chapter  13
48 Pages

Craft techniques and minor accident damage

Essentially, panel beating is a hand method of producing hollow or double-curvature shapes by means of hammering. Nevertheless, the panel beater’s craft still retains its place in body work and as yet is irreplaceable by more modern methods; in spite of the tremendous developments in recent years of mechanical methods of forming, panel beating remains an essential means of fabrication of special parts. Some metal shapes cannot be produced at all by mechanical methods and others only with great difficulty, and in such cases panel beating is used to finish the shape that has been roughed out by power processes. Often, too, the prototype of a component ultimately to be made in quantity by stamping or pressing is hand-made to allow minor modifications to be studied before mechanical production begins; the part produced by panel beating is used as the pattern for press or stamp tools. Panel beating may also be used where a small number of components only are required and where the cost of press or stamp tools would be uneconomic. In body repair work, panel beating is used to advantage where sections which are either unobtainable or uneconomical to replace completely can be fabricated by hand either in part or as a whole. In many cases corroded areas can be repaired by fabricating new sections for replacement purposes. In the body building trade, panel beating is still used to a large extent where new vehicles are being built either in aluminium or mild steel. Many of the components for these vehicles are still made using the traditional hand shaping methods. Also a lot of the aluminium moulds used in fibreglass construction, where highly

developed double-curvature shapes are needed, are made by hand, welded and dressed and planished or wheeled to a final finish. Panel beating is essentially a hammering process,

involving different kinds of blows that can be struck on sheet metal. It should be borne in mind that most metals used in body work possess high malleability and may be over-stretched even with a wood tool. There are three types of blow that can be struck on sheet metal:

Solid blow, where the work is struck solidly over a steel stake.