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A little sheet metal work...W/pics

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  • A little sheet metal work...W/pics

    Ok, first, I have never done any sheet metal work at all. Ever. Now for what I am doing:

    I have a lawn mower I am selling that had a rotted out deck. The previous owner probably never cleaned it, and also mowed rocks with it, so it had a lot of holes in it. So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to cut out the rotton spots and replace them. Yes, I know it seems like a ridiculous project, and I will have more time in it than the whole machine is worth, but I figured what better way to try my hand at sheet metal? I plan to do some body work and paint my wheeling truck soon, and what better way to start than on something that doesn't matter?

    I have no fancy tools. The rot was cut out with a grinder fitted with cut-off wheel. All the patch pieces were cut out with the wheel and then cold shaped with a ball pien hammer. I wish I had an anvil! I used a trailer frame I have waiting to be finished instead. Some were with multiple curves, and were quite challenging!

    So, here are a few pics of my progress:

    This is the deck after cutting out the rot. Rotted pieces are by the holes.

    Here it is with the patches sitting in place.

  • #2
    This was the largest hole, and was the toughest. I started with one piece of sheetmetal, but the curve was just too much with the other bend. I ended up cutting it in three pieces, then cutting slices in the top part so it would bend over far enough. Hopefully that makes sense with the picture. I was actually quite pleased with the outcome.

    I was unable to get any actual gas rod, so I tried brazing. I have never brazed before. The piece is pretty solidly in there, but I am not really happy with the result. Where there were small gaps it did not fill in very well, and I had trouble trying to build up. I will have to work on my brazing skills for sure. Ugly huh?

    After the brazing, I decided to stick with what I knew, and broke out the coat hangers. This is the large 3 piece patch. Not the prettiest sight, I know! It was kind of tough, because the new material is slightly thicker than the deck, and the underside of the deck is rusted. I cleaned it all down to fresh metal, but there are thinner spots where there was large rust pitting.

    Tomorrow I should get the rest of the patches welded in and grind them all off smooth. Then I will paint the whole deck. I will say I have learned a lot about shaping metal so far. It is kind of fun too!


    • #3
      Nice work and good practice for making your own car patch panels.


      • #4
        Mower Deck Repair

        Looks like it is progressing very well! You have maintained the curve on the top and I bet it will look great once it has been sanded and painted.



        • #5

          Great work.

          Thanks to your photos, I now know a little better how to make compound curves in sheet metal.

          But to start, I'll make a few straight bends with a vice and hammer.

          Not at all as easy as it seems.

          Bend, hammer, cuss - repeat.


          • #6
            Well, I got all the patches welded in. I didn't get a chance to take any pictures, but I'll get some tomorrow.

            I got some R45 and it works much better than coat hanger! I welded everything in, and then ground the welds down. Then I used brazing to fill in low spots and little pockets. I used a sanding wheel on the grinder to smooth out the brazing, and then I used some metal filler to smooth over it all. Tomorrow I will sand down the filler and start prepping the whole deck for paint.


            • #7
              Mower Deck

              Nice job! I agree this type of thing is good practice. The curves you made look good and match the original closely. One way to create those curves is to use a shot bag, which is heavy leather about 3/4 full of shot. A plastic hammer is usually used to drive the metal into the shot.
              From what I could see of the brazing it looks like there was a little too much heat because of the way it spread out. For pratice take some scrap and gently heat the joint area with a neutral flame. When you start the bead move the torch slowly in a small circular motion with the rod close enough to melt the end. Keep the torch moving and let the brass flow until you have a nice bead. If you hear sizzeling sound you have too much heat. Try turning the flame down a bit if you have trouble controlling the heat. Forming a bead like this you should be able to fill the joint. In High School we practiced welding using two "U" channels face up with the legs together and just moving the torch down thru in a circular motion to fuse the legs together. I have found this practice was helpful when I started learning TIG welding.
              This reminds me I have a mower deck that needs some patching this spring.
              Thanks for sharing the photos.


              • #8
                Well, I finaly got time to finish this project. I am pleased with how it turned out. It is not perfect by any means, but the whole deck is full of dings, so to make it perfect would be a ridiculous job! I also repaired the discharge chute. It was broken with a couple chunks missing. I cut a piece of light guage steel and riveted it to the underside of the chute. Overall the deck is pretty solid now.

                Here it is all primed:

                The deck assembled. The big hole I used the multiple patches for is on the left:

                The front side:



                • #9
                  Here is the repair I did on the discharge chute. There are actually some cracks in front of the holes too, but they did not show in the picture. The spots are pop-rivets.


                  • #10
                    looks good to me


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Burnt hands View Post
                      Bend, hammer, cuss - repeat.
                      'Nuff said, right there.

                      Good work on the rebuild. You did a really nice job of making the patch pieces. It may not be "perfect," but then again, what is?

                      Now, are you gonna soup up that mower, put wheelie bars on it and some numbers on the side ....?


                      • #12
                        that was a great project. thanks for the pics.


                        • #13
                          Looks good to me.If mig was available that would have been the welding process i,d used.But for what you had to work with you did just fine.


                          • #14
                            Beat to fit.

                            Paint to match.


                            • #15
                              nice restore!


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