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I want to give my A a hair cut... I don't own a welder or know how to weld

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by TweedDeluxe, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. BiscayneBrain
    Joined: Aug 10, 2013
    Posts: 122


    This might sound stupid, but I want to do it myself. I'm sure I can lay it out with some good info. I also can cut straight with a sawzall. Reattaching the roof is my biggest obstacle.

    What kind of welder do I need? 115v would be better for my current situation. What other tools will I need? How do I go about teaching my self to weld?

    Info appreciated!
  2. I'd suggest do a little research first, not all chops are equal! get Ron Covell's DVD on how to chop a top and go from there..If done wrong, you could ruin a good car JMHO..
  3. mickeyc
    Joined: Jul 8, 2008
    Posts: 849


    A roof chop on a vehicle that you want to turn out well is not the place to teach yourself to weld! Check the hamb vendors section. there is a fellow that sells a guide for just such a chop. If you are determined to carry through with this plan it would be something to look into.
  4. Learn to gas weld.

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  5. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,801


    I think you need a good year of welding on scrap before thinking about welding on any collector car. It isn't rocket science, and it is far easier than wiring a car, just lots of practice. Bob
  6. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,796


    You asked all the questions that can be answered with, "Find a good shop to do it."
  7. Absolutely!
  8. landseaandair
    Joined: Feb 23, 2009
    Posts: 4,375

    from phoenix

    Know where coupsters come from...scenarios like this. Try your hand at some basic sheet metal repairs before you commit to a chop. Even with a simple one, As and Ts, there's some taper and fudging involved with posts and openings to do it right. Not saying you aren't capable but do a little reading and get familiar with the ins and outs of fitting and welding first.
  9. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,796


    I'll say it. Don't fuck up a nice car. Practice on a wreck.
  10. creepjohnny
    Joined: Dec 1, 2007
    Posts: 850

    from Sunland,CA

    If 115 is all you can go for I suggest a miller or Lincoln mig with a argon gas bottle attached. And as stated up top ^^, practice practice practice !!!!!!
    Welding info and local classes are readily available. It's really not difficult but you do need proper tools and lots of practice.
    Most pros will tell you to go big off the bat, but if you cannot.. This is what I suggest.
    Don't believe me, check out Ian Berky customs on the hamb. That Chevy was his first chop/build and his practice canvas. All of his metal shaping is awesome. You CAN learn a lot quickly without the big tools, but with lots o practice and trial and error
    Good luck man!!
  11. Post Apocalyptic Kustoms
    Joined: Oct 21, 2012
    Posts: 480

    Post Apocalyptic Kustoms
    from Outside

    Find a good teacher, learn to chop on a $500 beater THEN think about what you want to do with your main girl (CAR). Get your head on straight first man!
  12. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,178


    Cut it up. I did my first coupe shell as a teenager in the 60s. Common sense and lots of tape marks to measure how things will line up if a cut is made in a certain spot. If it looks wrong, move the tape and remeasure to see if it lines up better.

    You won't learn anything until you try.
  13. cktasto
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 292


    Take a class at a local JC and learn from someone who knows. Tell them what you want to accomplish and after a semester you'll be way ahead.

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  14. BiscayneBrain
    Joined: Aug 10, 2013
    Posts: 122


    This will most likely be the route I go.

    My head is on straight. The car needs a 3.5-4" chop. I'd just love to do it myself.
    I'll be signing up for a welding class at the junior college tomorrow! Hopefully I can get in next semester. Also going to look into a body and paint classes.
  15. GearSlammer
    Joined: Feb 27, 2013
    Posts: 203


    you will earn alot of respect if you do it yourself and fallow it out till the end rather than paying some other guy to do it for you! and you will learn shit!! win win! do your research till your eyeballs fall out your head, then take a deep breath and pull the trigger!
  16. I agree. I bet people told Gene Winfield not to chop his first car. People told me not to paint my first car with high metalics and pearls. I did anyway and it turned out awesome. My first experience welding and cutting on sheet metal were 2 quarter panels on a 1968 Firebird 400. I had alot of welding experience but not any with sheet metal. I did it and it looked killer, then I painted it and it looked killer. Thats when I got into Hotrods. Now Im a seasoned veteran with welding anything on a car and I'm not intimidated. I have now done at least 5 cars and welded a ton on them. On my Whippet, I chopped the roof 3", widened it 1 1/4", shortened it 5" and added metal to the roof right behind the door and infilled the center. It started out as a Chevy 2 door sedan roof. I also welded it all around the beltline. Thats just the roof. The rest of the car has also been modified. I built my own frame etc. This all started by doing 1/4" panels. Just go for it and use common sense. Somebody actually asked me how I know where to cut things to weld up . Once you start working with metal, you can just visualise where you need to cut chop and dice. Maybe some people can't see it but it's even how I do it in construction. I can see what needs to be done with the most complicated cuts. I don't do math trying to disect angles etc, I just visualize and start cutting and usually everything fits like a glove. Your eye is your best instrument. It will tell you when it looks right or wrong.
  17. I agree with Gearslammer and Mikes51. Pride in doing it yourself, and doing it well are a great feeling. The car in my avatar is my first build.I tought myself to weld on the '57 after getting prices from shops. Practice as much as you can stand before starting on something that is critical. I spent alot of time practicing, then started on my floorboards and wheelwells. I screwed up my first rear quarter panel before I figured out halfway what I was doing. The rollpan on the '57 in my avatar was my first exterior "forming with cutting and welding" panel. Took me a month of weekends and nights to get it there, but it ended up pretty good and has very little filler. Good luck!
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013
  18. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,144


    No way but forward. Take the step.

    I am not yet the king of the jackasses. A few more people need to die before that.

    If I figured it out, so can you. Everybody told me that I could NEVER do this, but I am not a good listener.
  19. Dont buy a mig. They suck for sheet metal work.

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  20. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,144


    MIG works fine for sheet metal. Been dropping in panels and MIG welding them since the late 80's.
  21. Speed Gems
    Joined: Jul 17, 2012
    Posts: 2,329

    Speed Gems

    Or hammer weld. you don't see much of that anymore.
  22. J scow
    Joined: Mar 3, 2010
    Posts: 489

    J scow
    from Seattle

    Your full of bologna!

    Mmm... I gotta go make a sandwich.
  23. Most panels are mig welded. If you can't get behind it with a dolly, gas will shrink the metal really bad as you can't hammer it to stretch it back. Divers Streetrods build million dollar streetrods and won the riddler award in 2008 and they mostly mig. I have done hammer welding, mig and tig on my car and mig works fast . You just buzz a spot weld and blow it with an air nozzle each time. After doing all 3, I think mig is the least forgiving. Not sure how Hitchhiker came up with migs sucking on sheet metal as its the most commonly used practice on car body repair.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  24. Willy_P
    Joined: Mar 19, 2011
    Posts: 762


  25. rocknrolldaddy
    Joined: Aug 24, 2006
    Posts: 335


    If you're mechanically inclined, you could do it.

    I did mine. I bought a used Lincoln welder for $100. I called three fellas over and started the chop. The next day, I was on my own. Everyone meant to come back but, all three of them started new jobs within a week. I learned to weld my own. You can buy new scrap sheet metal and practice. Since then, french-ed headlights, custom tail lights, put in a 4link, and bagged my car. I say, do your research and go for it.
  26. Yes, "works fine"...not great. Not amazing. Just "fine". I never said it wouldn't work. You and I both know there are better ways, that will be easier to metal finish and be a better finished product overall. And I am not saying a good finished product can't be achieved with a MIG. Just that its going to produce a harder weld, that is tougher to grind and be more prone to cracking. I was more just throwing out that there are other ways that he should explore, before making up his mind what is best for him.

    All of this I should have vocalized better in my last post.

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  27. That's what I am talking about.

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  28. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,144


    True that. Starting green with TIG or gas, might be a bit of a steep learning curve.
  29. From my personal experience. Having cleaned up my old bosses gas hammer welding vs. Grinding my own mig welding on sheet metal. If you search there are various threads weighing the pros and cons of all techniques. While I realize it may not be practical for most guys to have a TIG at home or devote the time needed to learn hammer welding. I am merely suggesting If you've got the time and ability to pay someone to learn how to weld, you should explore ALL your options. If I had a choice I would never use a mig on sheetmetal again. I'm afraid I wont be that lucky...

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  30. Thats my point right there...least forgiving.

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