View Full Version : Will a planishing hammer be enough
04-25-2005, 04:43 PM
Im working on shaping 14 ga. aluminum motorcycle tanks, I was looking at an Eckold Kraftformer 170 which is sweet but costs 10 grand, so i have to make the parts with something else, Will it work if i beat the panels a little bit and wheel them, or could I do the whole thing with the wheel? Another thing that I was looking at was a planishing hammer, could I make the whole thing on there or would it take too long or would it give it enough shape. I was looking aat the kit on ebay which had all the dies, top and bottom and i would strap in my air hammer and go to town. Do these kits turn out good ?
04-25-2005, 07:43 PM
Depending on the motor, they can be great phammers, especially for the price. I have worked 16 gauge steel, and even 1/8" aluminum on my benchtop model planishing hammers. For thicker material and higher crowned pieces, it helps to prestretch the material with a hammer and sand or shot bag. With the kits and air hammer models, there usefullness depends alot on contsruction and the power of the air motor. If the frame isn't made heavy enough, it will flex, and will not work as well. And if you use a cheaper air motor, dont expect alot of power. A foot pedal is also very nice, and almost a must for these, so you can vary the speed, and keep both hands on your workpiece. Some of the kits or complete units have very poor homemade foot pedals that use a blow gun valve and are only on and off. (I know because I bought one thinking about using them, I changed my mind and found a different supplier as soon as it arrived and i plugged it in) :(
04-26-2005, 07:35 AM
Keep in mind I'm an Ewheel guy so take these comments fwiw...
A planishing hammer is an impact hammer. It hits with a certain force with a certain number of blows/minute (BPM) Each blow results in a stretch. Unless you are able to achieve PERFECT tracking patterns with PERFECT speed control, it will be VERY difficult to achieve the same finish that you can get with an ewheel. Higher quality Phammers make this somewhat easier because they have better impact control. If you get more hits in one square inch than you do in another, it will have more stretch. A Phammer is better at getting right up to an edge and into some 'holes'.
An Ewheel is also a hammer but it is continous impact. If you leave a panel in the machine under pressure and come back later, nothing has changed. Rolling the panel under the pressure of the frame is what causes the stretch. The more passes you make, the more stretch in the panel with a given pressure on the frame (via the adjuster) The frame strength is what actually provides the stretch. The adjuster just loads the frame. This is why a soft frame doesn't work as 'fast' as a stiffer one. Metal flows under pressure. With an ewheel, the frame pressure attempts to equalize the metal thickness in the area where you are wheeling.
Yes, you can stretch with a hammer and wheel smooth. You can also tuck shrink the edges and wheel them smooth. A phammer will give you similar results except probably with a lower quality surface finish requiring more filler or filing.
If you try and make your panels with pure stretch, they will be original thickness on the edges and get thinner in the center. If you do them stretch and shrink, your panels will have a more consistent metal thickness edge to edge and be stronger.
The secret to a smooth panel is a even transition of metal thickness from edge to edge. If you have a sudden thin or thick spot, you WILL have a detectable surface feature that will need filing or filler. Of course, if you WANT a surface feature such as a bubble or vent being able to hammer out the metal in that area may only be possible with a Phammer.
Just my 2 cents.
04-26-2005, 09:45 AM
Im a phammer guy, but also use an e-wheel, and I think you gave a pretty fair description of them. (for being an e-wheel guy) ;)
04-27-2005, 06:26 PM
I was wondering how hard it would be to make a fender on the wheel, or would i have to make different pieces? I would use the same material as the tank. thanks for all the info so far.
04-27-2005, 09:30 PM
Kerry and Chris Pinkerton make fenders as part of their presentation on English wheeling. The wheel is very good at that providing your sizes match up. If you have 3 1/2 lower anvils and want to make a 2" fender, there may be a problem, but even that can be overcome. A well equipped wheeling machine can to a fantastic and diverse amount of work.I was procrastinating on building the E-wheel I have all drawn up, actually, there was so much info on wheeling machines flowing through this site over the past two years that I was holding off until the optimum machine was designed. I have had the chance to get some time on a machine that was a direct result of that information exchange, equipped with Joe's anvils, and a go-kart slick, and this is one handy tool. I think a tipping wheel setup for it and a few custom dies and I will be in fat city.
Motorcycle parts are a lot what I had in mind when I bought my anvils so I went with 2" width to get into tighter places. I encourage you to seek out a wheel and spend some time on it and you will be very happy with your choice. So will your neighbors.............john
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