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I will never butt weld sheet metal again

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by bobj49f2, Feb 2, 2013.

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  1. b-body-bob
    Joined: Apr 23, 2011
    Posts: 360

    b-body-bob
    Member

    Been there done that. I read an article recommending to lead the seam to fill those pinholes. I know I don't have to ask for your opinions to get one here ... but what's the general opinion on that idea?

    Same article gives some ideas on how to do fit-up (working on a muscle car so I don't want to link it) using clecos to hold the parts in alignment, then cutting through both panels with a thin blade between each pair of clecos and welding between to hold the alignment. That way the gap is consistent even if you can't cut a straight line. Seems like a plan to me, I just haven't practiced enough to do it on my car yet. Since this repair would show I'd rather find someone who knows what they're doing, but those guys are few and far between here judging from the ones I've talked to.
     
  2. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,770

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Overall, this has been a very informative thread and the I thank those who have made 'positive' informational posts.

    Several posters obviously do not have the patience to read subsequent posts....in particular those of the OP, and lambast him without having seen the progress of his replies to the helpful posts. That is common to the HAMB though, not just to this thread.

    Again, "Thanks" for good information from many, but especially from MP&C.

    Ray
     
  3. MP&C
    Joined: Jan 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,199

    MP&C
    Member


    Jim, my father was also a carpenter, and likely where I got some of my attention to detail. He was of a different mindset in that if he saw you doing something wrong, or improperly using a tool, then he would show you another method, explain how it may help the finished product, and then you were on your own. The "sledgehammer" carpenters you speak of may not know any better as they may not have been taught any better. While I don't agree with some of the pointed attacks on here, nobody learns anything if nobody speaks up either. In the end, regardless of what method you use, if you see something here or otherwise that looks better than what you are doing, by all means do some research, learn some new skills, and continue to improve your methods. I'm hardly an expert, but I am getting to a point where my scrap pile of metal is staying smaller than the good sheet stock I have in the shop..:D I'll be the first to admit that TIG and O/A gas is a better method to use than Mig, and if you can do either of those in a quick, no fill, fusion only weld (no gaps, obviously) then you will have the optimum panel weld with virtually no distortion at all. Presently my skill level is not there yet, but it isn't for lack of trying. But using a Mig, most anyone out there can duplicate similar results. Sure, it requires more use of the hammer and dolly, and more grinding. Whatever works for you and gives the results you are happy with, so be it. But never stop trying to improve your methods..

    Personally I've done a couple metal shaping demos to try and pass on some skills to others, and most of my threads I start tend to follow that principle. Not that what I'm doing is the right way, or the only way, or anything of that nature. I've had some good results over the years, and if it helps someone else, then the posts have served their purpose.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  4. As far as gas welding it takes a lot of practice,,I tried and have done some decent work but it obviously takes much more practice than I had time to invest.

    I am not a professional builder but I am a hobbyist and therefore I only gas welded when I needed to,,I never went to school for welding or any form of automotive work yet I believe I have honed skills that work for me over the years.

    My last attempt a gas welding is still leaning against the wall in my garage,,I warped the crap out of the metal.
    I'll just stick with the mig,,I'm sure a couple of know it all's that want to turn this into drama by saying tig is the only correct way of building a car will get up on their soap boxes now. HRP
    HRP
     
  5. Jims35
    Joined: Dec 22, 2009
    Posts: 279

    Jims35
    Member

    I wish I could do the kind of metal work i see on here, but age and other old guy problems are not going to let that happen. I had a family member who can butt weld do some repairs on the rear fenders of my 35 and there was no ridge on either side. Until i drilled a hole in the wrong place for my tail lights. Not wanting to take it back to him with my head hanging down in shame, i welded it up. Not a good idea i found out as the repair is covered on the out side ,but not the underside.
     
  6. Yes lap weld faster but it's always faster to half ass stuff. I always butt weld and if you keep blowing through then you need to practice your welding and welder setup. If it was easy everyone would own a shop. Practice and do it the right way because good things come to those that wait. Just my two cents and I know thats not worth much.
     
  7. 53 COE
    Joined: Oct 8, 2011
    Posts: 688

    53 COE
    Member
    from PNW

    Take a weld class and practice for hours and hours. It would be more cost effective using the classes materials anyway, with the price of things today. Just welding together little 1”x4” strips make great practice pieces. Whatever weld process you are trying to master – Practice makes perfect.

    I earned Associate degrees in Auto Body and Business administration – thinking I wanted to own my own body shop. Was working fulltime too, so it took 4 years from 1977-1981. All that time, every spare moment I was in the weld shop practicing. My instructor there had been a welder on the Seattle Space Needle – his one advice I remember to this day – Practice makes perfect.

    I never took a TIG class, but when he saw me in there practice welding for hours, he showed me how. I managed to TIG weld up a gas tank from 16 gage for my ’41 Ford P/U. It never leaked, but I did forget to put in the baffles. ;) I MIG welded up engine stands and sold them for $45 each – more great practice - this was before the Chinese imports you can buy today for the same money.

    I chopped that same ’41 P/U and hammer welded the seams half inch or so at a time. That sure kept filler to a minimum. I ended up in another career and only weld once a year now if that, so I would not even attempt something like a gas tank (Just installed a poly TANKS unit in my COE). Same with body work, the skills are seldom used and would require years of full time work to get to a journeyman level. I did work 1 year in a dealership body shop. There was a guy there that pick and filed a crunched Delorean stainless steel hood. He was amazing and his Dad was also a bodyman. I have always been more of a bondo wizard.

    As for all the roosters on this site - must be we are all grumpy old men....

    ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  8. raidmagic
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,432

    raidmagic
    Member

    Lap welding like the OP is talking about used a flange tool to make the two surfaces on the exterior flush. The step in the material would be on the inside.
     
  9. silversink
    Joined: May 3, 2008
    Posts: 912

    silversink
    Member

    Post pictures if you would, I'm goig to do a 48 KB1 and have lots of questions and doubt about the outcome. Wish I was closer I would take that class.
     
  10. 53 COE
    Joined: Oct 8, 2011
    Posts: 688

    53 COE
    Member
    from PNW


    Post #45 on my COE redux thread linked in my sig, shows me putting rear cab corner patches on my COE 20+ years ago. Using a flanger and MIG - that is the flanger on the shop floor in the pic below. Those areas still look fine today - after being outside 20+ years. As do the butt welds at the windshield posts, where I cut them to convert to a 5-window using a 1/2 ton cab in post #44.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  11. havi
    Joined: Dec 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,875

    havi
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Bob, next time less coffee, and more patience. :)


    MP&C, ER70S-7 .... is that in .035"?
     
  12. hotcoupe
    Joined: Oct 3, 2007
    Posts: 477

    hotcoupe
    Member

    haven`t you guys ever heard of chicken wire and insulfoam?:eek:
     
  13. pdq67
    Joined: Feb 12, 2007
    Posts: 787

    pdq67
    Member

    Can you use a copper plate/spoon to absorb some of the heat of the spotwelds to keep from blowing through?

    pdq67
     
  14. 53 COE
    Joined: Oct 8, 2011
    Posts: 688

    53 COE
    Member
    from PNW

    Yes - It's been stated several times in this thread. Also great way to plug weld holes - back them up with a copper plate.

    ;)
     
  15. Danny....you don't have to justify your thoughts or skills to anyone.

    The work you did on your wagon speaks volumes.
     
  16. stude_trucks
    Joined: Sep 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,755

    stude_trucks
    Member

    Epoxy and duct tape is all you really need for body work.
     
  17. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 14,406

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    What's all this worry over welding lap joints? Just put some pop rivets in there, cave it, and pave it! That's the correct way to finish a lap joint.

    Seriously, if anybody in central Iowa wants to learn the correct way to butt weld, give me a PM. We can get together sometime and I can show you how it's done. Hard to do on a computer screen, and much easier in the garage.
     
  18. R Frederick
    Joined: Mar 30, 2009
    Posts: 2,660

    R Frederick
    Member
    from illinois

    It takes a little finesse to but weld, it's almost hitting the seam to the side and shortly puddling the metal into the gap and stopping while you're ahead, then hit it again as soon as you see the metal change color so it won't pour out. It's a series of spot weld puddles, I wouldn't do it any other way.
     
  19. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,790

    bobj49f2
    Member

    First off, this car is fairly solid for it's age, '37 Buick, but the back quarters are in bad shape so I am reconstructing about 40% of the rear quarters including the complicated dog legs which consist of a rolled 5/8" bead that starts at the bottom of the dog leg and follows the top of the rear fenders a little over half way to the back of the quarter panel. I fabricated this bead from a piece of pipe that I bent in the shape of the original bead and split in half, giving me two mirror pieces, one for both sides. I was able to tack in the front of the bead and using a light back lit the part and was able to see holes between the spot welds which I filled in with additional spot welds. The problem I'm having, and what is frustrating the hell out of me, is the back side of the bead. I have to bridge the gap from the bead to the inner quarter panel wheel well. This doesn't allow me to back light it to check for holes. I find them when grinding the spot welds, I can see sparks flying through the small holes, not many, maybe 10 or so. When I try to fill these that's when I get the blow through. I have very little noticable warpage because this is a pretty solid area with a lot of bend unlike an open flat area. Once done I cannot get to the back of this area, it is completely blocked off.

    I'd hate to see ONE CAR left in the garage because some guy didn't have the skill to butt weld. Thats just silly!
    Ultimately its none of our business anyway.

    I agree 100%. Just because some one doesn't do the job 100% the way the experts do it doesn't mean you should toss it in a corner. As long as it's done in a way that it isn't going to hurt anyone what does it really matter. As for the comments about only wanting to do half ass quality work why do you think I'm getting so frustrating? I could have had this project done in a week if I just knocked in the rust and glassed over it. I know how to do that, one of the body shops I worked for, the first one, did work for used car lots. It was my first body shop job and did what I was told. We sent out a lot of really nice looking cars with stainless steel tape and fiberglass mess under layers of mud. I would like this car to last and am trying to do my best.


    This is one of the best responses. You have said exactly what I feel. I really appreciate the helpful responses from the guys who have been doing this for years as a profession. Those, I think, come from people who are willing to share their experience and knowledge. It takes a lot more to be patient and actually offer advice than just to be a smart ass and pop off with a smart ass comment.

    I think what 62rebel replied with can be applied to at 60% of the HAMB members. We don't do this type of work for a living and we can't afford to buy the best tools and have to work with what we have. We definitely don't have the time to spend hours honing the skills to do a professional job, we would like to but we have to make a living at our real jobs and have other obligations. I would think also that maybe a good percentate of HAMB members will only do one or two cars at the most. Before you pop off that if we aren't going to a professional job I would like to remind you we're hobbyists. We do our cars as a hobby. If only professionals are allowed to work on cars this hobby would have died a long time ago. Remember a lot of hot rods were built in backyards.

    Even though I did work in the body shop industry for some years that was way back, 25 years ago, and we did things differently. I worked in types of shops where time was money and they wanted the customers' cars out ASAP. The business I am now I wouldn't expect any of you that aren't in this type of work to be able to come in and do the job as good as me and to know all the tricks I've picked in the 25 years I've been doing this type of work. Hell, I've worked with guys who supposedly have worked in this industry for 15-20 who after working with them for a week wouldn't trust to work alone without heavy supervision. I do body work now as a form of relaxation but this one part of this one project is really getting to me. I know how to weld, I'm not the best, I don't it often enough, but I've welded thin sheet metal together without much problems. This one part is above my present skill level so it's getting to me. After reading the helpful posts and blowing off the rude ones I am going to back and see if I can do better.

    Thanks to the helpful posters. And for the rude ones, get a life, go back to your all knowing perfect world where you are king.
     
  20. Cowtown Speed Shop
    Joined: Sep 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,179

    Cowtown Speed Shop
    Member
    from KC

    Kenny, I think your work is top shelf stuff and I recomend You to alot of guys when it comes to Chopping tops,....And I know this comment was meant to be Sarcastic, But believe it or not, with some of this new technology and Some of these high dollar schools that kids are coming out of today, You might be surprised As to what they could teach you.....Were never too old to learn....LOL
     
  21. Del Swanson
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 709

    Del Swanson
    Member
    from Racine, WI

    This is the main reason not to lap-weld patch panels. Second is rust potential. Most of the factory lap welds are done in spots where there is a lot of shape (angles, curves) where there is more strength, not in flatter areas where the affects of warpage is more obvious.
     
  22. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,790

    bobj49f2
    Member

    In one of the body shops I worked in we did a lot of aluminum repairs on big truck boxes. Welding aluminum can really be frustrating. You can only weld a small stitch at a time, maybe an inch, any more and your entire weld will fall out. It wasn't much of a problem once you had a few welds fall out on you and you learned. The hard time was when you got to the end of the project and you only had about 2 inches to weld and you just want to get it done and you push it a little too far.
     
  23. 53 COE
    Joined: Oct 8, 2011
    Posts: 688

    53 COE
    Member
    from PNW


    If there is no patch panel available (Chevy the same?) .... I would be looking at having one made to install myself. If that could be done, you would not be piecing so many parts together. That is what I am going to do for my '62 Dodge Dart wagon rear qtrs. Already spoke with a sheet metal shop about rolling the contour.

    Smart ass comments or not - it does seem like we all have hours to waste on the 'net - yet no time to practice a skill before jumping into something new. Heck I spent those 4 years in classes, and mostly only used it as a hobby, and back-up career when needed. Have never been on um-employment because of that auto-body skill set.

    ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  24. tb33anda3rd
    Joined: Oct 8, 2010
    Posts: 15,158

    tb33anda3rd
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    for speed and durability i use a "hybrid" of a lap joint. i have been doing it for years with no problems. you overlap the panels no more than 1/8 of an inch, set the welder a little hotter an melt the two ends together as you go. you will end up with no overlap [or a little] and no wires sticking out the back. this works great with a mig, leaves almost no step. if you have access to the back it can be ground and hammered so there is no step.
    if i was tig welding i would just butt weld it, but most projects it is not necessary.
    don't flame me till you try it
     
  25. Well Bob, you really stirred it up.........

    Lots of good info here...I've learned a couple things that may improve my own welding skills. Thanks to all that are trying to help!
     
  26. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,790

    bobj49f2
    Member

    116 replies, I didn't think I'd get this much reaction. I was just very frustrated and needed to vent. I am glad this post got the reaction it did. There are a lot of good advice posted. It seems it might help more poeple than just me. I'm very pleased with that.
     
  27. There is more than one way to skin a cat! :D HRP

    [​IMG]
     
  28. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,172

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

    Many seams are spot welded but they are also sealed at the edges.
    The problem is not from butt welding but from having the correct equipment and knowing how to use it. Whenever I welded x-ray with stick or gun we always butt welded with a backup behind it. Sometimes brass, other times metal and we would grind or cut it off from the back side.
    Now body work doesn't need x-rayed but it actually should be butt welded. Otherwise you're adding un-needed filler besides trapping moisture areas. it really is a matter of speed, amperage and wire feed to get the desired results.
     
  29. XXL__
    Joined: Dec 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,749

    XXL__
    Member


    First stuff old rags, newspaper, and chicken wire into the seam, then a coat of fiberglass over that. Then, when you sell the car, you can say "professionally restored" in the description.
     
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