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Old 08-27-2012, 07:45 PM   #1
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What gauge body metal?

Can anyone tell me what gauge the body metal is on a BlueBird All American? I need to buy a pneumatic metal shear to cut "holes" in the side of the bus (and go pick up our air compressor from our daughters house).
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:04 PM   #2
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body metal is not important

Choice of cutting tools is important. Cutting round holes requires a round cutting tool as a hole but the saw must be used with the correct(low speed) drill motor. Sheet metal shears are a great tool if the correct shear is available, with lots of compressed air. A quality jig saw is a super good tool for cutting sheet metal with a blade with about 14-18 teeth. After the location is decided, some small 1/4-3/8 inch starter holes is helpful. These are just my ideas for this task with no offense intended. Da Old Guy, yep 74 years, frank
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:16 PM   #3
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Re: What gauge body metal?

91 Bluebird is 20 gauge. If I'm cutting straight cuts I use cheapo Harbor Freight electric shears.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:51 PM   #4
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Re: What gauge body metal?

We need to cut square "holes" for access panels. Figuring on ordering this since we don't carry it in stock. It's supposed to cut steel, aluminum, tin and other materials up to 20 gauge (1 mm) according to the owners manual. Since we will have the air compressor mounted under the bus, I figure we might as well pick up a few air tool rather than pay the extra $$ for corded or cordless ones. I will be glad to get the air compressor. A few weeks ago, I needed to put air in the Jeeps tires. Took 6 tries before we found a station with a working air fill. Good thing it wasn't imperative!

Side note: harbor freight air shears cut up to 18 ga.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:19 PM   #5
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Re: What gauge body metal?

I second frank-id's advice. The shears work good when one side of the metal being cut is free to move but if you are cutting a hole in a fixed panel the shears often bind up and quit working. Sometimes when I am sawing a double wall panel I shorten the blade (grind off part of it to shorten the reach) to prevent it from trying to cut both panels at the same time.

The optimum tool is of course a plasma cutter.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:47 PM   #6
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Re: What gauge body metal?

plasma is best of course
harbor freight shears don't last long...i have 2 worn out pairs cutting 18 ga... they work best on 22 or lighter.
the HF hole punch/flange tool has worked well...
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:37 PM   #7
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Re: What gauge body metal?

That does it I HATE HF!!!! For some reason I keep going back. Almost all of their stuff fails in less than a single heavy work day (I do have a HF 4" grinder that is going to out live me). The hole punch I bought from HF jammed up on the first hole (18 gauge) and I ended up destroying the tool to get it to release! The keeyless drill chucks serve only long enough to trash the shank of even the best quality drill bits as they slip in its flacid grip. ETC. ETC. ETC!

As I came out of HF empty handed the other day I found myself muttering to a guy as he disembarked his motor cycle and headed for HF "I HATE HF but I still keep comming back" He just laughed.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:58 PM   #8
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Re: What gauge body metal?

Never had an issue with HF stuff, its all been great. Just use a cut off wheel on a grinder to make your holes.
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:58 PM   #9
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Re: What gauge body metal?

Yeah... 8 inch one but ya gotta discard the guard..
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:20 PM   #10
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Re: What gauge body metal?

I used HF's air shears and some hand shears from HF cutting circles a few weeks ago. The hand shears were easier to do a nice job with. Just be sure and get the type for cutting circles, not the straight cutting ones.
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