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Video slideshow that outlines how to repair sheet metal. This demonstration was done on a lawn tractor mower deck, but the same principles can be applied to auto body work on vehicles. Most automotive body panels do use a thinner gauge steel, so when welding, more care will have to be taken to reduce the amount of heat distortion. In the video I did use a flux core mig welder, but an argon unit can be used as well.
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-angle grinder cutting disks
-angle grinder flap wheels
-220 grit sandpaper
-determine to what extent the metal is damaged
-remove the rusty soft/thin areas will allow for a solid area to weld the patch to and also reduces the chance of having the welder burn through the existing steel
-cut out the damaged area using a grinder equipped with cutting disks
-start by forming the new metal to replace the damaged area
-sometimes it is easier to form the replacement metal first before cutting out the damaged area, but the damaged area should still be in reasonable condition to copy the shape or contours
-to form the replacement pieces I used a couple concrete blocks, along with some wood for forming, along with the assistance of a hammer, adjustable wrench, and propane torch
-forming metal will vary depending on what you are trying to achieve
-for my repair I first bent the metal patches, then made relief cuts using the angle grinder with cutting disks so I could form multiple contours
-once finished forming the patches, ensure they fit and remove excessive material from the original panel if needed (it’s better to have more newer metal in a patch repair)
-use the flap wheel for the angle grinder to remove any existing rust or paint to prepare for welding
-fit the patch into place, use locking pliers to hold it into place
-ground the mig welder onto the piece, select a proper heat range
-first tack the replacement piece into place, applying a tack weld every one to two inches
-adjust piece when needed using a hammer, ensuring the edge lines up correctly
-once the piece is held in, then continue with short welds about one inch in length in various areas
-do no run one continuous weld as this will cause warpage
-allow the metal to cool if need
-once the welding has finished, use the flap wheel on the angle grinder to smoothen out the welds
-finally to finish up, for my repair I used a wire brush to clean the mower deck removing any loose rust and paint
-finish up with 220 grit sandpaper to smoothen out the surface
-I wiped down the mower deck with a clean cloth and degreaser
-then applied a farm equipment paint using a brush to the whole mower deck
The cuts in the one rounded patch allows for the piece to be bent into two different directions to match the contour of the mower deck.
Grind the paint off around the area where the patch will be welded to. This will ensure that welder is able to arc on the existing surface properly.
The tack welds hold the piece in place and allow me to align the patch to the existing surface. For the welding, I used a small flux core mig welder.
Running small/short (approx. 1″ length) welding beads reduces the amount of distortion within the sheet metal which is caused by excessive heat. This will have to be adjusted accordingly depending on the gauge/thickness of steel.
For grinding down the welds I used the angle grinder with standard grinding disc for the higher areas and a flap disc to smoothen the surface.
For paint, I used low gloss black farm equipment painted which I brushed on.
Zap Beat – Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com/) Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 3.0″ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
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