Thursday, December 2, 2010

Welding 101

Well, one has to start somewhere. With all avenues of procrastination explored, I was finally faced with the fact that I needed to begin welding. I got one of the guys to set up the welder and show me how to operate it. Results can be seen below. These are my first attempt at spot welding. Apparently I am not very good at it as my dad labeled these "bubble gum" welds. Overall, I'm more concerned with stable attachment as the entire area will be covered.

Passenger Side Repair
Wow, what can I say... I have a much greater respect for welders now. I seem to be much better at welding a line then a spot weld. I broke many rules on this weld that I feel I must talk about. Rule 1. Welding generates melted metal. Melted metal is HOT. Splatter will get everywhere if you don't clean the tip of the welder. It will get on you and cause burns that take about 2-3 weeks to heal up (Yes, I got burns). Rule 2. Clean your area before welding. If there is paper products near your work, they can be ignited (Yes, I set some masking paper on fire. Yes I set my shirt on fire, but only a small bit). One rule I was very careful with was the eye protection. I did wear the mask for EVERY weld! I have no desire to burn my eyes...

Passenger Side Back
Due to the extent of the missing metal, I felt it necessary to weld the back of this as well. Overall, this went much better than my first bit o welds. The most important thing is the piece is firmly in place, whacking it with a hammer didn't break any welds.

Driver Side Repair
Emboldened by my "success" on the passenger side, I quickly moved to the driver side. The welding went much more smoothly here. I did have some areas of burn though to the weak metal underneath but I was able to flow over it to get a good bond. Again, whacking it with a hammer didn't break any of the welds.

Driver Side Sill Repair
Being that it will never be seen and it really is to shore up the strength of the rotten area of the sill I decided to only spot weld this piece on. Also, the metal is so thin in some of the areas, it would quickly burn through. It's somewhat obvious that I still am not quite getting the hang of spot welding. Not every weld here gripped the metal underneath, but there is enough of them to stiffen the area.

Driver Side front repair
This piece was placed mainly just to keep water from flowing into the rocker panel from under the car. Most of the rot was backed by the pan the PO installed. I plan to seal the bottom once complete with undercoat so I was primarily interested in there being metal there. On the right side, the metal was too flimsy to even think of welding it, but I was primarily concerned with the front.

All in all, I was happy that it was done, a functional but not pretty or elegant job. I will get better at it, likely by the time I finish the welding work.

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