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Aston Martin DB-4 project

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  • Aston Martin DB-4 project


    A current project that I'm working on, 1964 Aston Martin DB-4, rear lower panel replacement. The lower section was heavily corroded and had old repair work. All new panels are made out of .050" 3003-H14 aluminum material and will be gas welded to the original body. I'm making all of the parts using my English wheel, blocking hammer and CP planisher. I made the pieces by copying where the factory weld seams were, it made the job easier, following where they put the seams. A challenge that I'm facing is determining the original panel shapes. It has old damage, and poor repair work. It takes some interpretation with radius sweeps and in making profile gauges to determine the correct panel shape. It's a fun project, and will post more pictures as I progress.

    A side note, all of the panels below were made with only using two lower English wheel radius dies 12" radius (Low crown) and a 5" radius (Medium crown). There is a movement here in the States for guys to machine 20 lower dies for the English wheels, thinking that they need a radius lower that matches their panel radius.

    Hope you guys are doing well,


  • #2
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ID:	5254 Top Work Bill, today working on a bit of chassis work on a Ferrari 365 GTC in for front panel work and New door skins & frame work.

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    • #3
      Nice work.
      Very interesting car not many of those were made.
      Perhaps as you go forward with the work you could talk more about lower die radius and how you can get multiple shapes or radius with just one die.
      Looking forward to more pictures of your work on this British classic.
      David Bradbury


      • Bill Tromblay
        Bill Tromblay commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi,I will post more about this in the next few days. Thanks

    • #4
      Click image for larger version  Name:	0F9056D3-D11C-4766-A68E-783C873D07AF.png Views:	0 Size:	374.7 KB ID:	5258 Click image for larger version  Name:	3685C2ED-79E2-4FE2-8B62-3B56C7A6DC5C.png Views:	0 Size:	784.6 KB ID:	5259 Bill early cars are all over the place ... remade this mklll Drophead (14 left) and the N/S door was a 1” lower.... yes 1” , the whole N/S was shorter and sill was cut and shut then gas welded back up.
      plus more.......

      just try your best..... in them days they were in a rush to make money as the D/B 2/4 mkll was slowing in Sales.
      Last edited by Moving molecules .; 04-02-21, 09:15 PM.


      • Bill Tromblay
        Bill Tromblay commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi, Great information to know. You don't see how bad it is, until I hold a radius sweep up to the panel, it wavers all over the place

    • #5
      Good stuff Bill.. well done !
      Peter T.


      • #6

        Thank you for the comments, there is one thing that I could use help with. After I weld the part together, I use a weld shaver and cut most of the weld bead off on the inside and outside of the panel. I wheel the panel thru the weld bead area to remove any distortion and to flatten out the balance of the weld. Every time I do this, I add shape to the panel and the weld bead area from stretching. I then need to shrink the stretch back out and blend it into the panel. Should I be doing it a different way??
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        I use filler rod as I'm more comfortable with it over just fusing the joint. I feel the filler rod also helps with getting good penetration. How do I handle the weld, with out adding shape into the panel? I'm using light pressure only while planishing the weld in the English wheel.


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        • #7
          Hi Bill if you used a TIG the weld bead could be harder with 4043 use 1100 rod or Gas welding the weld is softer.....

          some use Parent metal 3003 H14. Be careful from oil on guillotine blades👍

          or just less pressure on your wheel..... and blend in.

          most people use gas welding and paddle the metal together.... fusion Style.
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          Watch Mick video on Facebook..... he does not use the rod !!!! It’s just there for the odd hole and when he finishes the weld at the end.
          this Fusion weld was 6 foot long.😎

          Mick was from St .Leonards near me...👍 U.K.
          Last edited by Moving molecules .; 06-02-21, 10:37 AM.


          • #8
            Looks really good Bill. Can you move faster with less filler rod? (just throwing this out there as I'm really not there yet with my own O/A ali). We have a guy here in the South Island of New Zealand (Rod Tempero) who makes a lot of replicas. They use 3003 with 4043 filler and weld everything with O/A, file the weld back with a standard body file and planish/wheel.
            Cheers, Richard


            • #9

              For my metal shaped parts I use Oxy/Hydrogen with 1100 filler wire on 3003 aluminum. I like using the filler as it makes it easy for the weld to disappear, once metal finished. I'm always experimenting with using less filler rod, just need more practice Is it Mick Clark on Facebook, if so, we are friends and I will look him up.

              What I'm having trouble understanding in my brain is, if I'm adding material and hammer the weld, how I'm I not adding shape? Even when I blend, it should be adding a little shape to the panel. Is there more that I can do? All good points above.




              • #10
                Yes Mick is very helpful.👍

                Bill ... tell me more about hydrogen ?

                do you need special regulators.

                do you need special hose.

                i’ve heard the gas is very thin?.

                and you cannot use old gas welding torch’s .
                ( because of explosions ????????)

                What are the plus points to using this Gas.

                cleaner Weld joint....?

                What make of torch do you like.
                Last edited by Moving molecules .; 06-02-21, 10:45 AM.


                • #11

                  The Good, Okays and Bads of Hydrogen.

                  Hydrogen is much cleaner burning than Acetylene, the flame burns clear while lit and with aluminum welding, cleanliness is everything. It burns much cooler than acetylene, ( It think it is a 1000deg cooler approx) so it is much closer matched in temperature to the melt point of aluminum and therefore less prone to blowing holes. In the beginning it is easy to melt holes, but with experience you can weld long seams with no issue. Because it is cooler, it allows you to move slow and methodical, instead of fast and crazy. Because the flame is so clean, you only need to flux the filler rod, if using new base material. Less flux = less clean up, flux entrapment and flux clean up on the back side of the part. For welding tanks, where you can't ware brush the back side of the weld, you have less flux to worry about and you can clean it with boiling water and/or acid wash. All of the US WW2 aircraft production welding was done Oxy/Hydrogen, and I like keeping true to the original and keeping that history alive.

                  You do need a special Hydrogen regulator. The operating pressure is 1psi Hydrogen and 1psi, Oxygen. I found a guy who sell fresh rebuilt two stage regulators at a good price with light weigh springs and low pressure diaphragm for both hydrogen and oxygen. They were a couple hundred US dollars, but not to bad in my opinion. You do not need special hoses, I heard the rumor that you will loose hydrogen while it just sits, I have not found that to be true. I have heard, but never seen it written down, that you cant use old torches to hook up to hydrogen with out an explosion. I would not reuse a hose, but I think if you cleaned the torch well, it would be fine. I wouldn't disconnect a torch from Acetylene and hook it direct to Hydrogen, but i think an old torch laying around would be fine. I'm more concerned about oil contamination with Oxygen, that is an explosive combination.

                  Very few people do it. This makes it harder when you have a question or a problem to get good help. I can help and I have found several guys that I can talk to, but it took time to find them. You can't weld steel with it. Hydrogen will cause hydrogen embrittlement in steel and cause cracking it is an aluminum only process. Because of the clear flame, it is hard to set the torch to a neutral flame. An oxidizing flame is a no no, no matter what fuel is used. It takes time to learn how to read the torch set up. Because the flame gives off no light, I have to use an external light to light up the panel, while welding (no big deal but an added step).

                  I use the Meco Midget torch with a gas saver set up and a cast iron base stand. I like it and prefer it over acetylene or Tig for metal shaped panels.

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                  Hope it helps,



                  • #12
                    I had better luck with this weld. I used a lot less filler rod and was able to planish it out a lot quicker with out adding shape. I was thinking about, one of my issues was a "to localized" weld clean up while planishing. Because I would only planish and wheel the weld, it would only stretch the weld and cause a lump. Buy wheeling a wider area, with low pressure it blended in easier. What do you think?
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                    Thanks Bill


                    • #13
                      Thank you so much Bill, that’s the best piece I’ve read on this form of welding....

                      I read a old article for setting the hydrogen flame to use a Fire brick so you can see the flame?.

                      On your Mecco what nozzle size do you like?.

                      glad to see you’re working out.... with your

                      When we have a big Aluminium Job come in l will get the bottle and New separate hoses , yesterday I have ordered a BOC vintage good quality NOS featherlight Gas torch kit.

                      Also trying to get insurance sorted.... Health and safety minefield here in the U.K..

                      again thank you very much Bill, 👍👍👍
                      Last edited by Moving molecules .; 07-02-21, 01:58 PM.


                      • #14
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                        Joe is the only one l know who swears by this type of Welding method.
                        Last edited by Moving molecules .; 07-02-21, 02:04 PM.


                        • #15

                          Can you please please please find the article on setting the flame with a fire brick? I would be very interested in seeing it. I spent the day with Joe Stafford, I drove to his shop in a blizzard snow storm. He is a great guy and does beautiful work. He helped answer some of the questions I had, we spent the morning welding and the afternoon English wheeling a door panel for a 427 aluminum body Cobra. My welds are structurally fine, but didn't have the nicest appearance. Joe had said, "what does it matter, you are cutting it off and planishing it in" True for car stuff, but most airplane parts, the weld is not ground down. He didn't have the good answer to my appearance problem. The other guys that I know that hydrogen weld is Evan Wilcox and Jim Hume on the west coast and Sollise metal shaping on the east coast. Evan and Sollise can be found on instagram, I can send you a link, if you are interested.
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                          For tip sizes, I use one size larger that what is recommended on the tip size chart. I have several vintage books from ALCOA and other aluminum manufactures and they all recommend that, do to the lower temperature of the hydrogen to use one tip size larger. I have one extra book from ALCOA, if you email me your mail to address, I will send it to you. I found it to be very useful. My email address is [email protected]

                          It looks like your repairs are going very well. Will be neatt o see more pictures of the car.