Breadvan_update_028: The start of coachbuilding
The clay model has is finished. The tape mould is made. Therefore, finally, now the real work starts! It is time to make the curvaceous body of the Breadvan Hommage. Coachbuilder Bas van Roomen will hand make every sweeping line from flat sheets of aluminium. For instance, his hands will make flat plates into beautiful three-dimensional fenders. These shapes combined will form the Breadvan Hommage. To achieve volumes out of a flat sheet, the coachbuilder can actually only do three things. He can stretch, shrink and bend the sheets. He does this manually, with hammers, as well as with machines. One of the most important tools is the English wheel. Alse important are Power hammers, nibbling machines and the Eckold.
The English wheel
The English wheel consists of a large c-shaped frame. Both ends of the frame feature a wheel made of hardened steel. The upper wheel is approximately 20 cm in diameter and flat. The lower wheel measures about 7.5 cm in diameter and is interchangeable. Each of these exchangeable wheels has different radii. By choosing the appropriate bottom wheel, the coachbuilder can partly determine the desired shape. Pushing the metal through the English wheel will roughly form the panel that needs to be constructed. After using the English wheel the coachbuilder rolls the plate by hand between the wheels. He in fact “grows” the plate into the right shape.
Power hammers, nibbling machines and the Eckold
A voluminously shaped element is made by making a sheet thinner and larger locally. Bas uses a Schuler, made in 1946. This machine has been made in Germany. A record car for Auto Union was made with the same wheel. The Powerhammer is another important tool. It does exactly what it says on the tin: this powered hammer can hit the metal at very high speeds. The impact is so strong metal stretches quickly. The Nibble machine is a device which can both cut and form all kinds of details. The coachbuilder can even design and make his own tools for this machine. It gives him the desired freedom to shape the exact specifics items, needed for each project.
Dutch airplane manufacturer Fokker
The Eckold is a very strong eccentric press, which is able to stretch and shrink metal plates. The Eckold can make metal thicker or thinner locally. Therefore, changing its volumes and shapes. The machien is normally used in the aircraft industry. Dutch airplane manufacturer Fokker made the 1956 Eckold used by Bas under license. In conclusion, through stretching, shrinking and bending the coachbuilder can achieve all complex curves. According to Bas: “You could actually say that we are still kneading clay, we just have to push a little harder now!”