At one time or another it's happened to all of us. While working in the shop late at night trying to finish a project, we discover a part that will need to be repaired by welding. Luckily, some of us have welding equipment and can repair the part and move on. For most though, the project will have to be put off until someone else can perform the work, costing not only the price of labor, but more importantly, the time it takes to remove the part and take it to be welded. Chances are most of you don't have a welder in your shop. Frankly, the thought of using high electrical voltage to heat metal until it melts together permanently is enough to scare most people. When performed properly with the right equipment, however, small welding projects can easily be accomplished at home.
Many people don't consider getting their own welding equipment simply because they don't understand the principles of welding. The fact is, you don't have to understand welding principles to be able to weld safely. Sure, there are basic rules to follow, and the proper safety equipment must be utilized, but with some practice anyone with a little mechanical know-how can learn to weld. Modern welders are extremely user friendly and come with clear instructions covering all the basics of welding. Like anything though, once the basics are learned, practice determines how good a welder you'll become.
Not many people are aware, but the same tanks you use for a cutting torch can be used for
Choosing welding equipment can be a daunting task in itself. There are many welding types, from oxygen/acetylene, to electric arc, to TIG, so simply knowing which type of welding makes the most sense for the projects you'll encounter is a good place to start. We'll briefly outline the different types of welding, starting with oxygen/acetylene welding, but we'll concentrate on the type of welding that makes the most sense for automotive repair-MIG welding.
One of the oldest methods of welding metal is performed by using the same oxygen/acetylene tanks that many of us power our cutting torches with. By changing the tip of the torch to a tip designed specifically for welding, this process can be used to weld steel of any thickness you'll find on your old Mopar. Although this method of welding can provide some of the strongest welds, it takes lots of practice and is fairly unforgiving. Inexperienced welders can quickly melt huge holes in parts by using this process, or worse yet, not achieve the penetration necessary for a strong, safe weld. For these reasons, we recommend you use the tanks for cutting and try a more conventional form of welding in your shop.
By changing the size of the welding tip, the oxygen/acetylene process can weld steel of an
Stick welding is simple and suited well for industrial or production work, but there are b
MIG welding is by far the most versatile welding process for automotive repair. With a lit
Small MIG welders, like this unit from Lincoln Electric, are versatile and relatively inex
Modern MIG welders feed a continuous wire electrode through the welding gun, making smooth
MIG welding is probably the most versatile process for automotive repair. The MIG process