I've been offered a 1967 mini which requires quite a bit of welding.
I don't really know alot about (hardly anything) welding the nearest
I've got to welding anything involved a soldering iron.
Any way I was planning to hire a Mig welder from a shop and do the
work over a few weekends. A get lessons at my college.
1) How easy is it to learn how to use a mig welder? and how difficult
is it to weld steel body parts of a car and what would this involve?
2) What sort rough costs for hiring mig welder and all the parts that
are needed? and what parts are required
I'm a complete novice so any help or extra advice would be deeply
I live in the UK by the way
thanks in advance and sorry about all the questions.
(and if I've got the wrong group sorry)
- email@example.com (jbug) - spluttered in
I'd, ah, suggest picking up a magazine type book on bodywork. Look at oxy-
acetylene outfits. The first two books mentioned:
... have good stuff in them. If you can't find them in the UK, try the
Here's aGoogle search: http://www.google.com/search?q=finch%20bodywork
Investigate how to use a hammer and dolly.
Even read the part on lead work.
If you're repairing floor pans, a mig or brazing is probably equally
You're also going to need a grinder, and maybe some sort of powered saw to
cut the junk out, and cut the patches.
I've restored more Mini's than I care to remember, and a Mig welder is a
good choice. I also have a spot welder to do the flange work, but a Mig can
do that just fine if a bit harder. Buy the Classic Mini Restoration book,
the one that goes through all of the steps with pictures. Now the bad
news - I wouldn't plan, personally, on putting floors and sills in a Mini
properly in less than about 100 hours. The shiny bits on the outside cover
up a lot of fiddly bits on the inside that also need to be replaced, or the
car loses a lot of strength and you become a dreaded "bodger". I've seen
cars with "new" sills where the rear subframe fell off going over a bump,
because the job wasn't done properly. A '67 mini has enough intrinsic value
that it's worth a bit of time invested.
Buy Heritage panels, they are worth the difference. Mini Machine has a lot
of good panels for older cars as well. When I get up the gumption, I have
to put new floors (side to side , front to back, tunnels and all) into a
1959 Mini and a 1964 Traveller. Until then, they are resting quietly in my
garage, enjoying their snooze.
On 21 Jan 2004 16:20:08 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org (jbug) wrote:
Go with the MIG. You can do it with oxy-acetylene, but you won't -
it's enormously slow. OTOH, you might need to make curved panels and
repair sections, for which a torch is also useful. If you have to
have just one, then it would have to be gas - but you can build
customs in a fraction of the time if there's MIG to hand, or you can
do ugly repairs in places you can't see.
Best thing (by far) is to have both. They don't have to be yours
though. Do everything you can to try and scrounge access to this sort
of tooling - many people who have it are only too happy to have other
car restorers share it, especially in the UK. Gas cylinders are
expensive to rent and the gas is damn near free - anything that
increases the overall utilisation can save everyone money.
Welding is easy. Panel repair is hard. You'll spend a lot more time
learning how to shape the repair sections than you will putting them
together. There's also an investment in tools like hammers and
dollies, jogglers, grinders and whatever you use for cutting metal to
shape. I use plasma, which costs more than a welder does, but is
pretty nice to use.
College is good. Try a course on car restoration, rather than
welding. They're just as common in most towns. Even on a purely
welding evening class, half the people there will be doing car
I wouldn't hire a welder. You can use a small welder for repairing
bodywork, and these are fairly cheap to buy. S/H is good too. In
comparison, the hire charges are quite steep.
Assuming you're going to replace "a wing" and it's a question of
fitting a well-fitting commercial panel.
Cut off the old panel. Use an angle grinder, maybe a compressor and
air chisel (chisel is cheap, if you have the compressor).
Clean up the old area. Angle grinder time. Maybe some hammer and dolly
Make the new panel fit (they never do)
Paint and undercoat the old area. Angle grinder, maybe an air sander.
Scrapers to strip underseal. Then repaint with things like zinc
primer (fairly heatproof), weldable zinc near where you're actually
welding. Panel sealer, primer and underseal where you won't be able to
Paint and undercoat the new panel.
Clamp the new panel up (lots of cheap G clamps and Moles)
Tack the new panel in place. You might even bolt or rivet some panels.
Weld the new panel in place. Don't start at one end and work along,
it'll distort. This will take a few minutes with MIG, an hour with
Dress the welds (angle grinder). Seconds with gas, minutes with MIG.
Prime and initial paint.
Now treble that workload for most repairs. A typical repair isn't
swapping a wing with an easy seam weld from above, it's making a new
internal corner to fit inside a rotted-out floorpan. I don't know
Minis - some vehicles are worse than others, but most fail in exactly
the same awkward spots.
Get a couple of Mini resto books and maybe some generic restoration
books. You're lucky with a Mini, as it's a popular car that still has
a good spares position.
Don't use CO2 as a welding gas - get some argon / CO2 mix
Cut off as much as necessary. It's a lot easier to make new steel and
fit it to clean old steel than it is to mess around with some rusty
Try uk.rec.cars.classic too.
jerry email@example.com (jerry_tig2003) wrote in message
Thanks for your advice I really appreciate it because I know very
little about welding and I needed to know whether it would be possible
for me to do.
I've seen some pictures of the car and the sills seem to be bad, and
the front wings, A panels and doors need alittle work. So if I do
decide to get it I'll probably do the body panels like the wings,
doors and any other non structural area and maybe depending on how
confident I feel get a specialist to do the sills and any other
I was looking in a magazine and saw and ad selling welding equipment,
I was wondering what the difference is between an arc welder which I
think was priced at Ł55 or something like that and a Mig welder which
thanks for you great advice
firstname.lastname@example.org (jbug) wrote in message news:
An arc welder welds with coated electrodes, the process is called
stick or SMAW. Basically it is a process that is well suited to weld
thick pieces and very good at making holes in car parts. Not what you
A mig welder uses a wire that is continuously fed to the welding gun
and (often) shielding gas. It is well adapted to bodywork and probably
what you want.
The price you give imply that the machines are cheap, DIY gear. Those
cheap machines tend to be more difficult to use than more expensive
ones. You should consider taking a course first, so that you could
learn on easier machines (and understand the difference).
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