Tools for body flattening with your own hands
Hammers can vary in size, shape and weight. Impact hammers are most often round or square. There are hammers that have a sharp impact head on the other side of the striker. These types of hammers are used during the final stage of straightening without support. The sharp part allows you to remove the elevation, to achieve the correction of the dimple. Then the flat part of the striker is used, the support of which carries out the final alignment.
There are also hammers that have hammer heads that have teeth that help shrink the stretched metal. The handles of these hammers are usually made of wood or fiberglass.
In repairs the hammer is used to straighten various dents. You need a certain skill to work with it, and to know when and with what force to tap certain areas.
How to Square, Flatten, & Dimension Rough Boards by Hand
The hammers are usually made with a slightly convex striker, which prevents the edges from touching and consequently damaging the metal.
The blows that are made with a supported straightening hammer are not made with great force (as in nailing). On the contrary, they are light and gliding. The hammer should be held loosely and the wrist should move during the strike. An experienced craftsman is capable of about 120 light blows per minute at the same tempo. While the hammer bounces, the wrist brings it in for another strike. The fingers hold the hammer firmly in place at the beginning and end of the strike. The end of the hammer handle moves in a short arc while the striker moves up and down. The hand is calm and relaxed, but remains in control of the process so that if anything happens, it has time to grab the handle of the hammer after the rebound.
It takes skill to use the straightening hammer properly. The hammer is always in balance. An unbalanced hammer will bounce and have to be held firmly in place during the strike, which means you won’t get an easy blow. And also you won’t be able to sustain one rhythm of blows.
Smaller dents, both in depth and area, which are caused by local mechanical action, can be removed with a rubber dented hammer. The car body part to be straightened is isolated and placed on a special, form-fitting anvil or headstock.
Surface smoothing by tapping in reverse or both directions.
The choice of leveling method also depends on the defect configuration. If it is reasonable to straighten the angled ribs by mechanical tapping, in the presence of bubbles and stretch marks it is necessary to solve the problem of metal thinning.
The process of straightening a car body with the use of torches is described in many videos, but for successful application of this method you need not only skills of work with the tool, but also knowledge of special techniques of work with metal. Spot welding, cooling and shrinkage are used, which allow restoring the thickness of the damaged area.
The tool is attached on the reverse side with a nozzle and its action is regulated by the height of the pin and the weight of the weight of the striking weights. The surface to be straightened is cleaned from the coating, a hole is drilled in it for fixing washers, and a rod is inserted into the hole. Then a series of gentle pulling movements is made.
Small and shallow dents can be straightened in this way. After machining, you need to weld the hole, sand it, putty it, and prime it for painting.
Pneumatic reverse hammers also work on reverse pressure and are equipped with suction cups of various diameters. To fix the tool a certain free area around the damaged area is required, so they are not suitable for processing dents located near the edge of the part.
Reverse pneumatic hammer is the most gentle tool for straightening cars: shallow dents with a smooth line of deformation can be removed with your own hands.
Bodywork repair spotter
Spotter is an inverter or transformer type welder that has several current control modes and can be used with both mechanical and pneumatic reverse hammers.
Professional models are equipped with an automatic calculator of heating parameters, depending on the thickness of the sheet. Removable heads in the form of triangles, rings and spiral wire allow you to straighten sliding and vertical damage on any part of the car (hood, doors, fenders), align sills and struts.
Minilifter for straightening
Pulling mechanical device with a thermal gun can be used on the problem area of 1-2 sq.see. The pulling machine includes round and oval nozzles with mushroom-shaped feet, which are fixed to the dent with hot melt glue. After pulling, the part is glued with alcohol.
The price of such a set can be much lower than paying for professional auto straightening services, but the independent application of the glue method doesn’t always work.
Without skill, there is a risk of overtightening and increasing the degree of damage.
Diagnostic machines, on which damaged rims are mounted, detect geometric deviations and check the result of straightening. Mechanical straightening is performed on rollers, working with the setting in three planes.
After final alignment of the surface on a rolling machine and grinding, the discs are coated with paint materials.
Paintless dent removal
The newest vacuum technologies of straightening without painting allow not only restore the silhouette of the car body, but also preserve the quality characteristics of the metal alloy.
But this most economical and fast method of alignment is not suitable for all cases. The success of the repair depends on the craftsman’s professionalism and the availability of diagnostic equipment: it is necessary to correctly assess the damage and prevent the appearance of microcracks in the coating during operation.
What you need for the job?
not all types of body repair works can be performed in the garage conditions. the geometry of the body can be repaired only with special equipment, and it is better to entrust the straightening of serious dents to specialists in a workshop. However, it is possible to equip the garage with your own hands and prepare it for complex bodywork. this will require special equipment and tools listed below:
- Hydraulic tools and staples (to pull the car body).
- Pneumatic hammer and chisel set.
- Turning hammer with additional attachments.
- Hydraulic pump with manual drive.
- A set for repairing dents without repainting the body.
- Measuring tools (to check the geometry of the body).
Garage for the repair of cars must be spacious, with a constant temperature and ventilation system (useful when painting the body).
Equipping your garage for painting and minor body repair can be done in a matter of hours and is available to everyone.
Hooks and levers for straightening
Hooks. indispensable tools needed to remove unnecessary elements that are hidden under the body cladding. The hook can remove the ribs and stiffening strips, understamping and other parts that prevent the body from self-repair. The hook is placed between the trim and the part, and then slowly and carefully pulled outward. If it is not possible to get to the location of interfering elements with a hook, levers are used. In garage conditions, these are usually homemade devices for repairing cars, but they can also be purchased in an automobile store.
Alignment by means of an applicator
The applicator method is used if you can not perform straightening from the inside.
The surface of the machine must be thoroughly degreased before starting the repair. Then rounded or square applicators are attached to the surface with glue (along the edges of the dent). The central part of the damage is leveled with a mini-lift or a staple with a central screw. This should be done very carefully, because you can easily “pull” the dent.
It should be noted that this method of pulling does not require large material costs and special skills. It is not difficult to do it yourself.
Straightening the car body
Straightening is necessary to get rid of the surface of small, but obvious bends, stretches of the metal of the body. The main task of straightening is to restore the shape of the surface of the part. The curvature inherent in certain elements of the body should be smooth, look as if the part is stamped in the factory.
The order of actions when carrying out straightening with your own hands:
To diagnose car bodywork faults, first perform an inspection. If possible, use the help of a bodybuilder. You can also find out how straightening is performed, in the video at the end of the article.
Stages of straightening
Proper straightening of existing deformations consists of three steps:
At the initial stage, it is necessary to determine the size of the damage and the order in which it is received. Determine methods of further repair, materials and tools to be used.
The important thing to remember is to correct the damage in the opposite order from the way the damage was caused. You should also be aware that some of the deformations might have happened all at the same time.
The repairing procedure must not cause additional damage.
A ruler is a good way to find out if a part is not perfectly flat. It is placed against the surface of the damaged part. All dents and their depth are clearly visible. Sometimes you have to cut away a layer of paint to straighten a part. A body file is used for this. You can also heat the surface with a construction hair dryer and carefully remove the paint with a spatula.
Restoring the original shape of the part
Repair bends and large dents to reshape the part. Release any areas that have been subjected to stress as a result of the hammer blow, as they will prevent the metal from returning to its initial position. Some number of light blows to this area, in this case will be more appropriate and will work more effectively than a couple of strong blows. The part is restored to its original, correct geometry. This step is called rough straightening.
Also as part of the rough straightening process, high spots and curves around the dent are tapped. The “hammer out of support” method is often used in this case. You can also use a hammer and wood block or a special inflatable cushion to tap the back side of the distorted area.
The main goal of this second stage is to restore the damaged part to its original geometry, so you can ignore minor roughness for now. Shrinkage of expanded metal and, if necessary, repairing of tears is also carried out during this phase.
Removal of minor imperfections.
This step removes any small irregularities, finally restoring the part to its original condition.
The damaged area can be restored so qualitatively that then the only thing left is to apply filling primer, perform its processing and painting.
It is important to do everything consistently, slowly and carefully. Quality of final result depends on it.
How to straighten a car? Step-by-step instructions
For beginners or inexperienced car enthusiasts we advise to watch video lessons car body straightening, visually demonstrating the sequence of actions. The first thing you must begin with is to remove the defective body element, remove the trim and other interfering elements. Place the removed body element on a level surface. Next, you need to outline the boundaries of the damage.
Large dents, unlike small ones, should be leveled starting from the edges where the main mechanical stresses will be. While tapping with the straightening hammer, gradually move from the edges to the center of the dent, decreasing its diameter. Be sure to use the other side of the support. In order not to overdo it, it is advisable to view a preliminary video of straightening car dents with your own hands.
If it is impossible to get a hammer to the place of a large dent from the inside, you should use a hook. They need to put pressure in the center of the deformed area, relying on any stiffener. Also widely used is straightening with a spotter. a washer or other device is welded to the outside of the dent, which makes it easy to pull the dent out. Finally the washer is cut off and the rough spots are roughened with a file or grinder.
How well the alignment of the body with your own hands, you can check by putting a palm to the straightened area. There are two main types of defects that can be seen:
The hollows are removed by straightening with a mallet or rubber mallet from both sides of the body. The blows should start in the center, then move toward the edges of the cavity, reducing the force of the blows. In order to remove the bubble, the heating of the body part is used. It is justified by the need to tighten the metal, and the easiest way to do it is to increase its thickness. Several points of the bubble must be heated red hot with a gas torch, and then cooled with a wet rag. Rapid heating and cooling contribute to rapid shrinkage of the metal and increase its thickness.
If in the process of work on the body element there are cracks, they can be welded with an ordinary welding machine. After welding the surface of the defect should be processed with a file.
A special set of hammers for straightening
Many in the process of straightening use a special set of hammers. It consists of the following types of this tool:
- With flat beater. for good results on flat surfaces.
- With a convex striker. to effectively eliminate defects present on the convex surface of the body.
- Smoothing irons. used for smoothing all kinds of convex defects.
- Notched hammer. used to work on different elongated surfaces.
- Special hooks for squeezing out dents from the inside of the car body.
- Notched files. used for relatively small surfaces.
- Anvils and supports are quality additional equipment that are required to effectively secure the metal and support it during the straightening process.