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Curtis Style Hairpins, built to order

We just built this Curtis style hair pin set for a customer. He wasn’t happy about the quality he was getting from other sources so after relaying some dimensions we have these.

Need a pair just like these? $200.00 for the set as you see them.

Need something a bit different? Drop us a line!

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Machine tool repair and rebuilding

I was given a derelict, Italian made cold saw by a very generous customer who owns an aviation repair shop. He could no longer use the machine as the guard was broken. I sat on it for years  and finally got the thing wired up to see if it even worked, it works just fine except for the coolant pump which seized up and is very obsolete. Without coolant the very expensive blades do not last at all.

I finally had enough of a lull in customer work to put some work on this machine. The guard was held on with a plastic collar. This collar has to have a quick release to make changing the cutting blade easier and it had to be fairly compact to maximize the cutting area of the blade. I found a grinder guard with a nice over-center release mechanism I could re-purpose and put in a day of labor and head scratching to build this aluminum collar with a double jointed hinge that works very well.

With the mechanical pump being obsolete, I could have repaired it but chose to install a more modern electric coolant tank and foot pedal switch. I drilled and tapped the base for a fitting in the back of the original sump and fabricated a new tray to mount the new Little Giant sump pump. I then enclosed the front and sides of the cabinet with 0.060″ aluminum panels held on by Dzus fasteners in case I need to get access to the pump. The panels should keep the majority of the dirt and grime that makes my “dirty room” what it is.

Notice the small foot switch inside the cabinet. I sourced that from Mc Master Carr for $25.00.

The original cover for the coolant reservoir was broken and filthy. I tried to save it but gave up and sliced up a section of 1/4″ aluminum and machined the sump tray on one side and punched a few holes in it to mimic the stock cover. Also needed to make some hardware to hold it down tight.

And it’s ready for service!

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9th Annual Open House Party

WHEW! What a blow out!

Three weeks ago I could not have told you if we were going to be able to do this but everything pulled together at 10 after the last minute. Aaron and Jim smoked their pork to perfection all over again. Lorna and Loretta worked without reward and Nick Flores did an 11th hour DJ for us. Fantastic.  We figure we served over 120 people, and some even got second helpings.

Chip raffled off a $150 gift certificate with a 50/50 drawing, and we were able to kick back some extra $ to the help.  Terry McG won the whole deal, congratulations!

I had quite a few ask what our demo was going to be but because of my work schedule I wasn’t able to finish the helve hammer and shrinker stretcher stands in time. But what I did accomplish got rave reviews. Even had one of our friends want to take the hammer home and display it in his living room. I did see people experimenting with the tools, that’s always cool. We have always been hands on around here so seeing Tom Roth showing the next generation of metal bashers how a shrinker and bead rollers work was pretty cool.

Let’s hope this next year is much better than this one and for our 10th annual open house we can do something truly special


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Our condolences for our friends at AZ Streetrods

Rod and crew,

This comes as a shock to me. One of my worst fears in operating a business is to lose everything to a fire. Rod is old school Phoenix hot rodding. A national standout and someone I am glad to call a friend. As I understand he did have an insurance policy and they are already setting up plans for rebuilding. Let’s hope the red tape doesn’t entangle them for long.

Cheers my friends!

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Machine building service

Our background is in fabricating. This reaches beyond just building cars, but to industrial equipment as well. From building simple fixtures to short run low tonnage stamping and forming and as far out as full machine building of a complex nature.

Recently we built new movable stands for our shrinker/stretcher machines. Their modular design allows for reconfiguration for different styles of head units to stave off obsolescence. Designed in our 3D solid modeling software, cut on the CNC plasma and press brake formed the 1/4″ steel body is fully TIG welded. Future machines will be welded with Dual Shield MIG to save time. The pedal arms are cut from 3/8″ steel and are bronze bushed with 3/4″ CR axles and all high quality hardware was used. This is meant to last.

3D solid model of the shrinker/stretcher stand
Using the new shrinker stand

And we are now in process of building a new Helve Hammer/Planishing hammer hybrid. This hammer will be modular and reconfigurable also.  This machines primary function is for sheet metal forming. Traditional Helve hammers are very large and hit very hard. Mostly used by armorers and for roughing in compound curves in heavy gauge sheet metal, our needs require a softer touch. The purpose of this machine is for the rapid forming of automotive body panel and trim. It will have multiple hammer arms and drive linkage to tailor the style of hit from a heavy fall of a Helve to a rapid plannishing action.

The body is made fro 3/8″ and 1/2″ HR A36 steel and will be welded with Dual Shield. The stabilizing legs are 1 1/4″ 0.125″ DOM tube and will be gusseted. The body assembly will be mounted to the floor with anchors and high density polyurethane mounts and machine feet for leveling. This will absorb some of the vibration and dampen the machine for slightly better user comfort.

Helve Hammer hybrid base and arm

Helve hammer drive system detail
Helve Hybrid base tack welded together

Earlier this week we produced a simple stamping die to press a design into 18 gauge sheet metal for a firewall on the ongoing 1931 Model A sedan build. This die and punch was made from 3/16″ HRPO A36 steel and will actually last on a short production run.

Die and punch set for firewall design
First pressing test

These are just a few recent examples of what we can do for you.  Feel free to contact us about your project, fixture table, art design, structure or small machine. We have the experience in metal fabrication and forming , tube bending, notching and pneumatic power, hydraulic power, plumbing and and mechanical power transmission to meet your goals. We can build from your spec or if you need our design services to turn your napkin sketch into a reality, we are here to service your needs.

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1931 Model A build up: Front Suspension

Last left off with the frame fab, we have done a ton since.

This HAMB thread covers quite a bit of the progress:

This is one of those things that gets overlooked in the details. The aftermarket has come up with some stellar components and some not so stellar. But when you use high volume production parts, your car will look just like everyone elses. This car does use SoCal hair pins and a SoCal forged heavy beam axle but that’s about where it all ends.

This car runs the spring behind the axle, what is commonly known as “suicide” and requires special batwings or hair pins to mount the spring and carry the entire load of the front of the car. Not one to skimp out we cut and machined a nice pair for this car. Our initial mock up was using the supplied SoCal stainless steel pieces. Very nice with a shock mount integrated. Just not the parts we really wanted.

With a way to attach the spring to the axle, we needed to attach the hair pins to the frame. The shape of the frame plus the location gave us a few different options. Most people would weld a tube or bung into the frame to attach a HEIM or bushing to. We opted for stainless steel tie rod ends from So Cal and fabricated this nifty little plate that cancels the angle between the frame and hair pin.

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Product Showcase: 1932 Ford bolt-in K-member legs

The missing link(s) in your stock 1932 Ford frame, these bolt in legs turn your K-member into a full ’33 and up style X-member increasing chassis stiffness greatly. These legs are made from 10 gauge Cold Rolled Steel and formed in our press brake to mimic the look of a factory made part. Drilling holes in your frame is not required. These use the existing transmission mount bolts and the rear fender bolt locations. We have included a third mounting bolt hole location that would fall inside the rear fender if you desire to install it.

Lower bridge piece not included.

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Product Showcase: Early Oldsmobile engine mounts

The first Oldsmobile overhead valve engines are definitely one of the coolest, vintage engines you could put in your hot rod. The availability and variety of accessories makes the early Olds a winner in our book but mounting them can rack the brains of the novice installer. The stock tricycle mount works fine if you have a stock trans, however, if you don’t want to run a Hydro your engine mounting scheme hits a brick wall.

Ross Racing Engines has provided some stellar adapters to mount manual and modern GM transmissions to these engine. We use one of their adapters in the current ’31 Sedan build using a Tremec TKO 500. The loss of the stock Hydro means the loss of the rear engine/transmission mounts. It makes sense to use the mounting pad on the Tremec and mount the engine more conventionally. This was the idea behind the vintage Hurst mounts, we went a slightly different route. CNC cut from 1/4″ steel plate, formed and TIG welded, we picked up the stock engine mounting holes in the timing cover. The mounts are made from Energy Suspension universal polyurethane mounts, we machined the aluminum cups to restrain the bushing and add a bit of class. These will get polished and the mount will be chromed.


Mount installed

So if you are interested in something like this for your own project, we made a few extra. They are in the E-store in plain or chrome!

Now in CHROME!