Do you think you have had your share of welding thick metals and learned all the ins and outs of welding? I challenge you to try weld some thin metal sheets, like the auto body sheet metal. Even the most experienced welders will mess up when it comes to properly weld and shape the joints without ruining them.
So you know how to weld and think to jump straight into something as delicate as the auto body sheet metal? I hope you are aware of the fact that there is a big chance that you will ruin the metal and leave it no good for any use. So what do you do? How to weld auto body sheet metal? Well, here are some tips to save you from possible disasters if you are heading into it for the first time.
Auto Body Sheet Metal Welding With Different Welders
Are you planning to do weld auto body sheet metal or any thin metal welding with MIG welder or tig welder? You should keep in mind some critical things to avoid creating any unwanted situations, and we have decided to incorporate them right here.
Doing It With a MIG Welder
- Make sure you always work with a small wire diameter to avoid making holes in your sheet metal. Small wire diameter will let you have flexibility if you mess up anything. It will inflict less damage on the metal as well.
- Never go for a thinner base metal for the auto body sheet welding to get the best result out of it.
- When starting to learn auto body sheet metal welding with a MIG welder, you should opt for a shielding gas that has a higher proportion of argon gas. It is better to use instead of a high percentage of CO2. Otherwise, you may find a lot more splatter than you have imagined.
- It is better to avoid using a flux-cored wire when welding sheet metals. It will make the base metal more susceptible to heat.
How to Weld Auto Body Sheet Metal With a TIG Welder
- The best two electrodes for welding auto body sheet metal is either ceriated tungsten or thoriated tungsten.
- Ditch a 1/8-inch tungsten electrode for something much smaller like 1/16-inch tungsten. Because it will have you a lot more control over the whole process and it is more forgiving in case you do anything wrong.
- Find something softer like silicon bronze as a filler material, which is also thinner than the base metal as well. Otherwise, you may not be able to do the joints properly due to overheating issues.
- If you prefer to have more control, picking a pointed electrode might be a better idea for tig welders.
Essential Tips on How to Weld Auto Body Sheet Metal
Use the skip welding technique
According to Kings of Welding, using a skip welding technique will help prevent heat build-up and warping. Skip welding consists of laying a series of tack welds about an inch apart and joining them together in a different order, instead of one long bead. These short welds at different points will help allow the metal to cool and not get too hot in one place.
Take it slow when welding auto body sheet metal.
When you are new to the whole process of welding auto body sheet metals, it is preferable to go a bit more slowly than you can handle. Yes, it may feel quite derogatory and downright frustrating for you to not be able to do much faster. But it is for your good. It will minimize your chance of committing any mistakes like warping and making a hole in the sheet down to 90%! So patience does pay you off when it comes to welding something as delicate as auto body sheet metal.
Start with the lowest power setting.
Why are we telling you to start with the lower power setting available when you can work with something that is much more comfortable for yourself? Well, it is not about you and instead about the nature of the sheet metal you are working with. As the metal sheets used in auto body parts such as cars are quite thin, chances are you may end up making a hole or two into the sheet. It can happen if you start with a higher power setting right from the beginning!
Clean up the metal before you start
According to WeldingHubs, you need to make sure the metals are adequately cleaned to prevent the formation of oxide layers. All the metals must be cleaned off before you even start the welding process. Otherwise, all your sweats and times will go in vain.
Measure before you start
If the sheet metals are not measured accurately, then there is a chance there will be holes created during the welding process. You might not even realize it before you are finished.
That is why it is necessary to get proper joint and other measurements right before you start welding auto body sheet metals? Otherwise, it might feel challenging to fit the joints or not able to do it at all.
Safety Tips of Weld Auto Body Sheet Metal
Wear safety gear
Do not compromise with wearing proper safety gear like the welding hood and gloves to avoid getting nasty shocks to the eye or the whole body. It is better not to be too cocky around those sheet metals and welders and forget to wear those. Even a second bright splash or exposure to the toxic fumes are enough to ruin your eye for life.
Ensure proper ventilation
Last but not least, you should never be in an area that does not have proper ventilation. Always avoid working somewhere that is enclosed, and nothing could go out to in. These kinds of environments are outright dangerous toxic that fumes will build up will have no way to go out, and the results can be deadly.
To recap, firstly, you should never haste or go too fast when it comes to how to weld auto body sheet metal. Also, clean the metals before even starting to avoid the build-up of oxide layers. The rest is up to what way you are doing your welding and what results you want to achieve, but it is also essential to take proper safety measures as well.