Bodywork, Paint, Interior, Trim, & Wiring

discussions about bodywork, paint, interiors, trim, audio, electrical components, wiring, etc.

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BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5854 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

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Welders
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: May 18, 2008 12:29PM

I just thought we should have a thread on welders. I just built a cart for the Snap-On that Bill Young helped me buy using surplus material and wheels I had left over from other projects. The welder seems to work OK but I haven't used it on any thin material yet and with the skinny wire that's in it it's only suitable for tacking on heavier stuff. I welded up the cart with the ancient buzz box. I do some of my best work with that machine.

MVC-579S.JPG

Jim


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2647 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

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Re: Welders
Posted by: rficalora
Date: May 18, 2008 07:37PM

That looks nice Jim. I have a reconditioned Harbor Freight 220V model (Dual 151). I got it to learn, but it's worked fine for everything I've needed to do so I never replaced it. Having a cart is a huge help. Mine has two fixed casters in the back & swivels in the front. If I were to do it again, I'd put swivels at all four corners to make it even easier to move around.

Oh, I also have a cheapie auto darkening helmet -- it works great too. After about a year & a half I decided to replace the plastic lens on the front that protects the sensor & screen... They're like $10 for about 6-8 of them. I should have done that a long time ago. I didn't realize how much the lens had fogged up over time -- its like night & day what I can see again!!

Rob


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4414 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

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Re: Welders
Posted by: Moderator
Date: May 18, 2008 10:08PM

Here's my rig... I got the "Lincoln SP-135 Plus" for Christmas this winter. (It was very lightly used, and it's small and only 120V, but it's "professional grade" and Made-in-USA... I helped Mrs. Santa pick it out.) It seems perfect for my needs.

WeldingCart.jpg

The welder came with a big spool of 0.035" wire, but I haven't needed that yet. So far, 0.025" wire has suited all my projects.

My first project was the combination welding cart / welding table. All the steel tube was bought from a "Restore" store. (Restore is a division of Habitat for Humanity that collects and sells surplus building supplies cheap.) - I think I paid $6 or so. The shelves are old grocery store display shelves. The iron top is from an old table saw. I bought the table saw for $15 on Craigs List... and when I told the lady I bought it from that I was going to use it for a welding cart, she threw in the extra helmet shown on the bottom shelf) for free. It's nice to have an extra helmet for a helper.

My main helmet is an auto-darkening Jackson. It's Made-in-USA too. You just don't save that much money taking your chances with cheap Chinese imports... and you've only got one set of eyes, right? The guys at my local welding store (where I got the gas tank) strongly advised against Chinese helmets because although they work, they supposedly don't sense the arc as quickly as the Jackson helmets. The sensor on my helmet may be a little too conservative in one respect... it has a bit of a tendency to darken (unnecessarily) under the flicker of my shop's florescent lights, which was a problem when I'd work in my garage at night... but I eliminated the problem by putting a high-wattage incandescent brooder light over the table.


V6 Midget
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

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Re: Welders
Posted by: V6 Midget
Date: May 19, 2008 08:29AM

The cart looks good Jim. From the casters it looks like you found the new HF store in Florence! Guys, don't underestimate the power of the 110 v welders these days. They will do very good work with the amps up high if you keep the weld time reasonable. I was watching one of the "Power Block" shows on TV this weekend and they finished up a roll bar installation using a 110v machine. Said they prefered it because of the small torch head made it easier to get into the tight spots in the interior. I admit I bought my 110v unit to use on sheet metal as I already have a real heavy 220v machine for use on the thicker stuff, but it's a "gun" machine and clumsy to use. The little 110 is a pleasure by comparison. I tried it on a cart I built for my plasma cutter and it did ok after I got the heat and wire feed adjusted correctly.


Richl705
Richard Lilly
Fairfax, Virginia
(38 posts)

Registered:
12/03/2007 10:48PM

Main British Car:
1958 MGA Buick 215 V8

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Re: Welders
Posted by: Richl705
Date: July 30, 2008 10:41PM

I am looking at buying a MIG welder for my MGA project. I would like a 110V and I understand that a MIG will work on the kinds of things I am looking at; small frame welds (seat supports etc), motor mounts, door frames. Any thoughts on which way to go in purchasing a unit at a nice price ($300)?


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4414 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Welders
Posted by: Moderator
Date: July 30, 2008 11:08PM

If the budget is really $300, I'd definitely buy USED equipment.

My local welding supply (gas) shop sells the industrial Lincoln products - which are demonstrably different from the Lowes/HomeDepot models. Sometimes they take trade-ins, and then quietly sell the used equipment. Even at that, the $300 budget will be tough to meet.

Another place to keep an eye on would be your local "Craigs List": [washingtondc.craigslist.org] or [washingtondc.craigslist.org]

I've had real good luck with my local Craigs List. You can try-before-you-buy and also avoid shipping costs. On the downside, everyone else seems to be looking for a welder on Craigs List. My welder actually came from a pawn shop...


V6 Midget
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

authors avatar
Re: Welders
Posted by: V6 Midget
Date: July 31, 2008 10:01AM

I second Curtis' suggestion for Craigslist. I bought two welders off of the KC craigslist this spring, the one Jim shows in his photo cost him $225 after negotiation and I picked up a small 110V unit for $125 a couple of weeks later. Sometimes you can really get a good deal, but try to stay with a unit that you can get parts for. Jim's was a Snap On and I picked up a Century which was a brand sold through Sears so parts are available for both. You'll still need to buy or rent a bottle of CO2 Argon mixture gas but if you shop around you should easily be able to stay under your budget. A quick look at the KC list this morning shows at least 4 units that might be purchased for your budget, check in your area.



rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2647 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Welders
Posted by: rficalora
Date: July 31, 2008 10:26AM

Totally agree with the craigslist recommendation. Lot's of good deals there. Do check prices for CO2 bottles in your area; don't be surprised if a 3-4' bottle runs you about $100 to buy (i never checked rental prices - didn't even realize it was an option at the time). You can also get bottles on craigslist, but talk with your local gas place to get info on what to look for/ask about as they won't refill or trade out some older bottles.


V6 Midget
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

authors avatar
Re: Welders
Posted by: V6 Midget
Date: July 31, 2008 10:38AM

As far as welding gas goes, check with the welding supply stores in your area. If you purchase a bottle then you are responsible for it's testing and certification when that time comes around and many shops won't swap your bottle out for a full one, you'll have to wait until they can refill your bottle. If you rent your bottles then they are an exchange item and no certification to worry about. Most commercial shops rent bottles or the supplier provides them due to the volume involved. For the average home user they usually don't want to rent, but will with a minimum deposit or good credit reference. I rent 4 large bottles (Oxygen, Acetylene, Argon, and CO2/Argon) and it runs about $4 a month per bottle. For me the convience of being able to swap out bottles when I need a refill is worth that cost.


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2647 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Welders
Posted by: rficalora
Date: July 31, 2008 10:58AM

Makes sense Bill. Around here, AirGas swaps out bottles even when you own your own so there's no waiting for refill. I got two used bottles to start with; a small 1' bottle & a 4' bottle. I keep CO2/Argon in both (I only have a MIG welder & only do mild steel). I primarily use the 4' one, but when it runs out, I swap to the small bottle & use it so I'm not down till I get the bigger one swapped out. When the little one runs out (doesn't take long) & swap back to the bigger one & get the little one swapped. That way I'm never caught w/o.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5854 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Welders
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: July 31, 2008 02:18PM

Sellers on ebay typically have very good prices on new bottles. Find what you like and print the page. Take that to your local supplier and they will probably match it. Most if not all will exchange bottles even if you own it, provided they sold you the bottle. You will pay the hydrotest charge at the required interval, but that's the end of rental fees and lease agreements.

Jim


Richl705
Richard Lilly
Fairfax, Virginia
(38 posts)

Registered:
12/03/2007 10:48PM

Main British Car:
1958 MGA Buick 215 V8

authors avatar
Re: Welders
Posted by: Richl705
Date: July 31, 2008 03:57PM

Thanks to all for the very solid input. I will start looking in the places recommended and let you know how I do. Thanks again.
Richard


Richl705
Richard Lilly
Fairfax, Virginia
(38 posts)

Registered:
12/03/2007 10:48PM

Main British Car:
1958 MGA Buick 215 V8

authors avatar
Re: Welders
Posted by: Richl705
Date: August 02, 2008 04:18PM

Wanted to follow up with some of my research. I found, and did not know that they existed, a "craftsman gasless mig welder." Is such a thing worth the purchase or am I limiting my future options? My other question is about stick welders. I think the MIG welder is the way to go but stick welders are out there and relatively cheap ($75-100 for a 230 amp.) Is this a good way to go given my needs? I welded with a stick welder a few times back in the 80's but under close supervision. However, that "roll of nickels" look was more like my 4 year old slapped them across the room...Would appreciate any thoughts. Thanks, Richard


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2647 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Welders
Posted by: rficalora
Date: August 02, 2008 08:43PM

Pretty much any MIG welder can be used gasless. The gas is just keeps the air away from the weld. Air will contaminate the weld. When you pull the trigger on the MIG welder, it opens a selenoid that lets the gas start flowing; it comes out of the tip of the gun all around the wire & creates a barrier to keep the air away. When you weld "gasless", you use flux core wire instead of solid wire. The flux in the wire burns/evaporates when it heats & creates the shielding. If that's all there were to it, gasless would be the way to go, but there's a catch -- when you weld with flux core, the weld splatters all over the place -- it's really hard to see what you're welding & the splatter sticks to adacent parts so you spend 5x the time you weld sanding off the splatter. Net, no, I wouldn't suggest a gasless welder for this sort of work.

I haven't used an arc welder since my school days -- from what I recall, it'd be really tough to get good welds & not get a lot of blow outs (holes) welding thin body parts.


Richl705
Richard Lilly
Fairfax, Virginia
(38 posts)

Registered:
12/03/2007 10:48PM

Main British Car:
1958 MGA Buick 215 V8

authors avatar
Re: Welders
Posted by: Richl705
Date: August 02, 2008 10:25PM

Rob,
Thanks very much for that. I was always an engine guy and welding was not something I did much, so your thoughts are greatly appreciated.



V6 Midget
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

authors avatar
Re: Welders
Posted by: V6 Midget
Date: August 04, 2008 09:28AM

Gas less MIG and stick welding are ok for some applications, but for body work or even heavier frame work I prefer to use a MIG with a shielding gas. The flux from a stick welder or gas less MIG wire is used to create the shielding but then needs to be chipped off when the weld is completed. If you don't get it all chipped away and have to restart your weld then you risk having a gap in the weld. I've also had small peices of flux I didn't get cleared away later chip loose and come through the paint. Using a gas shielded MIG eliminates all these problems leaving a clean weld that doesn't require anything else other than some finish grinding if you want to be ready for paint and you can stop and restart the weld without chipping. Really makes it easier when doing a seam in a body where you want to basically tack weld every few inches then go back and tack between those, then repeat over and over again until you get a complete weld. This minimizes any warpage, but having to chip the slag off all those spot welds during the process would be a real hassle and the chance of leaving some flux in would be very good.
Stick welders are more for structural welding, not worth a darn for thin sheet metal work. They work great in outdoor applications because the wind can't blow away the shielding gas as it might with a MIG or TIG. I'm not a professional welder, just a hobbiest, but I've used all these at one time or another and currently have Ox-Acetylene, MIG (two machines both gas), TIG, and a stick welder to use if necessary. There is a time and place for all of them, but for 99% of the work I do on cars the MIG is my choice.


Dave
David Gable
Jax
(112 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 05:40AM

Main British Car:


Re: Welders
Posted by: Dave
Date: November 20, 2008 11:57AM

I've had a Hobart Handler 125 amp, 120 volt MIG for years. It was new when I traded a totally shot-out and loose as a goose Ruger SS Mini 14 Ranch Rifle for it. The Ruger wouldn't hit the side of a barn but the guy wanted it anyway. The little Hobart has done many things very well. I just reworked my motor mounts last night with it. I use Stargon from Praxair (90% Ar, 8% CO2, 2%O2).


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