Forming Brass onto MDF

Only needing two parts I thought about forming brass onto MDF, creating brackets to support a fuel tank for the Enjomor Whippet.

I needed to make the Enjomor Whippet look more my style and hence have gone to town on the cooling tank and the fuel tank. This mean I needed a bracket to support the fuel tank, I was thinking a pressed style of construction.

Hardening an MDF former with superglue

I made a simple former out of 9mm thick MDF.

This was hardened using a thin coating of instant glue. This way the former can be used for both parts.

Note: ensure you have lots of ventilation as the fumes from cyanoacrylate (instant) glue are quite horrible.

Next I cut the inside holes into the brass sheet, these holes are smaller than the holes in the former. In the next stages you will see how these are formed into the MDF.

edges bent onto brass plate

In the image you can see that three of the edges have also been folded at 90°. These will add some structure and are easiest done at this point.

Annealing the Brass

annealing brass

Sheet brass will have been hardened during the rolling process. It is unlikely that it will have been annealed at the end of the rolling processes. Hence it is necessary to heat the brass up.

Here the brass is being heated using a micro butane torch.

It will go out of shape, but just accept it in these initial stages.

brass sheet on former

The brass was then hammered around the former using a ball-pien hammer.

Do this slowly and take care as it will tear if you over work and harden the brass. If this happens, remove the part from the former and anneal it again.

I found it best to clamp the brass into the former over the section I was not working on.

Forming the Brass

You will find that you have to gently prize the brass off the former.

parallel pliers straighten edge of metal

Maun Industries Parallel Pliers

These parallel action pliers are great for working with sheet metal, the smooth jaws and parallel action allow you to easily take kinks out of edges.

I used these to square up the edges in the straight sections.

brass sheet on MDF former

I ended up re-working the former to add a notch each side to allow for the seam in the fuel tank.

Luckily the MDF had really hardened and kept it’s shape. Hence I filed this notch into the former and re-applied superglue.

I then again annealed the brass in this area before forming the notch.

brass fuel tank supports

Finally I have a pair of brass fuel tank supports.

The former has survived the making of these two parts very well. The edges of the MDF are still crisp and square, this is down to the hardening effect of the superglue.

In this image, just behind the fuel tank you can see a filing plate that I made when creating the lantern for the lamp post engine. A simple clamp that is really useful in the workshop when working with brass sheet.

Filing the brass to an accurate edge

Lantern for the Lamp Post Engine

This simple clamp is made from 1/4″ thick mild steel and uses two M6 bolts to provide the clamping force.

The edges are hardened using case hardening compound so that you can file up to them and achieve an accurate finished edge on the brass.

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