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Welding Sheet Metal

Welding Sheet Metal

The process of welding sheet metal is often used in auto body repair and metal finishing.  Welders working with sheet metal need to have patience and skill. The welding process used when working with sheet metal depends on the specific type of metal and how it will be used.  There are three common welding techniques used when working with sheet metal: gas welding (oxy-acetylene), MIG welding and TIG welding.

Many welders prefer to use gas welding when working with sheet metal because it allows the sheet metal to become soft while the welding process is being performed.  This is especially beneficial for beginning welders who find the softer sheet metal more malleable and easier to work with.  If MIG welding is used, the sheet metal tends to react in the opposite way from gas welding.  The sheet metal becomes harder to work with, has been known to produce an unpleasant odor, and can sometimes shrink.  Experienced welders suggest that a combination of both welding processes be used when working with sheet metal to achieve the best results.  They suggest using a gas welder first to perform as much of the required welding as possible and then follow it up using a MIG welder in harder to reach areas.  When welding using both techniques it is important that the gas welding be performed first and then followed by MIG welding in this order to produce the best results.

When welding sheet metal using gas you should use a small tip on your filler metal and ensure that all of your gas settings are correct.  Using the correct settings will help you create strong high quality welds.  Paying attention to your welding equipment every time you weld is critical to creating welds of high quality.  A sign that your welding equipment needs adjusting is if you are hearing a lot of popping or excessive noise.

Inexperienced welders using the MIG welding process often complain about low visibility while they are welding. To ensure that you have the best possible level of visibility you should make sure that your welding helmet is in good condition and your lens is clear.  Welders working with sheet metal will also need to have grinders, wire brushes, vice grips, clamps and sheet metal hammers nearby.  Using these tools will ensure that welding process goes much easier and will also help your finished work look professional.  Welding sheet metal can be a very demanding welding technique, but with experience and attention to detail your finished result will look great.

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Ed C.

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