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Old 05-31-2004, 08:58 AM
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gas welding sheetmetal vs. mig

Hi all,

I just wanted to relate an experience I had this weekend. As some may know I've been heading up to a master metal shaper's shop on the weekends.

After posting some pictures of my fender on the metalmeet site, he said he wanted to try welding with flux core. I brought the Hobart 125 up to his shop, he gave it a shot---and he is an outstanding weldor and it looked like crap.

He usually uses tig - along with all of the other advanced metal shaping guys. We went downstairs and gave gas welding a try. His welds looked as good as tig with the gas, no distortion on sheetmetal.

I gave it a try...figuring I was going to totally smoke the panel, since I had never gas welded in my life...I actually laid a damn fine bead.

Wray planished it by hand. Basically you use a hammer with a decent crown on it so you don't put a dimple in the panel, and you back the panel with a flat immovable surface. You can do this with a dolly, but you have to hold it extremely firm. I generally just put my dolly on my bench facing up to planish...

Anyways, I would now recommend using gas over flux-core mig...by far...by far.

Pictures to follow.

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Old 05-31-2004, 09:05 AM
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oh, after planishing it was hit with a shrinking disk also. This is a buttweld, I inserted a butter knife just so that you can see it is two panels. The pictures don't show the detail as good as I would have liked, but there are areas where the metal blends 100% perfectly like it is one solid piece.
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Old 05-31-2004, 09:06 AM
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another one.
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Old 05-31-2004, 09:08 AM
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last one..

Try doing this with a mig...especially flux core.

If I didn't already have my mig welder, I would have definitely gone with just the oxy/acet setup...you can't beat it's versatility for heating/cutting/welding. These welds are as good as tig.
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Old 05-31-2004, 10:32 AM
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Unstable,
Beautiful job!!! Now you know how to fix your previous mig welded panel on your fender, right??

Just use your torch and melt it in good. You'll have to planish it again, but it will be softer and will finish off just as nice as this test piece you did.

One thing I will have to clear up though, is that any process will work, IF you take the time to gain the knowledge to work with what you have. I've butt welded quite a few panels using a MIG. It's not impossible, and with some patience, excellent results are accomplished. I prefer to use TIG, now that I sorta know how to use one, but I've also gas welded a few pieces together too. I've not used a flux core MIG, but a imagine it's the worst think you could use for sheetmetal butt welding, outside of possible trying to stick weld it with a cheapo buzz box, but we'll not go there!!

Good Job!! Thanks for sharing! This proves the "O/A gas welding will distort your panels beyond usability" THEORY all WRONG doesn't it!!!
It's not a matter of how much heat you put into the panel, but rather what you do with it after it's finished.

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Old 05-31-2004, 11:23 AM
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While on the subject of different welding methods for sheet metal
I would once again like to mention the PERFECT CIRCLE brand of MIG wire called TWENTY GAUGE. I brought this up some time back after I tried it with really good results. I think that after the bad reputation that flux core has earned(for good reason!) that now most people are reluctant to try any type of cored welding wire. This wire is in no way the same class of wire as flux core and is far better than even solid wire for thin sheet metal. I have been a certified welder since 1968 and I have run my own welding shop for 27 years so I am no novice as I have used about everything by now. This wire uses C/25 gas and welds much like solid but at a lower current for the same size causing much less distortion than solid wire. It has almost no spatter and is much easier to weld without burn through than solid. For those using a 110 volt welder this stuff will make your machine far more usable and any size welder will be able to weld thin sheet easier. Check out the link it is everything they say it is and then some. www.jwharris.com/images/pdf3/twentygauge.pdf
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Old 05-31-2004, 12:24 PM
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Randy-call me a slacker or whatever, but my main thing at this point in the game is to get the truck back together half-way decent. Once it's back together I can pull a panel up and bring it up to Randy/Wray standards...right now it's in a million pieces, and unless I feel I am making some forward progress it's going to be one of those trucks you see behind someone's house with a tree growing through the frame. I AM HOWEVER going to switch to using gas O/A for the rest of the panels I have to install.
Then I can always go back and rip off the bum-repairs I did and try again. Wray had a few funny comments about the fender I brought up.

"You sure this thing wasn't used in a demolition derby?"

but my favorite was (while he was inspecting the edge of the fender that meets the door jamb)---

"Hmm, this looks like from when they welded the doors shut to use it as a submarine"


Old Red--
I've had SOME success using flux core..standard WeldIT .030 wire. I personally think I am somewhat proficient with it...I can do it better than Wray with the flux core...hehehe.

Basically I had started with flux and upgraded my machine for gas...but I didn't use up all the flux core. It's about all gone now, so the MIG will get switched to gas, but I think I am going to go with O/A from now on...you just can't beat it. I'd be interested to see what results (post pics) you got from the twenty gauge flux core.

Like Randy said, you can do the job with any welding process, but I think O/A or TIG will end up saving you an assload of time, effort and frustration over the MIG.

One thing is for sure, I am going to recommend O/A over mig whenever someone asks. I am totally shocked at how well the quality is and how easy the process is.
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Old 05-31-2004, 01:21 PM
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Seems that there is a misunderstanding about this wire as it is not a gassless flux core wire, it is a gas shielded (C/25) powdered metal core which is an entirely different thing. I have used the oxy/fuel process countless times in the past and it does a really good job just as you say but it has it's drawbacks. I think that this wire will soon be the norm for body shop work and anyone who discounts it based on experience with flux core is making a mistake. I now use it almost every day to weld 24 gauge duct pipe that would have been difficult to weld with solid wire and far too slow with a welding torch. This is not a new technology having been around for years in heavy welding but only recently in sizes small enough for body work. This stuff really is light years ahead of any other wire out there and deserves a try especially on the 110 volt welders.
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Old 05-31-2004, 06:59 PM
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I do all my sheet metal welding with a Gas MIG set up. I haven't ever tried O/A or TIG.

One thing i did find was a huge help was changing the wire size. I was using 0.8mm wire as i was doing alot of chassis welding as well. I then baught a spool of 0.6mm for sheet metal work and the difference is great.

I found that with the 0.6mm i could turn the power up on the welder and get real good penetration, with little or no distortion. Witht he thicker wire i would have blown a hole if it wasn't on the lowest setting. I also found i could weld much longer beads before it got to hot, than with the thicker wire.
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Old 05-31-2004, 07:26 PM
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62--

if you get a chance, post some pictures of the welds after you finished them (prior to paint). I'd be interested to see what it looks like.

Like I said I have been using flux core because it was still in my machine before I bought the upgrade kit. I don't know if it's just the flux core or whatever, but the welds are super hard and they don't finish very well.

I have seen mig welds with shielding gas, but not on sheetmetal. I'd be really impressed if you could get as good of results as the O/A. I am just really enthused about how the O/A came out.
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Old 05-31-2004, 09:11 PM
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Thanks for all the input guys. I just bought a Lincoln MIG-PAK 3200 HD and have only done a few trial runs on BBQ pit repairs in the back yard. I haven't bought a bottle yet to run gas but, it's coming before I take the welder to the panel truck.
Saying that, I really like to check out the wire oldred was talking about. No matter how hard I tried, I had a notable amount of splatter. I laid done some fairly nice bead (considering I hadn't sruck an arc in over 20 years) but, still too messy for working panels.
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Old 05-31-2004, 11:15 PM
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Here you go unstable. This one is entirely mig welded. I might add that I was using the absolute worst wire I've ever used on this job. Blue Demon wire SUCKS!!!



This is the right rear fender for a '39 Ford Sedan. It had previously been repaired (Uh, Hmm. I mean butchered) by another so called bodyman. Also pictured are the 19ga. repair panels I shaped for the repair.


The botched previous repair has been removed and the new panel tack welded.


Here is a close up so you see that the butt joint is very tight. Also notice that I've chamfered both the replacement panel and the original fender. This is a tip from Wray that proves to work great. No problem with burning through and penetration is excellent


As I mentioned in my previous post, I try to overlap each successive spot weld by 1/3-1/2. This picture doesn't show it as well as I had hoped, but I think you can make it out if you look closely


Here is the weld seam after running a complete series of 1 inch overlapping spot weld segments, followed by stretching along the Heat Affected Zone as mentioned in the previous post.


Once I have it roughed in on the exterior side, I remove the proud weld bead from the inner side and further planish the weld seam with a slapper and dolly, carefully bringing up the low spots and filing away the remaining few thousandths of proud weld bead. I then run over the entire repaired area with a shrinking disc to remove any overstretched spots. Here are the results. No body filler will be needed, the panel is stress free, and there will be no worry of seeing a seam or early paint failure, common to lapped repair procedures.


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Old 06-01-2004, 11:26 AM
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oldred


I am about to purchase a flux core welder, campbell hausfeld and would think the wire you suggested would work well with it, as it uses .030" or .035" wire. I did not see a price attached to your link. About what would I expect to pay for a small (lbs) spool, thanks?


Randy Ferguson


I have become facinated with metal fabrication (thanks to the recent reality tv craze featuring such work) and would like to say, your work is great to say the least. Hopefully soon I will be in a position to do some metal work on my truck and I can only hope to have an end result half as good as yours.
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Old 06-01-2004, 02:25 PM
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357-Remember that the twenty gauge is a true MIG wire and as such it requires a shielding gas,in this case C/25. In the past I tended to think that a 110 volt welder was too limited to really be useful but with this wire you can do a lot more than you can with solid. It costs about the same as flux core but if you get a good machine you will be amazed at how well it works on thin panels.
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Old 06-01-2004, 05:26 PM
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Oldred

Appears I have no comprehension skills what-so-ever, if I would have interpreted your previous post correctly, I would have known that, sorry to waste your time. Does appear I will be stuck spot welding with the old flux core hopeing for the best, as I have no interest in dealing with gas at the moment. Appreciate the reply



Unstable

After my last post I feel I may have been rude. I forgot to mention that for a beginner/ apprentice your work, or what I can tell from your pix, appears to be real good. Now if you can just fight the temptation to cover it with filler and instead work it smooth. Keep the pix of your progress coming, hopefully your posts will help others, as well as myself, when I get started. I have a feeling I will be using filler though, and learning to sculpt in the process. Good luck
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