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Help choosing a welder

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  • Help choosing a welder

    I new to welding and was wondering what welder I should start with
    I want to weld sheet metel in a 1989 Chevy K5 Blazer Floor pans etc

  • #2
    which welder

    The first question is..... what is your knowledge and capabilities.
    Next question .............What's in your budget.
    Next question..............how often will you use it.
    I could go on and on with the questions.

    Give us a little more info and we can help point you in the right direction. Dave

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by chvyman View Post
      I new to welding and was wondering what welder I should start with
      I want to weld sheet metel in a 1989 Chevy K5 Blazer Floor pans etc
      This is a no-brainer.
      Start with a nice aircraft size torch setup. Smith versatorch or something similiar. Its more versatile then any electric machine and works beautifuly on sheet work. It will also give you the heat source for hot working panels, shrinking, and the like for your body work. Yes there will be many people saying to buy a mig welder, sorry I dont personally believe that should be your first. Most body shops use them due to their speed, not quality of work. I personally think that only after mastering the torch, should someone pick up a Mig welder. There is a difference between a weldor, and a welding machine opperator.

      -Aaron

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      • #4
        wile i agree the torch would be a great option for the first welder( it was mine) if you just want to replace floor pans grab up a MM135/140 or HH135/140 if $$ is tight. reconditioned HH135/140's are commen.
        i have the MM135 and floor boards are a cake walk. its great on sheet steel.
        if you want some thing to grow into that you can use on just about anything on the truck, go MM210.

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        • #5
          Ditto to what James is saying, a gas torch is old school, and one of the best ways to do panel replacement. But it can get you into trouble faster than a MIG machine.

          With the OA (Oxy/Acetylene) set up, you need to practice much more to set the correct flame, it's way too easy to dump too much heat into the panel and warp it, granted, the OA masters never have these problems, but it's an art to O/A good.

          Whereas MIG, is going to be stitch welding, you tack here for one second, more 6 inches away and tack again, etc. Much easier to control heat input to the panel.

          Hank

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          • #6
            O/A torch for body work

            It's been many years since I worked in a body shop but I can remember the State of New York prohibiting o/a welding on vehicles because of the use of high strength brittle steel, that was somewhere back in the late 80's or early 90's. They mandated all weld on body parts and frame clips had to be done with mig process. Just my 2 cents worth, Dave

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dabar39 View Post
              It's been many years since I worked in a body shop but I can remember the State of New York prohibiting o/a welding on vehicles because of the use of high strength brittle steel, that was somewhere back in the late 80's or early 90's. They mandated all weld on body parts and frame clips had to be done with mig process. Just my 2 cents worth, Dave

              There is actually more to that story. Its typical of what happens when a state trys to make engineering decisions, not unlike California mandating 4-cycle engines, even though 4-cycle doesnt always mean the lowest emissions. The "high strength" steels that are commonly referred to are not normally used is areas like floor pans, fenders, door skins and such. They are reserved for structural members such as door pillars, unibody etc. It is not the OA torch thats not good for these parts, its ANY heat. In fact it has been found that Mig may be the worst due to local hardening in the base metal around the weld. Many of these structures are considered un-repairable by welding now straight from the manufacturer. The non-structural sections of the car are normally repairable by any welding method desired.

              BTW this information was obtained from 2 Ford engineers I work with.

              I know I push torch welding a lot, and no im not some old timer . The learning curve for torch welding steel is not that steep, heck ive taught people in a matter of 3 days to do some very nice work. In all my work on antique cars, aircraft, and motorcycles you just cant beat it, and I think the time and energy invested in learning it will be justified by the reward of such a nice finished product. I guess I always thought the point of learning something was the aspiration to be one of the "masters", and thats the way ive lived my life and learned my lessons. I probably go "over-the-top" when working on things, but thats just me. If you want something done quick, and "good-enough" is fine, take my thoughts with a grain of salt and a laugh

              -Aaron

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              • #8
                I dont have hardly any experience with sheet metal but i would suggest starting out with a nice little mig. While torches are great to weld with and versitle but in my case it took more experience to know how to weld with a torch than a mig. If you have quite a bit of experience or even just a little with a o/a torch it would be something great to go for since you will be doing body panels.

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                • #9
                  makoman1860, Thanks for the education. I'm like you and when ever I do a complete restoration on a vehicle I try to do it as close to the way it came from the factory. I have "sweat" lead on many a seam when doing rear quarter panel replacements in my body man days. I've done plenty of O/A work on older cars, and trucks. Dave

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                  • #10
                    I agree with everything everbody said here, lot of smart guys. He wants to weld new floor pans in a 89 truck, probably not bending anything but welding in a replacement panel...Buy a little mig. Your 100% right about the O/A but technology changes and he'll be able to use the mig faster. My suggestion would be buy both. If only can afford one, buy the mig first. You can make quality welds with a MIG. I have both and i have to tell you I use the mig more than the torch and yes I learned on the torch first . Actually I use the TIG more than anything else. Its sort of like using the torch to cut steel or a plasma cutter. The torch works great but again, I use the plasma cutter more.
                    Just my 2 cents

                    Good luck with your truck

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by weld_13 View Post
                      I dont have hardly any experience with sheet metal but i would suggest starting out with a nice little mig. While torches are great to weld with and versitle but in my case it took more experience to know how to weld with a torch than a mig. If you have quite a bit of experience or even just a little with a o/a torch it would be something great to go for since you will be doing body panels.
                      while I ahve a little bit of experience with sheet metal i would agree with Weld_13 geta small Mig

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