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Observation Car

#3 Body Panels

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The Roof Panels-Short (CC) were shaped using the same drawing used to shape the angle iron. A 3 pipe in a vice was used for bending the ends and my knee was used to get the slight curvature of the roof (since I do not have the proper equipment to bend steel, I had to improvise).  Once the proper shape was achieved, it was temporarily clamped in place (never can have too many clamps) and marked as to where the ends should be cut as the piece was slightly longer than needed.  After cutting to size, it was again clamped in place and spot welded, making sure no space was between the roof panel and the roof frame.  If you plan on making this car without the curved end for the observation, just duplicate what was done on this end to the other.





The End Panel (CB) is made so it can be removed with screws.  This was done because all wiring was run through the frame tubing and access to the ends of the body frame was needed to fish it through.  A hole (1 X 2) for the Coupler Pocket (AE) was cut in the End Panel (CB).  Holes were also drilled and tapped 8-32.  Screws (GB) were used to secure the End Panel (CB) to the frame.






Horizontal Side Trim (CK) was installed next.  Make sure you have already installed the Inside Vertical Panels (CE) as the trim piece is cut to length to the dimensions from one panel (CE) to the other (CE).  The Horizontal Side Trim (CK) was pressed on the frame as it is a tight fit.  A guide was made that was clamped on to insure the exact depth of the counter sink for the flat head screw (GA).  The Horizontal Side Trim (CK) is also used as a stop when welding the Side Body Panels (CA) onto the frame later on.






The Side Body Panels (CA) were laid on the side of the assembled frame to make cutting the windows easier.  There are fourteen windows on each side of the car.  The center windows are 6 wide with the 5 windows on the ends being 4 wide.  Wood templates were made for the windows.  A plasma cutter was used to cut all the holes. 





Once the side panel windows were cut out and cleaned up, they were butted up against the Horizontal Side Trim (CK), clamped down and welded onto the body frame.  This is when you know if your frame is straight.  If it's not, the side body panel will not line up and some filing/grinding may be needed. 






Now it was time to make the bobtail end.  The End Body Panel (CB) were bent before the windows were cut so a smooth curve could be made without kinking.  The wood template that was used to cut the floor was also used to get the right curvature for the bobtail.  When the pieces were all cleaned up, they were clamped and welded to the body frame.  A Door (CM) was made and attached to the frame with 8-32 machine screws (GB).  The bottom hole in the door is for the neon Daylight light.  The light is larger than scale because of the bend radius limits of the EL wire (FD).  For more info on the Daylight Neon see below.


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1 Floor Frame 2 Body Frame 3 Body Panels 4 Bobtail Roof 5 Skirting 6 Odds & Ends 7 Finished 8 Daylight Neon

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Last modified: 02/09/2020.