When it comes to welding, many auto body technicians don’t know the proper procedures for getting started, experts assert in Part 2 of a three-part video series on welding.
Toby Chess, co-chairman of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) Education Committee, recommends looking at the setup instructions inside the welding machine. An example from a MIG/MAG welder in the video includes a welding-wire-type chart, a wire-size chart, welding-gas ratios and instructions on adjusting welding current and wire speed.
“If you have no idea where to start, you’re just playing with dials,” Chess says. “By knowing your machine and knowing what it’s capable of and having that data in there, it gives you a starting place. So you open it up, you look at the gas that you’re using, you look at the size of the wire, what type of wire, and it will give you the wire speed and it will give you the voltage that you should start with and now you can start making your test welds and narrow it down so they become more efficient.”
If you’re using a newer machine that has presets, SCRS board member Dave Gruskos cautions that the presets are merely guides. Fluctuations in power from the electrical outlets – on a hot day when A/C units are consuming large amounts of electricity, for example – could affect the performance of the welder.
That’s why it’s critical to perform test welds, Gruskos says.
“You can’t weld half the car together before you realize, ‘I have the welder set [improperly],’” Gruskos says. He adds that it only takes one bad weld to affect an airbag’s reaction time and “really cause harm to the owner of the vehicle.”
Filmed at the SEMA Garage, the video also includes Michael Bradshaw, SCRS director-at-large, and Andy Dingman, SCRS immediate past chairman.
The panelists emphasize that I-CAR is a source of information and training on test welds and other aspects of welding.
The video, which focuses on settings, setup and training considerations for welding in collision repair, is the second installment in a three-part SCRS series on welding.