Since I was a kid, I have always wanted to learn to weld. I asked my dad, but he didn't feel confident enough in his work, so he refused to teach me. I never seemed to have room in my schedule during high school and college to take a course, so it went by the wayside. As a teacher, working two jobs, I just don't have time to fit in evening classes.
A friend of mine loaned me his Mig welder and told me to keep it as long as I wanted to practice my skills. I went on Youtube and watched a few videos and gave it a try on the firewall on my Model T.
Sometime in it's past, a former owner cut a two-inch square hole in the firewall, just below the fuel bowl. Then there was an inner plate with a rough circular hole and a little door that was bolted on. I assume that it was to let hot air into the cab from a manifold heater that no longer is with the car. The metal had fatigued below the cut, and a huge crack had been poorly welded up in the past and a new one had formed.
Since the hole didn't serve a purpose now and I am prepping the body for paint, I thought I would fill it in. I had some extra metal from the splash shields that I replaced, so I cut a 2" x 2" piece out and welded it in, both on the inside and the outside. I then had to fill in the four bolt holes holding the inner plate. The globby weld from the past took a long time to grind down and shape as it was directly in the recess. I filled in the recesses with some bondo and primered it today. Here are some before/after photos.
Nice work Jim! Several years ago, I tried out a "demo" MIG welder at a tool store and was amazed at how easy it seemed to run a decent looking bead. Not sure about "penetration", but it sure looked good.
Also, I can't quite remember the details, but I saved a two-part article in an automotive magazine that featured a very thorough test of a Miller MIG welder. As I remember, this particular model Miller MIG welder made it very easy to program the correct settings on the machine to suit the particular thickness of material being welded. In other words, took some of the "guesswork" out of it for beginners like us. The reason I saved the two-part article (which I can't find right now of course) is because I'd made up my mind that if I ever did purchase a MIG welder, that would be the one! Still not sure I'd use it enough to justify the expense,....but it would be nice,.......harold
Good job Jim! A trick to welding up bolt holes is to use a piece of copper on the back side, weld won't stick to it and you can fill the hole much easier. KGB
Learning how to weld is like any other skill. Learning the processes, types of welding procedures and last but surely not the least is practice, practice, and more practice.
One of the best things I ever did was take a night class in welding at the local juco more than twenty years ago. The only hard part was staying awake during films. Nobody will ever accuse me of being a good welder, but what I learned in that class has sure come in handy over the years.
That comment about grinding taking a long time prompts me to show this. An air grinder is fairly inexpensive. Cutting and grinding with it goes much faster than other tools I've tried.
No offense to anyone here, just thought this was too funny not to share.
I can't weld very well, but my grinding is getting better all the time.
Mike, that is so true. I have welded with a MIG for close to 20 years using it for my hobbies. I am better than when I started, but some days I look at what I have welded and commented to myself "your such a beginner".
Some days I can lay a great bead, stop and the next bead will look like dog poo poo. I just don't have the knack to do it consistently. I also have used a TIG welder which I love, but it is a much slower process. Ever have a bead with a MIG that was a little too tall? At least with a TIG you can knock it down a little using the torch with no filler road. I still hope someday I will wire my garage for 220 so I can use my TIG again--it's only been 9 years since I moved here, LOL.
Years back my attempt to arc weld some difficult thin material didn't go very well. A friend said it looked like a duck crapped on it and spread it around with his bill. There has been some improvement since then.
I prefer oxygen acetylene for sheet metal. I have the smith airline torch with all the tips and even 22 gauge isn't a problem. You can't be in a hurry or you will warp it badly but take your time taking breaks to allow it to cool and it will be fine. I consider 16 gauge thick material.
I have used a mig but prefer gas. Would like to have a TIG but know I wouldn't use it enough to justify the $.
Good advice has been given with regard to the welding class. Be patient and practice. Without the education to see what is happening as it happens you will not get consistent results. Heat control is the key no matter what method you are using.
Forget to mention, that looks good Jim.
Since I have a pacemaker I taught my grandson how to use my wire welder. After about an hour and a half of practice he picked it up quite well. He has a lot more practice to do but he has the basics and can run a nice bead.
My 2 cents if you will.
Again I'll make a point about welding... if I may.
Having been that welding teacher in the nite programs for many years and teaching MANY of you car guys how I do it. If you ever learn to gas weld you will never go back to the MIG. It does take a little time learning. I would be GLAD to teach a short course to you all at a meet if you'd like... For Free. If you'll put up with me and listen! Tig torch works well too but NOT on rusty metal!!!
Each type of welding methods are great for different types of different situational welding processes.
I always get this type of question in my classes (when I taught) "Which type of welding do you prefer?" They are ALL good for certain types of processes.
For rusty tin, Gas does the best job. You have to learn to work your heat and quench. Also learning to shrink is a must. Hammer welding is the best method. If you ever master this process you'll be way ahead of the game. On rusty old body metal.
Yes, you must remove as much of the rust as possible without turning it blue or black.
The Mig weld cools too quickly and grinding it down is a REAL bear!!! Also you have to LEARN just how to grind only the top of the bead.
It leaves the area around the weld brittle.
And Jim, Your firewall looks great.
Depending upon where you live (snow country or not) you'll probably miss that hole for heat. I learned to like the heat from the exhaust manifold when snow and winter weather was prevalent. I was taught to just make a sheetmetal funnel to look like the cast ones and fit it to my std T exhaust manifold. In the late 60's. Worked great after a few minutes (if you have side curtains).
I also welded up a few firewall holes when I moved to Florida and showed some of my cars.
Thanks to all for the nice words & advice. Responding to Joe's comments, I have an Atlas Vaporizer/exhaust manifold that has ducts and a cutout in the floor boards. It would cook a guy out....and, unfortunately, leaked. I had to seal it off with a freeze plug because fumes were entering the cab. If you search the forum, I have posted pics of it.
It was mentioned above to put a piece of copper on the backside of your welding areas. If possible but it on the side that is exposed to your sight as it will leave a flat surface there with minimal grinding and filling as you may have none or a couple of small pockets. A thick piece of flat bronze or brass will work also.