Butt Welding Sheet Metal With A Mig Welder

Butt Welding Sheet Metal With A Mig Welder

Hey guys. I wanted to take just a minute.
A few minutes here and talk about mig welding technique when you are doing difficult welds.
I think the most difficult weld to do is a butt weld on a piece of sheet metal. And I’ve
made a few videos welding patches into cars and things like that and I’ve made a couple
other videos welding on the bench. And what’s interesting is of all the videos I have, one
of the ones that gets my top views is one of the first videos I made which was on mig
welding technique. And, I sorta covered some things in that video but I thought it would
be worth another look at just straight up – How you deal with a difficult situation
of butt welding sheet metal. So, I may have to do this in a couple different clicks just
depends on how well focused I can be. What I tried to do is take a difficult situation
here and these are welds that I did previously, this was another piece to another thing. But
I took just two pieces of scrap and I made kind of a funny line here just to make it
difficult to weld. And I didn’t cut the line particularly straight so the gap is nice,
nice, nice, and then it widens out and widens out even more when we put all this together.
There you can see it a little bit better. So this is not going to be easy to weld. I’m
using a 110 volt Hobart Handler and CO2 right there. C25. And I really prefer the 110 units.
The 220 units will do just fine but the 110s as far as the millers are concerned anyway
just seem like they have a softer, a softer weld I don’t know how to explain it, its just
feel. I’ve done a bunch of welding in my life. I’m not really dressed to weld, but I wanted
to make this video so please excuse the sweatshirt I would normally have a welding shirt on but
I wanted to show you guys how this is done. I did not, I did not make this. I’ve seen
a lot of videos out there that show this perfectly sheared edge, you know, and welding two perfectly
sheared edges together really is very, very easy. But when you get these kind of hand
cut things here it becomes more difficult. And I’m not. I don’t have a heat sink behind
here or anything else, but what I do have is a body dolly. I use this all the time with
a copper sheet just kind of pounded over it. You can hold this behind your welds and weld
to it if you get to a particularly difficult spot. We’re not going to use that tonight.
Basically that will just make things easier for you later in life. I am going to wear
my auto darkening helmet here and away we go. So I’m going to start where this clamp
is. And, you know, I suggest whatever you’re doing, always clamp your work it just makes
things better. We’re going to put a weld right by the clamp. (welding) And if you were looking at this,
you would see the back part of the weld eroded just a little bit and so the next thing I’m going
to do is probably closer to what you guys would do at home where you can’t get a clamp
in the middle of a panel. I’m going to lift this up so it’s not touching anything. I hope
I don’t knock my camera over here. Hang on guys. (welding) So there’s a nice little weld right
there. You constantly want to take a look at whether or not these surfaces are parallel
and if they’re not, you take a hammer and make them so because if you weld them and
they are uneven, they’ll just continue to be uneven. The other thing to keep in mind,
and this is a huge deal, is the distance of your mig gun to the work. The further away
you get, the less heat you have. So if I have a really difficult spot. Let’s come out here
where there is a big gap and I’ll show you what I mean. Can you guys see that, is that
in there? Let’s see if I can lift this up just a little bit, hang on guys. Put my clamp
on my work here. I’ll try and lift this thing up so you guys can see. You know, we’re a
substantially large hole right here. In order to fill that hole, if you hold your gun back,
and I’m going to weld here. (welding) That’s how you make it happen right there. so, yeah, you
guys can see, we bridged that gap. So you hold your gun back a little further from your
work piece. I hope you guys can see that, let’s try it this way. (welding) So there we go, that’s how I would do that. It’s not the prettiest
thing when you have these big gaps, but if you have them, that’s how you go about getting
to them. The other thing is, once you establish a bridge across here, that’s the spot that
you aim at so that you are hitting the thickest part of the metal, you know, wherever you
weld is going to be the thickest part of the metal. Now we can pick up on this where the
metal is nice and tight and you’ll notice how easy it is to weld that. Watch. (welding) And you’ll notice. I’m just stacking one on top of the next on top of the next. Those are fairly
flat there, they aren’t stacking way up. I hope you guys can sort of perceive that. But
that’s how you butt weld on sheet metal. It’s, it’s sort of a, you know, a rhythm, you can
hear that, zap, wait, zap, wait. So the different things you can look at is how straight your
gun is to the work, that makes it hotter. The more angle you get on there, the cooler
that weld. And the further you get away, the cooler it is. So it’s sorta like you spread
out the intensity the more angle you get. I’ll bet if we go straight in, I can melt
right through that, let’s see. (welding) Can you guys see that hole through there? That’s what happens
when you weld straight on. So, a lot of people get really discouraged because you look at
all the pictures of mig welding and it always shows this gun pointing right into the thing.
Just go like this and I’ll bet we can fill it up. (welding) Hey, check that out, we got a little
bonus there. So yeah, so there’s how you fix your problems when you get stuck in a hole
like that, just tilt your gun down and point at the thick spots. So hopefully that’s been
helpful for everybody, that’s how you butt weld. This is, I think, 20 gauge sheet metal
so it’s pretty thin. This is pretty indicative of what you’ll find on a lot of cars 18 to
20 gauge sheet metal, so have fun with that guys. Don’t let your meat loaf!

100 thoughts on “Butt Welding Sheet Metal With A Mig Welder

  1. I need to know how to weld sheet metal gage 20 to a thicker metal. I cant get no penetration t the thick metal without burning holes to the thinner metal.

  2. ….should have watched this vid first before I made swiss cheese blowout on my 20ga sheet metal trying to repair a fender mount on my 64 Chevelle.  Luckily I was able to get a few areas to hold as the repair was not structural but more to hold a cage bolt on the lower fender bolt.  Thanks for the tips.

  3. Aha! That is a great technique.

    Obviously that is not how you weld a battleship or a trailer, but for sheet metal, it could be a big, big help.


  4. Neat and Interesting specially the laying down part. I wish ya had showed the back side though so we could see the penetration.

  5. Welding 1/16" and i will have to give this a try.  Tired of blowing holes in the metal so I hope this works.

  6. Thanks for the video. I'd been doing some work with flux core and could not avoid burning thru, especially when I was merging into factory metal. After this video, I added gas, switched to solid wire and used the (critical) new angle of attack and things straightened right out. Thankfully, I was only half way through the rocker / cab-corner project before I found this! I see less bondo and seam-filler in my future.

  7. Great video! New to this. Want to weld rocker panels. Can I use flux core? and if so what size, type, brand wire. Have a small mig/flux welder  no gas cylinder yet for mig.

  8. I found this video very educational for a newbie (like me).

    Any tips what you like to use to seal the weld seam? I noticed when you got your "little bonus" that you could see through the best welds as well as the blow through.

  9. This video helped me a lot for my welding class in school. I have been having trouble with my butt weld, but when I tried this it worked great. Thanks for the help.

  10. I continuously weld (without stiching) 16G sheet metal using .030 flux wire and (-)dc polarity but you have to get your heat and wire speed adjusted properly but once you do its no different than welding thicker metal… I'm a genuis!

  11. Got a lot of welding coming up in the next few weeks (rust repairs on a 45 year old bus) and really, no experience. I will be referring back to this vid and a few similar ones to help guide me. Thanks!

  12. great video very helpful thank you. recently had to butt weld a repair patch on my hilux and had similar problems to what you described. cant wait to put these tips into practice 😀

  13. It may be the lighting, but it looks like it's starting to warp to me ? Keeping it from warping is the hard part. It always seems to dish down where the weld is.

  14. hey great video, can you tell me how to patch the front of the roof line on a vw bus where i cant get a clamp on to hold the metal patch to the roof?

  15. Wonderful explanation of MIG welding thin sheet metal. I went to school for welding years ago, but did not work with such light material. Your choice of using a 110 volt Hobart Handyman MIG welder for automotive restoration was also helpful. Good tips to avoid burn through. We used Argon in school, but we were working on heavier gauge steel, Do you find using a shielding gas like the CO2 helpful? What size wire are you using for 18- 20-22 gauge steel like floor pans? Thank you in advance for the video and your response. Brian

  16. Good info. That answered some questions I have had on thin sheet metal welding. Thanks. Now, onto good shop cleanup techniques…lol.

  17. I just bought a hotrod project, was not real sure about the 1.2mm sheet with my minimum 60amps I can go down to on the mig, but I think I should be fine with that technique. I thought I should spot weld it, but the holding at steeper angle is good to know.

  18. This is so awesome… Tilting the gun is definitely going to help me…. you are welding pretty quick. Is that going to be the way you recommend or do you think every like 5 beads I should cool the welds down?

  19. Love the video, BUT…..I'd like to see it done with panels clamped to the vehicle, you know where you can lift it up, and have very little if any access to the rear of the panel. Welding two panels on a bench isn't as difficult as when they are in place (vehicle). Like many of us "backyard-weekend" car-guys (girls also simply to be politically correct), we often make poor panel cuts and the "gaps" may be a little uneven or too large. Also, many of us are attempting to perform the mig with our "cheap" – Harbor Freight (nothing against HF) Mig (low voltage) welders…hey they work but simply not as good….anyway…..the video was helpful but wondering if you or anyone reading this has used the "cheater" way of filling in gaps with a "welding rod" or "coat hanger"….be interesting to see that "tip" done via YouTube…thanks.

  20. Very well. I've also used sheetmetal scrap and have also held the panel(s) in with scrap metal square pieces riveted along the panel and body metal to hold in place (along – across the scrap gap filler); mig welded the gap and filler than simply ground down/off the riveted holders….Just some "maybe not the correct way" tricks us backyard/weekend guys do…….working on repairing a "65" VW Bug rear wheel wells……great video though, thanks.

  21. Well surprise surprise, I search for mig welding techniques to straighten out what i messed up on the Model A and it takes me to Greg's Garage :). Also this is a social experiment, I learned that 79 out of 308k people are real a-holes. lol

  22. Welded a piece over the rusty wheel well of my Dakota. MIG using 023 wire with co2 gas.Ended up with two warps in the quarter panel unfortunately which to me is unacceptable.I can only see mig use as a tacking device or somewhere where it isn't going to warp the body panels.I staggered the welds doing about an inch at a time first one side then the opposite side then the middle.Blew quite a few holes even though I tried different settings and wire speeds.Mig seems good where the metal is doubled or heavier but for straight panel work I'm doing it with my spot welder.Mig creates too much grinding, distortion, and extra work on panels that warp…

  23. Thank you for your reply. Been struggling with the Mig on the body panels. I guess it has its applications. I welded panels a few times with bronze and an acetylene torch with a bucket of water beside me and a wet rag to cool it quickly.Same procedure a little spot here and a little there until it was complete. Didn't actually get the distortion I'm getting with mig. Going to just tack the next panel and see if that helps. .

  24. I spoke to a auto body  neighbor of mine and he stated that when he first tried the MIG it took him 11 hours to repair the distortion it caused on a trunk lid. I'm just learning now as he did many years ago. It is great that experienced folks like you can show others what it is all about. Many of the do it yourself videos on the tube are a very valuable resource. Thank you, I appreciate your comments and videos.

  25. Bought my first car, and as my budget is pretty low i can't buy a new car or send my car to a workshop for repair.
    Going to try repairing the rust on the sides of the car tomorrow. I chopped out all the rotten steel and made a clean cut around it, where the steel seemed ok. cleaned it all up with a steel brush and treated it with some anti rust chemicals.
    Though the mig welder im going to use don't use any gas, so i expect it to be a lot harder.

  26. what would you say welds better for automobile panels,, flux core ? gas mig weld? or tig? thinking of shortening a truck bed,

  27. hola soy un estudiante de la carrera de soldadura industrial y apesar de que algunas palabras no entendí por el idioma quiero decirte que me ayudo mucho tu video, creo que es excelente, muchas gracias.

  28. Hi Greg. Great video mate. Where you using 0.6 or 0.8mm mig wire and what current and voltage settings please mate as am struggling to find some base settings to go off for welding panel steel.

    Thanks in advance

  29. many thanks, I've been learning to weld over a year now and have picked up a number of new tips from just this one vid. Also pleased to realise you're using the same thin sheet as on my car (pride n joy quarter million mile Pug, that's nearly 400,000Km). I'm 'Time Rich Money Poor', so doing my own repairs is both essential and satisfying; people like you help me continue to induldge my passion for driving.

  30. one tip I haven't seen in comments. if doing car repairs on sheet metal, get a damaged fender and practice on that. no need to try your new techniques on the real deal. lol. go to a body shop and raid their dumpster.

  31. you know your not in for a very interesting welding video when it takes 3 plus minutes of him yapping before he does any welding and its an 8 plus minute video and you see 4 tack welds in 6 minutes.

    basically what he is saying is don't try and run a full length weld on thin sheet metal as it will heat distort the material
    So run staggered tack welds the length.

    start tracking 1.5" then start again.

    I explained in 9 lines what took him 8 minutes.

    man some people stuff about.

  32. Greg this was extremely helpful for me. The angle of the welder & distance tips regarding the heat is an eye-opener for me. Like you said, all the standard instructions always show that gun pointed "straight down" and if you're doing odd, freehand-cut patches, you don't have those perfect gaps between pieces. This video was great thanks for taking the time to show real world scenario. I have a quick question for typical car sheetmetal patches- do you have a target gap you like for let's say 18 gage? For example, When I do a patch I cut the patch, then lay it over the parent metal, use the patch to outline where to cut out the parent metal with a sharpie. Then I use my small dremel cutoff wheel which has .025 thickness. is this appropriate?

  33. Great video. What are the voltage and wire speed settings on your welder? Using the factory settings for me just pops around. Thanks!

  34. good tips!  I'm going to go practice some more.  I have to weld in a panel on my neighbor's car in a few days.  I know what you're talking about with the 230v v 115v machines; my Miller 211 was blowing through like mad while plugged into 230v outlet, but when I heard the arc was different on 115v I plugged it into a regular outlet and it was truly "softer".

  35. Great Video. Thanks for posting. Just learning how to Flux Core weld and first project is a welding cart. First shot I blew holes so now practicing on scrap b4 I start again so needed your help. From Ottawa, Canada

  36. so you're using solid wire and external gas, right? so the gas and wire discharge from a single wand or whatever? Is that sometimes called a flux welder? I was confused by a Harbor Freight ad – they have a "flux core welder" for $100, and a "flux welder" for $90, and I can't see a difference between the two, otherwise. And you're using CO2?

  37. I just made Swiss cheese of a rocker patch I welded on my jeep today before I watched this, these techniques you use seem crazy cool I'll have to try it tomorrow at school

  38. excellent 'real world' video, one of my faves. Returning to it prior to welding for first time in a few months tomorrow. Thankyou for assisting me to continue to run my old 'fixable' car

  39. Thanks for this video, Greg. Took me many days watching so many others and making incremental improvements in my beginning MIG on 24 GA technique — but still blowing though most things! You demonstrated how I was aiming straight on and causing too much heat.

  40. I watch a lot of welding videos as I am restoring an old car and every now a then a video comes along that you know is going to be a game changer and really improve your practical, everyday welding. This ia one of those videos I believe. Great work. Subscribed and will be watching more of your videos.

  41. Oh I put some holes in the floor pan I am welding. No lol. The welds are Ugly, looks like someone sprayed 3m 77 glue on panel and tossed a handful of raisinets onto the panel. Lmao ! I ended up cutting the panel edge free. What did I learn ? The welds penetrated just fine. I enjoyed this video. I cannot recall any other video talking about the distance to work or the angle to hold the welding gun tip at. The welder is a 110v Lincoln Handy Mig and it works just fine. It is me, the welder, that is semi clueless. I have a better idea of how to handle the gaps and holes I created yesterday 30Jun18. What an experience. Good video here. I find the content valuable…

  42. Great video. I learned a lot. I have some rusted sheet metal on the truck that needs replacing. Drip rails and the front inner roof of the cab so I'll be welding on a vertical and over head surface.

  43. I might have an opportunity to try out an everlast pulse mig welder. I can't wait. I should be able to weld thin sheet pretty good. We will see. Oh for a softer weld you can try to play with the welder's inductance setting.

  44. Thanks. I also have the Hobart 140. I wish I saw this before I tried welding a bandsaw blade. The blade is 24 ga. Got it done but it took awhile. I've welder 3/16" without any trouble, only on thin stuff. Thanks to you, I think I have that solved.

  45. Thanks. I also have the Hobart 140. I wish I saw this before I tried welding a bandsaw blade. The blade is 24 ga. Got it done but it took awhile. I've welder 3/16" without any trouble, only on thin stuff. Thanks to you, I think I have that solved.

  46. Sheet of copper wrapped around a fire brick or a solid brick of copper held behind with a gloved hand makes this a easy job the weld will puddle on the copper but don't stick

  47. Hello Greg, can you advise me on what type of welder is best to join to pieces of 120/1000, 4140 stress relieved metal

  48. Awesome video! I about to start floor pans in my Jeep aka rust bucket like most are with a little bit of age. I have to remove the factory welds to get the panels out. Question for you is do you think butt welds or filling in the drill holes would be best to attach the new pans? I plan on putting seam sealer on afterwards and also Rhino lining the inside when completed.

  49. Your video save my a$$! I've been burning holes left and right on some 22 ga sheet metal and couldn't figure out why for the life of me. Thanks for putting this video together. You're the man!

  50. Deal with this everyday body shop welding thin steel together for quarter panel replacements or roofs. It ain’t easy every wreck is folded and stretched and mangled Unique. Welding thickish metal I’s fairly easy. Welding a butt joint that customers see after an accident that has to pass bondo being applied and a base and clear ain’t easy

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