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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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