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Author Topic: DIY: Make your own tunnel brace  (Read 42042 times)

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Offline Sly Bob

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DIY: Make your own tunnel brace
« on: December 19, 2008, 10:16:38 PM »
As many of you have found that have pushed the car to the limits some cars have a little body flex that many have fixed by cutting a new backbone tunnel brace from a piece of aluminum. Some have used 1/4" and some have used 3/8" aluminum.

Is there any particular grade or type of aluminum alloy that we should use? Has anyone come up with an alternative to the 1/4" or 3/8" aluminum stock?  :huh:


Edit: We have changed the name of the component being discussed here to "Tunnel Brace"
« Last Edit: January 19, 2009, 10:21:09 PM by Sly Bob »
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Mods: Lose the chicklets, VentureShield, Dual horns, AfterShock spoiler, Weathershield cover, Lil Chromies, Red calipers with black Solstice stickers, Opel GT antenna and Solo GXP-RCD exhaust with a Solo hi-flow cat!

Offline DeepBlueGXP

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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2008, 11:23:17 PM »
I used 6061 T6 Aluminum 1/4" thick, T6 is very hard and will not flex.  Got a chopped size of 32"x12" to cut out using the stock one as a template.  Using a metal cutting blade, with WD40 squirting on the blade to prevent heating up and binding.  You can see how much the stock one (black) flexes



Credit to the idea goes to DDM Works.  I only built my own because I have the means to do it.  Just like some have built their own A-Pillar gauge holders.  I highly recommend, if you are not a DIY guy/gal, to support DDM Works and purchase their product.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 01:58:42 PM by DeepBlueGXP »

Offline Fred

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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2008, 12:03:09 AM »
3/16" ??  A particular reason for that versus 1/4"??
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 01:45:28 PM by DeepBlueGXP »
Pops' car is Cool, Black Leather. Everything but Onstar and pretty much stock. VIN 12228.

Offline Sol Asylum

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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2008, 12:09:56 AM »
Easier to work

Cheaper

Perhaps easier to find

Take your pick
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 01:48:58 PM by DeepBlueGXP »
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Offline Sly Bob

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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2008, 12:16:02 AM »
Spoke to DeepBlueGXP regarding this and he had said that the 6061 T6 aluminum is stronger and more rigid than the standard aluminum plate that some are using for this tunnel brace. It all depends on what type you have available to you in your area.

The 6061 T6 aluminum also has the advantage of being ligther as at 1/4", it's somewhat thinner as well.

Edit: Can't spell
« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 01:42:40 PM by Sly Bob »
Just trying to do my part...

Mods: Lose the chicklets, VentureShield, Dual horns, AfterShock spoiler, Weathershield cover, Lil Chromies, Red calipers with black Solstice stickers, Opel GT antenna and Solo GXP-RCD exhaust with a Solo hi-flow cat!

Offline Sol Asylum

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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2008, 12:31:00 AM »
We use a lot of 5052 and 6061 at work.  6061 is the material of choice if you don't have to bend the part and 5052 is best for bent parts.  6061 doesn't so much bend its more like crack or break.  6061 is easier to work then 5052.

2024 is also useful for some of our parts its flexible ie it can be bent, and yet pretty strong, also has a copper alloy clad for corrosion I would not recommend it for this application though pretty pricey.  2024 tends to be the aluminum of choice in airplanes for wings and such where work hardening is a bad thing.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 01:48:36 PM by DeepBlueGXP »
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Offline DeepBlueGXP

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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2008, 03:39:16 AM »
Any flavor is available at T0 rating, can be formed and heat treated to T6.  6061 just happen to be weldable also.  Most aircraft skin is 2024 T3.  I am retired 22 yrs as a Navy Aviation Structural Mechanic for which I was aircraft tig welding certified on Aluminum, Titanium, Mild and Stainless Steel
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 01:48:45 PM by DeepBlueGXP »

Offline chuckdoc

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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2008, 09:28:15 AM »
I have a deepbluegxp tunnel brace on my car and I got to tell you it really does make a difference.  If you get the GM tune, I would say it is mandatory.

Chuck

By the way, for anyone who has not met me and wants to know what I look like.  I look like the guy in the picture holding the tunnel braces but with hair and a lot taller.  Quite a handsome dude for you ladies.  (I hope that says ladies like in girls and not laddies like in guys from Scotland as I always forget which spelling is which)


Edit: changed name of component to tunnel brace.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 03:37:28 PM by Sly Bob »
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Offline Sly Bob

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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2008, 09:55:16 AM »
I will have to go down and see what I can get. I'm thinking the 6061 would be the better choice especially if I use a little thicker material as we want something rigid. I would assume T6 is harder and stiffer than T0 in light if the fact that Joe said that T0 can be heat treated to T6?  :huh:
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 01:46:13 PM by DeepBlueGXP »
Just trying to do my part...

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Offline MomsSol

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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2008, 10:06:38 AM »
I have a deepbluegxp tunnel brace on my car and I got to tell you it really does make a difference.  If you get the GM tune, I would say it is mandatory.

Chuck

By the way, for anyone who has not met me and wants to know what I look like.  I look like the guy in the picture holding the tunnel braces but with hair and a lot taller.  Quite a handsome dude for you ladies.  (I hope that says ladies like in girls and not laddies like in guys from Scotland as I always forget which spelling is which)
Ah yes Chuck ... you are the handsome one!  :thumbs:  Why I bet even the lads in the tartan kilts would be a tinkin' ya look right smart for an englishman.  :wink:
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 03:39:13 PM by Sly Bob »
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Offline DeepBlueGXP

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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2008, 10:56:18 AM »
I will have to go down and see what I can get. I'm thinking the 6061 would be the better choice especially if I use a little thicker material as we want something rigid. I would assume T6 is harder and stiffer than T0 in light if the fact that Joe said that T0 can be heat treated to T6?  :huh:

Correct T0 is the soft (wrought) and can be easily molded or formed.  The heat treated to a T series as required.  We used a load tester to verify what hardness was achieved, actually 7075 T6 is stronger but the shop doesn't carry it.  They stock 5052 and 6061

Here is the different aluminum designations and what they are typically used for.
http://aluminium.matter.org.uk/aluselect/01_applications.asp
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 01:48:09 PM by DeepBlueGXP »

Offline Fred

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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2008, 12:00:50 PM »
What was the approx. cost of the material and how long did it take you to cut it out?   :huh:
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 01:46:27 PM by DeepBlueGXP »
Pops' car is Cool, Black Leather. Everything but Onstar and pretty much stock. VIN 12228.

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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2008, 12:14:16 PM »
I know the prototype 3/8" I have is 6061, I am not sure what the final product DDM put out was, yes Chuck does look a lot like that guy in the picture. But that guy looks like he could be Chucks father, Chuck is much younger.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 01:46:40 PM by DeepBlueGXP »

Offline DeepBlueGXP

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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2008, 12:20:48 PM »
$42 per piece and about an hour to cut and drill.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 01:47:05 PM by DeepBlueGXP »

Offline Fred

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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2008, 12:23:11 PM »
Thanks for the info.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 01:47:14 PM by DeepBlueGXP »
Pops' car is Cool, Black Leather. Everything but Onstar and pretty much stock. VIN 12228.

Offline Go-N Def

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« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2008, 12:42:19 PM »
Joe, you really need to work on the quality of that...



Of course, I'm talking about the model holding it!
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 01:47:57 PM by DeepBlueGXP »

Offline chuckdoc

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« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2008, 12:49:15 PM »
Hey I think that model is handsome.  You do know the definition of model don't you?  It is a small imatation of the real thing. 

I posted about the tunnel brace on the BigBoard with a link to here.  It would really be a troll to get some more people to check out this place. 
http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/f62/deepbluegxp-does-again-new-tunnel-brace-53020/


Chuck
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 04:10:28 PM by chuckdoc »
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Offline Go-N Def

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« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2008, 01:15:01 PM »
I just wouldn't have called it a "backbone" out of respect for DDM.  But then again, Joe's not selling it...

I've got to get one made for when I get back in town.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 01:47:23 PM by DeepBlueGXP »

Offline Sly Bob

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« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2008, 01:23:42 PM »
I could have called it "back brace" or "tunnel brace" but you're right to say that we aren't going into manufacturing these for sale. For example I might choose to make a wind restrictor although I'm sure WindRestrictor would make one that looked a lot better. In this case backbone tunnel brace is just a generic name that everyone understands.

Edit: We have changed the name of the component being discussed here to "Tunnel Brace"
« Last Edit: December 20, 2008, 03:33:47 PM by Sly Bob »
Just trying to do my part...

Mods: Lose the chicklets, VentureShield, Dual horns, AfterShock spoiler, Weathershield cover, Lil Chromies, Red calipers with black Solstice stickers, Opel GT antenna and Solo GXP-RCD exhaust with a Solo hi-flow cat!

Offline Critterman

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Re: Make your own tunnel brace
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2008, 03:01:30 PM »
I agree with Mike, a lot of time and effort went into the developement of the Backbone, if you are going to copy it you should at least call it something else.
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Offline DeepBlueGXP

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Re: Make your own tunnel brace
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2008, 03:19:39 PM »
Thread is called a Tunnel Brace on this forum :)
I used 6061 T6 Aluminum 3/16 thick, T6 is very hard and will not flex.  Got a chopped size of 32"x12" to cut out using the stock one as a template.  Using a metal cutting blade, with WD40 squirting on the blade to prevent heating up and binding.  You can see how much the stock one (black) flexes

Credit to the idea goes to DDM Works.  I only built my own because I have the means to do it.  Just like some have built their own A-Pillar gauge holders.  I highly recommend, if you are not a DIY guy/gal, to support DDM Works and purchase their product.

Offline 2kwk4u

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Re: Make your own tunnel brace
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2008, 03:25:39 PM »
Hey I think that model is handsome.  You do know the definition of model don't you?  It is a small imatation of the real thing. 

I posted about the backbone on the BigBoard with a link to here.  It would really be a troll to get some more people to check out this place. 
BB - Tunnel Brace Thread


Chuck

It worked, Doc.  Got me over here :)

Offline chuckdoc

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Re: Make your own tunnel brace
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2008, 03:29:49 PM »
edited all my responses to say tunnel brace.  Also wrote to momssol to change the thread on the BB (big board) to read tunnel brace. 
This will screw up the link but I will fix it when all is changed.

Anyway the darn thing sure works great and if you increase your HP you need to contact DDM to buy or try to make one.  Remember Joe has every tool anyone would need.

So if you can't  make one yourself, please buy theirs.

Chuck
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Offline Go-N Def

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Re: Make your own tunnel brace
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2008, 03:45:25 PM »
Remember Joe has every tool anyone would need.

That's for sure.  He even adjusted my Flux Capacitor when I was in....

Offline DeepBlueGXP

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Re: Make your own tunnel brace
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2008, 03:48:45 PM »
I checked your warp coils too :lol:

 

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