jury is still out on this one
My Father in Law was a welding inspector for Burlington Northern and got me started in welding. One of my best friends was a welding instructor and taught welding at a local high school for over 30 years. He is the one who recommended that I buy a smaller unit that would weld up to 1/8 inch stock. I learned how to weld about 20 years ago, but never ever did have much of a need to use it and had to ask for a "refresher" course. Times have changed including the auto darkening helmet which truly makes welding 10 times easier. I did weld all my sheet metal panels in place with no problems and used good spacing techniques so it would not warp. Since my project was old metal, I cut away the rusted areas and clamped the new panels in place. I had some frustration until I found the correct thickness of the panels to be welded in. It took some experimenting. A little grinding, and a very small about of bondo and I was in business. I have not had a problem with paint falling off (yet!), and know that prep work before painting IS the most important and time consuming part of the project. Before applying the bondo, I do prep the metal with poor man's metal prep.... carburetor cleaner..... to wipe it all down. It has always worked well for me. I have also pretty much switched from sandable automotive primer, to self etching primer. Easier to work with and dries so much faster. Everybody has their own way of doing it though, and experimenting with what you have, and what you can afford is what makes it all worthwhile. As much as I would love to have a large welder, or hire someone, the fact is, I don't weld that often so it is a losing proposition for me and what I have, works. I am also retired now, and work on projects as more/less a hobby and this should be my last project. If I was starting over, I would consider a better welding unit than I have, but for now, it is fine. I am going to ask my retired welding instructor friend to come over once I get the boxing panels in place, to give me some advice. I do like the idea to move the panels inside the frame rails a quarter inch so that is the plan for now.