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Old March 7th, 2006, 12:06 AM   #1
notched
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Medford, Oregon
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I'm jumpin' on the tech bandwagon.

I'm no expert, by any means. But I am actually a trained welder. Not a certified welder, but trained in the sculpture department at an art school. I spent two years working on welded steel and cast concrete sculpture at PNCA. I also worked on bronze casting as well. My professor was one of the coolest people I've ever met, Manuel Izquirdo, a crotchety old Spaniard. He had taught at the art school since 1955, I believe. And was an amazingly talented man. Most of his sculpture was hollow form welded 1/4" bronze. His personal studio was one of the coolest places I've ever been to in my life.

Anyway, he was old school. He made us all learn gas welding first, then we spent some time Tig welding. But all of my work was gas welded. I have sooooo much appreciation for gas welded work. I picked up a Mig welder sometime along the way, but hope to get a set of tanks to get back to gas welding again.

Again, I'm not an expert, but I hope to give some basic explanations of filling some larger holes in sheet metal. If a hole is fairly small, maybe smaller than 1/4", you could fill this with just the weld. But something that is 1/2" or larger, you'll need some filler material. This should be close to the same gauge as the metal that you're welding it into.

I'm working on smoothing out a Bus dash for my Squareback. To start, I've used a angle die grinder to clean up the edges of the holes:









For the filler material, I like to use old German metal. This makes the gauge match easier. This is some extra sheet metal from the roof of a Squareback (actually part of the roof that was cut off the same Square the Bus dash is going into:



I like to use some paperboard for templates:



Rather than buying tag board, or something similar, I've used the inside of cereal boxes. In this case, POP-Tarts!:



I'm going to start with the circular cut out that was originally for the fuel gauge. I've placed the board behind the hole, to mark out a template:



I like Sharpie markers to mark on the template. They just work well while working in the garage. The just about mark on anything. The template ready to cut out:



After cut out (which I typically cut on the inside of the pen mark), the new template is placed onto the donor material to mark:



Once outlined, the material is ready to cut:



I'm a big fan of tin snips. I have three, right-hand, left-hand and strait. I forget which these are (I'm dyslexic, so I'd probably tell you the wrong kind anyway), but I use these the most. I'll start cutting this out in the shape of a square first, not cutting the curves yet:









After cut out, I'll start to make the shape:



(sorry for the blurry pic)



After the rough shape is cut, I then took it over to a large piece of wood to start to shape it. The tin snips tend to bend the metal a little, but this piece is pretty small, so it wasn't too bad. But, there is another reason to shape it on the wood. The Bus dash has a subtle curve to it. The filler piece needs to match the curve. One way to do this is to slightly hammer the back of the metal to get it to curve toward the hammer. I'm not pounding hard at all. This is more of a tapping:





I don't know if this pic shows it, but there is a slight curve:



I've checked it against the Bus dash periodically.
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