What to Know About Welding Sheet Metal When You Become an Auto Body Technician

auto body training

Welding sheet metal together can be easy if you know how to do it right. Welding is an important skill to have if you want to do auto body work, and it’s important to avoid mistakes as much as possible. Although the idea of welding sheet metal can intimidate some, this doesn’t have to be the case for everyone. If you understand the necessary procedures and techniques, as well as how to do it correctly, it can be a simpler process than you might think.

While welding sheet metal is a big topic that can’t be covered in just one blog post, here we’ll give aspiring auto body technicians a brief primer on how welding typically works. With that, here are some things you should know about welding sheet metal.

There Are Usually Three Types of Welding Processes When it Comes to Sheet Metal

Auto body professionals welding sheet metal together will usually do it using one of three processes: spot welding, MIG (metal inert gas) welding, and TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding. Spot welding, or resistance welding, is where both physical pressure and a concentrated short circuit are applied to the body metal. Then, a combination of squeezing pressure, high heat and a short circuit at the weld’s point melts a spot on the metal into a weld.

MIG welding is a quick, efficient process where a wire carrying an electric current is fed directly to the weld area. An inert shielding gas is also fed through via a gun and a welding hose. It is arguably the most common type of auto body welding procedure.

Lastly, TIG welding is a type of MIG welding, but more technical and complex. Here, a tungsten electrode is forms the welding arc, with a filler metal typically used, and both the electrode and weld area are protected from oxidation.

MIG welding is considered the most simple among the welding processes for sheet metal
MIG welding is considered the most simple among the welding processes for sheet metal

Auto Body Training Students Should Learn the Steps to Sheet Metal Welding

After having ensured the sheet metal has been properly cut and that the gaps are small enough for the metals to be joined, there are a number of steps you’ll need to take in the process once you become an auto body technician. Be sure to use butt welding to ensure that seams don’t overlap with one another, and gently place the tack weld for the panels to properly stick with one another. Otherwise, the sheet metal will overheat and be deformed.

Keep this process going slowly and steadily before you see gaps form around the welds. Remove excess welds using an angular grinder, then weld the seams and close the gaps. Allow the weld to cool down to avoid any deforming, then grind the welds before finishing it off with a primer to prevent rust.

It’s important to allow the weld to cool down, so that any warping or deforming doesn’t occur
It’s important to allow the weld to cool down, so that any warping or deforming doesn’t occur

While Taking These Steps, It’s Worth Keeping These Pointers in Mind as Well

Professionals who have completed auto body training will know that there is an art to welding correctly and safely. Remember that butt welding is a more effective process than lap welding. The welding machine must also be set to the lowest power so that big holes don’t form easily. This is especially relevant since thicker metal pieces aren’t nearly as susceptible to warping or heat distortion. Lastly, the importance of safety cannot be understated, so remember to wear proper eyewear and safety gloves to avoid exposure to UV radiation and fumes.

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