Classic Car Restoration Club Editors

Flanging Sheet Metal Panels

Classic Car Restoration Club Editors
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Duration:   25  mins

When learning the art of metal forming and fabrication one of the first skills many of us learn is how to “Flange” sheet metal. While flanging straight edges can be done with a metal brake, curved panels which are more common on classic cars require different skills to achieve good and repeatable results.

Flanging is a metalworking technique commonly used in automotive fabrication and sheet metal processing. It involves creating a raised edge or lip along the edge of a metal sheet, which can serve various purposes depending on the application.

The process of flanging typically begins with a flat sheet of metal, such as steel or aluminum. In this video, Master metal fabricator Bruce Macleod of the Contour Autocraft Academy will demonstrate how to create curved flanges using just simple hand tools. Macleod takes us step-by-step through the process including discussions and demonstrations on safety, tools, forming and finishing a panel. He’ll also explain the difference between shrinking or stretching the metal around complex shapes.

Flanging serves several purposes in automotive fabrication:

Strength and rigidity: The flanged edge adds strength and rigidity to the metal sheet, making it more resistant to bending or flexing. This is particularly important in automotive applications where structural integrity is crucial.

Joining panels: Flanges can be used to join two or more metal panels together. By overlapping the flanged edges of the panels and securing them with fasteners like bolts, screws, or rivets, a strong and durable joint is created. This technique is often used in body panel assembly or other areas requiring secure connections.

Aesthetic purposes: In some cases, flanging is done for purely aesthetic reasons. Raised edges or decorative flanges can add visual interest to a vehicle’s design, giving it a unique and distinctive appearance.

Overall, flanging is an important technique in automotive fabrication, as it provides structural integrity, facilitates panel joining, ensures proper sealing, and offers design possibilities. By utilizing flanges effectively, car restorers and fabricators can create robust and visually appealing components for their vehicles.

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