spot welders
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Thread: spot welders

  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger! andrewj's Avatar
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    Default spot welders

    I'm racing to get the Dyane welded up in time for the raid, and keep finding more patching is required.

    I have repaired the front floor pan and front bulk head using a mig to plug weld. While this gives very strong welds, it is very slow and messy due to all the drilling and grinding involved. I am also finding it impossible to avoid some distortion.

    I am now moving on the rear of the car, and will be working with more visable and complicated panels. So am thinking it is time to bite the bullet and buy a spot welder.

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    What is the experience with these? Do I go with a cheapy ebay one, or is it worth investing in a professional unit from a main stream brand?

    Cheers,

    Andrew
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails spot welders-floorpan.png  

    Driving - '90 XM, '85 CX IE Auto, 406 Coupe, 405 srdt wagon, '78 dyane, Resting (or Rusting): '73 Birotor '82 CX Presitige, '81 CX Break IE, GS X2, GS1015 Wagon, GS 1300 5sp Wagon, '76 GS 1220 Wagon, '75 GS Wagon, '58 2CV, '58 Vauxhall Velox

  2. #2
    COL
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    I have no experience with a spot welder, but I do have with a MIG & TIG and my advice is buy the best you can afford, so if the budget will allow go for a WIA or similar.
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    Regards Col

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    The smaller portable spot welders have a small reach, say 300mm? and lack height. Is that long enough to get around things? They're also very heavy and better left on the bench.
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    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    I would suggest you first make your own spot welder with a microwave transformer, plenty of videos on youtube. That'll tell you what you really want. My guess is Col is right. Keep in mind a lot of cheap stuff is just that. Which means it can only barely do what it's meant to, and then not for a very long time. At least that is my experience with tools, and I have spent shitloads of money on cheap crap only to end up buying the proper stuff I should have bought in the first place much later.
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    Reach and convenience are two limiting factors, the bonus is of course that there is less distortion heat with the spot weld, than doing what I do with oxy acetylene stitch welding techniques and quenching quickly to avoid some heat spread distortion. If your spot welder will reach to all locations and has the welding grunt to do the spot weld quickly an unskilled welder will find the job easy.

    Ken
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  6. #6
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    The biggest problem with plug welding with a MIG welder is I find it very easy to weld the hole shut, but not to have actually welded the two layers together. How are you going to get a spot welder in there? To reach around the sill and across the the middle of the floor is going to requrie something pretty exotic

    Its probably best to weld it along the edges. It won't look original ... and will be ugly, but at least it is structurally sound
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron View Post
    The biggest problem with plug welding with a MIG welder is I find it very easy to weld the hole shut, but not to have actually welded the two layers together. How are you going to get a spot welder in there? To reach around the sill and across the the middle of the floor is going to requrie something pretty exotic

    Its probably best to weld it along the edges. It won't look original ... and will be ugly, but at least it is structurally sound
    Yep, that is exactly the problem I was facing. Either a neat little blob that does nothing, a big blob with the top sheet eaten away around the edge, or a blob pushing the sheet up off the bottom sheet instead of joining.

    What I ended up doing was using 7mm holes, tacking in 2-3 spots around the hole, punching the sheets together between the tacks, turning up the volts then pulling the weld puddle out from the bottom sheet onto the top sheet with spiral motion. So now the welds are strong, but big, ugly and incredibly slow.

    Next I am moving on to work on the rear guards and C pillar which will be more visible and a lot harder to clamp get at with a grinder.
    In the absence of any enthusiasm for the cheapo Ebay offerings, I will buy a “proper” spot welder - I most definitely fit Ken’s criteria of an “un-skilled welder”! There is a very rusty ripple bonnet in the shed also, so it will get some use over the years.

    Driving - '90 XM, '85 CX IE Auto, 406 Coupe, 405 srdt wagon, '78 dyane, Resting (or Rusting): '73 Birotor '82 CX Presitige, '81 CX Break IE, GS X2, GS1015 Wagon, GS 1300 5sp Wagon, '76 GS 1220 Wagon, '75 GS Wagon, '58 2CV, '58 Vauxhall Velox

  8. #8
    COL
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    Before you splash out your hard earned have a look at few of these videos on You tube:

    https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...ing+with+a+mig
    Regards Col

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    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    I think you need one of these:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgG-4o3qQVU
    COL likes this.
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  10. #10
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by COL View Post
    Before you splash out your hard earned have a look at few of these videos on You tube:

    https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...ing+with+a+mig
    bloody hell... I watched one of them .... Talk about anal The plug weld he did was so good, there is no way I'd be taking to it with a die grinder to try and make it look like a spot weld. Everything is easier when you are welding two brand new shiny pieces of metal as an example. It would be very difficult if it was old painted/rusty metal to get clean enough.

    seeya,
    Shane L.
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  11. #11
    COL
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron View Post
    bloody hell... I watched one of them .... Talk about anal The plug weld he did was so good, there is no way I'd be taking to it with a die grinder to try and make it look like a spot weld. Everything is easier when you are welding two brand new shiny pieces of metal as an example. It would be very difficult if it was old painted/rusty metal to get clean enough.

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    I wouldn't be going to that extreme either, but it shows what you can do if you want to.

    One thing I learnt from watching those YouTube videos was that you can get spot welding shrouds for the MIG & TIG welders, so I may look round for those for my own MIG & TIG. These shrouds seem to give a real nice weld.

    As far as cleaning up old steel, a wire wheel in a drill or grinder does a pretty good job.
    Regards Col

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  12. #12
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    Look those pretty plug weld closely once they are ground back. Large sections of the drill hole are viable in the weld = gap in the weld.

    The raid cars get absolutely hammered on doing thousands of km on corrugated dirt roads so I think I need to prioritize strength over beauty for this project

    Thanks for the links Col - some really useful stuff
    COL likes this.

    Driving - '90 XM, '85 CX IE Auto, 406 Coupe, 405 srdt wagon, '78 dyane, Resting (or Rusting): '73 Birotor '82 CX Presitige, '81 CX Break IE, GS X2, GS1015 Wagon, GS 1300 5sp Wagon, '76 GS 1220 Wagon, '75 GS Wagon, '58 2CV, '58 Vauxhall Velox

  13. #13
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    The more powerful professional welders designed for heavier work and/or current materials will be both expensive and 3-phase units and probably liquid cooled. However, you can use a 240V single phase spot welder with success, but you have to respect the limited duty cycle, rapid heating up of the unit and arms (burn risk!) and the small spot size. Current required rises rapidly as you increase the spot diameter. Thin 2cv panels in mild steel shouldn't be a problem but you will find cheap units won't have the reach and clamping power unless you can buy or make your own bespoke electrodes. It's essential that you have test strips of the material you are welding and destructively test your welds to see if the weld tears out with one strip and doesn't simply let go at the strip interface. Really cheap units may not have a timer, which you really do want as you need to calculate and set the welding time rather than just taking a guess.
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  14. #14
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    From watching on the internet (mainly This Old Tony's channel) I would have said TIG is the ticket for this kind of work. But as Tony shows, you need to practice a little bit until you get it right. Have a peek, he goes into a lot of welding stuff, including looking at cheap crappy welders. The setup he ended up with after a few years is not cheap, but it looks very capable (and he can weld).

    In a Wheeler dealers episode some time ago, Ed China uses a spot welder, but I can't remember the episode, just that it was a big mother ****er and not cheap either.
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  15. #15
    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    ACHTUNG ALLES LOOKENPEEPERS

    Das computermachine is nicht fur gefingerpoken und mittengrabben. Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitssparken. Ist nicht fur gewerken bei das dummkopfen. Das rubbernecken sightseeren keepen hands in das pockets-relaxen und watch das blinkenlights.

  16. #16
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    Just ordered a techna 7900. 11kg, and should be more than adequate for welding 2 or 3 0.6mm sheets on a 2cv. Just over $1000. Has a timer that apparently helps...

    I had a good look at the welding I want to do, and given the design of the 2cv, about 90% of it can be done with short arms. So I've only ordered short arms for now, and will see how it goes.

    Will update once I've had a play with it
    COL likes this.

    Driving - '90 XM, '85 CX IE Auto, 406 Coupe, 405 srdt wagon, '78 dyane, Resting (or Rusting): '73 Birotor '82 CX Presitige, '81 CX Break IE, GS X2, GS1015 Wagon, GS 1300 5sp Wagon, '76 GS 1220 Wagon, '75 GS Wagon, '58 2CV, '58 Vauxhall Velox

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