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Who can manufacture this tapered steel tube? (Ford Axle Tube)

craigibc

Plastic
Joined
Apr 1, 2022
I want to find someone that can make this steel tube for me. It is an axle tube for a vintage hot rod or older ford vehicle. I only know how one company makes them right now but I would like to produce some for my own company. I have tried several times with no success to find a manufacturer that can build something like this for my business.

Anybody out there that can steer me in the right direction to what type of company could help me get these built?

Craig
 

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Rob F.

Diamond
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Location
California, Central Coast
Your post is not really clear what you want. You ask for a tapered tube, as mentioned above that is easily made in two halves and welded. What is material thickness, length and dia at each end? The pic you posted shows a complete assy, the tube with a flange on each end, is this what you want made for you?
 

boslab

Titanium
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Location
wales.uk
If I remember right TI tubes or Caparo came in wanting steel for tubes, when I asked it was a taper tube, they were talking ERW tube that was going to be hydroformed, I would think hydraulic would be the way to go myself
Though I’m not at all certain how the die would be made , cast aluminium perhaps?
( the company did exhaust systems also and used hydro extensively I was told)
Mark
 

BT Fabrication

Stainless
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
I want to find someone that can make this steel tube for me. It is an axle tube for a vintage hot rod or older ford vehicle. I only know how one company makes them right now but I would like to produce some for my own company. I have tried several times with no success to find a manufacturer that can build something like this for my business.

Anybody out there that can steer me in the right direction to what type of company could help me get these built?

Craig
How big is your pocket book? To design and build one with the dies and a machine might be a few thousand. Cheaper to machine it from solid rod then.
 

sfriedberg

Diamond
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Location
Oregon, USA
If not hydroforming, then (rotary) swaging. Capital investment of swaging might be lower. More heavy metal required, but lower learning curve to climb before you can make parts.
 

Orange Vise

Stainless
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Location
California
I want to find someone that can make this steel tube for me. It is an axle tube for a vintage hot rod or older ford vehicle. I only know how one company makes them right now but I would like to produce some for my own company.

When only one company makes a replacement part for a vintage piece of equipment, it suggests that there's not much money to be made (or saved) on it.

First things first: why not just buy these from that company? I'm sure you have your reasons, but we machinists are a curious bunch.

If you have a good business reason to produce these yourself, it's going to be a multi-step process:
  1. Figure out the material and heat treat condition (send a sample to a lab to perform XRF and hardness testing)
  2. Reverse engineer the geometry, both OD/ID as well as tolerancing
  3. Draw a print using data from #1 and #2, make DFM tweaks, figure out a reasonable quantity you want to have produced, and then send it out for RFQ.
Chances are the only cost-effective technique for producing a limited number of these is to machine from solid bar if it's an alloy steel, possibly DOM tube if it's a low carbon steel.
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
The question is not can they be made- its always about how many, for how much.
I know people who can build you one at a time, for, no doubt, hundreds and hundreds of dollars each- tinsmiths, basically.
But to get them in quantity, perfect, straight and true, with accurate dimensions, is going to require tooling and r&d costs that are considerable.
Remember that when these were made new, there were literally hundreds of shops in the Ford supply chain, well over a million workers, and every step, from dies, to giant presses, to welding and machining, was cheap and close by.
And remember that they were making large quantities. I dont know which Ford this is off of, but my guess is minimum orders would be in the tens of thousands- which means die making costs would be amortized down to very little per part.
But most of those companies are long gone, those diemakers and pressmen long dead.
In the 70s, I worked in the loudspeaker business, and we got custom stampings, somewhat similar to the two ends of this axle, done all the time- it all came out of Chicagoland, and there was a network of diemakers, steel stamping shops, welders, platers, and machine shops that did this kind of stuff every day.
And virtually that entire industry dried up and blew away to China 40 years ago- custom stamped speaker baskets now would take a year, come from China, and have 10,000 part minimum orders.
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
I think I could figure out how to make tubes like that cost effectively in small quantities in house if I needed to.

I've seen a backyard built 500 ton press and die setup to form Chevy steel rally wheels. And they looked exactly like the real thing.

I do a lot of forming stuff in tools I built myself. Granted, I do have some experienced toolmaker friends I can ask dumb questions, but every forming tool I have thought through and built with my best guesstimation and by the book clearances/spring pressures has worked great. I've got soft tryout tools that have run thousands of steel parts and still going strong.

To form that tube you need a large rigid hydraulic press. If I couldn't find what I needed I'd look for an old 200-300 ton injection molding machine.

Now, if the OP just wants a shop to make 10 of these tubes that's a different story. Those tubes will cost hundreds a piece
 

craigibc

Plastic
Joined
Apr 1, 2022
We are trying to get in the industry and yes you are correct there are only a few companies making them right now. The only one I can find online is a quick change company called Winter is selling the photo that I included. We are trying to get into the same space and would like to sell a comparable product. I might want to order a few dozen to start with since it is all self-funded at this time. I have been trying to find a solution for several years and might sell 50-100 sets per year so it is not a huge space. I am trying to keep it cost-effective it is an axle tube for an early ford vehicle. Thanks for all your info so far I need to really take some time to look into all your responses. This is the best responses I have received on this subject in many years. I do appreciate your time and expertise.
 

craigibc

Plastic
Joined
Apr 1, 2022
I think I could figure out how to make tubes like that cost effectively in small quantities in house if I needed to.

I've seen a backyard built 500 ton press and die setup to form Chevy steel rally wheels. And they looked exactly like the real thing.

I do a lot of forming stuff in tools I built myself. Granted, I do have some experienced toolmaker friends I can ask dumb questions, but every forming tool I have thought through and built with my best guesstimation and by the book clearances/spring pressures has worked great. I've got soft tryout tools that have run thousands of steel parts and still going strong.

To form that tube you need a large rigid hydraulic press. If I couldn't find what I needed I'd look for an old 200-300 ton injection molding machine.

Now, if the OP just wants a shop to make 10 of these tubes that's a different story. Those tubes will cost hundreds a piece.

Does that me $200 or $900? ballpark?
 

craigibc

Plastic
Joined
Apr 1, 2022
Looks to me like the original is two pressed pieces welded together.

But any potential mfr will want to know material, dimensions, tolerances, perhpas mechanical properties, and quantity you want
I can supply all of that I did not know I would get so much assistance. I will get that info for you.
 

craigibc

Plastic
Joined
Apr 1, 2022
Your post is not really clear what you want. You ask for a tapered tube, as mentioned above that is easily made in two halves and welded. What is material thickness, length and dia at each end? The pic you posted shows a complete assy, the tube with a flange on each end, is this what you want made for you?
I look at this in 3 pieces right now. 1. the "cone" portion that attaches to the side of the car rear end. 2. The tube that attaches to it. 3. The end which fits a standard ford option for a modern components. The standard ford end you can source from a supplier but rest is all a (questions mark at this time).
 








 
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