Hopefully this collection of tools will grow a bit
Ok, so I have been working with some sheet metal repair prior to the painting, and therefore I'll be talking a bit about the tools that I use.
I have a sound set of hammers and dollies for some of the basic work that is good for bending and stretcing the sheet metal. With the hammmer and the dollie I pull in/out dents and som ocasional bending on deformed sheet metal on the car.
One of my hammers is a shrinking hammer, witch means that when you hammer on the sheet metal, the hammer head rotates slightly with each blow and the swirl shaped grooves pulls the metal toward the centre, hence shrinking the metal in the worked area.
My next tool is the shrinker/stretcher, and this tool is fantastic! With tis tool you can stretch or shrink areas on the piece you are working on, to obtain the shape you want. By cutting a stip of metal for making a wheel arch, you just make a strip of metal that you bend 90 degrees all the way along and then stertch and shrink to obtain the desired shape. With this tool I can now make parts in 3D!
sheet metal cutters. This sheet metal cutter is best for small pieces of metal above 1mm thikness. I don't use it very often. For cutting thin gage sheet metal I use ordinary tin snips, and for cutting rusted or damaged metal from the car itself, I use an ordinary angle grinder with thin (0.8 mm - 1.0mm) cutting disks.
Brake for sheet metal bending. This bending brake is very useeful because it gives nice and crispy bent edges that are straight and are made fast. As an example: bending the metal strip for the wheel arch in 90° is easely done on this machine. Have a look at Eastwood tools, they have several different models.
Welding mashines: We have a Migatronic 200 MIG welder, a GYS 180 TIG AC/DC welder for welding carbon steel, stainless, aluminium and many other materials. A gas torch (acetylene) is sometimes good to have at hand for heating components and at last I have a plasma cutter for cutting a variety of metals.
This is the old trusty migatronic MIG welder. These machine are extremely durable and easy to use. At the workshop we have been using CO2 as a shielding gas for ages, but recently we where advised tu use a combination of Argon and CO2 as shielding gas and that made a difference. Pure CO2 has a tendency to cool down the area you are welding, hence you need to put even more heat in for a nice weld. The more heat you put in the more distortion in the metal you'll have. When using the mixed gas you can put in more heat in shorter time, and this spreads les heat in the surrounding metal, therefor less distortion and as a side effect, there is less spatter.
The vast majority of welding on a car body that is done in the workshop with the MIG welder. The reasons for that are:
- The easyest, just point and weld, and easyest to learn.
- This is the cheapest way of welding.
- This is the less critical with contaminated sheet metal (paint, rust, grease, oil, dirt) that are common on automobiles.
This is my homemade trolley with my tig welder on top and my plasma cutter on the bottom. This TIG welder is a little gem. It is a inveter based mashine that is small and portable and relative easy to use. AC/DC TIG welder can weld any metal that is weldable and it usualy make cleaner welds that do not need to be finished with a angle grinder. The tig welder is specialy good with non ferrous metals such as aluminium.
It is a more delicate type of welding that requires a very clean surface to weld, and it is a bit more difficult to get the hang on. (i'm still learning)
The plasma cutter is very nice to. Ease of use is fantastic! it is basically point an cut. The machine only need power and compressed air to work, but be aware of using it on a car where the upholstery i still in. When this machine cuts, the molten metal is spewed out like a constant sneeze of molten metal and will set fire to anything flamable. For thicker material this type of cutting is probably the easyest beside of laser cutting.