• Blackbeard Woods

Sheet Metal Basics - Custom Bike Building

The best things are made better when the basics are done right.

Its all too easy to look at Instagram and say "wow thats cool, I wanna do that"


Later on is when the headache starts :-)

But I learned a long long time ago that if you get the basics right you can accomplish bigger things and one day what was impossible is can become possible - just take it one step at a time.

So how do you make those incredibly cool WW2 Bomber seats?

Fuctifino - but lets take a look at the basics. I have a starter project where I can practise the basics. I need to put up some shelves in my new workshop - so I will make some brackets.

First getting the right sheet metal is key. I got some 1.5mm Aluminium sheet - standard quality - there are different grades for different things but the basic stuff is cheap and good old eBay sellers can ship it direct.

Then the tooling, worth investing in good quality kit - but quality never means expensive. - here reviews are your best friend.

To cut those holes you will need a hole saw - many sizes but i went for 38mm and 25mm.

To form those shapes in the holes you will need dimple dies.

To make those long lines you will need a bead roller.

To cut the sheet you can use hand cutters but better to get a bender of some kind that includes a cutter press - hand cutters great for nibbling out corners for folding.

You can also form corner bends with a hammer and dolly using a wooden buck.

To mark it all out, a square, a scribe and some compasses, ruler and tape measure.

Setting out.

Take your time here - plan on paper.

Measure twice and cut once as the old saying goes.

Then scribe onto your cut sheet.

Keep all your lines on the back - all work has two sides: Face and Back.

Don't get into the habit of having to remove your marks off the face side.

You can see here its ok to make a wrong line - just be gentle and mark again.

Cut out the holes the right size you need - worth checking on a piece of scrap.

Always wear good thick leather gloves when using power tools on sheet metal

and of course when there is metal and any machinery wear eye protection.

Next flare those holes or form those dimple dies.

When folding a right angle edge you will need to "nibble" out those corners.

Roll a bead on the unformed edge - both the dimples and beads will add great stiffening.

Finish the surface by checking for any marks and voila! You have got the basics!

Head over to Instagram and follow me there for more shenanigans :-)

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