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Old 07-31-2011, 10:37 AM   #1
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English Wheel

Part of my plan to restore my airstream involved buying an English wheel. I picked up one from HF to practice on. Bought some aluminum and did a decent job shaping a 12 x 24 inch piece, when held against one of the more complex end caps it laid perfectly flat. My plan is to use over sized pieces and once the form is correct cut the panel to size. The one thing I didn’t like about the process is the marks the wheel leaves on the aluminum. Does anyone have experience or advice that might help me?
Thanks
Doug
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:03 PM   #2
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You might be using too much pressure? But I think that you're always likely to get SOME marks. This probably depends in part upon a) the amount of wheel pressure used, b) the smoothness of the upper and lower wheels, and c) operator experience. My only experience with English Wheel or planishing, involved steel ... and since I was a novice, I left some marks. When finished, I simply used 1200 and finer grit silicon carbide cloth and then the usual finer and finer grades of polishing compound to get rid of any marks. But again, that was not aluminum ... admire your self-reliant attitude. Good luck!
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:50 PM   #3
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Englich Wheel

Thanks, I will try it with less pressure. I did spend about an hour polishing the wheels before I used them.
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:16 PM   #4
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Sound fun!
Can you post some pics of your progress, as I would love to have a go too!
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:23 PM   #5
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Your biggest problem is the Harbor Freight English wheel. I have used the HF with less then stellar results as the bottom anvil has a tendency to move around a bit. Maybe if you could take some off the play out of the bottom adjustment screw and lower anvil holder it would work better. I have used a professional grade unit and the results were greatly improved
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:20 PM   #6
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Video of Jesse James making aluminum gas tank shows him annealing, beating the shape on a shot bag, rolling, and smoothing on a pneumatic hammer.

‪jesse james - fabrication skills‬‏ - YouTube
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:20 AM   #7
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Great video

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Originally Posted by Splitrock View Post
Video of Jesse James making aluminum gas tank shows him annealing, beating the shape on a shot bag, rolling, and smoothing on a pneumatic hammer.

‪jesse james - fabrication skills‬‏ - YouTube
Thanks for posting the video.
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Old 09-07-2015, 02:21 PM   #8
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Thanks for posting the video.
English wheels stretch metal, only.

I have never heard of them shrinking metal.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

Andy
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:46 PM   #9
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I haven't done it on an AS, but here is a video example of how to do it (not me).
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:50 PM   #10
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After only 4 years, another thread rises from the dead...

FYI, "English" was the inventor's name, not so much his heritage.
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Old 11-25-2015, 09:04 PM   #11
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Perhaps it should be raised from the dead.

An English wheel can also polish. That is the technique to remove small dents in the exterior skin. Folks have tried other dent removers while the skin is still on the trailer, this method requires the skin to be removed.

It would be much easier to polish the damaged skin to true than to make a new one.

Even though polishing with low pressure will remove dents it should not stretch the skin. Every dent removal case will be unique. Saving one panel, will pay for the machine, saving two panels will be money ahead. Process time per panel, around 30 minutes.

Lastly will the panels be returned to new condition? No they will not, presentable yes.
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