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Old 10-15-2014, 07:23 PM   #1
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Welding?

At the moment I'm still waiting on getting my bus. I'm thinking in different directions, thinking of rivetting patches over the windows I don't need. I'm also considering welding patches. I know Harbor Freight has a $80 welding gizmo. Only problem - I have no idea how to weld.

There's this welder http://www.harborfreight.com/70-amp-ac- ... 68888.html 70amp 120v.

I don't know how well that would weld 20ga sheet steel over a bus window aperture.

This is largely why I'm thinking of rivetting because rivetting is something much more familiar to me.

I *think* this welder just causes the welding rod to heat and melt where it contacts with the steel. I'm assuming that one has to swipe the thing at a constant rate and that I'd likely go through several welding "sticks" per window?

Maybe I'd better just stick to riveting or even torx screws?
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Old 10-15-2014, 08:12 PM   #2
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Re: Welding?

it def. sounds like riveting is the best option for you, that welder TO ME is a pos, i would weld with 2 batteries and a spool gun way before that, heck a couple batteries and an arc welding rod would be better

for your window delete, rivets will give you 100% better and happier results
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Old 10-15-2014, 08:15 PM   #3
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Re: Welding?

Get an air rivet gun and go for it!!
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Old 10-15-2014, 08:27 PM   #4
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Re: Welding?

Stick welding thin sheet metal is an art best left to seasoned welders with hundreds of hours of welding experience. Such a welder would not, except in the most extreme of circumstances, give a second glance at that little buzz box HF sells.

Its not as if welding is all that hard to learn. Shop for a small (125 volt 125 amp or so) MIG welder, watch several vids on utube and practice. Choose a welder that uses an inert gas like carbon dioxide as a shielding gas rather than one that uses flux coated wire. I'm sure Tango will chime in here--listen to him. He knows what he is talking about. Hope this helps.
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:02 PM   #5
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Re: Welding?

I'm with Basil on this one. Welding is a great skill to have. But even a decent cheap welder found on CL will set you back $500 or so. Rivets will be fine-and good forearm exercize.
A smarter man than me once put it to me this way:
You ever see an airplane WELDED together?
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:14 PM   #6
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Re: Welding?

Thanks. Pretty much convinced me to follow the route I had planned. At least it's cheaper to rivet than to weld and the tools are more versatile. Not to mention - safer.

I'm leaning very much toward rubber-based impact adhesive to glue the plates down and then drill and rivet. I toyed with the idea of self-tapping torx style screws but I'm not sure with steel this thin whether they'd be a good bet other than for a couple to hold the sheet im place while I drill and rivet.
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:12 AM   #7
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Re: Welding?

I've been a "welder" for 19 yrs and I wouldn't even attempt to use that "buzz box" on sheet metal if there was any other way. I use a flux core 100 amp hobart wire feed for all of my autobody work. Works great!

If you were making angle iron frames to mount your water tanks then that buzz box would work fine with the appropriate amount of experience to ensure good penetration and strong welds.

For window fillers and anything that will flex with the body rivets are your best bet. The flex in the bus will weaken and eventually crack the metal on one side of the weld or the other. Welds do not allow for flex, and these busses flex like a slinky! Save the welder for things that will be attached to the frame as there is far less flex there.
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:09 PM   #8
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Re: Welding?

Riveting always seems simpler than welding though time consuming and boring. I'm sure I'll have a bionic wrist after doing 20 or so windows lol.

Thanks to everybody that has contributed. I'd not considered the flexing issue before.

Big bonus - riveting needs cheaper, simpler equipment and can ALL be done by hand. Even a hand drill if necessary.
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Old 10-17-2014, 05:49 AM   #9
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Re: Welding?

Just pick up a decent pneumatic riveter and a small compressor. Your wrists and forearms with thank you! Not to mention it's faster!

Ya rivest will allow a small amount of flex where welding does not allow any. In some instances (like a bus) a little flex is just what's needed for longevity.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:48 PM   #10
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Re: Welding?

Hah... I just had a look at the photos of the bus and I can see that riveting is going to be harder than I thought. What would be better (though more work) would be to temporarily remove the windows, affix metal sheeting over the outside and the reattach the window frames to the bus via the torx screws. I'm not sure what metal the window frames are made of. I'm trying to work out what to do when the bus that I've said I wanted is available for me.

As I said elsewhere, the guy is supposed to be fixing the oil leak and might be giving it part-worn tires. There are other busses available. It's not as though $4,000 busses are in short supply.

I might end up getting another but I'm keen on the Thomas body and the International chassis - particularly with the rebuildable engines.
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Old 10-17-2014, 05:10 PM   #11
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Re: Welding?

I have a Lincoln Weld-Pack, flux core. I think it was almost $300, great little welder.
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Old 10-26-2014, 05:19 PM   #12
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Re: Welding?

I started out stick welding in junior high so thats all I knew for many years. Fast fwd to age 40 or so I bought my first used mig welder and have built a crap load of items. Needed one bigger so I bought a 250x miller for really big metal…. for such things as BBQ trailer smokers etc.

If you plan on doing a lot of sheet metal welding I would get in to a smaller one like a 185 or something along those lines. My 175 is an older model but I have build almost everything you can think of. I just needed something with a bigger duty cycle
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:49 PM   #13
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A couple thoughts about welding, first make sure the metal your welding to isn't galvanized as that produces pretty toxic fumes when welded. Also, I don't know what your work area is set up like but most welders run on 220v & don't have very long cords. This may or may not be an issue. Considering your lack of welding experience I would go with rivets. But I can't even begin to tell you how fun welding is. If you have a technical school that has welding courses & it interests you, then take a class or two. I've only been welding for about 5 years & have scored some great deals on eBay. Now I look for any excuse to cut & melt steel
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Old 02-01-2015, 01:36 AM   #14
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I've welded galvanized metals. Ventilation and breathing protection are a good idea. But it can be done. My bus has some factory welds on galvanized areas.
Grinding, cutting, or welding that stuff is nasty and I do hate it. I used to plasma cut huge sheets of galv-anneal. I would wear a respirator. The "old timers" laughed and jeered. But now one has cancer.
Always weld safely!
I'm really not a great welder. Good enough but I always tried to find a machine to run. Like that plasma table or the brake.
I think rivets are definitely the way to go for this job the op is doing. I'm riveting mine the same way.
Try the $70 harbor freight riveting tool. I bought one. Still have to try it out.
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Old 02-01-2015, 08:12 AM   #15
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Have you considered taking out the window and replacing it with a pre made panel? That would, I think be faster and easier. A number of ways come to mind on how to fabricate the panels. I think Lorna did that?
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:39 AM   #16
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I replaced two windows with panels. I just cut 1/4 inch thick aluminum to 25.5 inches by 25.5 and glued it in place with silicone caulk then put brackets to hold it in place using self drilling screws.
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