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Tag Archives: Welding

  • Building a Simple Hot Rod Chassis From Scratch

    I decided to start building the chassis for a 1930 Model A Coupe project I've been gathering parts for. The vision for this project was to build a traditional hot rod using a strong chassis that gives the car a nice stance all while utilizing some old and original parts to give the build the "soul" of a car built back in the late 1940's-early 1950's. This means other than raw material used and the replacement maintenance type parts, we'll be building it using old "stuff".
  • How to Build Simple Engine Mounts for a Hot Rod

    To me building a hot rod or custom car is all about building with what you've got, using some ingenuity, and making things from scratch. Sure you can point and click with your mouse and buy a "hot rod in a box" from online vendors, but I think that those cars lose the soul that makes a hot rod so dang cool. Recently I built a chassis for a 1930 Ford Model A coupe I'm putting together and I needed to make some simple motor mounts to attach the Flathead to the chassis. I know you can buy some, but where's the fun in that?! I decided to show a simple way to make some mounts from scratch.
  • How to Select a MIG Welder

    So you are ready to get serious about your metal work, and you want to add a wire feed welder to your shop’s arsenal. Good for you, a welder is one of the most useful pieces of shop equipment. Below, we take a look at the features and specifications you need to think about before deciding which one is right for you.

    Flux Core VS MIG

    Wire feed welders actually consist of 2 different welding types: Metal Inert Gas (MIG) and Flux Core. Flux core uses wire with a hollow core that releases a shielding gas as it melts. MIG uses a solid core wire and a tank of inert gas which shields the weld from contamination. Nearly every MIG machine can do flux core welding, but not every wire feed welder set up for flux core can be converted.

    Flux 90

     

    Eastwood Flux Core 90

    Besides the lower cost, flux core welding does have other advantages. The flux does a better job of shielding in windy or dirty environments, so it’s great for field work. No gas and no tank – That means one less consumable to buy, and a smaller lighter unit to carry around if you take it to the job site or race track. Plus, flux core actually burns hotter, so it is actually better for welding thicker material.

    There are several disadvantages of getting the lower cost, flux core only machine. First, flux core produces sloppy looking welds with lots of splatter, even in the hands of a pro. Second, because it burns hotter it is hard to weld thinner sheet metal without a lot of burn through.

    Wire feed chart

    So there's lots you can accomplish with just flux core wire, but, except for the lower initial purchase price, there is no reason to get just a flux core wire feed welder, when every MIG machine can do both. above you will see the suggested settings for the Eastwood MIG 135.  The bottom two lines of the top chart show the suggested settings if using Flux core wire.

    Choosing a MIG Welder

    MIG 175

    MIG welding (Metal Inert Gas) takes the basic method of wire fed flux core welding, and uses a solid wire instead, plus a tank of gas which provides the shielding. Many basic flux core welding set ups can be converted to do MIG welding with just a few parts. Typically, you need to add a gas solenoid, a regulator, and a tank of shielding gas, though some already come equipped with the solenoid.

    MIG works just like flux core: you pull the trigger, wire is fed, and gas comes out the tip to shield the weld. MIG welding produces cleaner, neater, more consistent welds, especially at lower heats on thinner metal. MIG is also the preferred way to weld aluminum, though you will need a special aluminum spool gun, and a tank of argon.

    110v VS 220v

    This choice may be dictated strictly by where you are planning on using it; if your shop isn’t wired for 220v, or you plan on using it on the go, 110v is the choice for you. But there are some welding units out there that run on either voltage, with just an adapter plug. This is a great compromise if you are planning on rewiring your shop in the future, or already have 220v in the shop, but want to be able to weld anywhere and everywhere.

    The Eastwood MIG 135 is our entry level MIG welder.  It is perfect for the home user that wants a shielded welder but only has 110V power source.  This welder is rated to 3/16" which is perfect for auto body and basic structural repair.

    Moving on to the next level is the Eastwood MIG 175.  This is a 220V only unit which means it will be able to weld thicker metal up to 5/16" steel.  You may think that there is not much difference between the two but the big difference is the duty cycle.  With the MIG 175 you will be able to weld on a higher setting for longer periods of time.

    Lastly we offer the Eastwood MIG 250, this is a dual voltage unit and is internally controlled.  This means that you don't need to change any settings when going from 110V to 220V, just simply plug it into the desired power source and the welder will adjust accordingly.  On 220V this welder is rated to 1/2" steel, making it great for heavy structural welding.

    But what are the advantages of the higher voltage? Obviously a higher voltage unit is more powerful than a lower voltage one; they typically can put out more heat and weld thicker materials. This is also important for welding aluminum, which requires more amperage compared to welding steel of the same thickness. If working with a lower amperage within the range of most 110v units, like 90 amps for instance, a 220v unit is going to have a much higher duty cycle. So, you’ll be able to get more done faster, with less down time.

    Duty Cycle

    Screenshot 2015-11-11 16.17.57

    The duty cycle for a welder is usually expressed as a percentage at a given amperage, 20% at 90 amps for instance. That is a typical rating for a home use 110v MIG welder, it means with the power set to 90 amps, you should only be welding continuously for 2 out of every 10 minutes to avoid overloading the welder. You could see how that would be an issue if you were building a bridge, or a tube famed chassis. A 220v machine is often rated at 30% at 135 amps, and something like 60% at a lower 90 amp setting. That means you can weld much longer without overheating the machine and having to take a rest.

    Transformer VS Inverter

    Years ago all MIG welders were transformer welders. They all used windings of wire to transform the 60hz AC voltage coming out of the wall into much higher voltage at the end of the welding torch, but still at 60hz. In the 21st century, there are now welders that use solid state inverters to step up the wave frequency of the electricity to much more than 60 cycles per second. Because of this, they can produce higher voltages with much smaller transformers. Since transformers are just windings of copper wire, the smaller they can be, the more portable the welding unit can be. The inverter technology also allows machines like the Eastwood 200 Amp MIG/Stick to exist because they can switch internally to the different electrical requirements of flux core, MIG welding and stick welding, and produce different shaped waves if need be.

    Inverter based units also need much less energy to run. If you are planning on running your welder off of a generator the inverter is the way to go. Transformer-based units require a much larger generator in order to work. The extra money you spend to move up to the inverter unit is money you will save by buying a smaller generator. The lower current draw of an inverter unit typically means you can run it on an extension cord for easier use around the shop. Your electric bill will be lower too.

    Adjustability

    Photo Nov 11, 4 28 28 PM

    Some machines these days can practically set themselves up, while on the low end some just have “high” or “low” heat settings. Like all things, if you can’t adjust it to suit you, you are going to have to adjust to suit it. MIG machines usually have 2 important settings: wire feed speed and power. Most times the more power you use the faster you want the wire to be fed, but not always. The more basic machines usually have fewer settings, and typically are “stepped” or “notched” meaning you can’t choose a setting between 1 and 2. The better machines are infinitely adjustable; you can choose any setting between anywhere on the dial, not just the numbers 1-10. If you can’t find a setting that works with the speed you want to weld on the material you are working with, then you have the change your speed to suit the output you can get. This is where the fine adjustments can come in handy.

    Parts and Serviceability

    A welder ought to be a lasting investment, but buy a unit from a low cost generic brand that hasn’t been around for long, and you may find parts and consumables impossible to find in a few years. At Eastwood we have been here since the late 1970s and we plan on being here a long time, standing behind our products. Not only do we have quality welding units at an attractive price, but we also carry all the parts and supplies you will ever need for them, except for the gas, but if it was possible we would sell that as well. We sell replacement tips, wire, torches and more for our MIG welders. We also have technical support for you by phone and email.

    We are committed to providing professional quality welding machines at a price the home hobbyist can enjoy. You can buy more powerful welders from other brands, and you can buy less expensive welders, but we don’t think you will find a better welder for less.

  • DIY Removable Exhaust Hangers

    Adding a new exhaust system to your ride but don't want to use the cheap parts store hangers and clamps?

    Lets face it we all know how horrible they are,  aside from just looking tacky, they almost never last.  The U-bolt clamps are just as bad, you better hope you have them exactly where you want them because chances are, once you tighten them down they are sure to be rusted shut in a few weeks.

    DSC05037

    Here is a way to make your own custom exhaust hanger using one of those cheapo parts store hangers.  Its simple, cheap, and even allows the whole system to be easily removed.

     

    What You'll Need:

    - Universal Exhaust Hanger with an open, pivoting end. (It must be this style, you'll see why later)

    P1030219

    - 1.25 " X 1.25" piece of 1/8" steel

    - 5/16" or 3/8" Thread bolt about 1" long, lock washer, and hex nut.

    - High Temp Paint (to prevent rust)

    p39628

     

     Process:

    P1030224

    First you will need to cut the end of the exhaust hanger, with a Cut off Wheel, along the line drawn. This piece can be thrown out.

     

    P1030225

    After the end is cut off you will be left with a tab sticking straight down.

     

    P1030233

    Clamp the square tab to the hanger with enough room to drill a hole big enough for the bolt you are using, in my case it was a 3/8" hole.  Mark the center of where you want the hole to be and use a Center Punch to indent the metal so the drill bit doesn't wander.

     

    P1030235

    With the two pieces clamped, use a Step Bit to drill a through both pieces so the hole will remain in line.  Pass the bolt through and tighten by hand so the tab remains square. Step bits make easy work of drilling large diameter holes, an essential tool when doing any type of metal fabrication.

     

    P1030244

    Using jack stands or wire position your muffler or exhaust pipe in the location you want it to sit under the car.  It is a good idea to determine where you want to mount the hanger to the body or frame of the car first, to insure the hanger is long enough to reach the pipe. (As an example I am using a piece of exhaust tube on a work bench and the hanger suspended from a piece of metal in a vice)

     

    P1030246

    With the hanger mounted under the car, align your exhaust pipe exactly where you want it to hang.

     

    P1030250

    Tack weld the tab to the exhaust pipe or muffler.  Remove the supports holding up the exhaust and check the positioning.

     

    P1030255

    If is where you want it, finish the weld along the tab. Allow the metal to cool off before unbolting the hanger.

     

    P1030258

    Once it is cool to the touch, remove the bolt.  Creating this custom exhaust hanger will cost about the same as using those tacky U-Bolts, and it makes exhaust removal a breeze.  All that is left to do is a quick coat of High Temp Exhaust Paint and you'll have a simple rust free solution to mounting your exhaust system.

     

    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW

  • If You're Welding an Auto Darkening Helmet is NEEDED!

    The key to good welding is being able to see the metal.  Ditch those old standard lens helmets and get yourself an Auto-Darkening Helmet. You'll see light!, but not too much.  I remember when I learned to weld all I had was an old ARC welding helmet which was like trying to see through a black piece of paper.   The only time I was able to see what I was doing was after the arc was started but at that point it was too late if the weld was not in the right place.

    old helmet

    Auto-Darkening helmets are not new technology but many people are unaware of the benefits of using one.  Almost all welders on the market today come with a small fixed lens mask but thats only to get you started in case you don't already have an auto-darkening helmet.

    These masks are great because they only go dark when you are welding, as soon as the arc stops the lens isn't any darker than a pair of sunglasses.  Many of you know the struggle of having to constantly flip your mask up after every weld just to make sure its right.  Now you wont have to even touch the mask keeping your hands free to continue working.  An Auto-Darkening helmet also gives you the ability to adjust the level of lens shade.  This feature comes in handy if you do multiple types of welding since each requires a different level of shade to protect your eyes.

     

    comparison

     

    Would you believe that both of these pictures were taken under the same conditions.  On the left is a view through a standard fixed lens helmet.  All you can see is the faint outlines of the LED Work Light.  Imagine trying to see where to weld once your mask is on.  The view through an Auto-Darkening Helmet (right) is clear and bright, you can even read the side of the Eastwood MIG 250 on the other side of the bench.  Once your helmet is down rarely will you need to take it off in order to make small adjustments or to change position.

     

    P1020520

    You wont even need to take it off to change the settings on your welder.  Making current and wire speed adjustments just became so much easier and far less time consuming.  If you've ever used and Auto-Darkening Helmet its near impossible to weld again without one.

    Eastwood offers three different Auto Darkening Helmets that will bring your welding to a whole new level.  For a beginner welder these are a must have, you will find yourself making perfect welds in no time.  Click the pictures below to find out more info on each of Eastwood's Helmets

    Auto-Darkening Helmet

    auto dark

     

    Large View Auto-Darkening Helmet

    large auto dark

     

    Extra Large View Auto-Darkening Helmet

    extra large auto dark

     

     

    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW

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