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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The question is this: What is the gauge of the metal in the body of YJ's? I mean the floor and fenders and firewall. Does anyone know the steel alloy number by any chance? The reason is that I'm making a decision on sheet metal brake and shear for modifications I plan. TIA
sln

 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Can't help you with the metal guage, but can talk to you about a break and a shear. What do you intend to do with it? Just Jeep body sheet metal? If so a light weight bench break will work. If you intend 12 guage metal, you are looking as some serious money. The smallest one I could find that would handle the metal in my CBrack weighs 1,900 lbs and cost accordingly. Actually neither a break nor a shear are real useful in body work. The break will not do a radius, for example, and shears will not cut curved lines.

Doug '97 TJ
My Web Site
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Doug -
I guess I should have been clearer in my question. I am going to do a series of modifications/fabrications and wish to use the same gauge or one heavier as what is currently used in the Jeep as it came stock. I am not going to 'reinvent the wheel' as it were and redo stock body parts but build some shock tower housings and rear built-in tool box and serious/complicated consoles and some overhead work not entirely unlike your product. Another and future project is an off-road/Jeep trailer. All of the above will require a lot of sheetmetal fabrication and learning (I've never done this!) and I'm have to confess that I am and have been a tool queer! It is part and parcel of the learning new things process.
What I figured is to buy a 36" bench brake for forming and just use straight edges and a portable power shear ($200 or -) to cut to size and notch and do it by buying some stock from a local supplier. The price of either the bench brake or the power shears is directly proportional to the capacity. A friend of mine recently told me about www.grizzly. com and the selection is fantastic and the quality is better than Harbor Freight but the brake available for my needs is a 48" and $615 delivered and I'm looking for a similar quality 36". Power portable shears are available from a variety of sources both local and national. But I really don't have a feel for just what the gauges of auto parts are. I'm sure that it is different for floorboards than wheel wells but ........????????
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok, several items to cover here. Hope this helps.

1) Breaks and shears only do straight line work. No curves. Perhaps there is a break available that has a rounded tip so that a definable radius can be created. If so, am sure it would be VERY expensive. If you wanted to form the radius at the back corner of the Jeep for example, that would be done on a roller of some kind, not a break. Now let's assume you wanted to make a formed cut out to match the bottom of you door opening - like \_____/. Can't do that on a shear either regardless of the thickness of the metal.
2) Boxes etc. There are two basically different kinds of breaks. The basic break and a box and pan break. Both will do long single bends (breaks) in metal, but a box and pan break can actually make a box. A regular break cannot. The way that is accomplished is by removing "fingers" in the top portion of the break so that the previously bent sides of the box will have a place to go. A regular break is solid across the top - no fingers. Have attached a couple of pictures of my box and pan break. It isn't making a box, but some of the fingers have been removed from the left side. This break will make a box about 6" deep - no more. The deeper your box is the longer the fingers have to be. My break was just under $4,000. To get one that would do a deeper box would be some REAL money. The largest fingers on my break weigh 25 lbs each. It is a heavy duty box and pan break. The fingers are made from 1.25" thick solid steel and at one point in the front are about 4" thick from top to bottom. A lighter b&p break will have fingers made from about half inch steel. These fingers will actually bend like spring steel and will not handle near the load of the heavy duty ones. My break will handle 1/8" mild steel. The CBrack, which is 1/8" 5052 hard aluminum is at the outside of the range that this break will handle. It is a fairly difficult single break on the long side of the CBrack.
3) Shears: A regular shear will only cut in a straight line. I have a Beverly throatless shear. On it you can cut curves, and it will handle up to 3/16" mild steel. Have forgotten what it cost, but was not inexpensive. You can do free hand cutting (well, actually it's all free hand on a Beverly), but it does take some skill. I am not skillful with it so only do roughing out work with it, and only one side of the finished cut is usable. The scrap side, whethere it is 1" wide or a foot or two, curls so that you can continue to cut long pieces. That does some damage to the scrap side. In other words you don't take a perfectly good piece of metal and cut it in half. One half won't be usable after the cut unless you are able to flatten it out again.
Pictures: I have 3 pictures for you. May not get them all in one post. If not will repost second or third pictures.

Doug '97 TJ
My Web Site
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Doug -
I was thinking about the pan and box unit and was thinking correctly, I guess according to what you just taught me. Now my only decision is what gauge capacity. At this point I am thinking max 14 gauge. I will need one or two pieces of something heavier but I can pay to have them made and save a bundle. As for the shear - I was leaning toward a portable power shear from Milwakee or one of those manufacturers. Any thoughts or experience on this? Anyone else?
sln

 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My suggestion would be that you get a piece of metal about 36 or so inches long and find a break like your are considering buying. Then see if it will work. That's what I did and was very surprised that what I thought I wanted would not work at all. Was even more surprised when I found out what what it took to do the work I intended.
Have no experience with the Milwaukee that you mention, but do have other Milwaukee tools. They make good stuff.

Doug '97 TJ
My Web Site
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Doug -
Thanks for your responses. I will look at things will a little better understanding. Thanks, again.
sln

 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
When I did some body work on my CJ, I explore buying panels or buying raw sheet metal. What I discovered is that the better quality materials were made of 16 guage, but harder to come by. Most were made of 18 gauge. Some were in the 20 gauge range. I used 18 gauge, because it was more workable for my needs. Hoping to make a locking console this Spring - the $200 price for one is difficult to justify. Peace.

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