This is part two of a series of posts on the making of a custom alumium dashboard to fit into any 1929 Ford Roadster. Click here for part one on the concept, and part three on the installation. Here I explain in a little more detail in the process of the basic manufacture of this product.
First, I made a pattern out of thick cardboard to draw out my sheet metal blanks. I then took this pattern and drew out ten blanks on the aluminum 18swg sheet metal material. I planned on producing ten custom dashboards to be time efficient, you repeat each operation ten times them move onto the next step, and so on.
Next I marked and drilled tooling holes. Then I took the first blank and seated it into the jig/hammerform. The hammerform, with sheet metal inside, was then seated on a 50-ton press in my workshop. Next, I placed female tooling onto male and cranked up the 50-ton pressure, sliding the tooling back and forth on the bed in between pressing intervals. Oil was used between the panel and the tooling to avoid stress cracks. Once the process is completed, I had a part press panel in hand. I repeated the operation on the other nine blanks.
The next stage is to finish off the definition of the panel by using ‘jig chasing’. Chasers are much like chisels, various shaped tips commonly made of wood, nylon, steel, aluminum, and titanium and each made by the the craftsman. The idea is that you ‘chase’ the material into the the defining lines of the jig beginning with a chaser with a larger material contact surface and gradually working your way down to a smaller tip to define crisp style lines.
Photos of a 1929 Ford custom dashboard creation tools