Visiting Doran Manufacturing

Visiting Doran Manufacturing

I drove up to Doran Manufacturing to visit Mike Sewell and drop off the parts to my grille. I got a quick tour of the facilities, and saw some pretty neat machines working on sheet metal!

Here’s the laser cutting machine that did the cutting for my seat belt anchors. The parts in the foreground have already been separated from the excess sheet metal, but another sheet is being cut inside the machine behind the Plexiglas.

It’ll cut through more than 1/2 inch thick steel without a problem, but they rarely need to cut through something that heavy. The power of the laser is so concentrated that it vaporizes the steel at a very fine cut at a very high speed. If this machine was around when they filmed “Dr. No,” Bond would’ve been dead!

After cutting, these pieces are deburred, cleaned, and readied for bending into shape.

Some production runs require welding, and Doran does both MIG and TIG welding.

After welding, these boxes will be cleaned up for painting.

After paint, they’ll be packed and shipped. Now I can understand why Mike cringed at the sight of the speaker box I made a while back!

It’s a good thing this box is hidden under the package shelf in the back of the car!

Another cool machine was one that uses punches and dies of different shapes to cut into sheetmetal. The computer moves the sheet metal about as the correct punch and die cuts the hole in the appropriate places. A turret holds all the various die sets, and the machine automatically reloads a new set when a different hole needs to be punched. (click on the picture to watch it in action.)

We spent the rest of the time discussing a plan for making the grille with some of the guys at the shop. They seem pretty confident with making the grille, and I am very sure they’ll have great things to show me in a few weeks!

This grill project will still involve some work from my end, and one of the things I need to do is polish the final parts. Mike gave me some pieces of aluminum to see which finishes were easier to polish. The piece on the left was put through a machine that wet sands the metal to a brushed finish, and the piece on the right is ordinary 5051 aluminum without any surface treatment.

Both pieces were sanded with 600 grit sandpaper before buffing, and this was the result on the untreated surface, The reflection of my face shows half my face with better detail, and the other half a little blurry. The better reflection is from having an untreated aluminum surface, 600 grit sanding, and polishing. The left side of this reflection is blurry because it was not sanded with 600 grit sand paper.

The pieces that were sanded at Doran didn’t buff out very well. The 600 grit sand paper barely broke through the coarse sanding done at the plant, and buffing was almost ineffective.

So the pieces I’ll use to make this grill will be plain 5051 Aluminum without any surface treatment!

Previous Restoration Day
Next Restoration Day
Home page