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Old 06-01-2008, 07:54 PM   #1
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Diamond plate rock guard

Well... seems I'm resigned to go from the tongue on back with my refurb and I've decided to remove the banged up aluminum siding from the front of the camper and replace it with a single piece of polished diamond plate aluminum. I tore the old siding out last night and have my diamond plate cut to dimensions... The acquisition of the material was a chore driving to every metal shop around before finding a place from a tip from my cousin... an Amish metal shop outside of Shippensburg. 2-4x8 sheets were $265 for polished diamond step aluminum(14ga). It had some subtle scratches in both pieces already which I wasn't too happy about, but it's going to be a rock guard after all.



1st question... anyone ever bend this stuff before? My bend needs to be 35 degrees off plane and is only 5 3/8"-6 1/2" off the top edge. I'm going to practice on a scratch piece before attempting to the actual piece. My idea is to score the backside just a hair depth with a router along the bend line on the inside of the bend. I'm going to then screw 2-2x4s on either side of the long end getting as close to the bend point on either side of the sheet as a I can. I'm going to then clamp 2 shorter pieces of wood and start gradually and work from one end to the other gradually. I've heard if you crack this stuff, it's going to break on you so I only want to do this once. Any tips are appreciated.

2nd question... the vinyl tape that covers the hex screws on the trim edge is pretty dry rotted and cracked and broke into pieces when I tried to remove it carefully. Fits inside this trim...Anyone know where I can get this stuff?


Appreciate any help.
Thanks,
Lode
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:27 PM   #2
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Might want to see if you can find a local fab shop with a hydraulic press brake to bend that diamond plate for you. I can't imagine one bend being that expensive to have done.

The vinyl strip is available at most RV dealers, I've already bought a few rolls myself (inexpensive, too)

- Frank
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:31 PM   #3
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Thanks for the heads up on the tape, I came to the conclusion tonight that it was a specialty item when Home Depot and Lowes didn't know what I wanted and all they could do was take me to the mini blind area.(I described what I was looking for and used mini blind slat as a reference... maybe at the 40' wide window store)

I took the sheet to a metal shop today and had the bend done for me. $25 bucks for 7 mins work and lesson learned. I tried to bend it last night and had some success around the corners(not even close to the 35 degrees off plane I needed) but the 2x4s just flexed in the middle on the 94" length. I woke up feeling like I'd been beaten with a bag of nickels... no more wrestling sheet metal for me, I'll pay the piper.

Thanks,
Take care,
Jason
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:44 PM   #4
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Lode

Nice post as one day I will do this too. Please keep posting as you go.

On the bending, your method of wood boards will most likely not give you the desired end results you are after. Aluminum bends harder then say mild steel of the same thickness.

While you can probably bend a short piece, say 6” long, doing 8 feet wide takes a high degree of force and the metal must be supported properly.

While it is not impossible to make up a home made bending rig out of angle iron, making that brake will be a lot more work then going to a fab shop to get it done in 10 minutes.

Look for 2 types of shops.

1. A sheet metal duct work shop could have a hand brake that might handle the 8 feet 14 ga. This is a manual operation but that machine is made to hold the metal firmly along the entire bend.

2. Go to a welding shop that has a hydraulic press brake like Frank was talking about. Tell them you have a piece of 14 gage diamond plate 8 feet long. Most shops can handle this no problem.

Where ever you go, measure the angle of the TT bend that you want it to match too and how far up the width the bend should start. They will then easily bend it to that angle. To do the job with the right machine will take no longer then 10 pushing 15 minutes and that is if they start talking to you about it. The bending itself is about 30 seconds.


The vinyl strip insert.

Camco is one brand that makes it. Camco Vinyl Insert

RV stores or Camping World has them. Good luck and hope this helps

John
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:01 AM   #5
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Finally finished up installing the rock guard.

After breaking apart and removing all the vinyl trim that covers the edge trim screws, I started at the bottom and edges and removed all the sheet screws that held the bottom siding row above the tongue and the screws holding side edge trim. Once I freed the trim on the front corners it allowed me to pull the siding staples and remove 3 sections of the siding. This brought me up to the 1st row of coated aluminum on the front just below my courtesy light. I went higher on the edge trim removing the hex screws so I could have the play in the trim and get it out of the way to seat the new rock guard. I removed a lot of the dirty plumbers putty off the trim and used a hammer/mallet to get the bent aluminum from the sides back flush along the front edges.


I picked up a 4’x8’ sheet of polished diamond plate aluminum 14ga. My width was 94” even all the way up with the bend starting @ 22 ¼” with a 5 3/8” lip to the inside groove of the siding on the passenger. The driver’s side bend started again @ 22 ¼” but was 6 ½” to the inside groove of the siding. I laid out the sheet and used a jig saw with a fine metal blade to cut the dimension out after tracing the back with a red sharpee. I did the same with the line to mark where I wanted the bend. I used a speed square on the edge of the camper and found the bend needed to go 35 degrees off plane to get to the groove of the existing aluminum siding. After I cut the proper size I taped some paper on it to protect the mirror side for transporting it leaving the bend line exposed. I took it to a machine shop and it was bent in 7 mins ( and the guy had to roll the dyes on the press!)… $25 and it would have been cheaper or free if I’d have bought the metal off them.

I dry fitted it and everything looked decent so I unwrapped it and applied a bead of marine sealant to the area just below the siding groove where the back top of the rock guard slides up and in. I re puttied the trim edge inside corner and also the front downward edges of the camper.


I did the same on the top back of the new rock guard to guarantee a good seal when the guard was seated.


I also used tube of black silicone on the lower edge where the bottom fabric raps up right along where the old line where the original screws tapped in. I put it on heavily enough on the camper that I did not repeat it to the bottom of the rock guard. I would’ve been much to messy doing the job myself if I’d put more goop on the guard and tried to seat it.

After I seated it and was confident it was in place I drilled 2 holes just below the siding line I had premarked to a stud and put two sealing sheet metal screws. I then did the top of both corners using new stainless screws and washers to replace the old hardware inside the edge trim. I then went to the bottom center and put 3 screws in behind the propane carriage. After than I went back to the edge and went down every other hole till both edges were secure. I then went back to the bottom row above the tongue and finished those out from center to the edge. Back to fill the skipped holes in the trim edge and I was almost done. I always go back over everything with a screwdriver or hand driver and do a ‘hand tight’ check on the screws to make sure they’re seated properly.




I’ll go back and get the excess sealant from around the screws on the face of the guard after it’s dried. Once I get the new vinyl tape back into the edge trim and get some more sealant on this seam on both sides I’ll be satisfied. It’s hard to see in the picture but there’s a void there on both sides.


I’m happy with it for my 1st time working with sheet aluminum and think it looks a lot better than the beat up aluminum siding that was there.

Thanks for looking,
Take care,
Jason
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:24 AM   #6
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Jason,

Excellent job.

Thanks for posting the pictures and explaining the process you took to install it.

Looks great.
Hutch
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:51 PM   #7
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Looks sharp! Very classy IMO.

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Old 06-03-2008, 09:58 PM   #8
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Jason

Very Nice Job

Good work and thanks for posting the pic's and the process.

John
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:05 PM   #9
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Just reading your post, maybe help others that are considering this. We have a '79 12 1/2MC, had some "blemishes" on each side in front. The mister is in charge of outside, me the inside. He insisted on putting diamond plate on also, we live in Zanesville, Ohio area, got the black diamond plating from an amish metal shop in the Peola area, near Kimbolton. We took a taped and shaped piece of sturdy cardboard and a picture with us, they were able to bend ours almost perfectly on their manual brake machine. I would post pic but I am technology challenged. We used 1/2" metal screws to apply over original skin. Looks pretty good with hitch that we sanded and repainted with flat black Rustoleum. Hope this helps someone.
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