Fabrication tasks depend on two things: craftsmanship and quality tools. And just as we discussed last month in our Cool Tools spot, usually the more cool fabrication tools you have, the more you find that you absolutely HAVE to have. Such is the case this month.
Way back in our July 2016 issue, we featured the NEXGEN Off-Road dimple dies and showed you how a typical set of larger diameter dimple dies can be used to add style to your sheetmetal fabrication projects. As so often seems to happen, though, we realized that similar tools could be had to make our projects even cooler. Specifically, we discovered several different dies that could be used to really trick out fastener locations, so we knew we had to give them a shot.
The first of the three we tried out this month was the 1/4-inch flat recess dimple die by Hammer Fab (MSRP $56.50). This unique die is manufactured via 3D printing out of solid steel. By drilling a single 1/4- inch hole, threading the 1/4-20 bolt through the hole, applying lubricant (we used penetrating fluid spray), and tightening the bolt, we had a cool concave recessed fastener location in a matter of seconds. This little die is perfect for button head cap screws for a sleek look.
Next up, we tried Hammer Fab’s unique 1/4-inch “Crater Maker” die (MSRP $76.50). Sadly for us, the 1/4-inch is the only one of these cool little pieces we sourced, but Hammer Fab offers them in #10, 1/4-inch, 5/16-inch, 3/8-inch, and a convenient 4-piece kit. While the Crater Maker can also be threaded tight like our recess die, it can also be used in a shop press or with a hand-held hydraulic press tool. The Crater Maker adds significant style and dramatic shape to the fastener location, meaning a lubricant of some sort is absolutely essential. After installing the die in the same way as the flat recess die, a few tight turns and we had a super cool convex/concave shape that again looks cool with either a button headed cap screw or a typical socket headed cap screw. Just to check it out, we used a bolt with a Performance Engineering cup washer and cup cap. This tool would be perfect for any panel under a hood or in a trunk or perhaps even in an interior where you wanted to really accent your fastener styling….. Read more of this article. Just click on the digital feature below this introduction.
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