Fun with FIRE or Welding 101

I took a welding class back during the Carter Administration and got a C as I recall.  Back in those days we had stick and gas welding.  They talked to us about MIG welding but as I recall it was a new technology and Wake Tech didn’t have one of those expensive new welders.

Fast forward to 2007 and I bought a MIG welder on sale at Northern Tool for about $300, I also bought a fixed (non auto darkening) helmit.

My first attempt to use the thing was a miserable failure, partly because I didn’t know what I was doing but also because I couldn’t SEE.

As the Champ project progressed I knew I had to get that figured out, and this weekend Northern Tool had a better helmet selling for $53.

Today I cleaned up a part of the old, ruined hood and tried running some beads, with some success (along with burning some holes in the metal).  It’s amazing what a difference it makes if you can see what you are doing!

Welding Practice

Welding Practice

After playing with the welder for a while I wanted to try actually welding something.  One of the things I need to deal with on this project is the missing hood mounts.  A previous owner cut them off and when Ray and I put the truck back on the rod we just tacked the hinge in place, (I think the plan was to go back later and do something better but it never happened).

Cut off

This is the left hood hinge and as you can see the support it’s supposed to attach to had been cut off.  This tack weld broke when the hood blew open.

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Here is the same place with the new hinge support welded in place.  The welds aren’t all that pretty but they are strong.

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And here is the right side.

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After grinding the remains of the tack welds off the hinges the assembly was test fit and it looks like my repair is going to work just fine.  After drilling the mounting holes for the hinges I may weld another narrower piece of steel between the back of the support and the cowl for extra strength.  Once that is done I can blast the cowl and firewall and then paint them.  I’m planning on using Dupli-Color Paint Shop Red for the truck but am seriously considering using bed liner in the engine compartment except for the cowl.

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My Northern Tool welder and new self darkening helmet.

Now that I’ve actually done some successful welding I’m feeling a lot more confident about tackling some more serious welding projects.  Next weekend I’ll be working on the cab mount and the floor.

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