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Old 02-05-2020, 08:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Welding Sheet Metal

My main welder is a 15 year old Lincoln Powermig 255. The thinnest I usually weld is 1/8 inch and always have used .035. I may have some sheet metal work coming up so looking to get thinner wire. I haven't welded sheet metal in 20 years and hated it back then. My machine gives me tables for 030 and 025 down to 22 gauge. What wire size and type are you guys using for the thin stuff?
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Old 02-05-2020, 08:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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.023 and a little 110v suitcase welder.

My big 255 mig won't run a clean arch at lower settings. The small 110 machine does a much better job at welding thin metal.
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Old 02-05-2020, 09:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Ive welded all my body panels with .035. But its tack tack tack. No bead runs.
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Old 02-05-2020, 09:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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.023 and a little 110v suitcase welder.

My big 255 mig won't run a clean arch at lower settings. The small 110 machine does a much better job at welding thin metal.
My mom's boyfriend does the same. He's a 79 year old retired boilermaker with three 250's, but he uses his 141 almost exclusively on sheet metal. He's replacing floor pans on a Studebaker right now.
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Old 02-05-2020, 09:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Mines a homedepot 140 lincoln. And i run it on b/c heat @ 1.25-1.5 speed.

I know that doesnt help translate to other machines because not actual #s but its pretty low and slow.
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My mom's boyfriend does the same. He's a 79 year old retired boilermaker with three 250's, but he uses his 141 almost exclusively on sheet metal. He's replacing floor pans on a Studebaker right now.
One of my friends just bought a restoration project this past weekend. He needs to do a bunch of floor pan and rocker work. I talked him into the Klutch 140 from northern tool. It was $259 yesterday, he told me.

Can't beat that.
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If at all possible, clamp aluminum angle to both pieces to keep them from warping and to try to draw heat out of the metal.
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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One of my friends just bought a restoration project this past weekend. He needs to do a bunch of floor pan and rocker work. I talked him into the Klutch 140 from northern tool. It was $259 yesterday, he told me.

Can't beat that.
That's what I bought, about the same price. My kid effed up where the gas hose hooks into the welder, and the regulator is cheap, but I've run a dozen or so 10 pound spools through it. I usually use 0.030, but have both 0.025 and 0.035 wire. It's a little sensitive to wire size, but it can do a good job.
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I took a coachworks class, at one time in my life, and they swear by Oxygen /Acetylene for sheet metal.

They taught that trying to wheel (english wheel) a mig welded panel was impossible. and they had some other issue with TIGed metal, but the issue with TIG escapes me. (but they weren't as opposed to it as MIG)

Now typical auto body work, is a different story than coachwork.
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I bought a Hobart 140 from TSC for like $500 and I love it for thinner metals.

My BetaMig 251 would never weld right on the lower settings.
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Old 02-05-2020, 06:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
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buy the smaller wire, use a backing strip if you can so that it is twice as thick and/or use a heat sink.

I've done had good luck with zap....zap....zap....zap stuff to fix holes and cracks and such in cars. just a matter of going slow, lower heat, fast enough wire.
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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My big 255 mig won't run a clean arch at lower settings.
a bigger welder will generally be running a big reactor coil for arc stabilization, that requires current flow within an optimal range for it to smooth the ripple in the rectified output

cheapo little disposamig welders generally run a capacitor instead (or in addition to) a small reactor coil, the capacitor doesn't require any current flow to smooth the output, meaning your tacks are burning smoother quicker.

to the OP: another vote for 023/024/025 or whatever and 75/25 gas rather than straight co2
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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anyone every used Si/Bronze wire for body panels? More like brazing I would guess?
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Old 02-06-2020, 06:16 AM   #14 (permalink)
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One of my friends just bought a restoration project this past weekend. He needs to do a bunch of floor pan and rocker work. I talked him into the Klutch 140 from northern tool. It was $259 yesterday, he told me.

Can't beat that.
What is the deal on klutch welders? Are they made my someone else? Are they their own brand/manufacturer? Can you get parts for them? How long have they been around?

I am looking for a dual voltage inverter wirefeed. I want a lighter weight setup for mobile work. My Hobart 175 is to heavy.
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Old 02-06-2020, 06:44 AM   #15 (permalink)
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anyone every used Si/Bronze wire for body panels? More like brazing I would guess?
First time I ever heard of this was on an IG post last night by kanekid.

Yes, it's brazing. Idea is that brazing is more than strong enough for body panels structurally, and brazing requires less heat than welding, which will help reduce the tendency for panels to warp.

No clue if that works long term.
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Old 02-06-2020, 08:28 AM   #16 (permalink)
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also brazing is softer and doesn't work harden the way that welded steel does
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Old 02-06-2020, 09:37 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Brazing sounds interesting but web search said I need pure Argon it will be a while before I can fill an empty tank with it. Ill probably give 023 a shot in the meantime.
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Old 02-06-2020, 09:58 AM   #18 (permalink)
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First time I ever heard of this was on an IG post last night by kanekid.

Yes, it's brazing. Idea is that brazing is more than strong enough for body panels structurally, and brazing requires less heat than welding, which will help reduce the tendency for panels to warp.

No clue if that works long term.
Some Triumph Spitfire sheet metal unions were brazed from the factory. It used to be just the thing to use where you couldn't get the spot welder tongs into.
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:02 PM   #19 (permalink)
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What is the deal on klutch welders? Are they made my someone else? Are they their own brand/manufacturer? Can you get parts for them? How long have they been around?

I am looking for a dual voltage inverter wirefeed. I want a lighter weight setup for mobile work. My Hobart 175 is to heavy.
From what I read, they are reliable units in general, folks on the welding forums that have them seem to like them. As far as I know "Klutch" is the house-brand for Northern Tool, so they are likely made over-seas by someone else. For parts, you have to contact the Northern Tool parts department. So you have to make sure you can get what you need like drive rollers for solid and/or knurled rollers for flux core wire before-hand.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
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From what I read, they are reliable units in general, folks on the welding forums that have them seem to like them. As far as I know "Klutch" is the house-brand for Northern Tool, so they are likely made over-seas by someone else. For parts, you have to contact the Northern Tool parts department. So you have to make sure you can get what you need like drive rollers for solid and/or knurled rollers for flux core wire before-hand.
I called about a new gun, you can get one through Northern tool. Turns out cleaning grit out of the trigger fixed it. Mine didn't come with a knurled roller, but the smooth one flips for 0.025 wire. I have always used gas with mine. It's an inverter welder, better than what Hazard Fraught had at the time. Mine is about 6 years old, been beat on by my now 22 year old son and his friends for most of that time. My wife gets pissed when she comes home and a shitheep sami is in her spot in the garage with sparks flying under it. It works just fine on a 100' extension cord, too.
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Old 02-06-2020, 05:16 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I use .030 as my go2 on 18ga sheet all the way to 1/4 with 75/25 .
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Old 02-06-2020, 05:41 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Biggest thing I've found is gap & warping - if you can get it to have no gap and stay that way it's not that bad, but as soon as you get more than about 0.025" gap it's going to be a sob to keep from getting an ugly bead no matter what. And it warps super easy, so even if you start with good fit up, it's going to be hard to keep the joint that way for the entire weld.
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Old 02-06-2020, 06:01 PM   #23 (permalink)
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What is the deal on klutch welders? Are they made my someone else? Are they their own brand/manufacturer? Can you get parts for them? How long have they been around?

I am looking for a dual voltage inverter wirefeed. I want a lighter weight setup for mobile work. My Hobart 175 is to heavy.
I did a bunch of research on buying a little 110v welder recently. These came up and apparently they're great. I actually found nothing but good things about Klutch. I had initially heard about them when I was shopping a 210+ machine. Their 250S looks pretty sweet for the price.

Mainly it's my experience with northern. They have a really good parts counter system at their physical stores. We have one local. It's made owning equipment sold by them very easy and honestly, they put my LWS to shame in that respect.

So it really just comes down to my opinion being: It's the best budget minded option for a guy at home if he has a Northern near him.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:17 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I did a bunch of research on buying a little 110v welder recently. These came up and apparently they're great. I actually found nothing but good things about Klutch. I had initially heard about them when I was shopping a 210+ machine. Their 250S looks pretty sweet for the price.

Mainly it's my experience with northern. They have a really good parts counter system at their physical stores. We have one local. It's made owning equipment sold by them very easy and honestly, they put my LWS to shame in that respect.

So it really just comes down to my opinion being: It's the best budget minded option for a guy at home if he has a Northern near him.

Good to know. Thanks. I don't have a northern tool near me though

I wish I could swing a Miller 211. 5x the price kinda sucks
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:57 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I did a bunch of research on buying a little 110v welder recently. These came up and apparently they're great. I actually found nothing but good things about Klutch. I had initially heard about them when I was shopping a 210+ machine. Their 250S looks pretty sweet for the price.

Mainly it's my experience with northern. They have a really good parts counter system at their physical stores. We have one local. It's made owning equipment sold by them very easy and honestly, they put my LWS to shame in that respect.

So it really just comes down to my opinion being: It's the best budget minded option for a guy at home if he has a Northern near him.
I agree here with one caveat, pretty much all the 120v welders use the same cheap Chinese parts inside and are basically disposable when they break (even the red and blue). In light of this you're probably best off getting the cheapest machine that fits a 10lb spool and then slapping a big fuckin cap and rectifier in it if it's not DC (which it almost certainly won't be if you buy a cheap machine).
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