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Old 05-07-2010, 09:47 AM
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Welding for a novice.............

My wife bought me a flux core welder for my birthday last month and I am picking up some scraps from a local muffler shop this afternoon so I can practice before starting on my '52 Chevy pickup. I have never welded before but have watched and read much about it. Any tips for a novice welder before I begin practicing? I'm planning on using it to patch the corner panels, box portions of the frame, and install mounts for a SBC 350 and Nova rear end. I hear that flux core can burn and warp thinner metal if you're not careful. Is there a good trick to keeping this from happening? Thanks in advance. BTW the flux core i have right now is .030.

-Greg

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Old 05-07-2010, 10:35 AM
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Practice practice practice,if you have a welding shop in the area try to get some scrap steel from them,instead of the aluminized tubing,it will work,but it would be easier to learn on a flat plate.
An auto darkening helmet will help your welding greatly.
Yes fluc core is harder to weld sheetmetal with,just use small tacks and then move away and tack another place,while the other is cooling,do this till the joint is welded completely,flap discs on an angle grinder are your friend.
You can get an Anti Heat Compound to help keep the surrounding metal cool,but I have never used it so I can't tell you how well it works.

You will also want one of these... http://www.harborfreight.com/air-pun...tool-1110.html it will make your life easier when your putting in patch panels.
Shane
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:37 AM
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The best advice I could give, and I think you will hear this from others also, is to forget the flux core and get a gas kit to convert your welder to a MIG. Even with the MIG conversion I believe you will find that burn through and warpage is going to be the biggest issue and flux core is even worse, a lot worse! Flux core can be used however if you are willing to accept the challenge but I strongly suggest to forget the exhaust pipe and get some old body parts instead, don't use new clean metal just get some scrap fenders, hoods, etc and clean them like you will with your car and patch panels. If you use new clean metal to practice on you will find it is going to be nothing like what you will face when you start working on your car so practice on the same thing you will be working on. Once you see the difference between flux core and MIG you will understand why MIG is so much easier.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:21 AM
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Thank you for your replies. They do have some old panels sitting there that they'll let me take so that helps. I will try beading/cooling until completely welded. Sounds like a good plan. Will any flux-core welder convert to gas? Thanks.

-Greg
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:17 PM
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Another alternative to welding is the use of panel adhesives like Norton Speedgrip ... especially if you have the panel crimper.

Most guys that I know in the trade love this stuff.
The general consensus seems to be that it's a great sub for welding, except in structural areas.
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:18 PM
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Never heard of it...I'll have to check it out. This is my first build but have many more planned if I can ever get this one finished. I know that welding is one of the best skills to know for any type of build , especially when I'm pulling a lot of parts from junk yards, so that's why I'm trying to learn it now. Thanks again for the information.

-Greg

One man's junk could be another man's hot rod....
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:35 PM
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I was in the same boat as you several years ago. After talking to a local weldor (who wasn't even a body guy) and hearing the amount that he wanted to charge me, I thought that it would be best if I picked up the skill myself.

I got a hobart 125 and I ran flux core.

I started visiting Wray Schelin...who is a godfather of sorts in the metal shaping world. I believe he taught Randy Ferguson a bunch about metal shaping, but I could be mistaken.

He typically uses the TIG process, but he showed me how to use the gas process with a really small torch and a TIG rod and man, that came out REAL NICE on the practice try. Once we planished the welds, the two pieces of metal were indistinguishable...and this was on sheetmetal...it was unbelievable.

Anyhow...I never really had alot of success with the flux core. I bought the shielding gas setup for the welder but I never bought a bottle of gas to use with it. The biggest problem that I had on the old metal is blow through. It doesn't take much to evaporate old metal and it will piss you off really fast.
I would imagine that the shielding gas with solid wire is better...everyone says that, but flux core does work too, it's just nastier.

You should try to grind the edges of the metal to put a bevel on them for a place to lay your weld. When you introduce heat into the panels, they are going to shrink, so you're going to want to stretch the metal back out with hammer/dolly or post-dolly...planishing is smacking the pronounced weld bead down into that valley that you created by grinding.

At the end of the day, if you really take to the art-form, you can join metal without the need to plastic over it...if you don't take to the art-form, you can get really good with flattening out bondo patches.
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:36 PM
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Norton SpeedGrip Structural Adhesives – Urethane (Adobe Acrobat PDF file)

#04616 5 Minute
#04617 15 Minute
#41400 Applicator gun. Ask at your parts store ... we used to lend one out (with deposit)

This stuff is fairly amazing. I also used it to glue my center console (plastic) back together. Its sandable and paintable.
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Old 05-07-2010, 02:37 PM
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i would check to see if your welder can be set up with gas and practice
i just repaired my rusty old wheel barrel for practice before i start on my car
most comunity colleges have welding classes in the evening

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Old 05-07-2010, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unstable
You should try to grind the edges of the metal to put a bevel on them for a place to lay your weld.

Honestly there is no need at all to bevel metal as thin as body panels, the only reason to bevel thicker metal is of course to insure complete penetration but this is hardly a problem with body sheetmetal! Beveling body sheetmetal only makes the burn through problem much worse and complete penetration is going to be the least of his worries.



Always like to see someone else using a torch! This has just about become a forgotten art but as you point out it makes for a really good job and is not as hard to do as most seem to think. The only reason I use MIG is because it is faster but if the seam needs to be invisible I always go back to my torch. Everyone I know who does this swears by the Henrob torch outfit and from the demos I have seen I can certainly understand why, I just use my trusty Victor with a really small tip and it works great but I am sure the Henrob is better.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:56 AM
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learning welding.

If you know someone in your local hotrod community that does a lot of fab work, ask him questions. Most people that weld are very proud of this skill and are willing to give tips and advice. I have been welding for over 30 years and started with a lincoln "buzz box" stick welder (mostly for heavier equipment). When I finally got a Mig (Miller) it was so easy and fast I couldn't beleive why I had not switched years earlier. But starting with a stick welder and getting really good at it, made the Mig very simple to learn. Some of the biggist mistakes someone learning to weld makes? Not having clean metal, to much of angle with the Mig handle and using too much of a heat setting. Practice, Practice, Practice! Have fun.
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:40 AM
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I took one of those evening "beginner welding" classes at the local ag college.
It cost me $430.00, and I got an income tax refund of about $100.00.

It was worth every dime.
They also offer an intermediate class, which I may also take ... after spending a little more time practising at home.

I bought a used 110 volt Lincoln wire-feed (flux) welder for $200 and have used it as-is a couple of times. There's a lot more splatter and the welds aren't as smooth, so I'm sure I will add the gas kit soon, before attempting anything major.

Canadian Tire often has the 230 volt 180 amp mig with the gas regulator, etc on sale for around $600 ... so, depending on the cost of the gas kit, I might just decide to upgrade to it instead. The upside to the 110V is that I have about 15 outlets in the garage and the welder itself is very light and portable. I have only two 220V outlets, and the compressor is on one of them.
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:22 PM
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in june i bought myself (for my birthday) in preparation for starting on my rusty 37
the miller 211 ,it can run on both 110 or 220
which is cool i run it on 220 at home,
but have also used at a friends on 110 to do some exhaust on his jeep
its a great machine for a beginner because it has an auto-set feature that gets you close, its so easy a caveman could use it
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:33 AM
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Good news

I did some research on the welder that my wife bought me and it can be set up for MIG welding. I am going to the local welding supply co. here and will be picking up a bottle and regulator so I can begin practicing. Thanks for the info everyone.

-Greg
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Old 05-18-2010, 01:42 PM
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That Millermatic 211 with the 115 / 230 Volt MVP is a nice machine, alright ... but PRICEY! $1200 CDN locally.
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