Tag Archives: mig welder

    • How to Fill and Shave Unused Holes in Your Project

      When building a custom, or resto-mod vehicle one of the most common modifications you can do is to "shave" or fill unused holes in the body of the vehicle. While I was waiting on metal to finish the Custom Running Board Build on Project Pile House, I decided to start shaving some of the unused holes in the bed of the truck. Since this truck was used as a farm truck most of its life, it's had countless brackets, hooks, and other do-dads added that left holes when I removed them. Even though the truck looks pretty rough in its current state, I have pipe dreams of this thing being a nice, solid truck someday, so shaving these unused holes is still progress!

      There are a few ways to fill unused holes in the body of your car or truck. The techniques really vary on the size of the holes. The key tip is to make sure you take the time to setup your welder for nice flat spot welds and leave time for the metal to cool between each weld.

      The easiest holes to fill are small holes about the diameter of a pen or smaller. For these types of holes I start by cleaning the area around the hole with an Angle Grinder and Flap Disc. Sheet metal on the body of cars and trucks is pretty thin (usually 18-22 gauge). So you won't have much forgiveness if you try to pile weld in the hole and you can end up with a bigger hole than you started with! For this reason I always like to use Copper Backers and Welders Helpers to back up and quickly fill the hole. MIG wire doesn't stick to the copper backer directing the weld to the edges of the hole and quickly filling small holes. Be sure to hit the trigger of the welder for a few seconds at a time. Properly adjusted MIG welders should make filling small holes only take a few seconds. A trick I use while the metal is still hot, is to take a Hammer and Dolly and flatten out the spot welds while they're still hot and soft. This will save you time and unneeded heat into the panel when you finish grind the panel with a flap disc.

      Shaving larger holes and openings in the body takes a little more time and care, but can be done with minimal tools. I again started by cleaning the area with a flap disc and angle grinder, then I took some metal from our Patch Panel Kit and traced the opening I was filling from behind.

      Once I had the basic shape, I roughly cut it out with Tin Snips. A grinder or power metal shears would work as well if desired(I've found for small pieces that tin snips work best). With the shape rough cut, I took the small piece to a Belt Sander or Grinder and carefully sanded the metal until it was just smaller than the opening I was filling (leave a small gap for the weld to bridge across).

      Once the patch panel is a good fit, I used a Magnetic Welding Jig to hold the metal in place for the first couple tack welds. Once the patch panel is lightly tacked, I removed the magnet and again use a copper backer or welders helper while spot welding around the hole. When welding these larger holes you need to make sure you jump around and weld in an "X" pattern allowing the panel to cool in between welds. Like the smaller holes, I like to hammer the welds with a hammer and dolly to flatten them out as much as possible.

      Once the hole has been filled and all of the gaps are closed, I took a flap disc and blended the weld into the surrounding metal, again stopping along the way to allow the metal to cool and avoid panel warpage.

      With some practice you can shave and fill holes on the body of your project and leave no trace of your work. Below you can see how the repair area is almost invisible and would only take a little more sanding and a small swipe of body filler to have the panel ready for primer and paint.

      Now that I have a few holes shaved on the bed of Pile House, I have officially caught the "smooth" bug and I'm already looking for other unneeded holes to fill and clean up the overall look of this project. Stay tuned for more updates as we keep working on turning this farm truck into a head turner!

      -Matt/EW

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    • 10 Tools That Make Auto Repair and Restoration Easier

      If you've ever gone into a professional restoration or repair shop you'd be amazed by the size of the toolboxes that they have. Some of them are as big, heavy, and expensive as a car! We've found that when you ask the pros which tools they use most often, they will rattle off 5-10 tools that are their favorites. Obviously it's a great help to have all of the expensive specialty tools for those odd jobs they encounter, but there's always a core group of products that they can't live without. We put together this list of tools that the pros commonly list off of as their favorites.

      GearWrench Impact Socket Set

      1. A Complete Ratchet and Socket Set- Regardless if you're doing autobody, maintenance, or full restorations, everyone can use a comprehensive ratchet and socket set. A good start is to get the tools that will allow you to complete the widest variety of jobs. We suggest a mid-length ratchet with an adjustable head like the GearWrench Flex Head 3/8 Ratchet and a comprehensive mixed set of standard and metric sockets. More and more cars are using metric hardware these days, and it is a good idea to have at least the common sizes on hand!

      Eastwood Hammer and Dolly Set

      2.Quality Hammer selection- It's inevitable that you'll be faced with the need to "persuade" something to move with a hammer on your car. Hammers are amazing tools and in the right hands can do anything from fix a dent to remove a stuck bolt in your suspension. We'd suggest investing in a quality hammer kit with both rubber and soft face hammers and traditional metal dead blow hammers (we affectionately call "BFH's"). If you plan to do body work, you can't use just any old hammer, make sure you pick up a Hammer and Dollies to assure dead straight metal forming.

      Eastwood Dual Action DA Palm Sander

      3. Dual Action Sander-Dual action or DA sanders are great to keep around, and a necessity if you plan to do any paint or body work. These are a time saver when removing paint or flattening out filler, and are extremely simple to use. We suggest a palm DA sander for anyone that plans to tackle any sort of body work.

      Eastwood MIG Welders

      4. MIG Welder- If you're working on anything mechanical there will come a time when you'll need metal stuck together. It doesn't matter if it's custom fabricated parts or just fixing rust, a good MIG welder is essential to your garage. The Eastwood MIG 175 is a 220V welder that can handle most anything a DIY enthusiast can throw at it, we even throw in the spool gun for aluminum welding!

      GearWrench Ratcheting Wrench Set

      5. Ratchet Wrenches- We love tools that save time, especially in a small package. Ratcheting wrenches give you the ability to quickly remove hardware that a ratchet can't get reach, but they still retain the ratcheting feature so you don't have to take the wrench off each quarter turn (we hate that!). Check out the selection of Ratcheting Wrenches we offer. There's a good chance we offer a set that will fit your needs.

      6. Screwdrivers- This seems to be a no-brainer, but everyone needs a good set of screwdrivers in their tool box, garage, kitchen junk drawer, shed, etc. You can never have enough screwdrivers. They seem to be one of the most universal tools that ALWAYS come in handy. If you want the best bang for your buck we suggest picking up either the Fairmount Drill and Driver Bit Kit or the Channellock Ratcheting Screwdriver Kit that will allow you to remove and tighten just about any screw, hex head, and torx style screws.

      Eastwood Locking Pliers

      7. Locking Pliers- We'd all love a perfect world where every part, nut, bolt, and screw comes off easily with the proper tool, but cruel reality comes to ruin your day when you find that rounded off nut or bolt on your project. While we wouldn't advocate using the locking pliers as your go-to item in your toolbox, they are a valuable universal tool that can make many tough jobs easier! We have used the Eastwood Locking Pliers to save our necks countless times!

      Eastwood Tin Snips

      8. Sharp Snips/Cutters- At some point a DIY guy is going to need to cut metal, wiring, or something on their vehicle. The Eastwood Aviation Snips can cut anything from 18 and 20 gauge sheet metal for fabrication to electrical wiring in a pinch. Some of the most experienced metal workers will name their tin snips as one of the tools they can't live with out. We'd have to agree!

      9. A strong Pry Bar- Like locking pliers, Pry Bars are one of those tools that are a necessity and need to be used with care. You will surely run up against something that needs more force than your prying hands can handle. That's where leverage and a quality pry bar comes into play. Use these to help remove stuck brake calipers, suspension parts, or even the belts on your tractor. It really is one of the most universal tools you can have in the toolbox.

      Allen Wrecnh Hex Keys

      10. Hex Key Wrenches- Hex socket cap bolts used to be hardware that was predominately found on European cars in the past, but as the years have passed most auto and motorcycle manufacturers have begun to use them. These days a complete set of Hex Key Wrenches are almost as important as a set of standard wrenches.

      If you stock your toolbox with these items you can tackle most any job when maintaining, restoring, or repairing your car, truck, motorcycle, ATV, or most anything else that has hardware. Be sure you check the Eastwood website for all of the must-have tools no matter how basic or unique, we probably have them!

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    • Rebuilding front Suspension with a custom twist Part 2

      In the last entry we showed you how to disassemble the front suspension on the S10 chassis that sits under Project Pile House. Once we had it all apart we began fitting the front air suspension. Air bags will allow the truck to drop all the way to the ground and lift to almost stock ride height. This will give us the looks AND function I want out of the truck.

      A warning for anyone starting an air ride build--it will NOT be a bolt-on job! It can be nearly "bolt" on with some of the expensive kits out there, but most won't get you much lower than a set of drop spindles and some lowering springs/drop blocks. To get the "slammed" or "laying frame/body" look that many want, you will need to cut, weld, and fabricate. But for me, that's the fun of building a custom car or truck!

      I started with a cheap eBay S10 "bolt-in" front air ride kit with the larger 2600 bags. They really use the term "bolt-in" loosely, as the lower mounting plate for the lower control arms were completely wrong and I binned the idea of using them pretty quickly! Regardless of 2500 or 2600 series front bags, you will need to cut the spring pocket to make room for the bag when deflated. If you don't cut the pocket the bag can rub the opening and put a hole in it quickly, not something you'd want to happen on the highway! I set the bag and upper mount (which mounts through the OE shock hole) into the truck to get an idea what needed to be cut. I then pulled out the Eastwood Versa Cut Plasma Cutter and made quick work of the frame notch.

      Once I found that the cut around the spring pocket was large enough to tuck the air bag inside, I moved on to fitting the bag to the lower control arm. This is where it was evident that the lower bag mount plate wasn't going to work and I decided to plate the control arm myself. I first outlined the bag so I had an idea of the minimum area I had to plate to support the bag. Next I cut out the "humps" in the control arm with the Versa Cut (mini truck guys call it "dehumping") and welded in a plate to make the top of the lower control arm more flat. A plate was then added to cover the top of the lower control arm and welded it in with the Eastwood MIG 175. Lastly I drilled a hole in the plate to mount the bag to the lower control arm. The final outcome is now a bolt-on job.

      With the hard fabrication work done, I moved on to removing the old tired steering components. These were just as bad as the suspension components! Pile House will never be a daily driver, but I plan to take it on long drives and it may even double as a tow vehicle once in a while. For this reason I want the suspension and steering components to stand up to a lot of abuse and function well with the lowered stance and added power it's getting. I decided to call up the folks at ProForged Severe Duty Chassis Parts and see what they had to offer. Zack and crew came back with just what I needed; severe duty replacement steering components, drilled and slotted rotors to help stop the truck better, and my favorite, extended travel ball joints. These ball joints are right up my alley, they were designed to eliminate ball joint binding when a GM chassis is lowered. Ball Joint binding can happen on vehicles that are lowered (even with small drops!) when they hit a bump and the suspension compresses (lowers) and the stock ball joints go past their optimum point of travel and bind. All of this GREATLY decreases the life of the parts and can cause them to fail prematurely. Best of all ProForged offers a Million-Mile Warranty on all of their parts!

      From here we test fit all of the parts and made sure the truck was sitting how I wanted when dropped. I did have to cut the height of the upper bag mounts to get the truck to sit flat on the ground in the front, but only a minor job compared to the all the other work that's been done thus far! Now that all of the major fabrication was done, we could move on to installing the ProForged parts and begin cleaning and detailing the front suspension. Stay tuned for the next entry where we detail and assemble it all.

      -Matt/EW

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    • Bit by Bit

      From time to time you may notice that we have an old Mustang that we use to test products on and also do photo shoots for ads with. We figured that there was no better way to test one of our new mig welders, than to do a common task many of you would be doing with your mig. This may look all too familiar to any vintage Mustang guy.. rear quarter panel and inner wheel arch replacement. Never a fun or quick job, but often times necessary, as they seem to always rot from the inside out. During this process, I decided to shoot some photos along the way, and document some of our products that made this job a bit easier.

      First task when doing this process was to expose any and all factory spot welds and brazes. We began by using a combination of different abrasive/sanding discs, including our 80 grit flap discs around the seams to quickly expose any weld points on the rear quarter.

      Once the spot welds were located, we grabbed the drill and a Spot Weld Drill Bit and went to town detaching all of those old spot welds. Once these were drilled out (this is possibly the least fun part of this job in my opinion), Mark made quick use of the Electric Metal Shears. After a few minutes with the shears, the panel was dangling from the last little bits of original rusty metal and a couple quick zips with the cut off wheel, and the cancerous panel was off. You can see a interesting thing Ford did from the factory in the last picture below. They seem to have run the body wiring harness in the rear quarter panel on top of the inner wheel arch. Because of the rust forming between the arch and the quarter, the wiring began to be effected by the corrosion of the metal it was laying on. This surely would have caused a major issue, had it shorted out!

      Once the old panel was off, we were able to assess the extent of the rust and rot. Luckily, only the inner wheel well and the inner trunk corner were the major areas of concern and we had planned ahead and had them ordered up ahead of time! First thing was to clean up and straighten any of the seams where the old quarter panel had been attached. Inevitably when removing old body panels like this, some of the attachment points may get a little tweaked. Below you can see Mark is fixing this by using the Hammer and Dolly set. After some more cutting of the old inner wheel arch and the inner trunk corner, we were ready to begin cutting and mocking up the new replacement panels. Using a piece of painters tape, we were able to mask off a nice straight line on the new panel as well as the body of the car so we could cut the replacement panel at just the right spot. Again using the shears, Mark cut the new panel to match. After some minor tweaking, we were ready to call it a day and begin installation the next day.

      After a good nights rest (for some of us), everyone jumped right back into it. First thing to do was get the inner wheel arch welded in place. Regardless of how rusty the area was, Mark was able to dial in the 175 welder and get a nice weld on the arch. Since the area around the new inner arch was so "scale-y", we decided to brush on liberal amounts of Rust Converter. You can see in the one picture below a perfect example of converted surface rust. The Rust Converter turns almost a purple-like color once it has neutralized and converted the rust. Neat stuff to watch on such a large surface like this! After lining up the replacement quarter we used an item that is life-saver if doing a large panel like this by yourself or with limited help. These "Blind Grip Panel Holders" or Clecos go through the spot weld holes we drilled out and match up with the spot weld holes in the new panel. this perfectly aligns the panel and holds it to be spot welded around other portions of the panel. These were an eye opener to me, no more propping blocks of wood or using jacks and large clamps to hold a large piece in place when you can just install these panel holders quickly and the panel is aligned! These are definately on my list of new "must-have" tools. Finally Mark jumped around tack welding the panel to the car, being sure to go from end to end to avoid heating the panel up too much. Even though this is a test vehicle, we still have pipe dreams of some day fully restoring and painting the "Ol' Girl", and it would be a headache to try and smooth out warpage in that large of a body panel. Lastly we treated and spot primed the areas we welded and the car is now ready for our next job on it. Bit by bit this old car may just see the road again!

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    • If it isn't broken, try making it better anyway!

      Here is another sneak peek into what we have been testing, designing and developing in our R&D department. Lately the shop has been buzzing, and I was able to snap off a few pictures and hold the guys down for a few minutes to get the scoop on what they were up to!

      Recently our first batch of new Eastwood Welders have hit our warehouse and we have been working on getting these out to all of our customers that had pre-ordered. Because of this, we decided we'd break open a welder and do some more "real world" testing. We decided to build something that one of our customers may work on themselves. Below is a few shots of one of our R&D guys Mark welding up a roll cage from local roll cage provider S&W race cars. This thing went together nicely and was a treat to weld! Mark laid out some quick beads and the pile of tubes started looking like "something" pretty quick! The production welders performed flawlessly, just as all of our test units had done. We are excited to hear some reviews on these new welders and check out some of your handy-work with one of these!

      With it getting to be show season, a big thing people are doing is polishing all the shiny bits on their ride. We have some additional/new buffing pads coming available in our catalog shortly. These are just in time for "polishing season"! Below you can see the assortment that Joe is trying out on a painted test panel. You can see how well the test piece shines with just the small portion he had done. Keep an eye out for these real soon! I know I'm excited to try them out on the lips of my new (to me) multi-piece race wheels I am refinishing!

      Here at Eastwood many of us are as much enthusiasts as our customers. Because of that we are always looking to hone our skills and learn as much as possible about any product we currently sell. Today we had a master auto body technician come in and do a tutorial on some important techniques when using our spot welder. I found this very informative, especially when it came to the correct time to use each of the accessories for the spot welder. We hope in return we can pass some of this knowledge to our customers when you may have any questions or concerns. We also filmed this stud welding class and we are planning to edit this into a comprehensive video that we will be hosting on YouTube and also on our site. We hope that you can benefit from these tips as much as we did!

      As always, thanks for reading and let us know if there is anything you'd like to read about or any topics you'd like more information about!

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