Trans Am dashboard Question

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Posted · Report post

on a 1970 Trans Am the dashboard had that aluminum swirl I guess you call it , I know it's called something else but I am drawing a blank , anyway how can I make that , or do they sell a foil like it , thanks

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Posted (edited) · Report post

It's referred to as "engine-turned" and was a popular finish since the '20s on some car parts. i worked on Rudolph Valentino's 1927 Isotta Fraschini roadster, which had an entirely engine-turned alloy body when it came my way.

I know where to get it in 1:1, but never saw it in scale. You COULD make it. The swirls are made one at a time, and they overlap. The right size round, abrasive ink eraser, in a low speed drill, might be a way to start.

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More info: http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=61139

Still more info: http://cs.scaleautomag.com/sca/general_discussion/f/3/t/53858.aspx

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Posted · Report post

I think I remember seeing a short how to using BMF to begin with in MCM or Scale Auto mag.

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Posted · Report post

I think you are referring to what is called "engine-turning". "Engine Turning" is a simple process, whereby a round tool is spun against metal with an abrasive compound of some sort. This creates a "swirl" on the surface of the metal. On flat metal surfaces, such as sheet aluminum, this is generally done in a drill press, with some sort of guide to allow the work to be moved both side to side, and forward to back, in precise increments so as to create a regular pattern. Generally, the setup is such that it allows each succeeding "swirl" to slightly overlap the previous ones, which creates the look.

I've done this once before, back in 1985, when I built a 1/25 scale USAC Championship dirt car, Offenhauser powered. I made the firewall and instrument panel out of the thinnest K&S sheet aluminum available, creating a guide on the table of a Dremel Drill Press for moving the metal in a straight line side-to-side. Given the limitations of that drill press, I had to re-set that guide by eye for each row of swirls, but with some practice, I was able to make engine-turned sheet stock that was pretty precise, looked like the real thing.

For the tip I fitted into the Dremel Moto-Tool, I used a "pencil-style" typewriter eraser (dunno of those are even available anymore though!), as typing erasers are rubber impregnated with a very fine abrasive. That sort of typing eraser was made like a pencil, with a cylindrical rubber eraser instead of a rod of graphite. I sharpened it carefully in an ordinary pencil sharpener, and then hardened up the rubber part with some thin CA glue. After that, I simply sliced off the end to get the diameter I wanted those swirls to be. Even though the rubber typing eraser material had fine grit embedded into it, it tended to clog up quickly, but I found that using a medium-grade automotive rubbing compound worked very well, just had to stop periodically, wash off that tip with some enamel thinner, and put more rubbing compound on it.

To make a section of pencil-style typing eraser mount in my Dremel, I cut off a section of the wooden/rubber eraser, drilled it out by hand to accept a short length of 1/16" music wire (spring steel), and after a couple of attempts, got one to fit rather precisely. That I secured into the hole with some 5-min epoxy--crude but it worked!

I don't know that this method would work with BMF though, as Bare Metal Foil is quite delicate--however something similar could work if done by hand, not using any power tool to spin the tool.

Art

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Posted · Report post

Duh , my mind is going , Engine-Turned ,,, thanks guys , great tips !! ,,, I just got a Revell 70 Firebird and I want to do it up as a Trans Am , so I can use aluminum shim stock and in a few weeks I am getting a mini mill so it should be fun ,, but to bad they don't sell a foil already done , seems it would sell I think

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Posted · Report post

This subject can never come up without me thinking of this plucky young lad and his flying machine.

post-7490-0-85371500-1367181531_thumb.jp

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Posted · Report post

You know, Whoopiekat Decals has a new engine-turned aluminum decal sheet. It might be a bit large for that, but if you contact him he might scale it down some.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I have seen this done (in scale) with BMF and a rod/pencil tipped with a small (and round) bit of fine grain sponge, this method might be a bit easier than using real aluminium and a dremel/drill press. The tedious and difficult task will be in getting a uniform pattern in scale, but if used with BMF should be easy to start over if you have some 0000 steel wool to buff out any mistakes and start over.

this process was used on this:

jd6.jpg

Edited by blunc

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Posted · Report post

I've seen an adhesive-backed foil-like product used for fishing lures that might give you the right engine-turned metal look that you're going for.

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