Which Mig for very thin metal/car panels?

  1. boombang

    boombang ...mess maker...

    Posts: 37
    I am seriously considering buying a mig welder, but all the welding I need to do at the moment is seriously thin steel on my car.

    Nothing is structural, it is the very thin joining panels between parts of the chassis that are there just to fill a hole that have corroded.

    Nobody bar me will ever know it is there, however I'd rather weld it for piece of mind.

    Bearing this in mind and a relatively small budget what is recommended?

    My budget isn't huge and due to the relatively small amount of welding I need doing I can't justify spending much.

    I would borrow a friends welder again but the power doesn't go down low enough.
  2. lexi Member

    Posts: 1,316
    Cheap.......How cheap? what welder didn`t go down low enough? Inever had any probs with a little Sip doin that kinda stuff. Maybe you were using Co2?.

  3. weldequip Member

    Posts: 5,074
    The Clarke Pro 90 is a good little machine for light duty work; minimum setting of 25amps so good on thin stuff. Around £150 new.
  4. boombang

    boombang ...mess maker...

    Posts: 37
    I've used three different welders over the last few years, all producing adequate welds on 1mm+ metals. Always used CO2 Argon mix, never tried CO2.

    The panels I need to repair are non-structural fill in panels under a Peugeot 205 between the filler pipe and the rear beam mounts. Any of those three even on the lowest setting would blow this panel to pieces and I don't have access to any other welders, hence looking to buy one.

    My budget realistically could be anywhere up to a grand or so, but as all I have to weld is two or three 3" square patches I don't see the point and can't justify it. A nice little portable package would be great, meaning I can drag it over to friends if needs be, or even take to events (used to build race/track/rally cars, currently building myself a Pug 205 rallycar which needs the welding, and I help out a number of people as a rally mechanic).

    I think I'll look into the Clarke, just wish I hadn't given away my mask and gloves (gave them to the last bloke who lent me his welder to do a few bits on another rallycar - he used to weld using a crap handhelp mask and no gloves!)
  5. malcolm

    malcolm Bob the builder

    Posts: 8,386
    Bedford UK
    I'd go for the Clarke 90. A flatmate has one and it welds very nicely. Lasted for years too. His only complaint (apart from the limitation of only really being good up to 1.5mm) is the wire speed knob is a bit sensitive.

    The money saved could go towards some argon/CO2 mix (best stuff), and possibly a cheap auto-dimming helmet - made a lot of difference to neatness for me.
  6. boombang

    boombang ...mess maker...

    Posts: 37
    I've never tried an auto-darkening helmet but might be worth a pop. Found that a very bright inspection lamp lights things up nicely, along with sensible shade choice (rather than sticking to the 10 that all mask manufacturers put in)
  7. boombang

    boombang ...mess maker...

    Posts: 37
    Just out of interest, are there any more powerful welders out there that still drop down to very low ampages?

    I don't mind spending a bit more and keep finding more welding jobs that need doing on the shell - figured if I can get a bit more without going silly on the money I might as well.
  8. weldequip Member

    Posts: 5,074
    The Portamig 181 & 211 both go down to 20amps which is about the lowest on the market for a conventional style MIG. If you want something very compact & portable the new Cebora Tri-Star goes down to 15amps & has factory stored, pre-set programmes for Mig Brazing, Aluminium, Stainless Steel etc. It can also be used for scratch-TIG welding & MMA (stick) welding.

  9. weldequip Member

    Posts: 5,074
    Sorry, I was reading your first post were you said "anything up to a grand", and then realised you said you couldn't justify that! The above mentioned is best part of a grand & the Portamigs half a grand +.
    The only small, cheap Migs available at higher amperages but still 25amps minimum are the SIP/COSMO machines. In my opinion, you would be much better off with a Clarke for long term reliability, but they only go down to 30amps on the larger mini-migs. (still fine for thin sheet welding)
  10. boombang

    boombang ...mess maker...

    Posts: 37
    Might just get the little Clarke and if anything serious needs welding beg/borrow/steal/hire.

    Anything I don't spend on a welder goes into the car, and when I've got a lot of things left to buy it makes sense really.
  11. Gasman bowchickawowwow

    Have done a fair bit on vehicles over the years (standard 150/185 turbo Mig)
    I find the only way to have decent penitration but not to blow holes is to pulse weld with a Mig.
    Also, when preping consider a wire wheel or 3M brisle brush cause if it makes sparks ofcourse you are further reducing the steel thickness.
    If you want a good deal on Argon shield pls let me know as I may be able to assist.Good Luck
  12. Justme

    Justme Member

    Posts: 1,877
    Pwllheli Wales
    Think you might be inundated with people wanting gas cheap. Put me on the list.

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