Mig Tig or Arc - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-26-2004, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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Mig Tig or Arc

I'm Looking for a GTV to potentially restore... and from talking to people, Body work and paint is going to be what hurts the pocketbook the most.?.?

So... What type of welding do I need to learn in order to do my own body work??? Am I nuts for even considering this???

Thanks
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post #2 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-26-2004, 07:16 PM
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I've already started down this path but haven't started a serious project yet!

You really want to learn/try all of them (ARC, MIG and TIG) - or, at least find out all the pros and cons and when to use which one.

ARC is cheap and easy to get into. Good for heavy duty work but result is not that pretty.

MIG is easy but machines cost more. Need to deal with shielding gas.

TIG usually costs even more to get into. Requires more experience but might produce the best result and great for finer works.

They all take practices and I suggest check out some community education for an intro course.

Bob
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post #3 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-26-2004, 07:20 PM
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Get yourself a MIG welder, both Miller and Lincoln make more than adequate 115v welders that can do just about anything that you will need to weld on your car. I would recommend getting something like the Lincoln SP-135, I've used this style for years on my car and have had no problems with it. I would also recommend getting an auto-darkening helmet it makes it so much easier to get to confined areas.

I have a website with lots of pictures of my restoration.
http://www.alfarestore.com

Let me know if you need anymore help.

Jeff
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post #4 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-26-2004, 07:33 PM
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Of course you're nuts!...you want to buy an Alfa!

The short answer is: Buy yourself a 110 Volt MIG welder and try welding every scrap of steel you can find. Find what the limitations are and move to progressively thinner metal.

The long answer is: It takes a bit of time to learn to do satisfactory structural welding on rusty thin gauge sheetmetal.
MIG is the most affordable and easiest all purpose weld method available.
TIG gives you much better control but has a greater initial equiptment cost and takes more experience to produce consistant welds.
Spot welding is useful at times doing body work but isn't necessary if your doing only one car.

If you have a trade school available to you - sign up!
Check with a local welding supply to see if any classes are available in your area.

One last bit of advice, you might want to restore a FIAT first to get some experience, then tackle an Alfa!

Alfa Sapiens

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post #5 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-26-2004, 08:54 PM
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Check out the August 2004 issue of Grassroots Motorsports, page 135, it has an article on this vary subject. They say a class at a tech school might be a good start, but they talk more about getting more experience in other ways. The also say practice, practice, practice, before you tackle a serious project.



And don't forget the old standby, the Acetylene torch.

Gifford
'72 Super --> SOLD, '67 GTV --> SOLD

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post #6 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-26-2004, 08:59 PM
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Mig is probably going to be the easiest and cheapest, including the least time consuming. Two different types of machine are just a basic wire fed machine using a sheilded wire (technically not MIG). the wire is coated with a sheilding material so no shielding gas is needed. The other type is a wire feed machine that uses an inert gas for sheilding the weld area. You buy the gas in a container ($18-40, depending on the size conatiner and your regional prices).
For these types of machines the gas comes out of a nozzle in the handle of the welder to shield the weld area and ensure a good clean weld. All it takes is a 5MPH breeze to blow away the gas that is supposed to shield your weld, so if you're planning on working outside, and you don't have good isolation from wind, you might consider the former type of machine.

If you do get started welding on your own, please take a class and do as much studying outside of class as possible, the community college classes give you a good chance to practice but they AREN'T real professional training.

you'll want to practice as much as possible before working on the car, take a scrap of 20ga sheetmetal and practice butt welds first. you should be able to hold one end of the metal in a vice, so that the weld runs horizontal and above the vice, next use a hammer to hit the top edge of the metal above the weld. if the metal folds and two pieces remain connected, you've made a strong enough weld. If it breaks at, or around the weld, then you still need more practice.

Welding is FUN and you can do it, but if you're going to learn, and invest all that time working on a car that you want to be proud of, then it makes sense to invest in a good machine, a good teacher, and lots of practice. Auto darkening helmets are a godsend, make sure the shade is dark enough.

Good luck & Have fun welding!
Sono
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Last edited by sono veL.O.ce; 08-26-2004 at 09:02 PM.
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post #7 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2004, 12:14 AM
 
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MIG The best allround welding system. You don't want a lot of heat in the sheet metal (it WILL buckle) so very short bursts and waiting for it to cool, don't force it cold with compressed air or similar.

Remember, with a good setup for strong weld seams you can maybe make a 1" long weld in thin sheet metal (0.8-1mm) before you burn through the material and make a big hole. Short bursts and patience are your friends.
And definetly get a Speedglass helmet.

Oh, almost forgot, thread thickness is also important, for body panels you would want 0.6-0.8mm thread...
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post #8 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2004, 07:33 AM Thread Starter
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Okay... forget nuts... We must all be certafiable!!!

Thank you all for all the great replies! As for buying the FIAT first and practicing on that... I agree, but at some point, I do need to buy a dining room table! (LOL!!!)

Sprintn
PS you guys know of any GTV 2000s for sale that have already had all this done?(LOL!!!)
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post #9 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2004, 08:53 AM
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PS you guys know of any GTV 2000s for sale that have already had all this done?

I'm selling my '74 GTV after spending 3 years and countless dollars restoring it. I have this crazy idea of getting a '65 that needs my attention.

You can see it here: http://www.alfarestore.com

Good luck

Jeff

Jeff Mc Neill
Half Moon Bay, CA
1966 GT junior (sold)
1974 GTV (sold)

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post #10 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2004, 08:54 AM
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I agree that MIG is probably the best way to go. TIG is very finicky and tough for a novice. The previous posters have just about said it all as far as good advice. A friend and I split the cost of a Lincoln 135 welder from Lowes (about $430) and it has been a great tool. One hint is to spend a couple more bucks when you buy shielding gas and get a CO2/Argon mix, which seems to give cleaner beads than just CO2 alone.

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post #11 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-27-2004, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Jeff,
I've seen that car before. Very very nice!!! I can't believe, after all that time, that you yould want to part with it... but it looks as if you enjoy the process and are ready to move to another.?.?
AS I'm sure THat your GTV is worth more than you are asking, I will probably have to keep looking for one that might need a bit of work.
Thanks for sharing your work with us! I'm sure it is going to be a great referance site!

Carless in Denver
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post #12 of 106 (permalink) Old 08-31-2004, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigSwede
Remember, with a good setup for strong weld seams you can maybe make a 1" long weld in thin sheet metal (0.8-1mm) before you burn through the material and make a big hole. Short bursts and patience are your friends.
Tack weld leaving gaps ... then come back and add more tacks, halving the caps. Repeat until no gaps ... grind off flush. Perfect repair and no distortion.

Very rarely in panel welding do you actually run a seam ... even with a MIG it will heat up and distort. If you read most books they suggest to just tack. A MIG's tack penetration is brilliant and as I said before NO distortion.

The only time I seam welded on my 1750 so far is welding the chassis members to the floor or pillars, etc. ... or when making a race car trailer

Pete

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post #13 of 106 (permalink) Old 09-01-2004, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Pete,

I am looking into some Basic mig welding classes in my area. Another Question though... If you are not patching, but are replacing complete panels, aren't you just tacking them on?

Sprintn
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post #14 of 106 (permalink) Old 09-01-2004, 07:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PSk
Tack weld leaving gaps ... then come back and add more tacks, halving the caps. Repeat until no gaps ... grind off flush. Perfect repair and no distortion.

Very rarely in panel welding do you actually run a seam ... even with a MIG it will heat up and distort. If you read most books they suggest to just tack. A MIG's tack penetration is brilliant and as I said before NO distortion.

The only time I seam welded on my 1750 so far is welding the chassis members to the floor or pillars, etc. ... or when making a race car trailer

Pete
Right you are!

But I have done more exhaust systems then most and I really don't care if the pipe should distort a little..
But they really don't since the curvature of the pipe and the thickness of the material. A good strong seam is important though.
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post #15 of 106 (permalink) Old 09-10-2004, 09:58 PM
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Hey, a Mig welder arrived today! It feels like Christmas! Now the '77 project can start back up again. Maybe I'll cut up my scrap door to practice welding.

Alfarestore -- I poured over your website about a year ago. I must say that is a fabulous restoration and you did a great job documenting the work. I learned a lot from your website.

Bill / 1977 Alfa Romeo 4C2000 / 2012 BMW S1000RR / 1975 BMW R90/6
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