Weekend Welder Basics
by Pat Goss
We get lots of questions about restorations, and the most important part of restoring a vehicle is knowing how to weld and having the proper equipment to do that welding with. Before you get involved in it though, I recommend that you take a welding course. Something that you don’t normally just pick up. Training is much better.
Now, the different types of welding: here we have a gas welding outfit. It uses oxygen and acetylene, it does a very good job, it is easy to learn, and it’s relatively inexpensive. But, there are going to be things where it isn’t strong enough for automotive work.
Here we have a version of that that comes from the home center that you can use for light-duty jobs. You can weld, you can braise, you can cut and do lots of things with it, but it doesn’t go very far - tanks are small.
Now here we have what’s called a “stick welder.” At least that’s the slang term for it. It’s called a stick welder because the welding rod looks like a stick.
This is an electric welder. This particular one comes from Eastwood Tools and it’s designed for home use. That means that it can be used out of the regular electrical outlet in your garage. All right now, over here, you’ve heard people talk about wire-feed welders.
Well this is a wire-feed mig welder. And, when you turn this one on, it feeds this wire down through a cable to the tip of the welder, and it’s actually the wire that acts as the welding rod. It also uses gas to shield the weld for a better weld and a cleaner weld.
Now one thing I have to warn you about and that is when you start you may have stuff that looks like this. So, begin with old metal and practice, practice, practice. When you get all done, if you’ve practiced enough, you’ll have the ability to do what we’ve done here.
Here we have spot welds. These are stitch welds. Then here we have a continuous weld, and up here are plug welds. Now plug welds are done by punching a hole through one piece of the metal then welding through the hole and filling it up such as we’ve done there. It’s a very effective way to attach body panels.
Don’t forget the safety aspects of this. Electric welders, in particular, no matter what type they are, they produce ultra-violet light. So, you need eye protection and the eye protection is different for electric welders than gas welders and so on. You need welding gloves. You need long sleeves, and you need to be covered up completely because you can get a nasty sunburn from any type of electric welder. Do it right and the results will be very rewarding.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.