1940Super

1940 instrument panel engine turning

Recommended Posts

Doug Seybold is the voice of experience on this matter, and does a fantastic job of re-creating the effect-

well-worth what it takes if you value quality

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish Doug could take a look at this photo and comment.  Sure appears to be grooves in the metal but perhaps he's seen this all before and knows something we don't. 

 

 

 

Screenshot_20190817-022303_Gallery.thumb.jpg.5a3b16c07ec3c1c29b18b7d821e1ab81.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, neil morse said:

 

Again, don't shoot the messenger -- this is not my theory but what Doug Seybold told me.  He believes that the "shadow" of engine turning that is left on the metal after the decal is worn off is caused by the way that the metal surface oxidizes over time under the decal.  The oxidation process essentially creates a shadowy "imprint" of the pattern on the metal.  I do not have the expertise to weigh in on the merits of this theory -- just putting it out 

Not that Doug probably told you but when he says "imprint", does that include grooves being formed into the metal surface. With my own panel I could not see what looks like to be grooves scratched into the surface by eye, it was only by zooming in on the photo I took that they became apparent. I'm thinking of borrowing or buying a dial test indicator to run across the surface.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, not my theory, take it up with Doug.  I'm just passing along what he told me he believes.  It sure would be nice (and enlightening) if we could get Doug and Bill Anderson to participate here directly!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, neil morse said:

 

Again, don't shoot the messenger -- this is not my theory but what Doug Seybold told me.  He believes that the "shadow" of engine turning that is left on the metal after the decal is worn off is caused by the way that the metal surface oxidizes over time under the decal.  The oxidation process essentially creates a shadowy "imprint" of the pattern on the metal.  I do not have the expertise to weigh in on the merits of this theory -- just putting it out there.

 

There was no decal on my '40. It was machine turned and oxidized.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Found these 1940 photographs of an Australian bodied Buick. I wonder if they done locally or imported. I can see its s different radio panel20190819_233131.thumb.jpg.5e289fe937f8d2a1629596e854764a11.jpg20190819_233112.thumb.jpg.1dd5ffe99e11e942cf3d8d7365e20093.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/18/2019 at 11:33 AM, neil morse said:

 

Again, don't shoot the messenger -- this is not my theory but what Doug Seybold told me.  He believes that the "shadow" of engine turning that is left on the metal after the decal is worn off is caused by the way that the metal surface oxidizes over time under the decal.  The oxidation process essentially creates a shadowy "imprint" of the pattern on the metal.  I do not have the expertise to weigh in on the merits of this theory -- just putting it out there.

Sorry but vinyl chloride film which Minnesota Mining developed in the 1930's and was the only adhesive wrapping film available at the time capable of a semi transparent photo image will not leave a shadow image or etch a metal surface with a pattern. Latent transfer of engine turning onto the steel  is not possible and really quite an uninformed conclusion. Its not the shroud of Turin imprinted through decomposing bodily chemicals or the result of solar printing.  Doug Sybold can believe this theory but anyone with an eye loop can easily see the machined swirls. You can replicate the same effect using a white rubber ink pen eraser chucked into a drill press. It is a very light imprint and cannot be sanded or steel wooled even with 0000 without diminishing the pattern. Only hand rubbing with a polishing paste like Flitz or Semichrome is safe to a point as you can still ruin the finish. A light Phosphoric solution can help remove light oxidation but if too strong will etch the surface. It is perhaps the lightest damascus  finish I have ever seen as compared to other automotive applications. It can be found on dozens of dash boards and exterior trim but unfortunately Buick chose a very delicate process but really not the mystery forwarded here. Its not rocket science 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "shroud of Turin" effect -- a perfect name for it!  I will stop posting about Seybold's theories since I certainly can't defend them.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About 47 years ago I removed the clearcoat and re-sprayed my dash panels.  I did got completely get rid of the rust but I think they are still presentable to this day.  I just resprayed with clear coat in a spray can. The wood graining is my primitive attempt, done with a kit left over from doing furniture  48 years ago.

 

In addition to reproducing the 1940 Dash Plastic, Skip Boyer does the engine turning. His email is: richboy2@comcast.net

 

Actually I think engine turning can be done with a rotary wire brush chucked in a drill press.

DSCF1348.JPG

DSCF1349.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, I pulled out this unrestored, original dash panel I had on the shelf while I was digging for other parts. The clear lacquer has yellowed with age, obviously, and there's some minor surface rust, but it is otherwise in excellent condition. I looked at it carefully and took the attached photos which seem to confirm the idea that a large single sheet of very thin metal was treated to the engine turning process, then stamped onto a steel dashboard core. It is most certainly NOT a decal or paint. You can actually see the thinner metal wrapped around the heavier panel underneath. I think that would be the easiest way to go if you're doing mass-production and the machine that actually did the engine-turned pattern could be fairly large and do large areas all at the same time. There's no way they could do one circle at a time the way a restorer might, and that's probably why the factory stuff has that unique pattern and straight lines that bend so easily around the contours of the dash. At least, that's what it looks like to me. Your mileage may vary.

 

Dash1.thumb.jpg.3266d2ceaf2b6614dee05de1a2c731e3.jpg

 

Dash2.thumb.jpg.7f15dff26dea8b420a2aef75e3c122ab.jpg

 

Dash3.thumb.jpg.661862b5e877c458df8687750bfb65cd.jpg

 

Dash4.thumb.jpg.80bfd28ad6c76a938534a59e6b921938.jpg

 

Dash5.thumb.jpg.6b5c488a9f8cb8462671da1b6858245d.jpg

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice work Matt. Definitely see the engine-turned "veneer" sheet over the steel core. No doubt in my mind now that this was how many, maybe most or all, of the panels were made. What's puzzling is the evidence of decals also being used as proposed by a few members of this forum. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's never been any question about the fact that the pattern is created on large sheets of thin metal which were then stamped onto the panel cores -- that much is readily apparent as you can see in the photos that Matt posted.  The interesting question is how was the pattern created on the sheets of metal.  If there was some kind of machine, as Matt suggests, that maybe had large banks of spinning grinding heads, or the like, it sure would be interesting to see a picture of it.  Such a machine would have been a major accomplishment in that pre-CAM era.  It's frustrating that we are unable to get any definitive information about this process, but anyone who worked in the factory at that time is obviously long gone.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Dash1.thumb.jpg.3266d2ceaf2b6614dee05de1a2c731e3.jpg

 

 

This example also shows very clearly, the staggered pattern of alternating rows.  Each horizontal row is offset by one radius from the adjacent row. 

It would seem difficult to reproduce the pattern of the curved surfaces.  I wonder if the people reproducing this do each turn by hand.  Accommodating the curve could be done possibly by rotating the tool to follow the curve.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/31/2019 at 6:29 PM, neil morse said:

There's never been any question about the fact that the pattern is created on large sheets of thin metal which were then stamped onto the panel cores

 

I have seen a video where the craftsman mounted the panel on a rotisserie-style frame. He previously covered the piece with a grid (used a permanent marker) that marked the center for each machining process. An alternative would be to make an indexing jig for the horizontal and vertical movements of the drill press.

This YouTube video may be helpful if someone wanted to make a new ‘skin’ of aluminum, machine it, and then cement it to the panel.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt and Neil have been spot on as to how these panels were done. I will refer everyone to an article appearing in the April 1969 BCA Bugle written by Jim Flaherty Jr. BCA 529. Jim was researching this very question. I will paraphrase his findings. The engine turned pieces were manufactured by Croname Inc of Niles, Illinois.  Mr. Frank Jassen of Croname described the process. It started with a sheet of cold rolled steel. A group of swirling emery brushes descended upon the sheet giving the swirling and overlapping pattern.  After cleaning the sheet was cut and stamped out on a die. A coat of lacquer was then applied.  Plain and simple. No decals used here as was done on the instrument panel wood grains.

 Matt's pictures illustrate well how the finished engine turned product was then mated to the corresponding heavier metal piece.

With regard to the different colors of lacquer  supposedly used  depending on the interior color, the 28-41 Part Books show only one part number for the 50-70 series and only one for the 40-60-90 Series depending on the year. Separate part number for new smaller body 40 series for 1941 as well.

Time and ultraviolet light no doubt  had differing  effects on different panels

Regarding panels that have rusted, I dipped a totally rust obscured radio surround in Evaporust. The pattern jumped right out. Stripped any remaining lacquer, then sprayed clear.  Not bad as Thomas B. pictures illustrate. 

This posting should put to rest any doubt as to the process used on the engine turned panels for 1940, 41,and 42.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well this makes excellent sense to me and very close to an idea I shared with Neil Morse some time ago. Being a Fitter & Turner (specializing in Toolmaking) by trade, I suspected that there was just 1 panel (without a separate thin layer) which would have been engine turned before being pressed into shape (glove box & instrument panel). I also wondered if there was another thin layer (as there is indeed), this could have been a zinc plating (or something similar) applied to the panel before stamping. Oh well, I was on the right track. The decal idea just didn't sit with me (not that I am any type of authority). Sincere thanks all you guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Grant: Your initial post had started me thinking about this again. Posts by Matt, Neil, and Lawrence then pushed me to check out my Bugle collection for the article. Looks like you were on the right track on this.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would an adhesive have been used on the sheet of cold rolled steel or was it simply pressed with the main steel sheet and folded over with tooling dies?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there a misconception of calling it "engine turning"?

The term derives from the Rose Engine machine or that it started off on the engine cowls of aeroplanes? 

Anyone heard the term "spottng" before? I hadn't until I saw this webpage: https://www.circuitousroot.com/artifice/machine-shop/surface-finishing/engine-turning-vs-spotting/index.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on a car tour in Canada a few weeks ago and one of the stops was a brewery where I saw these lovely engine-turned storage tanks that hold (I think he said) 20,000 bottles' worth of beer...

 

Probably the same technique used on the Buick dashboards--a large, flat piece of sheet stainless on a machine with multiple turning heads and some kind of feed table to move the sheet 1/2 radius down and 1/2 radius to the left or right as each row is completed. Probably not a difficult or complicated system to set up beyond configuring it to get the results you need.

 

 

1854851485_2019-08-2411_20_22.thumb.jpg.d7f804860b64dae26efcbc0038425349.jpg

 

1584090007_2019-08-2411_20_15.thumb.jpg.ba4cc9b1581015fceba70ee103eee481.jpg

 

1230877300_2019-08-2411_20_30.thumb.jpg.bf85877947945fdbd28798ff6a883a09.jpg

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/4/2019 at 3:28 AM, Grant Z said:

Would an adhesive have been used on the sheet of cold rolled steel or was it simply pressed with the main steel sheet and folded over with tooling dies?

Looks to be folded over judging by pictures posted by Matt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can now buy "engine turned" vinyl on Amazon in 24" rolls for about 25 dollars in silver and gold colours (for our northern neighbors).

Might be  a bit garish, but maybe some yellowish spar varnish would tone it down.

Better than a carbon fiber "wrap" for your dash.

Just don't take it to Pebble Beach.

 

Mike in Colorado

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now