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Thread: Learning Fab Techniques?

  1. #1
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    Learning Fab Techniques?

    I was wondering where someone with very limited skill in fabrication might be able to learn more about it? Is this something where I would be best off just offering my services as an apprentice to a fab guy?

  2. #2
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    Fabrication is a big field, there is metal fabrication and then there is Plastics fabrication which is a field that's also useful in this hobby. I'd suggest visiting some of the forums on 4x4s and look at builds for Baja vehicles and competition off roaders, also look at roll cage fabrication videos on youtube, there are also some good videos on Fibreglassing, you'll quickly weed out the good from the bad. What Fab skills do you currently posses? If you are a total noob perhaps a night class in Mig welding might be a good idea.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 275NART's Avatar
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    Community colleges offer classes on auto body, welding, machining, etc. that would be a good place to start. You may also find weekend classes or camps listed in the newspaper or craigslist, facebook, etc.

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    CL,
    I see you are located in L.A.. There are numerous race teams in all forms of motorsport based there, including the Nascar Busch West Series (or whatever they are calling it this year). I can think of four teams in that series from that area just off of the top of my head that would be glad to have a volunteer willing to learn fabrication, Sellers, Nava, Woods, Eshelman, but any race team of any kind is always looking for such a person. Also, all of the driving schools have apprentice programs for maintaining their fleets.

  5. #5
    As a kid, the best fab guys were the hot rodders and low rider fabricators. I also learned a ton from the hotrod fab articles. I cut out the articles and rebindered them. The mini truck era hit and we were putting custom taillights in truck roll pans. I also learned a lot from tv car shows. chop cut rebuild, overhauling, etc
    Yellow Vetter Carrera Gt-boxter based
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    Looking out at the 6,000 cars (just about all of which would qualify as a kit car) and the people of the NSRA Nationals last year, it occurred to me that this was very possibly the biggest collection of the best engineers and fabricators in the entire world. In spite of that, I do not believe that hot rodders are the best engineers and fabricators. I give that title to farmers and ranchers. When the nearest hardware store is 40 miles away and the only available tools are a stick welder, crescent wrench, bailing wire, and duct tape, it is a magnificent site to watch them use the metal from an old plow disc to repair a piece of equipment and get back to work.

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    Great point about the farmers - my uncle has a farm north of Bakersfield. I don't make it up there that much but I've been up there enough to see him work his magic on one of his tractors. I'm about as noob as they get when it comes to fabrication, honestly, but I guess I'll talk to the race teams first and see if they'll have me. If not, it might be time to start looking in to night classes at City College or something.

  8. #8
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    CL, coming from someone with a University of Texas college education in architectural engineering, I think the time you would spend in college could be much better spent getting an education.

  9. #9
    Senior Member MacGyver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharonLoryder View Post
    I was wondering where someone with very limited skill in fabrication might be able to learn more about it? Is this something where I would be best off just offering my services as an apprentice to a fab guy?
    A good place to start might be going to car shows and talk with some of the do it yourself guys. Offer your help with a chance to learn and hopefully you will make some new friends.

    I have a very good friend that lives up north that I met by driving my antique 1937 Buick I restored to his repair garage on day. We stated talking and sharing ideas and have been friends ever since. He taught me a lot of how things used to be done. Years ago, mechanics would repair parts rather than just replacing them. Rebuild battery's, you name it. He is just about 90 now and I still learn new things from him.
    Many people like to share their knowledge. You just have to ask.

    I agree with what 76mx was saying about farmers. A lot of improvising going on. His dad taught his dad etc etc.

    Heck, show up at my door step someday. I'll teach you a lot for a little help.

  10. #10
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    Thanks again for all the tips! Yeah, I only started to get interested in customization a few years ago when my Dad and I started going to the car shows out in Pomona. He had a lowrider back in the day so it was a good way for us to connect because we've had some friction over the years. We still don't always see eye to eye on things and he's got health problems, so we don't spend anytime together in the garage which would be ideal. I started looking at all of these lists of the most common customizations Los Angeles auto body shops are reporting and judging from what I'd seen around town, I was surprised to see stuff like hydrodipping wasn't making the lists. I started to read up and Dad said something like "If you really want to know your s***, you've got to learn fabrication." I think he has some buddies he's going to introduce me to, but if not, I'll check out the race teams. Thanks again for all the advice!

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