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  • Fitting panels

    I posted on the “other forum” but you guys seem a lot quicker and more interested in helping the new guys out.
    So what file type and tooth number are best for cleaning up the edges of panels.
    Let’s say I rough cut a panel I wheel it up now I trim it close to the cut line then I am guessing I use a file to dial it in to a clean edge to weld to the next panel.
    So if that’s the right way then what file type and tooth style and number do you guys recommend?
    I am working currently on 3003 aluminum .060 thick

    If there’s another way to get the edge trimmed up and ready to weld then I would like to know the best process and the tools needed.

    what do you recommend for trimming the panel and filing etc... for the finished edge that will be butt welded to the adjacent panel?

    I am really not sure what the best tool and process is for getting the edge trimmed up to the finished weld edge.
    I have 2 electric cutters one that the FSP guy uses and then the other kind that cuts the thin piece in the middle out ( hope you guys understand) and I have left right and straight hand cutters I also have a metal cutting bandsaw.
    so please let me know what’s best to use and how and if files are being used what is recommended I have no problem buying tools just want to buy what I need to do the job do it right and do it well.
    Thanks

  • #2
    I have several English files that I use, generally along the edge. Not sure of tooth counts, but they are all higher tooth count than a typical English file. A regular mill or bastard cut file will load too fast but may be better in some spots. Keeping them clean is important. I normally use a file card/brush and pick instead of wax or soap.

    To file the edge square, I do it similar to how I was trained to cut a square edge in stone. Mark the desired line. Bevel from the waste edge to that marked line. Then slowly file the edge square as desired to the marked line. If you're using a good light source, you'll be able to watch the existing bevel until it disappears. Time to stop.

    i have hand snips, a B2 Bevery shear, bandsaw and an electric Kett shear. The Hand snips or Bevery are the best for a close cut.

    Hope this helps. Btw. Welcome to the forum,

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    • #3
      Thanks for the quick reply.
      i had to look up English file lol but I found it is the same as a body file so thanks again.
      so the best process is to use whatever you have that makes a clean distortion free cut and cut as close as possible then file to fit correct?
      If you have any pointers on the best or easiest way to get panels matched up for welding I am all ears. The better the butt gap the better/ easier it is to weld.

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      • #4
        Are you gas welding the joints or Tig ?
        Peter T.

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        • #5
          Aluminium work requires files with a TPI no. Around 8 teeth per inch , l use a old body file blade... also degrease the panel first ... then I like to use red Scotch-Brite to clean the sheet .... you can see why degrease first so you don’t rub the grease into the metal...😉
          Also do the same with the welding rod of Choice.

          learn to use run-on tabs so you can keep the heat going before you start welding.

          do not mix metals....😉👍

          cheers Matt 🇬🇧
          Last edited by Moving molecules .; 06-28-2020, 04:18 PM.

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          • #6
            Peter,
            I will be using gas.
            We are welding 3003 .060” (1.6mm) aluminum
            I’m really interested in how you clean up one edge then fit the other edge to match.
            I would like to hear the whole process if possible do you over lap and then scribe a line then trim and file fit?
            that seams like the best way to me but I have never done anything but blanks that were cut straight.

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            • #7
              Over on the Judean Peoples' Front, Kent White showed a bloody nifty file holder gizmo for a short piece of body file blade, specially designed to file an edge for fittup. I want one! Blade clips in and the top has a flange which rests on the top of the panel. Clever.
              Cheers, Richard

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Bearwen View Post
                Peter,
                I will be using gas.
                We are welding 3003 .060” (1.6mm) aluminum
                I’m really interested in how you clean up one edge then fit the other edge to match.
                I would like to hear the whole process if possible do you over lap and then scribe a line then trim and file fit?
                that seams like the best way to me but I have never done anything but blanks that were cut straight.
                You need to have the cut very accurate to the scribe line ,then simply use a body file to take any imperfections out from the cut line , check the joint , and if OK beveled all edges with a fine file or a burr cleaner . All you need to do is to make sure that the two cuts are almost perfect NO GAP ! Then you will be OK .tack the panels every inch till the end, BUT! ! Be sure to start your first tack at least two inches inwards from the starting edge, then once the panel is all tacked ...go back to the front and tack it there. Once that is done make the flux in to a paste, then place the paste on the inside and out side where the weld is going to be + on your filler rod use a carbonizing flame to weld . If you are not familiar with a carbonizing flame ?...... Means ...get a neutral flame first, then back off the oxygen till you get a feather

                Peter T.
                Last edited by Peter Tommasini; 06-30-2020, 12:29 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by skintkarter View Post
                  Over on the Judean Peoples' Front, Kent White showed a bloody nifty file holder gizmo for a short piece of body file blade, specially designed to file an edge for fittup. I want one! Blade clips in and the top has a flange which rests on the top of the panel. Clever.
                  ive got a very unique NOS box opener that I've had for 20-25 yrs, made to hold a special razor blade to remove a single side of a box. Probably 1950's, never seen one like it but thought it was a great idea to use for a file handle to do edges. It has a similar edge wrap configuration to guide an accurate but fast cut.

                  I've not done anything with it yet, mainly because I've never gotten any spare new files to cut up. I designed and made a larger holder for a full-size spare vixen file. this small one was next. Just another project....

                  Will have to post a pic


                  Edit.. Some pics of my Flash box opener. It's designed to use as a draw cutter, very ergonomic fit into your hand thumb-forefinger-web with a small circular divot rest for your index fingertip. Blade faces the user so it cuts on the pull stroke using proprietary blades. Very cool.

                  Click image for larger version

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                  Last edited by cliffrod; 06-30-2020, 06:46 PM.

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                  • #10
                    More pics of the ergonomic detail-

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                    I generally prefer a larger purchase or contact area with a tool because I tend to grip some tools too hard, especially when I use them for an extended period. Larger contact areas help me relax but still control the tool well.

                    the other quick down & dirty edge filer I thought about was to use a short piece of approx 1" id black or white plastic (pcv) water pipe. Make a cut to remove 1/4 of the pipe,leaving a 270 degree section. Then use bondo or epoxy or jb weld or similar to glue a section of file across the equator inside the pipe. Drill some holes through the pipe if needed in case epoxy needs a better way to grip. Hope this makes sense. The protruding approx 90 degree portion of pipe can ride on the panel. Not as easy to keep square or replace the file, but pretty fast compared to making a fancy handle version.

                    back to studio...

                    Edit- just looked up Flash box opener. Guess it's been on the market for 50 yrs, so is probably a good design.
                    Last edited by cliffrod; 06-30-2020, 07:07 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Peter thanks for the info still working on perfecting the gas weld in aluminum. I can weld steel no problem but aluminum is a little more challenging but we are getting there.
                      I need to buy some files and get to practicing my trim and fit work and then work on my welding.
                      What do you recommend for scribing the line in wood working a sharp knife edge makes a great mark but I believe machinist often use a sharpened scribe for marking
                      thanks again for all the replies

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