Saving Sheet Metal for Rust Repair Patch Panels

Tags: Sheet Metal · Shop Management

Be Sociable, Share! face it everything is getting more expensive today and sheet metal is no exception. If you are a hobbyist that builds a couple cars a year or a small shop that does a mixture of cash, restoration and insurance work then you have probably priced some sheet metal and even bought some only to find you end up cutting it and welding it to make it fit.

There are times when you do need to buy full panels. If you need to replace a quarter panel or full floor or if a fender is crumpled but there are times when you are just fixing some rust spots.

When you have the option and the time to wait its fine to buy whatever it takes as long as you can bill your customer and they don’t mind paying. However if you have a small used car dealer as a customer who has a lot of rust and patch jobs for not a lot of money then any time you spend on the job is money you aren’t earning.

Metal work is something that a lot of these small dealers just don’t want to deal with on their own and you can pickup some good money if you can turn them around with a couple hours work.

Saving old Sheet Metal

The one thing that many shops don’t do that can benefit a business that is trying to keep margins low is keeping a stock of old sheet metal. shops especially custom shops will keep a small stock of flat sheet metal for shaping parts you can’t buy but that means a lot of work and probably some tools that you may not have. Not every shop has an english wheel or metal shrinker. We rely on bending, cutting, welding and hammering to make things fit.

If you have a customer vehicle that needs a fender because the headlight area is damaged beyond repair then saving that part or a piece of it can come in handy later.

There are a lot of times when you need to patch a wheel well or a corner where you could simply cut the lip off of any fender and you have most of your shaping already done.

You might also want to keep the center of a old door skin that you cut off, a hood or decklid just to harvest a large piece of sheet metal.

The parts that you harvest don’t need to be from the same vehicle you are working on they just need to work on the vehicle you are repairing.

And the best thing about this is you don’t need to pay $75 for a lower fender patch panel or buy expensive sheets of flat metal.

How do you store your parts for recycling?

How you store your parts is really up to you. The size of your shop will dictate what you need to do to keep these parts from getting in the way.

If you have a flat panel that you know you will use for harvesting large sections then take 10 minutes and grind the edge off then use a cutting wheel to section off a big sheet that you can slide behind your work bench.

For fenders or other parts you probably just need to keep a couple of these things around and you can cut off the bad and keep the good.

You always need to match the gauge of the metal you are repairing so saving a few large sections that you can grab when you need them isn’t a bad idea.



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