Welding repairs - outsource or DIY

Discussion in 'General Ranchero Help' started by 1967 500, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. 1967 500

    1967 500 In First Gear

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Valencia, CA
    As titled, I am at a fork in the road. Outsource or DIY.

    Experience: welding - none, mechanically inclined- yes
    Equipment: no welding or grinders
    Requirements: patch 4 floor pans, replace lower portion of right front fender, fill in a few emblem holes.
    Motivation: budget concerns, could be fun, low time availability.

    How much time would it take to learn and then cut out old and weld in new patch panel for a novice welder to do vs the price to pay a welder to do it?

    Thanks for your input
     
  2. 72GTVA

    72GTVA Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,243
    Location:
    Chesapeake, VA
    Hmmmm... a lot involved in those questions.

    The cost of the buying a reasonably good MIG welder and suitable grinder are going to be at or less than the labor involved with a reputable shop. And there is no guarantee that the aforementioned "reputable shop" will afford the care and attention to detail that you might expect or desire on your classic car. Were you to decide to purchase the MIG, it is yours for your lifetime in all likelihood and one handy item to have for the multitude of uses you may have for it in the future in that once you have the ability to weld it seems that you get a lot of benefit from it.

    A MIG will make a welder out of about anyone - meaning that it isn't difficult to learn, a little practice reaps good results, and the range of materials by thin to relatively large that can be welded with a MIG in substantial. A 110Volt machine with a decent duty cycle easily works material from 24 gauge up through 3/8".

    All that written you may be well served to outsource with your stated time constraints and if you don't believe you will do much welding over your lifetime.

    Don't mean to sound wishy-washy - I have a MIG that has been indispensable in many projects around here, from making work benches of many varieties, to reskinning a couple of cars, to repairing the lawn mowers and on and on. Were it me, I'd get the welder and grinder and work at it at my leisure.
     
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  3. pmrphil

    pmrphil In Overdrive GOLD MEMBER

    Messages:
    828
    I'll second that, buy a decent brand name welder, not a Harbor Fright POS, and watch a couple videos to learn what to do and not do. Welding tips and tricks .com is a great place to find info.
    The grinder will be almost as useful as the MIG in so many projects, strikes me as a win-win, and you get to learn something new and fun.
     
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  4. plumcolr

    plumcolr In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    If as you say you are reasonably good with your hands, welding is reasonably easy to learn. And you will come up with many other things to do with that welder, once you have it.

    Every time I started a more or less major project I bought a tool to make it easier. And I can't think of a time those tools didn't come in handy for the next or a followup project.
     
  5. ribald1

    ribald1 Banned PLATINUM MEMBER

    Messages:
    19,734
    Location:
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    X3 Gaining more skills is a no lose proposition, and welding is a very useful skill.
     
  6. ForistellFord

    ForistellFord In Maximum Overdrive GOLD MEMBER

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    That's it, I'm getting one. What's a good one? I took welding in shop class back in high school, so I know I have mad skillz!!
     
  7. aquartlow

    aquartlow In Maximum Overdrive

    Messages:
    1,264
    Location:
    Summerfield Florida
    I like my Hobart Handler 140(made by Miller), although tips can be found easier for a Lincoln (HD or Lowes), Hobart, Miller and Lincoln are very good manufacturers of welders. Tractor Supply sometimes have good sales on Hobarts, purchased mine from them. Once you own a welder, you'll wonder why you never bought one before now.
     
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  8. 5.0 Chero

    5.0 Chero Bahumbug Staff Member

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    Location:
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    well John if you are serious its hard to beat Lincoln weld pack 140
     
  9. 72GTVA

    72GTVA Administrator Staff Member

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    Location:
    Chesapeake, VA
    I have an older Lincoln SP-110 model with the 30 Amp power cord upgrade and run 75/25 Argon/CO2 as shield gas. Takes the big 10 pound wire spools and hasn't missed a beat in over 25 years of welding.
     
  10. ForistellFord

    ForistellFord In Maximum Overdrive GOLD MEMBER

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    Location:
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    What about one that costs less than that.
     
  11. mo.herbfarm

    mo.herbfarm In Maximum Overdrive

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    Location:
    AZ Colorado River Area
    Add to the fact that MIG welding of sheet steel does not require arc shielding, as does aluminum or stainless steel. The shielding, achieved through use of a flooding of the weld puddle with an inert/semi-inert gas is an expensive proposition. However, MIG wire is available having a core which deposits shielding gas automatically. How good that stuff works, I cannot say. Never tried it. Never MIG welded before, bought a Sears 120-volt unit, first work was the frame for my locomotive tender, below. 1-inch square steel tubing, 3/32" wall, the first welds looked like chicken shit, but got better pretty quickly. I did already have fairly good ability with both gas and stick arc.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    It all fit together nicely. Here is the completed tender, on the track out in our cow pasture! mo.
     
  12. 72GTVA

    72GTVA Administrator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    I'm NOT a fan of core wire - leaves a slag just as stick arc welding. MIG (Metal Inert Gas) being the operative, using the gas mixes or just CO2 as the shield is the way to go when working auto-body panel repair.

    I haven't really found the gas all that expensive and in comparison with the quality of the welds by using gas in comparison to not using it really suggests it is better to weld with shield gas. My biggest issue is getting going on a big project on a weekend and running out of shield gas 3/4 of the way through the project. Solved that problem by maintaining two 60 Cu.Ft. bottles and keeping the spare full and handy during a project.
     
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  13. ForistellFord

    ForistellFord In Maximum Overdrive GOLD MEMBER

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    I have two Dodge's; body panel repair is mandatory.
     
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  14. 1979 RANCHERO GT

    1979 RANCHERO GT In Overdrive

    Messages:
    888
    As the owner of a body shop getting an employee to do floor pans has to be the worst job I have. I don't even want to do em, so it is pricey. Get one of the Miller or Lincoln mig welders and learn how to do it yourself. You will spend alot less in the end. Just watch your sparks welding so you don't burn something down (like the garage) and when you grind the welds the sparks will pit anything they hit, they like glass the best. One thing about floor pans, they get covered up so nobody is going to see your welds. Also buy a good commercial size fire extingusher, all our garages should have at least one in there.
     
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  15. mo.herbfarm

    mo.herbfarm In Maximum Overdrive

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    " they like glass the best "

    My Dad brought me up believing glass is second: sparks and metal chips flung off mushroomed chisel heads always find one's eyes first! mo.
     
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  16. mo.herbfarm

    mo.herbfarm In Maximum Overdrive

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    Location:
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    CO2 not being very reactive, but still not inert, what alternate gas(es) do you recommend. I seem to recall pricing Argon long ago, pretty daggoned expensive back then. Neon might be close. How about Nitrogen? mo.
     
  17. 72GTVA

    72GTVA Administrator Staff Member

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    Location:
    Chesapeake, VA
    Exchange bottles at local ARCET, as I stated before I use 75/25 Argon/CO2, and IIRC my 60 CU. FT. bottles cost about $20.00 Rancherobuck$$ each. Takes about 40 minutes including travel time.

    A lot of the local shops such as muffler and body shops often use straight CO2. I like the Argon mixed gas better...
     
  18. burninbush

    burninbush In Maximum Overdrive

    Messages:
    8,272
    Location:
    near SF
    I might want to go that way at some point; how many hours of welding approx do you get from a 60' bottle? Is there a time limit on how long you can keep a bottle?
     
  19. 72GTVA

    72GTVA Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,243
    Location:
    Chesapeake, VA
    I get several hours per bottle usually, less if I weld outdoors against a firm breeze. (edited to add that the time is while the torch trigger is pulled which flows the shield gas and the electrode). I do have a flow-rate indicating regulator and I keep the shield gas flow near the minimum to extend the life of the gas supply. Some regulators are factory set and not adjustable, and I found the flow higher than it needed to be hence the purchase of one that I could adjust to the conditions I normally weld in which is in a garage with the door open, fire extinguisher at the ready.

    No time limit on the bottle, it is technically yours, you own it. When you take it in you can have your bottle refilled or you can exchange it immediately. I had one occasion where I wasn't enchanted with the appearance/condition of the bottle they offered in exchange and once I voiced a concern they replaced it with one more to my liking. I've currently got one full bottle in standby, and one bottle that I put in service about 6 years ago (haven't welded much with my time in Afghanistan) that is about half full according to the gauge.
     
  20. mo.herbfarm

    mo.herbfarm In Maximum Overdrive

    Messages:
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    Location:
    AZ Colorado River Area
    "No time limit on the bottle, it is technically yours, you own it"

    When we moved to Missouri, of course my tanks came with us. Ran out of O2, went to NAPA: cannot own your own bottle, State Law! I'm like, WTF! They offered to take my already-owned bottle, get it refilled, since I bought it in another state, that was OK. How long? Had to ship it to poplar Bluff, takes several WEEKS!

    A few years later, they changed the law. Pretty strange laws, in MO! mo.
     

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