Frame Rail Templates

Now that I had separated a frame rail from the frame the next step was to make a pattern from the original frame rail. This would allow me to start making blanks that I would use to fabricate a new frame rail.

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I used 16 gauge hot-rolled steel sheet as the template. I bought an 4’ x 8’ sheet that I cut lengthwise to give two pieces that were 2’ x 8’. I then tacked welded these two pieces together to create a piece that was 2’ x 16’.

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I then place the one frame horn on the 16ga steel. I was trying to figure out the best way to make the template when it struck me, just use the plasma torch. I was planning on using the torch anyway to cut out the pattern but what I decided was that I would cut one side of the pattern by running the plasma torch along one side of the frame rail.

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Once this side had been cut I would reposition the frame rail to cut the other side. I measured the distance from the plasma cutter kerf, the cut line it makes, to the outside edge of the handle. This was 1/2 inch. This gave me the offset that I needed to move the frame. For example, the rear of the frame horn is 4 inches. Since I’m going to use the template to cut out new parts, I need the template to be 1/2 inch smaller on each side. This means that I need the template to be only 3 inches wide at the rear. I marked 2 1/2 inches from the new cutline and lined up the frame rail with this mark. With the 1/2 inch offset of the torch it would cut the pattern at the right size. I didn’t take any pictures of this process, I guess I got in too much of a hurry.

Well after I was done cutting out the template I then needed to make it where I could use it on the 1/8 inch plate. After a couple of failed attempts I settled on welding some 1/2 inch nuts on end to raise the template off the plate.

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I also drilled some 1/4 inch holes in the template that I would mark and drill corresponding holes in the plate. This allowed me to further secure the template to the plate.

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How that I had all this prep work done, I could finally start cutting out the blanks. Here’s one with a pair of blanks, front and rear, cut out.

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Turns out I didn’t take pictures of all 8 pieces cut out, but it ends up being 4 front pieces and 4 rear pieces that I’ll need to make 2 frame rails.

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