrunk each side to curve it. With the shape pattern, I already had the correct curve of the flange so I could go ahead and cut it to shape. Once the piece was cut out, I set up the bead roller with mis-matched dies to make a makeshift tipping die to get the curved bend started.
Initial bend and stretching.
I had some leftover 1/8" plate in the scrap pile that had the same radius as the fender opening. I smoothed the edge and bent it to the same shape as the opening so I could use it as a dolly to form the edge over. This supported the edge, and a piece of tubing hammered beside it made the flared edge.
It's roughed in, still needs some fine tuning to match the shape of the opening, and to match the proper gradual increase in flare from top to bottom.