Because Beautiful Welding Never Gets Old.

In the past, we have touched upon my borderline insane slight obsession with welding once or twice. I just can’t seem to get over the inherent beauty of taking two solid metals, liquifying them with massive amounts of electricity, and watching them flow into each other while hiding behind copious amounts of safety equipment. It’s unbelievably gratifying. The ultra violet light shines brilliantly from the tip of the torch as if it were full of magic, which it is. You are more or less in charge of a mini version of the sun, and you can do whatever you want with it. Liquify a little mild steel here, then maybe some aluminum over there, and if you feel wild, you challenge yourself on some copper.  Then, when that perfect weld happens, you feel as if you just invented the wheel.  High 5′s are handed out by the dozen, and much rejoicing takes place.  Unfortunately, to make consistently beautiful welds takes crazy amounts of skill.  The kind of rare skill that many people do not have, including myself.  The good news is that some of those rare people that are that good at welding take pictures of their work for people like us to sit back and dream about.  “Califonia Jay” from VWVortex is one of those people. » Continue reading more of this post…

See! Rust isnt so bad after all.

Most car enthusiasts hate rust with a passion, because once it starts it never seems to go away.  However, growing up in Massachusetts, you quickly realize that cars without rust don’t exist in our area, and rust is just a part of life.  Naturally, I want to do everything in my power to have a rust free car, and last summer, I found some rust hiding in the deepest darkest regions of my 1964 Chevy Impala.  Describing where this metal came from is somewhat tough, but I’ll do my best.  Ok, imagine a 1964 impala (sweet right?), now open the gas filler door.  You see the filler pipe with the gas cap on the top of it.  Surrounding that pipe is a piece of metal that is welded to the inside of the outer wheel house.  This is THAT piece!  Naturally water collects in there and rots out the whole area.  I wasn’t having that so I tore it all out and began the rebuild.

First I removed it from the car and evaluated the situation at hand.  The outer perimeter was completely rotted out and needing replacing.

Not pretty from any angle

Edges rotted out

I then cut all the edges off of it and began making replacements from flat sheetmetal.  You can see where I welded the new pieces in on the back side in the next picture.  With some of the compound curves, there is some metal stretching and shrinking involved.  This can be done with hammers and dollies if you are really good, or you can buy yourself a metal stretcher & shrinker to make the job 1 million times easier.  In any case, new pieces were then welded in and ground down to make them pretty again.

Back side before the welds are ground down

Looking complete again.

Front side after some grinding

Then I decided that the easiest way to clean it up completely was to blast it with some extra fine sand.  So blast I did.

Blasted

Tada!

With a little bit more massaging after this picture, it was completed, and then spot welded back into its happy home.  See, rust isn’t so bad after all!

TIG welding is an art, but Not everybody is an artist.

Last year I finally bought myself a TIG welder so that I could weld aluminum, stainless steel, roll cages, and overall, step up my welding game.  I figured since I had been MIG welding for 10+ years, TIG would be a piece of cake, but boy was I wrong.  TIG welding is an absolute art, but not everybody is an artist.  It takes a boat load of practice and dexterity to be good at it, which is why professionals make the big bucks.  As I mentioned in this blog that I wrote a few weeks ago, MIG welding can be done with 1 hand (blind folded, tango dancing, while on fire).  TIG on the other hand requires holding filler rod with the left hand, a torch in the right hand (at the correct angle), and it has a foot pedal to control the heat.  Once you get all three limbs to work in unison, metal begins to melt, and the learning curve really begins.

Faster than I could say “this is hard to do!“, I had burned through 2 tanks of argon, countless filler rods, several pieces of tungsten, and a few layers of skin.  As I quickly learned, aluminum retains heat really well, and doesn’t look hot even when it is.  Note to readers: WEAR GLOVES when TIG’n!

Here are a few “finished” pieces from my last practice session. Like I said, TIG welding is an art, and not everybody is an artist, yet.