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How to Hammer Forming - Shaping Metal With Hand Tools

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How can you go about shaping metal with hand tools alone? Follow along as I demonstrate how you can begin shaping metal with hand tools only. We will explore a How To Hammer Forming demonstration. We will hammer form some tank end caps. Hammer forming is one of the oldest, simplest, and least expensive ways to shape sheet metal. This is a handy metal fabrication technique you NEED to learn. Check out the video! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *** Lancaster Shrinker Stretchers: http://www.trick-tools.com/Lancaster_Shrinker_Stretcher_Pair_550_STSH_1342 *** Shrinker Stretcher Combo: http://amzn.to/2Dy4F86 *** Shrinker Stretchers: http://amzn.to/2G0yCMG *** Hobart Clamp: http://amzn.to/2DTULeG *** Martin Tools Body Hammers: http://amzn.to/2FX52rf *** Snap-On BF612 Compact Hammer: https://store.snapon.com/Hammers-Compact-Body-Hammer-P884535.aspx ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Filmed with: *** Main Camera: http://amzn.to/2zWG7RS *** Primary Lighting: http://amzn.to/2jHROnW *** Additional Lighting: http://amzn.to/2DImspx *** Lav Mic: http://amzn.to/2DFwgR5 *** Shotgun Mic: http://amzn.to/2hLODi9 *** Mini Tripod: http://amzn.to/2Eok8Fw *** Monopod - http://amzn.to/2C1YEMU *** Tripod: https://amzn.to/2yASruf *** Gimbal: http://amzn.to/2FNwesV *** Drone: https://amzn.to/2yDkwkI ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Follow Me on Instagram: @ HotRodHippie - https://www.instagram.com/HotRodHippie/ Follow Me on Twitter: @ Hotrod_Hippie - https://twitter.com/HotRod_Hippie Follow Me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HotRodHippie/ ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The opinions expressed in this video are my own, from my personal experience. This is not a paid product advertisement. Please feel free to let me know what you think of this tool, or suggest alternatives I should check out. Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement. This video is solely my opinions from the use of these products and based on the specifications of them. #hammerforming #sheetmetal #metalshaping
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Text Comments (139)
HotRodHippie (10 months ago)
Do you use Hammer Forming? Would you like to see me go more in depth with this topic?
h kdl (1 month ago)
yes i will have to do a lot of hammer forming since i do not have have any other tools for forming metal so if you could do more that would be great
Afred ! (7 months ago)
Would love to see more!
Da Os (7 months ago)
yes i do do and yes i would
dave haberman (8 months ago)
Would like to see a larger 2 peice form demonstration please....... Good informative video
HotRodHippie one DIVINE 🔨
Pierre Craan (9 days ago)
I would like to see more videos on making other shapes and sizes.
HotRodHippie (9 days ago)
If you haven't seen I have done two other hammer forming videos since this one. Both two different shapes involving other techniques. However I will do more in the future. 👍
Ls1rolla (12 days ago)
thank you!!! this gave me an idea. i really want to get into metal shapping. with this process i would be able to make a motorcycle exhaust correct? finding an exhaust tube and welding end caps to seal the tubbing.
smportis (1 month ago)
More hammer forming and metal shaping! Keep this art form alive! The examples of your large complex pieces are fantastic. I'd love to see a time lapse of a big project with details on all the tools and techniques as you encounter different shapes and challenges.
Kevin Breslin (1 month ago)
What aluminum gauge is good for hand formes panels
HotRodHippie (1 month ago)
That really depends on what you are trying to achieve. Exterior body panels Vs floor panels are going to be different. In aluminum I normally work between 18ga on up to 12ga depending on what the finish part is intended to be.
Matt Politzer (1 month ago)
Thanks. Maybe do video shaping that form with your router. Simple forming solutions are most rewarding. Good hammer technique explanation also. Keep em coming. Cheers, Cyclefrog
Dick Fageroni (1 month ago)
man dick LOL
HotRodHippie (1 month ago)
Congratulations, over. Year and a half of serious YouTubing and you are the first person to comment and point that it. Haha
Fabian Daroca (1 month ago)
First time on your page. Very Impressed to say the least. Not that I'm working on cars but this process comes in handy with small projects that I do. Thank for the lesson!!!
HotRodHippie (1 month ago)
Glad to hear it. You can do a lot with these hands on techniques. Thanks for commenting.
Josh Neretin (1 month ago)
Hey great video and thanks. I'm a light fixture designer wanting to shape hexagons/octagons/diamonds etc. Can this mold to shape work or you think I'll need a stretcher/shrinker. Thx
MichaelKingsfordGray (1 month ago)
Die press.
Josh Neretin (1 month ago)
Thanks for the advice! looking forward to the next video.
HotRodHippie (1 month ago)
Thiz method might be useful for you. However I would say you will. Need a shrinker stretcher setup. This is a wonderful operation but if you are trying to make pieces over and over again mixing up the steps is probably going to be smart. Hammering every single piece would be tiresome and beat up your hammer forms. And some of the shapes may not turn out as well as they would with a few minutes of shrinker stretcher work.
h kdl (1 month ago)
hello there i am making a custom honda goldwing and i have got to form around a wire mold how can you help never done anything like this before
HotRodHippie (1 month ago)
I'm not 100% clear on what you are looking for. However you can check out my third Hammer Forming Video. It may give you some ideas for what you could do. I used that design to hide fuel lines. Wiring would be basically the same idea. I'm going to start a few motorcycle projects on the channel soon. https://youtu.be/1WO69ygwfmc
Keith Saunders (2 months ago)
Wouldn't it be more efficient to make a tool/dye that can be used in a manual press to make several endcaps?
Keith Saunders (2 months ago)
+HotRodHippie thanks for the response and explanation. Appreciate it.
HotRodHippie (2 months ago)
If you were producing the same shape over and over again and had a large enough press. Also you'd have to have the ability to accurately machine forms with the proper clearances. To do all that would require big chunks of metal, a lathe or mill, large press (likely 50 ton or higher) and an intimate knowledge of proper die design. Versus hammer forming. Which literally requires. Some plywood and a hammer at the minimum. This demonstration was to show the simplest parts I use this process to create. It doesn't come close to showing the versatility of the operation. To create a press form for every operation that I use this for would take a significant investment of time and money. So yes you could do that, but it's impractical even on small scale commercial applications. I know some manufacturing companies that use this process over pressing small runs of parts.
Michael B (2 months ago)
Nice video. I was looking for more auto body repair work hammering instruction, but I really liked your video. I will have to watch more. I do some CNC machining. 6061 is pretty soft so you may be disappointed with the durability if you drop the form or have a mis-hit. If you can find someone local with a CNC lathe you can easily make some of your common forms for diam and radius from 1018 steel. Mild steel is also susceptible to drops and hammer hits. You can get them heat treated for a reasonable cost so you will never need to make them again. If you can find people who need your services you may be able to trade so it is no out of pocket cost for you.
HotRodHippie (2 months ago)
Great input. Thank you. I have a couple friends with that kind of capability one even heat treats his own stuff.
DemonDNF (2 months ago)
You might want to soak your wooden forms with tung oil. It will increase the hardness a LOT. I believe the Chinese used it to fabricate armour at one point, until their enemies found out flaming arrows did a number on the Chinese soldiers. :D But used in a shop, wood soaked in tung oil and allowed to dry COMPLETELY is not dangerous; unless you want to heat treat the metal while it's still on the form. :)
Neal Ordelheide (1 month ago)
DemonDNF m
HotRodHippie (2 months ago)
DemonDNF that does sound like s pretty good idea. At least for when I make forms out of something other than MDF. I may give that a try next time I intend to keep a form for a while.
paul burch (2 months ago)
really well explained
HotRodHippie (2 months ago)
Thank you!
Barry Manilowa (2 months ago)
It looks like someone did a motorcycle wheel burn out on your neck and chin. LOL!
f preston (2 months ago)
Shawn Bottom (2 months ago)
Excellent narration explaining what you’re doing. This video is awesome!
HotRodHippie (2 months ago)
Shawn Bottom thank you very much!
Des Des (2 months ago)
I am surprised you use a steel body hammer , as it will tend to stretch the material ,instead of shrinking. Here in the UK we use a hide mallet ,or soft faced hammer, less marks to dress out, and they both shrink,rather than stretch. Not saying which is best here, what ever works for you is fine. Annealing the blank if aluminium, makes the whole process easier too.
HotRodHippie (2 months ago)
Steel body hammer is a little more controllable in this small situation. On larger pieces I use a leather slapper, or "plastic" mallets. I understand your point and it is quite valid, this works for me however. The shrinking means I don't feel bad about sanding the parts to remove the tooling marks. If you check out my other Hammer Forming videos I use plastic mallets in those to do the bulk of the work.
iambeeman1 (2 months ago)
I ain't 1/2 as good as you, I've used this method and if you take a little time its almost idiot proof. Good video.
iambeeman1 (2 months ago)
+HotRodHippie and its dirt cheap. Always good for a beginner to start without blowing a ton of coin.
HotRodHippie (2 months ago)
Thank you. This is really a great way for folks to start learning metalshaping. It is easy and introduced solid theories that translate to a lot of other shaping processes. AND it is still useful even when you know plenty of other ways of doing things.
Nadia Mubarak (2 months ago)
Thanks for sharing. How many videos I have watched where it requires welding. I don't have any equipment to weld. Please, can you show or if you have a video where you can show how you create larger pieces. I just happen to find you, it will help me quite a lot instead of having to figure how to weld and buy equipment. Thank you
HotRodHippie (2 months ago)
Nadia Mubarak I will eventually be doing videos about much larger pieces. Right now I'm trying to focus on smaller basics as it's much easier for me to produce videos about and explain. It is rare I create something that doesn't require some welding though. It's just a fact of metal work. Maybe a fender for a motorcycle or a seat pan for one. Aside from that I generally weld things. It's the only way to seamlessly attach parts together. I'll give it some thought though. Thank you.
ZenMinus (2 months ago)
Why don't you make a hole in the table top or work surface, extend the bolt through the hole and attach a lever mechanism to pull down on the bolt. This way you could stand in one place and use your foot on the lever to pull the form down on the work surface. The form and metal are held between two nuts, the normal nut as used already and another nut part way along the liner bolt (clamping the form and metal together). You cold then more rapidly and easily clamp and unclamp to rotate the form. If you don't understand what I mean, send me an email with your email address and I'll send you a sketch. [email protected]
ZenMinus (2 months ago)
They shake loose because of the variation in the hammer direction to the clamping force location. A small hole just slightly larger than the bolt thread, so that you can screw the bolt into the lever mechanism would provide the clamping force and prevent it from "popping loose". Using a method like this would ensure that ALL hammer blows would be toward the clamping force. You would not have to walk around so much and you could more easily see the progress around the whole formed piece as it takes shape. Best wishes. Regards Peter
HotRodHippie (2 months ago)
The lever mechanism and holes through the table is how a good quality weld/fixture table and tooling works. They are great, if you have the space and can afford a good one. Also I would slightly worry about the lever mechanism popping loose. I edited it out but even the quality F clamps I use shake loose constantly in this operation. You'd probably just want to bolt the form down.
HotRodHippie (2 months ago)
I understand what you are saying. It makes sense and if I had a welding table with holes already in place would do it. My thing is I'd rather not drill holes in my work surface for one project or even just a few. I do a lot of design work on the same tables i fabricate on due to lack of space. Having gouge or holes in the surface is a problem for me. Yours is a good idea but for the random projects I do with this method I don't think it's particularly practical. If I had more space and a bench to dedicate to it, that would be a different story.
baldrehdead (2 months ago)
Good explanation. Thanks for making the video. For larger pieces such as the center console, do you still use the clamp plate concept and then weld the holes closed?
baldrehdead (2 months ago)
HotRodHippie (2 months ago)
Yes I did exactly that. Use as many guide holes as deemed necessary and weld them up when finished.
Shakerhood69 (3 months ago)
Nice work
HotRodHippie (3 months ago)
Thank you
Active Atom (3 months ago)
You do nice hand work, I am just adding metal (aluminum) forming into my skills of being a precision machinist, I would like to know how to do this and you are helping me learn here, thank you.
HotRodHippie (3 months ago)
Active Atom I am glad to hear this helped. I hope my videos continue to do so.
essa essa (3 months ago)
you speaking to match
Andy B (3 months ago)
Very, very interesting video. I'll have to subscribe! Dude, get rid of those long sideburns/half a beard things growing on your face, they're gross!!
Goldenmath (3 months ago)
Time+skill+love = awesomeness
Goldenmath (3 months ago)
HotRodHippie true man, from a blank sheet comes creation, its what this world seems to have lost
HotRodHippie (3 months ago)
It is amazing when you can do when you out your mind to it!
chummaker1 (3 months ago)
If you would hammer as much as you talk the metal ring would be perfect....by the way you are not shrinking the metal if you were the finished piece would be thicker.
HotRodHippie (3 months ago)
Would you prefer I did not explain this topic for those unfamiliar with it? And this process is absolutely shrinking, the material IS thicker when finished. How do you think the same amount of material takes up less space without shrinking? The material ends up a few thousandths thicker. It doesn't turn 20ga into 18 but it most certainly shrinks and thickens the material.
David Barker (3 months ago)
HotRodHippie (3 months ago)
David Barker I'm confused, are you saying I'm talking too much? If so how do you expect me to teach a complex process without explaining the important information about it and it's uses??
TO (3 months ago)
I had never watched this process done. I had no idea a few simple tools could do so much (in the right hands). Thanks for the introduction video, well done!
HotRodHippie (3 months ago)
Glad you enjoyed it. The goal of this series was to show exactly that, you can do a lot without needing a lot. I want to show the complex and the "simple" so folks aren't as afraid of trying it out for themselves.
Stefan Ivens (3 months ago)
I wouldn’t use an aluminium for base for beating steel on it. It will cause oxidation as the combination of steel and aluminium does. As well as using a steel hammer on alu. Because steel is made from iron and carbon, when you beat steel on alu, you will break of carbon into alu and it will oxidate. I do bodywork on cars and for working on alu we use wooden hammers instead. Just something i picked up. Nice video though, i like watching this stuff. Keep beating the metal up !
HotRodHippie (3 months ago)
Stefan Ivens no problem. This is absolutely an interesting discussion to be had. I'll make note of it for future work. Maybe I can confer with some smarter minds than myself and pool some knowledge on the topic. 👍 As far as E-wheels, the only other die materials I've ever seen in use are plastics for non-marring and stretching purposes. However to really move metal it's all about the steel.
Stefan Ivens (3 months ago)
HotRodHippie thx for your answer, sorry I’ve waited so long to answer, kind of slipped my mind. It’s a good point about the english wheel and the steel wheels on it. I always wondered if they came in other materials... apparently not :) maybe I’m taking it too far with the cross contamination issues, because of course it’s not the final product and you will sand the material down and primer it and so on. I do think it’s an interesting discussion or at least a topic. And indeed there is a difference between body work on cars and sheet metal working but now a days it’s becoming crazy with all the extra knowledge and education on new cars. So we tend to go over evaluate stuff :) Anyways I’m planning on buying me an english wheel because i fear that the metal work on cars is about to die out, it al becomes plastic. I give it another 10 maybe 15 years and it’s over. But that won’t keep me from building my own metal stuff at home. That’s why i check some you tube vids like the ones you did. Anyway thanks for the answer and keep up the good stuff man !
HotRodHippie (3 months ago)
I get your point. However aluminum has been shaped with steel tooling for generations. I completely understand your point though. However have you ever seen an English wheel with anything but steel wheels (aside from rubber for linear shaping.). Most tool manufacturers recommend dedicated tooling. Namely steel hammers that you designate and only use on aluminum and not steel. As the hammers themselves aren't as likely to transfer material as the previous material you hammered with those hammers will. I largely use "plastic" mallet, leather faced wood slapped, and wood for shaping aluminum. But eventually beas roller dies, English wheel anvils, power hammer dies, and planishing hammer dies will come into the equation. Coachbuilders and aircraft mechanics have done things his way for ages. Not trying to argue with you. I fully support and understand that minimizing cross contamination is a solid course of action. However in the metal shaping world vs body repair, it just isn't feasible in the end. Basically all materials get sanded, thoroughly cleaned, and treated (primer/paint/etc). These aren't fool proof but help. I am glad someone fought this up though. Sooner or later it will be a topic of discussion for a dedicated video I'm sure. Thank you.
Dev Guy (3 months ago)
randomly ended up here but found this interesting and you did a good job explain the process.
HotRodHippie (3 months ago)
Dev Guy thank you, I'm glad it comes across well.
Larry Sullivan (3 months ago)
Brilliant well explained
HotRodHippie (3 months ago)
Thank you
Kyle Reyner (4 months ago)
My new favourite channel👍
HotRodHippie (4 months ago)
Kyle Reyner thank you very much. I hope it continues to be!
Collin Smith (4 months ago)
Good video man...learned a lot as this process is new to me. I definitely like to see more hammer forming projects. 👍
HotRodHippie (4 months ago)
Thank you. I've made two more hammer Forming videos since this one. I'm sure there will be more.
Alonzo Branson (4 months ago)
Solid info. Have you ever considered metal spinning for some circular projects?
HotRodHippie (4 months ago)
Alonzo Branson I would love to try it, however I don't have access to the equipment to do it. And making my own would take up space I need for other machines I use a lot more. Someday hopefully.
NickMode Projects (4 months ago)
Awesome content.. 😁
HotRodHippie (4 months ago)
NickMode Projects thank you very much
Boxcar's Garage (4 months ago)
Enjoyed your hammer form vid! Thanks. That's one Snap-on Hammer I don't have.....yet
Boxcar's Garage (4 months ago)
I'll check it out, thanks. I'm just starting my metal fabrication endeavors. Trade a sub and see what my application of hammer forming will be applied to. Thanks
HotRodHippie (4 months ago)
Boxcar's Garage thank you. My latest video that I just posted this past weekend is all about that hammer actually! 👍
Malcolm Young (4 months ago)
Great explaination and many thanks for sharing. You have just gained another subscriber...
HotRodHippie (4 months ago)
Thank you, glad to have you here! I hope you continue to enjoy my videos.
Joe Atwork (5 months ago)
Watched 1 video and he said only use steel for forms. I'm glad I found your channel. I don't need to make anything now but the knowledge is good to have. Hope to see more hammer forming. I'll be subscribing. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge.
HotRodHippie (5 months ago)
Joe Atwork who said to use Steel for forms? There is nothing wrong with that but it is by no means the only option. I have done two more hammer Forming videos since this one. Check out more of my stuff to see!
JOEGGGJOE (5 months ago)
JOEGGGJOE (5 months ago)
Awesome video. Live that hammer, preety cool.
pitboss1970 (5 months ago)
Hey Alan, how much differences is there in hammer forming steel from aluminum. Great videos
HotRodHippie (5 months ago)
Aluminum is much easier. My latest hammer Forming video I formed an entire piece out of aluminum. I did it in short order. I'd venture to say it was close to how long this one steel component took me. Steel takes more time and physical effort but is the same process overall.
Tom Ferguson (5 months ago)
Nice job!  I can't wait to get out into my shop and try it!
HotRodHippie (5 months ago)
Glad to hear you will give it a go. Practice makes perfect. Or at least better, ha.
Justmyopinionlol (5 months ago)
your body is 21st century but your head is so 19th century and the skills you teach us is so 16th century.
HotRodHippie (17 days ago)
Thank you for watching and commenting 👍 👍
Michael Tubbs (17 days ago)
It's some awesome "16th century" craftsmanship.  I learned a lot from this short video.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
HotRodHippie (5 months ago)
I have to say I thoroughly enjoy that description.
wyattoneable (5 months ago)
I just found your channel and will be watching more videos. Thanks for the instruction to metal forming. I can use this!
HotRodHippie (5 months ago)
Thank you. I hope to keep on making content folks want to see! Feel free to suggest anything you would like to see.
Casey Ostrander (5 months ago)
Very informative. I wonder, could similar techniques be applied to a square shape? I need to fabricate floor patch panels for my truck and they’re not available anywhere. Solid video!
Ктото Там (6 months ago)
Lack of Focus (6 months ago)
I keep thinking that this is a young Don Garlits presenting. Are you related?
HotRodHippie (6 months ago)
Lack of Focus none at all but that's a heck of a compliment. Thank you. Ha
Michael (6 months ago)
Really usefull video, like hammer forming videos
Chris Watts (6 months ago)
I need to do the top of the wings on mgb. The beads are rusty so I'm getting rid.
Mel Coops (6 months ago)
Hi Alan may be a dumb question but would it be possible to use a car jack to press this shape using a mould to form aluminium sheet .
HotRodHippie (6 months ago)
Mel Coops you would need to use a real press setup. Pressing a shape like this is doable but would require a strong press structure to work as well as well designed male/female press dies. Not just wooden pieces imo.
Mel Coops (6 months ago)
Hi Alan would this work with 3mm aluminium
HotRodHippie (6 months ago)
Mel Coops I would say it could be done but it would be very challenging. You would almost certainly need to make the forms our of metal not wood. You'd need to anneal the aluminum. And possibly even heat it up while hammering on it. 3mm is awfully think to attempt this with. But with a large enough hammer and strong enough form I believe it could be done.
Bricktop1253 (6 months ago)
You're video was very informative. What gauge of sheet metal do you normally use in your creations. I want to do some metal forming.
HotRodHippie (6 months ago)
Bricktop1253 it depends on the vehicle I'm working with or what I'm creating. 18ga and 20ga as he most common sizes I work with though.
Bens MetalshapingShop (7 months ago)
One tip , use a better sturdier table so all your hammerblows have effect..
Bill Hollingsworth (7 months ago)
This guy has got a neat trick to anneal aluminium to make it easier to work. https://youtu.be/tjc4NH7t9-8
HotRodHippie (7 months ago)
I was going to link to MetalmanSweden in some other videos but he's removed the majority of his content from YouTube. That method of annealing aluminum is basically the standard method that we all use. I really should do an annealing video sometime. Thanks for the input!
Pekka Hallikainen (7 months ago)
you are true master 👍👍👍👍
HotRodHippie (7 months ago)
Pekka Hallikainen well that is greatly appreciated. Thank you
anthony thomas (8 months ago)
HotRodHippie (8 months ago)
It would be a lot of real estate to make them running boards that way, but yes this method could be used to do that. Without seeing the exact setup it is hard for me to say if another way would be better. So that's the best I can offer.
hawkdaddy64 (8 months ago)
Would it be too difficult to create metal heart with round over edges?
HotRodHippie (8 months ago)
hawkdaddy64 it would be doable. The hard part would be the point protruding outward and the crease between the two halves. The crease would be a stretched section and depending how harsh of a crease it is, it souls be very focused stretching. I'd be wary of tearing the metal in there. You'd wNt some type of chisel like a plastic Corking tool to get in there and crisp it up somewhat gently.
Aaron Dalton (8 months ago)
I enjoyed this video.
HotRodHippie (8 months ago)
Aaron Dalton thank you very much. Glad to hear it. I just did a second video about hammer forming and have some more coming.
J Orona (8 months ago)
Love the hammer 🔨 idea!!!i made one as soon as I got in the garage... thanks bro for awesome tips.. very knowledgeable
HotRodHippie (7 months ago)
Hope the method works out great for you!
Dill Wiggle (8 months ago)
Did u hack off the end of the snap on hammer ?
HotRodHippie (6 months ago)
Dill Wiggle sorry I missed this comment. That SO Hammer is a special one that has no pick on the backside and a shorter front face. But it also has material added around the handle so it still has a decent amount of weight to it. BF612 is the part number.
Lee Szymanski (9 months ago)
like to see more on hammer forming...... doing a great job
hotrod1ish (9 months ago)
Keep the wood...Just go harder and treat it... great vid's and keep them coming. They just helped me to decide to hammer out side covers my scooter.
HotRodHippie (9 months ago)
hotrod1ish I have some seriously hard stuff that a woodworker gave me. I use that to make random tools and chisels for shaping. I may have to try it for a hammer form. Glad to hear you are going to give it a go!
Bradley Thompson (10 months ago)
Thank you
Boats (10 months ago)
Good video
HotRodHippie (10 months ago)
Justin Bowtell thank you
Brandell Works (10 months ago)
YES! Keep going, would like to learn more

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