Started working on the front fenders. Sent the file to programming today and will run 2 sets of the tops only. Still need to figure out a cost effective way to make the corner radius. Have a couple of ideas. The picture below is one I made for mine around 2 years ago and this one is made from 16 ga. Original is 18 ga and that's what the CMD version will be made from. Will also be notched for the side panel. I did mine with a cut off wheel. And yes, I know - the original turn signal boss was spot welded on!
Made the drawing for the front fender radius tooling today. I'll get with the machine shop Monday and as this will require contour machining we'll have to make a model file which is something I can not do. So, I'll have to nominate someone capable and then we'll machine the dies. I'm not 100% on how this is going to work so hopefully the results match the labor involved to make the tooling. If this approach works we'll do the same for the fill pieces on the rear panel.
Tested the tooling today. First part had issues catching the side of the bottom die. We ground a radius on the sides of the die and the second part came out much better but by no means perfect. However, I think this set up is going to work. We are going to make some minor changes to the tooling and try again. I was impressed (on the second part) of how the radii looked. The part with the flare in the middle is the first piece. Here are some pictures:
We modified the top die on Thursday and are going to weld some side guides on the bottom die to control distortion as we do the forming. Yesterday was a corporate holiday for us so we'll get back on it Monday. Updates to follow...
For those of you that like to see how parts are made: quick video of some contour machining done on the top die. Video is showing the .250" radius area of the die being made. Or the bottom lip of the front fender. Machine is a 5 axis Haas (VF-5).
Tested the modified tooling tonight. I'm happy with the results and feel that we can now manufacture a front fender radius piece with consistency. Next will be to fit the corner piece to the fender. The front fender that is pictured is a prototype and I'll adjust the program for better fit up after I complete the fab work. This one was intentionally made with extra material. I have a feeling the first couple will be a little time consuming...
Finished the first front fender tonight. By finish, I mean the welding of the corner piece. Keep in mind that this was done by hand with no welding fixture and this one is not perfect. What this does is proves out the process to make the radius fill piece and give us a reasonable way to manufacture front fenders. While this is only the fender top, I also plan to make the complete fender.
Front fender update: We started machining the weld fixture today. I'm guessing It'll be done tomorrow. Need to make some tweaks to the sheet metal program for the corner piece fit up then we'll run a couple more.
Made some tweaks to the front fender top program today and will run another (2) sets next week. I will verify fit up on my A1. I would like to do this by late next week as Gilbert will be here before you know it and I want to have them ready for the show. Looks like messing around time is coming to an end and it's time to focus on the next batch of 151 parts.
Starting working on the second set of front fender tops tonight. Brought home new parts and the welding fixture that we made. When we formed the parts we made them fit snug to the weld fixture and this is going to make for very consistent parts to work with. Biggest challenge when working with material this thin (.048") is having weld seams as flush as possible so when the blending is done you're not grinding through the material. I'm going to have to come up with a fixture for trimming the radius fill piece as this is rather tedious. However, current fixture will produce very high quality fender tops. I still have to weld and grind but this is where I'm at:
Started to test fit the front fender yesterday only to find out that I made a 1/4" error in the length. As my A1 has some front end damage I called several 838 members and was able to get an accurate measurement. Took the fender to work today and made the correction, test fit tonight and we are good to go.
I will try to have some of these at the Gilbert, PA show.
Made some corrections to the front fender top drawings tonight. Also added the holes for the weld nuts for black out light (driver side), turn signal wire loop and hood latch. As we have a weld nut gun we will add them to the part. Will run another test batch but I think they're good to go. Driver side will have the stiffener spot welded under the black out light and I'll have tooling made for forming the turn signal mount. After this I will go back and finish the corner fill pieces for the rear panel.