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Old 09-01-2017, 09:13 PM   #21
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They probably had some sort of arm with ganged up drills on it to line up once and simultaneously drill all of the holes through one hat section.

That is the way they did production stuff before really high precision stamping and robotic arm became common.

They might have done undersized holes finished in place with a reamer too.
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Old 09-24-2017, 01:41 PM   #22
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I've done more than my fair share of sheet metal work and I don't think I would want to learn on a job like this.

I would suggest trying a few smaller projects first so you can make your mistakes there.

I just got through reading two threads on raised roofs and how people are doing it. What I have seen is that they aren't using many of the tricks I would use.

Clecos are great but combine it with some sheet metal loops and ratchet straps and you can pull your metal tight along the side of your hat channel.

Swivel pad visegrips are great for clamping sheet metal. There are also flanging visegrips for making overlap seams that lay flat.

There are nice little sheet metal hand punch kits that are pretty cheap, they could come in handy.

Step drills are nice for sheet metal, they don't try to drill a triangular hole like a normal drill bit.

Learn how to do sheet metal layout with Blue Dyechem and a scribe.

For cutting rectangles with radius corners, cut the corners with a hole saw and then connect the dots with one of those electric shears.

One good thing about cutting out your window holes last is that before you cut you can use the part you are going to remove as a place to cleco your sheet metal loops for ratchet strap tensioning.

Speaking of shears, get a decent set of right and left cutting offset aviation snips with compound leverage (Wiss is good).

When hotrodders chop a top, they weld reinforcing frames in to the body so it doesn't move when the top is cut free. You can try that or else make good reference marks so you can raise each hat channel an equal amount. Use clamps and jacks and shims to push anything that doesn't cooperate. A few 3/4" Pony clamps can be really handy for clamping over long distances.

Read, look at pictures and ask questions before you start.

One more thing, when you are modifying a structural element, you should know what makes it strong so that you can make sure you are not going to make it weaker.
Hey there! So I've ordered several things you've suggested but right now I'm trying to figure out the size of clecos I need. If the holes are 1/4" on the sheet metal, do I need 1/4" Clecos? Probably a silly question but just wanted to make sure I didn't need smaller ones that are supposed to expand to the 1/4" size. Thank you!
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Old 09-24-2017, 01:52 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by The Rockwood Colony View Post
Hey there! So I've ordered several things you've suggested but right now I'm trying to figure out the size of clecos I need. If the holes are 1/4" on the sheet metal, do I need 1/4" Clecos? Probably a silly question but just wanted to make sure I didn't need smaller ones that are supposed to expand to the 1/4" size. Thank you!
Yes= 1/4 " clecos- don't forget the special pliers.

$ 28 for 20 delivered Fleabay
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:04 PM   #24
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Has anyone considered spot welding for the sheet metal stuff? That is how the sheet metal in cars is/was put together. It does not take a long time to learn how to do it, and will produce a product that is lighter than something made with rivots.
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:07 PM   #25
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Yep, clecos don't have a huge range of size so make sure you don't wallow out the holes too much.

That usually isn't a problem but it's worth saying.
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:09 PM   #26
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Yes= 1/4 " clecos- don't forget the special pliers.

$ 28 for 20 delivered Fleabay
Thanks man! One more thing that is confusing to me. A lot of these say "0-1/4" grip" but their sizes are say 3/16 or 3/32. Will these work the same since the grip goes up to 1/4" or is it better just to get the 1/4" ones?

Example:

40 Wedgelock Clecos- 3/16" Spring Cleco Fasteners with 0-1/4 Grip
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:13 PM   #27
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Thanks man! One more thing that is confusing to me. A lot of these say "0-1/4" grip" but their sizes are say 3/16 or 3/32. Will these work the same since the grip goes up to 1/4" or is it better just to get the 1/4" ones?

Example:

40 Wedgelock Clecos- 3/16" Spring Cleco Fasteners with 0-1/4 Grip
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drop out View Post
Yep, clecos don't have a huge range of size so make sure you don't wallow out the holes too much.

That usually isn't a problem but it's worth saying.
Thanks man. As I was asking rusty, would these work because of the grip range? Or do they have to be labled as 1/4"?

50 PEICES 3/32" CLECO WEDGELOCK FASTENERS 1/4" to 1/2" GRIP, PLUS CLECO PLIERS | eBay
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:24 PM   #28
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Has anyone considered spot welding for the sheet metal stuff? That is how the sheet metal in cars is/was put together. It does not take a long time to learn how to do it, and will produce a product that is lighter than something made with rivots.
It may be over kill but I believe we have decided that we will use panel bonding adhesive, then while it cures we will spot weld then add rivets. Tank status? haha not sure but I plan on this thing holding up until i die... in 60 years.
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:45 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by The Rockwood Colony View Post
Thanks man. As I was asking rusty, would these work because of the grip range? Or do they have to be labled as 1/4"?

50 PEICES 3/32" CLECO WEDGELOCK FASTENERS 1/4" to 1/2" GRIP, PLUS CLECO PLIERS | eBay
Grip is how deep the Cleco can go, not the diameter of the hole.

Those bad boys you listed are for a hole 3/32" .

zero to 1/4" would be good, unless your panels + sealant is thicker than that (doubtful)


cleco_sheet_holderm.jpg
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:58 PM   #30
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Grip is how deep the Cleco can go, not the diameter of the hole.

Those bad boys you listed are for a hole 3/32" .

zero to 1/4" would be good, unless your panels + sealant is thicker than that (doubtful)


Attachment 16048
Thank you very much! That helps me out a ton.

Any other cleco advice or any advice at all for installing the sheet metal is welcomed!
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Old 09-24-2017, 03:45 PM   #31
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Any type of welding will create some warping in a flat sheet. Rivets do not and since you drill a hole before installing a rivet, the added weight is not very much.

Traditional spot welding uses tongs to squeeze the metal together and zap it to create the weld. The machine is bulky and heavy and might not have tongs long enough to get where you need. Cars do it with robots and they are designed for manufacturing so it works. A bus might not.
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:28 PM   #32
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Has anyone considered spot welding for the sheet metal stuff? That is how the sheet metal in cars is/was put together. It does not take a long time to learn how to do it, and will produce a product that is lighter than something made with rivots.
Not for the skins, it would ripple aka oil can real bad.
The buses are riveted from the factory, so if welding were better or viable some bus company would have done it by now.
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:29 PM   #33
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Thanks man! One more thing that is confusing to me. A lot of these say "0-1/4" grip" but their sizes are say 3/16 or 3/32. Will these work the same since the grip goes up to 1/4" or is it better just to get the 1/4" ones?

Example:

40 Wedgelock Clecos- 3/16" Spring Cleco Fasteners with 0-1/4 Grip
Also remember that the grip range of the rivet is important as it is the workable range of thickness of material you can rivet.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:40 PM   #34
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Yes= 1/4 " clecos- don't forget the special pliers.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drop out View Post
Yep, clecos don't have a huge range of size so make sure you don't wallow out the holes too much.

That usually isn't a problem but it's worth saying.
Another quick question. Speaking of wallowing out holes, how do I figure out what size rivets to use? I think I will be using steel pop rivets for my 18g galvanealed sheet metal. So ya the rivets should be able to go through 2 sheets for where the sheets lap, also through 1 sheet and then the 14g hat channel, and also through 1 sheet and through the original skin for above the door on the back of the bus because we are just popping out the original rivets directly above the door and re using the holes after we add a 21" high sheet.
Also through the above the window rivet holes which will go through the outside sheet metal, then through the new sheet metal, and back out another original piece of sheet metal because it goes between there like a sandwich.

I watched a couple videos on how to figure it out and I can't figure out how to calculate the length of the butt or sleeve or whatever and just want to make sure that I get the right ones. I'm pretty sure they will be labeled 1/4" because that is the hole size but not sure how to search for the proper length is all. Then I should be gold on the sheet metal stuff... hopefully haha. Thanks!
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:12 PM   #35
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Pop rivets will usually squeeze to very thin despite a long grip range, they just stick out kind of far on the inside if you order too long. Don't order too short either, I like the mandrel to expand the rivet maybe 2-3 times the wall thickness of the rivet before it pops off.

You might want to buy a box with maybe 5/16" grip range and practice a little on some scrap sheet. If you decide you need a different length, order that instead of guessing wrong with enough rivets to do an entire bus.

Believe it or not, the Harbor Freight pneumatic riveter actually does very well on stainless 1/4" rivets so an expensive riveter isn't necessary. Their hand riveter on the other hand will die within about 50-100 stainless 1/4" rivets.

Their pneumatic riveter surprised me a lot.

I don't think you can get stainless rivets from Harbor Freight so if that is what you need, don't look there.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:39 PM   #36
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Also remember that the grip range of the rivet is important as it is the workable range of thickness of material you can rivet.
EC - it seemed like when I was watching you do yours.. your rivets pulled down a lot better when you were int othe thicker metal.. so seems like he should get a good idea of metal thickness and get a rivet where its near its top range when going through all his layers?
-Christopher
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:46 PM   #37
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Pop rivets will usually squeeze to very thin despite a long grip range, they just stick out kind of far on the inside if you order too long. Don't order too short either, I like the mandrel to expand the rivet maybe 2-3 times the wall thickness of the rivet before it pops off.

You might want to buy a box with maybe 5/16" grip range and practice a little on some scrap sheet. If you decide you need a different length, order that instead of guessing wrong with enough rivets to do an entire bus.

Believe it or not, the Harbor Freight pneumatic riveter actually does very well on stainless 1/4" rivets so an expensive riveter isn't necessary. Their hand riveter on the other hand will die within about 50-100 stainless 1/4" rivets.

Their pneumatic riveter surprised me a lot.

I don't think you can get stainless rivets from Harbor Freight so if that is what you need, don't look there.
Alright, sounds good. Thanks for the info! I actually just bought an Astro PR14 Air Riveter:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I think it is a similar design to the Harbor Freight one. It had great reviews and it was cheap. I'm already relieved that I went the pneumatic route...
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Old 09-24-2017, 10:58 PM   #38
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I actually just bought an Astro PR14 Air Riveter:


I think it is a similar design to the Harbor Freight one.
Looks identical to one of the HF guns # 62685 .

gun.jpg

Here is how to maintain it

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Old 09-25-2017, 10:20 AM   #39
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One other tip on the clecos: As seen in the picture, the stem that goes through the material isn't round and it isn't the full diameter of the hole. This means that a panel hung on clecos won't stay exactly where you put it. Plan on it shifting 1/32 or even 1/16 in some direction while pinned. Clecos are fantastic for getting a piece quickly hung in place so you can take your hands of it. If you're trying to get exact alignment of an exposed edge then you might have to do something secondary -- for example, hang on clecos, verify the alignment, then drill the next rivet hole and poke a rivet in (even if you don't set it).

Another thing that works real well, if there's a good place to hang them, is ratchet straps. Wind the ratchet until the panel is raised almost to the height where you want it, then slide the ratchet hook sideways to fine-tune the position. As the strap's angle goes from straight down to more of a sideways angle the panel moves vertically. If the strap angle gets too extreme the panel will want to swing sideways, but it's much easier to control that than to hold a full sheet motionless without any strap assistance.
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Old 09-25-2017, 10:41 AM   #40
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Thank you! I know to use oil in the nozzle area too to make sure everything runs smoothly.
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