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Welding equipment

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by 75K5, Dec 1, 2001.

  1. 75K5

    75K5 1/2 ton status

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    I am getting ready to start tearing my blazer apart and replace all the rusted pannels and floor boards.

    I have never done any welding before, so I am going to try and learn as I go. Does anyone know what welder I should buy? I don't need anything professional grade, but somthing that will be more than sufficient for this project. Should I be looking for an ARC/TIG welder? Any preferred brand? Anyone have a cheap used one to sell me? =)

    sorry for the dumb questions.

    Brian
     
  2. ftn96

    ftn96 1/2 ton status

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    You just need a decent MIG welder. They are perfect for sheet metal. Your local Tractor supply or Lowes or Homedepot would have one good enough for your needs. The ones at TSC are pretty good.

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  3. ftn96

    ftn96 1/2 ton status

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    Also, if your gonna be teaching yourself, get one of those Haynes manuals on Welding. I got it and it was pretty helpfull.
    Get scraps of the same material your gonna be welding and practice exactly what your doing then test your practice stuff. If its ok, then you have everything ready for the actual job, including your confidence! [​IMG]

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  4. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    In general I agree. However, most of those cheap units in Home Depot and such are really just "Wire Welders", not MIG. A MIG uses a gas shield and solid wire (but can run flux core). "Wire Welders" only run flux core but can use gas/solid with a "MIG upgrade". Personally, I would say get a 110 or 220 Lincoln or Miller MIG. Hobart is made by Miller and is a good starter that is cheaper but not up to Miller standards.

    Once you get it, practice, practice, practice before ever striking an arc on anything important. Also, look at "Metal Fabricator's Handbook" and "Welder's Handbook". They are quite good at covering the basics.

    Russ

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, 205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked
    Some day: 4" lift, 44" tires, massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  5. White Knight

    White Knight 1/2 ton status

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    A little hint when you strike a arc, watch the puddle not the arc. On the MIG listen to the sound it'll be a steady popping noise when done correct.

    White Knight
     
  6. chevyracing

    chevyracing 1/2 ton status

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    Century makes a fine home machine. Make sure you get one with at least a 100 amp out put. Use a number 10 green lens in your shield, it is dark enough but still lets enough light pass so you can see to start. There is a lot to welding. Remeber the one most important thing about welding sheet metal........<font color=red>HEAT WARPS METAL</font color=red> so tack around your piece first and then weld and cool, weld and cool. There is no way to teach you to weld on this post. If you want tips shoot me an email and I will try to help.

    John

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  7. 75K5

    75K5 1/2 ton status

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    how much should I expect to pay for these?

    Here's two links I found, do either of these look decent?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&amp;item=1671712302


    thanks for the help, I ordered those books too!

    Brian
     
  8. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    I don't know anything about CH welders. Hobart makes a good home unit but it is not commercial grade. If you don't want to weld over about 1/8" (or 3/16 letting it cool down frequently) the 110 units work great. This size range covers most automotive fabrication. If you want to weld 1/4 or heavier stuff you need to look at a 220 unit.

    I thought about getting a 110 unit because I liked the idea of just plugging it in anywhere (with 20-30 amps) and going to it. However, for skids, frames, etc., you often need to weld 1/4 and heavier. The light units will do it but it will require multi-pass and that opens the door to greater chance of weld contamination and hardening/annealing the metal if you don't take you time and learn to do it right. Those books will explain the proper way to do multi-pass and multi-bead (like waiting on duty cycle) without hurting the metal. It’s just a pain and really slows things down. That’s why I decided on a 220 unit, it’s really not THAT hard to find a 220 outlet.

    Russ

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, 205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked
    Some day: 4" lift, 44" tires, massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  9. pcorssmit

    pcorssmit 1/2 ton status

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    Another thing that is really helpful is a self darkening lens, I think I paid $120 or $140 for mine with the hood (cheapest I could find) a couple years ago.

    Pete

    '83 K5, 350 TBI (ex 6.2), 700R4, NP208, Dana 60/14 bolt, 4.56s, Detroits, 3" lift, 15-39.5x15 TSLs
    '97 Dodge 2500 4x4 CC LB Sport, Cummins 5 spd
     
  10. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    BTW, Harbor Freight carries the Hobart for, IIRC, $435

    Russ

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, 205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked
    Some day: 4" lift, 44" tires, massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  11. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    www.cyberweld.com/hobhan175wit.html That thing is a lot heavier than you would think and the cart sure makes moving it around nice.
    Another problem with even the better 110v units is they need a dedicated 110v 20amp circuit. I barrowed one to do some work and I kept poping breakers. was a real pain in the butt. Running a dedicated 220 is no harder than a 110 so might as well go fo the one thats going to do the best for you. Becides you want a compressor and the better compressors are again 220v. Put the same plug on it that the welder has and just plug in the one your using.
    Now flux core for qulity body work stinks. You really want to do TRUE mig welding with sheilding gas. You will have to get the tank from a local welding suply house such as Pye Barker. Get the biggest you can. Most states will not let a non comercial account have the REAL big tanks. They will limit you to a 80lb. You go through gas pretty quick if your doing a lot of welding. It cost $17 to refill the small tank and it costs $23 you refill the big tank that's over 3 times the size. Way most of these places work is you buy the tank. the big one I have set me back $150. Then you just exchange for a filled tank. Creap but usable welding helmet and your going to be in for about $750 including a 10lb roll of .30 wire. The size wire is good for most things the home person would do. take your time with the rockers and don't get it to hot and it will do the job. .25 is a little better for a lot of body work but it's too thin for heavy stuff. .35 is better for the heavy stuff.....you get the idea.
    Welding is like cutting wood. measure twice cut once. What I like to do when doing things like rockers is put a few screws in to hold the peice exactly where it blongs so I don't have to hold it and it won't move. I use #10 1/2 inch drill tipped.
    One thing you need to practice is "Rose bud" welds. The way a rocker is attached at the factory is with a pinch welder. it has 2 electrods that pinch the steel and put heat to it and fuse them together. No welding wire involved. The way you recreate this type of weld with a mig is you drill a 3/16 holes along the replacement pannel about every 3/4-1 inch. Then you weld these holes up so you can join the pannels. Then grind the weld smooth. it takes practice to get good at theses because your working on the vertical. Hit your local steel suply house and see if they have some 20 or 22 gage drop that you can have to practice on. Practice rhe Rose buds and butt welding.
    Butt welding is when you take 2 pannels touch the ends and make small spot welds about every inch and then come back and make andother spot and skip an inch till you get e continuous weld. If you were to just weld as you went along you would get pannel distortion from the heat warping it. Really not a bad problem on a rocker but if you were replacing a lower fender lip where you have a lot of welding it can become a BIG problem.

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    Grim-Reaper
     
  12. Blazer_Boy

    Blazer_Boy 1/2 ton status

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    Diddo on the 220V for most aspects. The 110V makes a little bit for its short commings by its convenience. They're generally smaller and easier to move around. The gun is smaller and little easier to get intricate with. If you get a big mama 110V extension cord, thats easier too move around too. Don't fool yourself if you do get 110v, you're gonna do sheet metal, and thats it.

    On mine I used the 110V to do my floor and patch panels and its was decent. The bead wasn't as smooth as I liked, but I got good penetration. I used the 220V arc welder to do some serious welding when I fabbed up my 1/8" subframe (make tool-man grunt). That 220 arc can really cook. If I could have gottten the 220 MIG out to the Blazer, I would have used that. The arc welder really liked to burn holes if I didn't keep moving, and if it turned it down, it wouldn't work with a crap.

    Bottom line, just buy one welder, instead of having to get another later on. Miller 220V!

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