Eastwood Retail Outlet Hosts Patch Panel Training Class

We’ve found that most car guys and gals are “hands on” learners. Sure you can read all the tech articles and watch all the Youtube videos in the world, but putting in the time practicing is where most of us really learn. We recently started holding small tech seminars where we let our customers learn from the professionals and get their hands dirty in the process. In this most recent two day class we taught local customers how to make, fit, weld, and finish a patch panel on a fender. Once the students saw how to make the patch panel, the instructor tack welded it in and allowed the class to take turns welding the patch in place. The following day an autobody instructor showed the course how prep the panel for filler and primer. In the end the panel was left ready for primer and the students had some new found confidence to tackle their own projects.

If you would like to attend a class or have an idea for a future class feel free to give our retail outlet a call. Thanks to the guys at Street Visions for sharing their knowledge for the weekend!

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Custom Bomber Seat Fabrication

To be honest, I picked just about the worst possible project vehicle I could when starting Project Pile House. It didn’t have much going for it, the body was dented and rusty, the drivetrain was seized and trashed, and the interior was equally as dilapidated. My goal is to show what can be done on a budget with some key tools and a little bit of creative thinking.

This part of the project is no different than the rest. The original seat was trashed beyond belief and seemed almost unusable, but I was sure I wanted to do something custom with it. I know the easy way out is to use a modern minivan or car bench seat, but that look isn’t for me. I decided to reuse the original seat frame as it had some cool beadwork in the sides and corner braces that actually matched the running boards I had built previously. I started by sketching out some rough designs on some chipboard and cutting the main panels out first.

Once I came up with a design I liked I cut out 18 gauge sheet metal to match the shape of the original seat frame with the Electric Metal Shears. I then lined the panels up, drilled holes, and installed Cleco Panel Clamps around the perimeter of the panels to hold them in place throughout the build. I knew I would be taking the panels on and off quite a bit so using clecos helped make lining the panels back up each time a breeze.

With the rear and bottom panels made up I moved on to making the back support panels and center console for the seat. I measured out two inch flanges and put just under a 45 degree angle on the braces to get them to contact both main panels. I then doubled up the metal thickness in the Versa-Bend Sheet Metal Brake to give a nice rounded bend on the front of the center console. I again used clecos to mount everything in place. Once all of the panels were cut I carefully drew out my design on each panel. Accurate measurements is a must when laying out a pattern for rolling beads as it will become your guide to roll the mandrels over.

With my patterns all laid out on my panels I used the 1/2″ mandrels in the Bead Roller to run the beads. I then drilled and punched holes in the support panels and center console and used clecos to put everything back together.

At this point the seat was really starting to take shape and I was ready to start permanently attaching each panel to the seat frame. The air and space industry have been using rivets to hold panels together since the beginning and they are the key to making your “industrial” or “bomber inspired” car or accessory look the part. Some guys are using fake rivets or spot welds to simulate the effect, but we’ve recently been working on a DIY-priced kit to install solid aircraft rivets. I decided to test the kit and installed the rivets in the braces. The key when installing the rivets is to make sure you are square on the head with the air hammer. Otherwise the hammer can jump or contact the edge of the rivet and leave “smiley faces”. These are unacceptable in the air industry and to anyone in the “know” they look unprofessional. I admit the first few rivets I ran I had to drill out and redo, but after I got into the groove of things it went pretty smoothly without too many do-overs.

I then slowly worked around the perimeter of the seat and used the TIG 200 AC/DC to weld the seat pans to the frame. The clecos help keep the panel clamped tight to the frame, but some areas I needed to use Locking C-Clamp Pliers to hold the panel tight against the frame.

With all of the panels riveted and welded in place I moved on to assembling the center console. I decided to butt weld the top and side panels together so I could metal finish the surface to make it all look like one. I’ve found it’s easier blend and work a weld on a flat instead of a corner or curve. For this reason I decided to tip and round the edges of the top of the console down with a Straight T Dolly so that my weld seam was on a flat area. I then clamped and welded everything together using the MIG 175 . I did have to put some relief cuts in the top panel and use the a hammer and dolly to work the panel smooth, but after blending the welds with a flap disc and scuff pad the console blends smoothly into the seat frame.

Now that the fabrication is done on the seat I was able to bolt it back into the truck and I can continue to work on setting up the rest of the interior. My only problem now is that the seat outshines the rest of the interior and I need to step up my game on the interior.. it’s a never-ending battle! Check out the video above for action shots of the seat build process and be sure to subscribe to the blog to get notified of updates on Pile House in the future.


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SEMA 2013 Final Recap

The last days of SEMA 2013 were a blur and we were so swamped at our booth I realized I left everyone hanging with my last batch of photos! In previous years late Thursday and Friday the show is winding down and SEMA becomes a ghost town. I’ve normally “seen everything” and I find myself wandering the furtherest corners of the show looking for interesting vehicles hiding that I may have missed. This year the show itself spread out into the adjacent parking lot to the south hall. This lot was full of more feature vehicles and some of them were pretty dang cool! It seems every square inch of the show space surrounding areas was full of exhibitors, show cars, and people. This year ended being the largest SEMA yet and by far the best for us at The Eastwood Company.

We are still digging through photos and video and we promise to get out all the great content we took ASAP. For now enjoy my last batch of photos we shot Thursday and Friday.

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Eastwood’s ‘Shop Talk’, Episode 17: Kevin Tetz Talks Shop With The Ringbrothers, Recorded LIVE From SEMA 2013!


In this episode of Eastwood’s ‘Shop Talk,’ Kevin Tetz chats with Jim & Mike Ring: AKA Ringbrothers

Born with fuel running through their veins and a passion for building innovative Street Machines, Ringbrothers is proud to present their 1965-66 Full Carbon Fiber Widebody Fastback Mustang at SEMA 2013, the worlds largest automotive convention.

Luckily for us, Jim and Mike found the time to sit down with Kevin at Eastwood’s booth & discuss what it’s like being recognized as some of the top innovators in the industry and what SEMA has to offer to the most insatiable of gear heads!

Check in with Eastwood on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, to follow the action and experience SEMA from your computer or smart phone!

So sit tight, listen to Kevin & the Ringbrothers chat it up & don’t forget to keep up with Kevin via Eastwood’s Blog & YouTube Channel!

Like what you hear? SUBSCRIBE and listen to Kevin at home, in the garage or on the road!

Have ideas for the show, or questions you want answered on the air by Kevin? Feel free to shoot Kevin an email at ShopTalk@eastwood.com, we’d love to hear from you!

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SEMA 2013 Day 3 Coverage

Most Automotive shows and events Day 3 is when things start to slow down. This isn’t the case at SEMA. The show has SO MUCH to see that even for myself that’s four days in; I was still finding new cars and products I hadn’t seen before. I haven’t even hit all of the buildings in the show and I have shot hundreds and hundreds of photos and I still feel like I’m missing a lot of good stuff!

The show always pulls out some unusual and crazy vehicles each yea. You’re always destined to find something out of this world at the Meguiars Car Crazy booth and this year was no exception. This year the vehicle that caught my eye was probably one of the largest. The best way to describe it would be to describe it as a torpedo with wheels. Bright yellow, huge antique engine and loud as hell, this thing really was cool! We hope to catch some more info about it later this week, but here’s some photos of it on display on the Car Crazy Stage outside of SEMA.

Another cool part about the show is the debut of high profile show cars. The Ford “SnakeBit” Custom Truck built for rock legend Gene Simmons. This truck is a beautiful mix between a classic Ford Truck and the new Ford Mustang Cobra. This thing is sleek and nasty with a new Ford 5.4L Supercharged V8 engine under the hood. We got a spy shot of it earlier this week, but never expected it to be something this special! Check it out below.

We shot a ton more photos below, and we have a LOT of ground to cover still. So stay tuned!

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