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oldtuckunder

Sheet Metal Nibblers?

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Hi Folks

 

Since my early 20's I have managed to keep away from tin bashing, but I need to turn a sows ear of a Vitesse Bonnet  I have just picked up into a competition one to save my perfect one from accidental damage.

 

So I'm going to have to do a bit of tin cutting!

 

Have some 0.9mm sheet steel guillotined to the major dimensions but have a few holes to cut the largest of which is the grill aperture which I recon is about 5ft of nibbling, what do I use?

 

A quick ebay search gives me a number of choices

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/bhp/sheet-metal-nibbler

 

From £12 hand nibblers, through £20 air nibblers, £30 nibblers to fit electric drill, and then £200 machines

 

What do I go for bearing in mind that I don't want to make a career of this, but aslo don't want to get 6" in and wish I'd bought something else.

 

Any advice?

 

Alan 

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Drill holes at the corners, and use a padsaw.

Or drill lots of holes, and use the padsaw less

I'd use my air-powered hacksaw!

John

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Hello Oldtuckunder,

 

An angle grinder with modern thin cutting discs are fast and accurate for straight cuts, otherwise a jigsaw with fine toothed blades are good if you have curved cuts. Ideally cut a little inside your cutting line to allow for wander and finish with standard aviation snips.

 

Alec

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The expensive air-powered nibblers are good.  The cheapo drill powered ones, not so much.  I bought one years ago and to be fair it worked reasonably well until it wore out - which didn't take very long.  I was making some long cuts as I was making repair sections for my Herald wheel arches and it just about lasted for those.  The replacement parts cost 90% the cost of the whole thing.  It was fearsome noisy too.

 

After that I was given a nice Bosch jigsaw, which I still have (though it looks a bit battered) and used that with the finest toothed blades available.  It works pretty well but is also fearsome noisy.

 

1mm cutting discs in a grinder are excellent, if a little hazardous - Chris likes this method, but I keep expecting to find stray fingers.....

 

Also you should not under estimate what can be achieved with a set of DECENT compound aviation snips.  The Toolstation ones are NOT decent.........

 

Nick

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90 percent of the time I use a pair of Wiss tin snips. Forget the 3 for £15 sets. Just chalk and cheese. I have owned an air nibbler for 15 years, never used it. I use air shears for the odd long straight cuts and they are excellent. But in my experience tin snips over a nibbler all day long.

 

Mark 

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Having cut probably more than my fair of patches*,

I am another whose preference is to use a (Bosch) jigsaw.

 

It is not the fastest way and it is certainly noisy but it is accurate and controllable.

Place a wooden pallet out flat, use G- clamps and ear defenders!

On occasions I have cut 2mm sheet steel.

 

For small sections, I am inclined to use a hacksaw (with cobalt blades).

 

 

 

Ian.

 

* (In 1994 I put a whole 8x4' sheet into a D-reg  Rover 213, plus a whole lot of Dolomite door skins

just to get one more MOT. The madness of youth.)

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If you enjoy working with metal a quality angle grinder and a quality nibbler are essential.The debry from the nibbler though most be controled or it will become part of you life.

Cutting pieces of sheet metal with a angle grinder leves an edge that needs to be cleaned up and is not as acurate as a nibble especialy if the cut is not straight but there are thing you can

 cut with an angle grinder that you can't cut with a nibbler. Also even a good quality nibbler does not like to cut stainless steel

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Hello Tony,

 

using Duck Oil or WD40 also helps as it prevent clogging of the blade, always a problem with aluminium.

I also use a portable tct portable circular saw for full sheets, especially useful if cutting thicker sheets.

 

Alec

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Well not so much Project Binkey as Project Dinkey, but thought if they can build a Mini from scratch, I ought to at least be able to slap a few pieces of tin together to patch up a competition Vitesse bonnet. And I must say not having beaten any tin into shape for 40 years I am rather pleased with the results. Still have to get a friend to weld it up, its all held in place by self tappers at the moment, but getting there. Did buy a pair of good Tin Snips as recommended as being the bee's knees by the steel stockholder, but actually they were crap, OK for cutting off an odd corner but any decent cut length and they were just too bulky and meant I had to keep bending sheet out of the way as I cut. Found a very ancient pair of sheers in a drawer that look more like pointy scissors i.e. the blades are vertical to the cut line rather than horizontal and found I could cut really nice long curves and straight lines. For the grill opening I resorted to a Jig Saw.

 

Rather pleased to get a curve on the box section on the lower grill aperture.  After welding and application of filler (going to fibre matt the wheel arch edges so I can remove all the lip and gain an extra 1/2" of tyre room) I'm hoping that it will look reasonable at speed and from 30ft+  :yes:  And the Armco isn't going to look quite so frightening after I discovered how much it would cost to replicate my perfect original bonnet.

 

For £40, £60 delivery from way north, £10 for shot blasting, £20 of 0.9mm Sheet Steel (plus got enough left over to do about another 5) and allowing £100 for fillers, primers and paint, I think I have a cheap bonnet (well I guess if you don't count the time).

 

Haven'd decided if I will cutthe holes for the side/indicator light units, or just go for cheap main/dip headlight units that come with sidelights, and fit the inner sidelight with an amber LED bulb and use as the indicator.

 

Alan

 

Piece of Poo as it arrived!

 

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Depends on the job in hand, i'm on my 2nd drill attachment nibbler lovely piece of kit for thin sheet, the hand nibbler not much use apart from straight edges, don't use the shears much at all to be honest.

 

Wax is your friend for cutting ali with a jigsaw or carbide bit.

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not a Brazilian John but don't let me stop you.

 

What i meant is that with carbide cutters / peanut grinders they clog easy on ali, so rub a crayon or a candle on them first, makes it easier to de-clog.

RR

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Learn a dodge every day!.

 

Have you tried the melted candle wax on a seized nut/bolt one?

I have - it works!

John

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Well my Project Dinky Competition Bonnet progresses, Now in paint, all I have to do is sort the electrics, put on a few bits of trim, and it should be ready to fit. Mind you at current progress rate the season will be over first! Mind you I blame Craig as I started out wanting a rough old bonnet that I didn't care about but a bit of OCD must have wafted through reading Craig's thread so I couldn't stop myself step by step improving it as i went!

 

Anyway my question, having decide that Mat Black would be great for the top of the bonnet, two reasons, 1) I think its a bit evocative of 60/70's Rally Cars and 2) I don't think my spraying skills are up to doing that area in dense colour!  I will of course claim its a deliberate effect to remove heat from the under bonnet!   Ah the question I keep forgetting, so there it is in nice Mat Black, but I notice that dust/finger marks seem to have a great attraction for the Mat finish. So what can I do?  Its just as sprayed, I haven't polished, laquered or anything yet, any suggestions? Just wash it? try polish and hope it doesn't go a sort of Satin, open to suggestions.

 

Alan 

 

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