Making a Custom Planishing Dolly

Completed Planishing Dolly

Completed Planishing Dolly

I needed a dolly with the correct profile to planish out the dents in a crumpled 1930s Ariel motorcycle front mudguard. As there is no such thing obtainable, I made my own.

I had one point on this old moonscape guard with a reasonably intact original profile. Using a piece of cereal packet and a pencil stub I was able to create a template approximately a pencil radius shy of the inside profile – ignoring the center ridge.
I transferred this to 1″ x 1/4″ flat bar stock to make a backbone for the dolly.

With the welder in flux-core mode, a MAPP-GAS torch and my little welding table, I bent some 1-1/2″ x 3/16″ flat stock around this profile and secured it in place.

I’ve never found propane to be hot enough for anything but soldering. MAPP is much better and can quickly get the steel to a low red where it will deform at will.

I left the long end on for leverage and concentrated the heat at the specific point needing bending and worked my way around. Some hammering happened too.

Digging around on the net for specs on MAPP gas it seems that true MAPP gas has been out of production since 2008. The replacement is MAPP-Pro which the specs, at first glance, seem to say burns significantly colder. The old high MAPP temp is for an oxy torch, not for the basic atmospheric torch. Atmospheric performance is supposed to be about the same. I have actual MAPP gas, as I apparently haven’t needed a new cylinder in over 6 years, so I can’t really say if the new stuff will work as well or not. Apparently “effective BTU” is more important than temperature, and MAPP Pro is 10% better than propane and 15% less oomph than MAPP.

The completed dolly is not quite symmetrical, with slightly different curves on each side, so I picked the one I like and rotate it as needed. When the gueard is “right” it wedges in tightly above the valance seam. It really shows up how distorted the whole thing is. The center mount was pulled up 3/8″ and the front area is splayed out nearly 1″.

Here are some pics of the fabrication.

Restoring a Vintage Valanced Mudguard – Part Two

Right rear patch tacked

Right rear patch tacked

It quickly became clear that it would not be possible to smooth out all the dents until the metal had an approximately consistent thickness. Some of the previous repairs consisted of overlay patches and lumpy welding. On the other hand, making accurate patches for a lumpy and distorted part was […]

Splitting Jumper Wires for Arduino


A while ago I stocked up on jumper wires from Sparkfun and recently found while connecting an Arduino clone to a Raspberry Pi that the single straight header on both ends was not what was needed. Unlike the male breakaway headers, these female JST RE wire headers do not split up.

To solve this you […]

Restoring a Vintage Valanced Mudguard – Part One

Ariel Valanced Mudguard - as found

Ariel Valanced Mudguard – as found

Many years ago I traded some Ariel parts I didn’t need for some Ariel parts that I did need for my Ariel VB sidecar project. This project has been progressing intermittently since 1989. One of the parts I received was a valanced front mudguard (“fender” for our colonial […]

Raspberry Pi Arduino IDE via GPIO

Raspberry Pi GPIO to Seeed Hercules without USB

Raspberry Pi GPIO to Arduino UNO without USB

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