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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think I probably know the answer already, but thought I'd ask. Harbor freight offers a handheld spot welder that runs off of household current for about $200. It has the two 'jaws' that clamp both sides being joined, and supposedly reproduces factory spot welds. Has anyone used it? Are the welds strong? My current plan is to use my spot weld bit and MIG - plug weld the new panels in. This device seems potentially easier and cleaner...but will it produce good strong welds, consistently?
Mike
 

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I used one when I replaced my 67 quarter panels. It was'nt from HF but similar, I think I got it from Eastwood. Anyway,
be sure to practice on scrap sheetmetal first so you'll know how long to hold the the thongs down to get good penetration. Its either you'll burn through the metal when you hold it too long or you won't get a good weld. What I did to check was to try to separate the sheet metal after welding it to see how good the weld is. Hope this helps. Also try to keep the rod tips clean, I used a file or emery cloth.
 

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MikeC68 -

No offense to anyone else who owns one, but DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THESE WELDERS!!!. They are JUNK!!!

You can not reproduce a strong factory weld with a 110 spot welder. If you can't afford a good unit ( they range from 7k to 30k for professional units ) ... then use plug welds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. What I was worried about was the fact that it is a relatively inexpensive unit and off of house juice. I also found some other reviews outside of this site that said it didn't produce strong bonds (that you could pull em apart with not too much effort). 3-7K is a little more than I have/can spend so I guess I will polish up on my MIG plug welding skills and go from there. Thanks
Mike
 

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I have H-F 240 volt spot welder. Works good but i wouldn't trust it to completely hold it together also. To risky if it fails. I use it after i have plug welded and ground down smooth just to give it a factory spot welded look.
 

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Complete junk!
In order for that thing to make a weld, the two touching metal sides MUST be spotless. No paint, no primer no weld thru. That bare metal spot will create a corrosion hot spot.
You can pull that weld apart...Eric
 

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i bought the cheapest spotwelder off ebay for under $100..to do my 4 speed floor hole.. and have the tool to install the factory console mounting nuts......

man im i impressed! it will spotweld two 1/16 pieces of steel together.i cannnot pull them apart!!!!!you have to clean the metal on any spotwelder you use!!!!!

see for yourself....

it worked good for me........im not a shop that will use it very much......look below!!!

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-115V-ELECTR...QQihZ006QQcategoryZ113743QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem





 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the replies. Wagonman, great pictures. I thought I would give it a shot, because its pretty cheap on ebay, but I still have some reservations about using it all over the body, especially in structurally important spots. I think I am going to start off plug welding for now at least and see how that goes. Thanks again
Mike
 

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idk know about all over the body.. they are very restrictive in design......you will find that many peices were spotwelded before they were assembled onto the car....or they have 4 foot long spot welders.

you will see the integrity of the weld once you try to pull them apart... you cant!!!!!!! i showed the welders at my work and they were impressed...at work we have a $500 spotwelder.it uses 220 volts. its a miller i think.. it may do a better job than my $85 model in the long run, but for $85 im smiling all the way to the bank.......
 

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Not offended, but like Wagonman said, if you do it right you can't pull the weld apart. What I did with my qpanels was instead of 6 spot welds I put in 12 just to be sure that it will hold. All the bottom part of the qp was done with epoxy and also the bottom part of the tail panel. I also found it handy when welding the filler panel between the rear glass and the trunk opening. I'm small so I was able to lay on my back inside the trunk and spot weld the seams of the filler panel and the quarter together.
 

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I personally would not use a spot welder for anything. The only reason they were used by the factory was because they were CHEAP to operate. Yea, the welds were good but the machines they used cost $$$$$. Anyone welding at home or shop and wants a good quality weld should use almost anything but a spot welder. jmo kevin
 

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The spot welder I have in my shop is called a pro spot welder. It is one of the best investments you can make if you are building these cars. They are expensive ( around 12- 13 thousand) but the cars look orig. when you are finished. Not only can you use weld through primer you don't need to remove the ecoat where the two panels are welded together
 

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you have to clean the metal on any spotwelder you use!!!!!

]
Not true. You have to clean the metal where the contact points of the welder touch the metal to make electrical contact. But a good welder doesnt need the metal clean on the inside joint.
A good spot welder will cost over 10K period. Last I knew many car manufactors listed certain ratings that had to be meet in order for spot welders to be recommended for use on their cars. One rating was 850lbs of pressure at the tips, and 9000amps at the tips.

To check your welds be it plug or spot weld. Weld two pieces end to end with ONE weld. Put one piece of metal in a vise and clamp it down. Now grab the other piece and twist it off. Now in order for that to make a good weld it should tear a hole in one of the pieces of metal. If the metal comes apart without a hole, then its no good. Also that hole should be around 3/16, if your hole size is smaller then its a weak weld.
This destructive test procedure is what ICar does for its welding cert for collision repair techs, to check the strength of their welds.

Ive played around with the 110v unit from harbor freight and NOW it cant do that. They cant tear a hole in the metal
 

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I have been thinking about buying a hand held spot welder that a local body shop uses.. I don't know the brand name right now, but I will find out tomorrow.. It cost about $989.00.. From what I understand you have to hold a weld gun in each hand for it to work right, I believe it welds at the same time on both guns.. I had this body shop put full qrts on my 69, and they seem to look pretty good.. I have a 1968 SSRS 396 4 speed camaro that I'm going to have to build pretty much the whole car... Floors, doors, fenders, trunk pretty much the whole sha-bang... I can't aford to pay someone to do this much.. I have tried to do plug welding with my mig welder using .30 ga. wire and it just does'nt work well for me... someone told me to use I think it was 24 ga. ... I am going to post more on this as I am going to need a lot of help here... I'm not an idiot, but I am not a pro body shop guy either.. Does anyone know about the type of spot welder I am talking about and are they good enough in your honest opinion for a novice like me???...
 

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1) From what I understand you have to hold a weld gun in each hand for it to work right, I believe it welds at the same time on both guns.
2) I have tried to do plug welding with my mig welder using .30 ga. wire and it just does'nt work well for me... someone told me to use I think it was 24 ga. ...
1) That is a old style hand held two sided welder circa 1985. It is very hard to make a good weld. A "Real" Spot welder, comes with many different arms and tips, Pneumaticly Pinches the panels together and the good ones have water cooled tips.

2) Yes .024 wire is easier to work with. Get some scrap metal and spend a few hours practicing, before you start on your car. Don't forget the weld thru primer or it will rust at the welds.
 

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Thanks for the info.. Like I said I am going to need alot of help with this car.. I am going to search for help with the new whole floors that are avaible now,, I figure that is where I'm going to have to start first to stablize the body before I go onto other areas.. Can I do plug weld to install the floors???? could I use the type of spot welder I was talking about plus do plug welding for the floors, can I use weld thru primer right around the spot weld if I mark the panel where I'm going to spot weld???.. you know,, if I keep the circle were my spot will weld clean...
 

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Here's a couple of links to show you what your in for with a 1 peice floor pan
http://1stgencamaro.net/gallerytwo/v/68-Camaro/album22/?g2_page=2
http://1stgencamaro.net/gallerytwo/v/Cars-for-sale/68camaro/?g2_page=2
I would not waste your time or $ on the spot welder. Its not going to produce good safe welds. The silver paint you see in my pics on the floor pan ect is the weld thru primer. Strip the e-coat from the pinch welds and coat with weld thru, you can scrape the weld thru at the plug weld hole after its clamped, if you have trouble starting the weld. Make your hole 3/8" dia same location and number as the factory.
 

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Dont wast your time.It is not safe. My spotwelder i use cost about $10,000 and is about 10,000 amps. How many amps is that handheld job??? Anything less and your risking your life with that weld. Just plug weld it with a mig or like others suggested mig it,grind it smooth and use the handheld over it to make the spotweld for looks.
Heres what i'm using.
 

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Thanks a bunch guys.. I'll get some lighter gauge wire for my mig and do some practicing... I'll be posting some more over the next weeks/months as this project continues... I really do appreciate the help.. I have been on this site for over a year and I have checked out other sites, and believe me,, You guys on this site are the very best I've talked to.. fastest responce and most knowleagable of any of them by far, hands down,!!!!!!!!!!!!!....If there was a trophy to be handed out for best site,, This one would win an Oscar,!!!!!!!!!!...
 
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