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Old 08-07-2009, 05:09 AM
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Default Still working on making the weld seam disappear.

Been spending some time working on my sheetmetal welding. I'm a little out of practice and need to do some brushing up before I unleash the welder on my truck panels. I'm not quite there, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.

100_1341.JPG

A little swipe of filler and it should work just fine. It has some low spots in it and some hammer damage from being a little overzealous.

Next up was to try to try adding some filler as I was welding, instead of after. My .045 filler rod is in my other storage unit, so I just used some .030 MIG wire. I find it easier to tack in the middle and then go for the ends and finish it up by filling in the gaps. Since this is a flat panel, it seems to work better for me considering the distortion that IS going to happen. I find welding sheetmetal, especially flat pieces, to be more about how to fix the warpage than controlling it or trying to avoid it.

100_1342.JPG

Starting from the left is the raw weld bead. To the right of that is an area that has had the proud bead ground flush and a bit of hammer work was used to stretch out the shrinkage from the welding. To the right of that has been planished, final ground and hit with 80 grit on the DA.

My "education" with the TIG welder was "Here, it's set up, go for it!". Since I had a fair amount of experience with a torch, it hasn't been too hard to pick up. One thing I had to learn on my own was to start the arc a bit off the seam and move over to it - it really helps to avoid blowing holes at the start.

Anyone have some helpful tips and/or advice?

Tim D.
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:29 PM
chris@whiterhino chris@whiterhino is offline
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Tim,

Nice practice piece.


I will have to say that David's method of using the torch has been working out for me really well! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE TIG and I would TIG EVERYTHING together even wood if it would let me but I will have to give David his props because until I saw his video I never thought about using the torch.
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:17 PM
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Kerry Pinkerton Kerry Pinkerton is offline
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Looking good Tim.

I can OA steel just as well as I can TIG...not that it's great but it won't break. But aluminum is beyond me...just can't see the puddle in spite of the high dollar goggles.
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:51 PM
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Default Seeing the puddle

Kerry,

I found that my glasses were causing some of my problems. I have all the wiz bang coatings, auto darkening, no line bifocals, blah, blah - and I was getting a couple different weird affects -
- light bouncing between my glasses and welding lense. Especially if the light was coming in the back of the helmet. Got to a point that I was seeing two arc's and wondering if I was going nuts.
- focal length incorrect for the position I was holding my head in. Bifocals are made so that you can see close up when looking down at a book, not when looking out at a weld.
- Also the angle of the welding lense as compared to the angle of my glasses seemed to cause a problem.

Fortunately (?) I'm near sighted, so I was able to remove my glasses and see the weld. Of course, that took a whole lot of messed up welds before I figured it out.

Oh, and don't use mineral spirits to clean the overspray from a rattle can paint job off your fancy coated glasses......

John
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:16 PM
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I have to take my glasses off when I weld too. Sometimes I forget, and my nearsightedness makes it harder to see the puddle unless I look over the top of my glasses, a bit of a strain there.

Kerry, I can actually OA weld steel better than my TIG work......or used to, I'm way out of practice on my gas welding.

I can gas weld aluminum, but I totally suck at TIG welding thin aluminum! Different strokes, I guess. I learned to just pay attention to how the metal is acting when gas welding ally, instead of trying to see the puddle. A lot of what I have read about aluminum welding has told me the whiz bang coatings are for eliminating the orange flare to allow you to see the weld puddle better. Some say the flare is harmful, but most of what I've read doesn't say anything about that (mostly really old reading material, so the truth may be different these days). Once it goes glossy, just keep moving until the rod won't melt. I've learned to back off a bit every now and then to let the aluminum cool slightly - keeps the weld puddle from being a puddle on the floor.

Honestly, for gas welding aluminum, I think people try too hard to do it like TIG welding. Phil and I were playing with gas welding aluminum at Randy's once when Roger asked to try his hand at it. Some pretty nice weld beads were laid down - even though he claimed it was his first time! His technique ended up being more like brazing, putting the heat to both the rod and the sheet at the same time. It looked a bit odd at first, but the welds came out nice with good penetration and no extraneous holes. Again, different strokes!

Remember to keep the torch moving too. I remember Stan Lobitz talking about one of the racecar builders he used to work for (don't want to get the name wrong, so I'll just leave it out) and how the guy used to constantly keep the torch moving around when gas welding aluminum (and everything else). Stan said he just naturally adopted the technique, not knowing the guy who was teaching him had Parkinson's, which was what was causing the shake. Whatever the cause, the advice is solid! I kind of fan the flame around a bit and it serves not only to preheat the rest of the metal, but to keep the seam a bit cooler too.

So we've gotten a bit off track from the original post I hope anyone looking for welding advice will read everything and can hopefully find a nugget or two in everything they read

Tim D.
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:35 AM
David Gardiner David Gardiner is offline
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For making panels Gas welding realy is best! As I have said before I have a tig and a mig and I learned tig when I was 16 when I learned gas so I can do both. Tim, I dont agree with what you said about moving the torch around. when gas welding a unifrom forward movement is the way to do it. I keep saying work in a methodical way. The more like a machine you work the better the results when working metal and that includes welding it. If you watch my DVD or the youtube footage you can see that I work in a very repetative motion and the results speak for themselves. Gas welding is far easier than tig welding if you use the method I show but you have to do the process exactly as I show it or it will not work, tacking up in the way I show is important, dress the tacks then proceed to weld.
These methods are the way that has always been used for coachbuilding over here, they are the methods used for generations. When I learned to weld I learned pipe and plate welding but welding panels is a completly different thing.

David
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Old 08-08-2009, 06:34 AM
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David, moving the torch around works for me. Whether it works as well for others or not has a lot to do with the user. Keeping the torch moving is one of the biggest keys to gas welding ally - whether you wave it around in a tiny circle like I prefer or just push forward and haul ass to the end of the bead is really no matter. If you stop, you usually blow a hole.

Gas welding is great, no doubt. However, my "work area" is currently in a storage unit, and they are pretty strict regarding the rules for storing flammable and/or explosive gases. Therefore, the acetylene tank is out. Being an inert gas, there isn't much concern over the argon tank.

I learned to MIG when I was 12. My stepfather worked for a farmer that also had a production shop building grain augers. The 2 welders in the shop sort of adopted me and taught me as much as they could cram into my tiny little brain (though far from all of it was about welding)! The vast majority of the welding in that shop was 16ga and over.

Gas welding came along in high school shop class at 14 or 15. The instructor was an older gentleman who was very pleased that I had little interest in the electric welding machines (been there, done that, got the burn marks to prove it), so he proceeded to teach me what he learned about oxy/fuel welding from a career in the U.S. military. He was also delighted with the interest I took in metalwork in general....not just using the class as a free ride. I was apparently the first student to ask about turning threads on the lathe in over 15 years - everyone else just used a die. That, however, is beside the point.

Sadly, in the years after that I fell woefully out of practice with my welding. My eyesight has weakened a bit with age as well. I am still more comfortable with a torch in my hand and the peaceful nature of the flame. There are other reasons I prefer gas welding as well - a neck injury that makes the classic head flip to drop the helmet a painful excercise for me as well as the fact that too much time behind the flashing of an auto-dark helmet gives me killer headaches. However, in my line of work, I need to be versatile, so practicing all of the disciplines comes in handy as well.

About the only sheetmetal I am called upon to weld in my line of work is stainless - old, bent, beat up, previously repaired (over and over) stainless steel. Clean edges and consistant thickness would be a blessing - but I am not often blesssed, so I do what I can. Everything else is heavy stuff - 3/16" and up. That means that I have to practice my sheetmetal welding on my own time and in my own place.

David, I have watched your DVD, over and over. I won't argue with you about which method is best. I will, and have, however, explain why I do things the way I do. TIG welding sheet steel is darn easy though, especially if you have spent some quality time with the torch....since a TIG welder is basically an electric torch. I can fusion weld with the TIG a bit better than with gas, because the nature of the TIG welder makes it a bit easier to "borrow" some metal from outside the weld seam - easier for me, anyway.

The hard part is making the weld seam completely disappear with no paint or filler applied after the weld is done. I find that a bit tougher to do with gas than with TIG, but it can be done. I don't think I have ever tried to make an invisible seam on a flat sheet by gas welding though.

If anyone is wondering why I am practicing on flat sheets - - take a look at the floor in a '47 Ford truck. My "recreation" is going to be even smoother than the factory job, since I have no need to make space for the gas tank inside the cab nor to mate the floor to the seat riser since I'm not using the stock seat.

Tim D.
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:59 AM
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Good subject Tim.

I needed some inspiration.I have been so busy here lately,I haven't had time to do anything for myself.

I have been practicing tig welding. I have gotten to be a decent bench welder. What I mean by that is, two flat pieces on my welding bench under perfect circumstance.

I have a ton of shaped scrap pieces. I want to start cutting them up and then start welding them up to get the hang of welding them together.

For controlling the warpage -

I still use the same principals,tac every 3/4'' starting from the center of the panel alternating sides, working outward, re-stretch the tacks. I find with the tig welder I don't have to grind proud of the weld before re-stretching the tacks. Then I just fill in the welds between the tacks also alternating sides re stretching the haz as I go. I forgot to mention I use a copper backing to trap the inert gas to insure a clean weld on the inside as well.

To finish the weld I use my 90dg die grinder with a 80 grit pad then my orbital sander with 80 grit then finish it with 120.

I am no pro but I was taught by one Randy Ferguson. After working with him and seeing his work, I will be hard pressed to change my mind on changing my technique.

I don't care how long it takes as long as it is perfect when it is done
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:03 PM
David Gardiner David Gardiner is offline
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Tim, You will find that moving the torch in circles makes you move forward more slowly therefore the weld is larger and the haz as you call it is much bigger -more heat has gone into the panel and so more distortion is caused.

Using tig is fine if you prefer tig, the weld is fine so long as you you use filler rod but it is a lot harder to learn to tig weld for a beginer than it is learn the method of gas welding I show. I dont think anyone could do perfect joints within a days practice with a tig but I have taught many people to weld using gas and the method I show and most can do a perfectly good joint with less than eight hours practice.
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:25 PM
David Gardiner David Gardiner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris@whiterhino View Post
Tim,

Nice practice piece.


I will have to say that David's method of using the torch has been working out for me really well! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE TIG and I would TIG EVERYTHING together even wood if it would let me but I will have to give David his props because until I saw his video I never thought about using the torch.
I am glad that you are finding the method I show usefull, the best thing for me about this method is that I dont need to use clamps which saves time and frustration, I have to make my living from this - here in England time is money.
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Last edited by David Gardiner; 08-08-2009 at 05:24 PM.
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