Panel Gaps can make or break your impression of a car at a show. No matter how beautiful the paint is, if the panels don’t have a good fit and finish the overall appearance of the vehicle will be hurt. There are a couple quick ways we’ve found to accurately measure and set up your panel gaps. Below are our two favorites that are virtually free!
1. Used or Broken Drill Bits- Want to set an exact gap on your panels down to the millimeter? Grab a few broken or worn out drill bits from a drill index in the same size and use the back side to set your panel gaps. This will assure an accurate gap and we’ve even used them for setting up a panel that has no good reference point for a gap. Keep a broken off bit in your pocket as you walk around doing a final check on the vehicle before you’re ready for primer and paint!
2. The paint stirrer stick method- This is an old-timer’s trick that’s been used for years in auto body and custom shops. Break off a bunch of paint stirrer sticks into approximately 2″-4″ sections and stack them to get your desired gap. You can then put a single wrap of painters tape around the stack ups to hold them together. Make a few of these and you have an easy way to set the gaps around a vehicle. Just be sure to use a set of calipers to measure the stack up as low-quality stir sticks tend to vary greatly in thickness.
Hopefully these two low-buck ideas will help you when building your next car!