And some metal shaping too!
I built a few of these for myself, but as good news travels fast, people found out about them and wanted them. I built them with some future-proofing as best as I could see by making the foot pedal for pullrod or pushrod configuration. Also putting in ten different axle pivot positions so you can choose the leverage you want.
I had ordered an Eastwood deep throat shrinker stretcher with stand to fulfill an immediate need during the chop on Richard’s Four-door Mercury and man was I ever disappointed. It didn’t even work as shipped without modification, the pullrod was about 4 inches short of working AND it needed to be bolted to the floor. Or at least a large plate that would be a pain in the ass to move about the shop. I needed mobility and stability. So a few hours of dreaming on my Alibre’ software and I came up with a base that would meet my needs.
Postprocessed the files and CNC cut the plates out of 1/4″ steel plate and TIG welded my prototype machine together. This first unit had a solid body 3/8″ foot pedal on it and I used a clevis to connect the pullrod. I found out shortly some limitations to this design so I cut a pair of 3/16″ plates and was able to use a HEIM joint instead of the clevis. This freed up the feel and gave me the range of adjustability I needed. The arm pivots on bronze shoulder bushings and has a 3/4″ axle retained by a pair of snap rings. With every hole reamed to size, changing pivot positions was fairly easy to do. Once I found the arc and foot position that felt the most comfortable I threaded some heavy wall tube and welded on a six pointed thumbwheel. This also was changed out to a lighter setup and I added a pair of counter springs to the back of it to improve the pedal feel, it was just too light and was far to easy to over shrink the workpiece.
It didn’t take us long to put it into use…
The most recent one out the door went to our new friend Douglas, member of the Arizona Artist Blacksmiths. He had me build an adapter to work with his Lazze branded Shrinker/Stretcher. I machined an aluminum base adapter and fabricated a new upper clevis to attach to the Lazze piece. I have these on file and can produce them for your machine also.
Other than the minor updates to the foot pedal arm and the pullrod itself, the design has worked fantastic. There are 7 of them in the world now with two available right now. Hit the E-store if your interested in one.
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.
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.
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.
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.