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  • Small sheet metal project

    I'm in the learning stages, so I'm not embarrassed to ask for advice. I need to _extend_ a couple of mounting tabs for my headlight buckets. I whipped up a couple explanatory pictures in Photoshop to show the two things I need to do. The black piece has two tabs that need to be extended about 1/2". The picture shows what I think I need to do, so I'm cutting some 16 gauge sheet steel to make the extensions. My question is whether to weld the edges like a layer, or make the extension wider and overlap the edge maybe 1/4"? of course, I could weld in a "U" so that its welded/tacked on three (3) sides. Whats the consensus? Both the extension and the original brackets are 16 gauge. Any recommendations on wire, welding, whatever are appreciated.



    The second part of the spacer project involves a piece of 1/2" square tubing, and welding a couple of fender washers to it. I have to move the opposite corner of the headlight bucket forward about 1/2" and because things are moving around, I have to elongate/open up the original mounting holes on the radiator support and the washers will act like flanges for the two mounting bolts. I'll use fender washers on the bolt heads that are coming thru the radiator support... the headlight buckets have threaded aligning weld nuts built in.



    The square tubing is run of the mill HD raw steel tubing stuff. The fender washers are probably zinc-coated steel, whatever I can buy. Any problems welding these two as indicated?

    For those that are curious, the brackets are used to mount hide-away headlights on a 1969 Camaro. The original cars had vacuum systems. I'm retro-fitting my car with the hide-away front end, but these new units use electric motors and gearboxes. Was supposed to be plug and play, but when you have a 50 year old car and brand new parts, there's always something LOL out of wack.





    In the second picture you can see that the headlight door which is supposed to close flush, is twisted at an angle. After a week or so of on and off trial fits, I finally figured out what the problem is, the buckets need to be re-angled slightly so that the doors (no adjustments BTW) line up with the opening in the grill. Supposed to look like this when done.



    As always...TIA for any/all advice!-Mike

  • #2
    I'm going to give you top marks on your posting pictures. And the car. You could just butt weld a piece in and grind flush although the image you presented with a lap will offer rigidity, and some might suggest a place for corrosion to happen? That said, you could lap and plug weld, and a poor man might even solder the joint and call it done? Yes, steel can be soldered in a lap and have incredible tensile strength if done properly.
    The rad support washers could be plugged as well, ground flush and when painted are invisible, although your image and tacks work but will remain visible. Depends on what's seen and what you wish to hide?
    Now...you didn't ask but when you weld something together the material changes somewhat. The deposit typically will remain harder, the area in the heat effected zone, areas adjacent to the weld, tend to be changed depending on the heat and cooling with the metallurgy of the material being welded. Welding a lap creates a greater thickness, more rigidity so the weakness is the thin area next to the weld, not that it should be of concern. Anyhow, what you purpose is doable.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by oldguyfrom56 View Post
      I'm going to give you top marks on your posting pictures. And the car. You could just butt weld a piece in and grind flush although the image you presented with a lap will offer rigidity, and some might suggest a place for corrosion to happen? That said, you could lap and plug weld, and a poor man might even solder the joint and call it done? Yes, steel can be soldered in a lap and have incredible tensile strength if done properly.
      The rad support washers could be plugged as well, ground flush and when painted are invisible, although your image and tacks work but will remain visible. Depends on what's seen and what you wish to hide?
      Now...you didn't ask but when you weld something together the material changes somewhat. The deposit typically will remain harder, the area in the heat effected zone, areas adjacent to the weld, tend to be changed depending on the heat and cooling with the metallurgy of the material being welded. Welding a lap creates a greater thickness, more rigidity so the weakness is the thin area next to the weld, not that it should be of concern. Anyhow, what you purpose is doable.
      Thanks for the comments. So yeah, I figured there's 90 ways to skin a cat, but in this case everything is pretty much hidden. The extended brackets might only be visible when the doors are open and once painted to match... should look fine. butt-welding might be a little cleaner looking... but I like the additional rigidity the lap would offer. And since the doors need to fit an opening, maybe the stiffness will keep everything lined up better?

      Funny you mentioned solder because my background is in the industrial design field and way back when I was in school and had to also take courses in fine arts, photography, and even metal sculpting... we used solder quite often to create art. Its not just for wires LOL. And I even thought about it but I have a friend who's a little more experienced than I am with welding and he's going to buddy up and help me out. Once the job is done, even the underhood area will be out of sight bc I have a polished SS piece that covers the normally open void between the radiator support and the upper grill valance.



      Here's a picture of the car with the "old" grill.



      I bought the car about 75% finished, one step beyond a roller, and over the past few years have been finishing it to suit my taste. I rebuilt the entire front end, also added power disc front brakes, quick steering box, did the full exhaust system, all electronic custom dash & wheel, added forged wheels, and a lot more. Its a restomod, and I wouldn't have it any other way as I'm not a Numbers-Matching fanatic. Once I get the grill set, I have to unpack the Vintage Air and start that. The next step will be working on a new rear. Not a lot of welding involved in finishing... although if I go 4-link, there'd be some welding.

      I'll post up some pix when we get the parts done.

      Mike

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      • #4
        I finished a car once. But only once. Now it's confession time. I'm involved in 5, tired of it all and can't see an end? But if I ever need something to do, I don't have far to go to find it.
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        That's a nice looking car. You mention resto-mod and while I don't click into titles, I tend to lean in that direction. Maybe resto-mod custom? After the first car I discovered three things. What I enjoyed, what I despised, and what I wanted to try.

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        Hard to tell somedays if a guy is making progress? A little bit here and there and eventually you've practiced enough to see the progress? It does keep a guy busy and your efforts will be rewarded in a well detailed, refined appearance when they see the car. Anyways...in the third picture, far right, you see shiny white paint sitting. Lol...still got it I can say that much for it.

        When I mentioned the solder thing...I as well have experimented with it and it's holding power. But what you describe was back in the day called industrial arts. I think your early education is shining in that car. Good on you! It's a beauty. And I think what your doing to it top class.

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        • #5
          I would do the lap joint. Easier prep, weld, and finishing.

          Don't breathe the fumes when welding the coated washers. I tend to hold my breath when welding anyway, but especially on coatings of any kind.

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          • #6
            My buddy came over one night this week with his welder, a Miller 100 I think it was. Anyway, we cleaned up, cut and welded up the pieces and I even got to weld a couple of sections. Chads welds were nicer looking than mine, but like I've noted... I'm trying to learn a whole new kind of welding. Will test fit the parts this weekend.

            Aside from that, I cranked up the Hobart yesterday and wanted to see if I could do some practice stuff. I only have .030 wire, and the samples were the same 16 gauge cutoffs. I didn't mess too much with the controls as I didn't have time, but I tried a quick piece and it was way uglier than what I had done with Chad 2 nights ago. I know its probably a combination of several things including me, the settings, and the wire?

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            So I describe it as "bubbly-ugly" and perhaps someone here with a good understanding of welding and the Handler 140 might jump in and give me some suggestions however brutal they are! TIA-Mike

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            • #7
              Well Mike... I don't see it mentioned so I'm going to ask to be sure, is that a flux cored wire? It looks like it is?
              Open the cover, read the chart for volts and WFS for that type and size of wire, set accordingly, try again. Make sure you have the correct polarity for the wire. Understand what stick out refers to and try to maintain that distance consistently. 5/16" is a safe bet. When welding shrink it to a 1/4" and see how it changes things. Then longer to 3/8" same thing. What do you notice, and yes, that's a question to be answered.

              Taking a guess, and it is a guess, increase WFS, shorten stick out. Those are big ***** you got there...lol. Ain't you a lucky guy?
              Usually big ***** are an indication of voltage flaring, too slow a WFS causing the end of the wire too over heat and grow larger, finally spitting off. Increasing the WFS will bring it closer to the plate, creating smaller *****.

              You could get a similar effect with too low a voltage WFS in range but stick out to long? More of a surge and pop? Increase voltage shorten stick out. Playing with the variables one at a time is easier than change this and that and that. The settings under the cover should get you close. Play with the stick out. If it runs better with a longer stick out it means you could drop the WFS slightly and shorten stick out. Works better with a shorter stick out, increase the WFS and lengthen the stick out slightly. A longer stick out creates a narrower bead width/arc column, a shorter stick creates a wider bead/arc column. The voltage effects the arc column. More voltage more column/wider bead. Wider the bead slower the travel, narrower the bead faster the travel.

              If this ends up being somewhat helpful great, if not...you might want to call buddy Chad for another visit?

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