Best way to learn?

  1. gaja Member

    Well hello.

    Just found this forum and it looks like just what I need at the moment to gain some knowledge and get advice.

    Here is my current situation;

    My wife owns a '68 beetle that is MOT'd and in relatively good order but is beginning to look scrappy around the edges and has a number of rust spots in the usual bug places (heater channels, flitch panels, floors, rear boot floor).


    A, Pay someone approaching £1000 to replace the panels and then have to pay for a respray and still have some rough edges.

    B, Learn to weld and do it myself for much less (and learn a useful new skill).

    C, Sell the car.

    Ok, my wife told be C is not an option. I don't like A as I don't like giving my money away and also like to learn to do stuff myself.

    Looks like B then...

    Anyway here is my first problem. I thought the best way to learn would be to take a class and then buy the gear I need after I have got some experience. This is fine and dandy but I have been completely unable to locate an evening class anywhere near where I live in Surrey (or anywhere in Surrey for that matter). I am concerned about splashing out a relatively sizable sum for new kit and just getting on with it with no tuition at all for it all to go Pete Tong through rookie errors.

    At last, here is the question: Can I really learn to do successful automotive repair welding without taking a course and by just getting on with it?

    Sorry for the long post and pants humour - thanks for listening.
  2. malcolm

    malcolm & Clementine the Cat

    Bedford UK
    Hi gaga, welcome to the forum.

    I didn't do any formal training before starting MIG welding, although I did have a friend set up the wire feed for me and give me a couple of pointers after I bought my first welder.

    I'd be really keen for someone to try to learn using the learning MIG welding pages on this site, and ask lots of questions - then I'll know what I've left out. If you know someone else with a welder then it's also worth taking a lesson from them.

    My approach has generally been to buy the necessary bits and pieces, experiment for a while until I start to get the hang of it, then go for it. Experimenting with some bits of (new 1.5mm+) steel off the car is the way to go - you can do a weld, look at the reverse to check the penetration, and even put the metal in a vice and try and break it. Once you get good at they, start playing with the thinner 1mm steel where blowing holes can start to be an issue.

    It's a whole lot easier to weld with CO2 rather than shielding gas, so it's worthwhile spending the extra £100 on a welder that can take a size X gas bottle.
  3. geetee Member

    :D hi gaja,
    like yourself i couldn`t find anything or anybody that could teach me MIG welding either.
    i found some books in the library, which helped enormously, but the best thing for me was trial and error.
    as they say, you learn from your mistakes!!!
    practice on loadsa scrap metal and muck about with the settings on your welder. there is no specific settings for these machines, and all welders and equipment are different.
    i wish i had the resources on the internet when i was trying to weld my cavalier back together in `98!!! :lol: :lol:

    a good store, like machine mart for example, will be able to recommend a nice middle price MIG machine which should last you a good few years.
    and you will get a handbook even though it will be quite sparse it will give you enough info to get started. :wink:
  4. Mat-C Member


    Well, I really tried to take all the shortcuts and get welding in about 10 mins, which I am proud to say..... I totally failed at. The hard bit isn't the welding itself (that's easy, at least on the 3mm steel I play around with), it's getting it all set up correctly.
    After a few hours of home learning, you'll get there though. Start with something non-structural :D
    So yes you can easily teach yourself..... best way is to read all you can (here is a great place to start), then try a bit, read a bit, try a bit and so on. If things go wrong, just ask.
    The tricky thing is that there are a lot of variables (roughly in order of decreasing importance: type of metal, power level of welder, feed rate of welder, type of shielding gas, gas feed rate, angle of weld, etc) that all have to be about right for it to work. But when it doesn't work, just vary things until it does...... or come here and ask :)