File Finish Panel Van Window Repair/Fill

Paint, bodywork and fabrication discussion.

File Finish Panel Van Window Repair/Fill

by Ray » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:22 pm

So, I thought I would do a small write up on filling in the windows on my panel van.

Id like to start by saying that I am by no means an expert on panel beating but I do have a strong desire to learn and have a crack at just about anything. I strongly believe that anyone is capable of doing stuff like this, experience should only impact the time a job takes, not the result.

Each side took me approximately 15 hours... probably double the time of someone with experience.

I have been working as a sheet metal worker/ vehicle body builder for the past 9 years which gave me exposure to TIG welding and finishing stainless steel to mirror result. But i had never done anything like this...

Now, If I had just jumped straight into it, I would have used the MIG with the logic that lots of quick tacks would have given less heat, and less distortion blah blah blah... But... I spend manny nights looking for articles on the internet and youtube videos explaining pros and cons of MIG and most avenues all lead to the TIG.

I also got a hold of veteran of this site, who's work I had admired for years and who's opinion I hold in high regard. I won't mention any names but this guy knows who he is and I'm not entirely sure he cares much for public notoriety...

Anyway, the advice I was given was without a doubt to use the TIG. Which to be honest didn't really surprise me, but what did strike me as odd was he told me to use no filler wire... now anyone who has TIG welded will understand the difference between using filler rod and fusion welding.
I would have thought that fusing the panels together would have lead to bad undercut and poor results. But that was not the case.

Trusting the advice I was given, I set out on my way. With each Picture, ill explain what I'm trying to show in the picture.

I brought these magnets on eBay, I got a pack of 15-20 or something for $15... They are 15mm x 5mm magnets, with a 5mm counter sunk hole.. quite strong rating. N50 or something I believe, just about the strongest rating you can get. Also this picture shows all the prep work in around the window and the surround area...
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This image shows a mirroring of the prep work on the inside... Prepping mild steel is important especially when fusing with the TIG, any contaminates will create porosity in the weld..
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The patch panel is made from 0.9mm cold rolled sheet. I just matched the original panel thickness. At this stage, i'm just doing a very rough cut to size.
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Once rough cut, I spent a bit of time shaping the patch, just over my knee and enough to get the patch into the correct shape.
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I got this large sharpie from Bunnings, I'm essentially using this as marking Blue
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I then sharpened up a piece of tungsten form the TIG torch to use as a scribe, because with all my fancy tools, i don't own a scribe :cry:
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This gave me a very thin line to cut my patch.
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Using anything you have, cut the patch as close to your line as you can... to be able to successfully fuse the entire patch, you MUST have ZERO gap... this took me about 1-2 hours trimming very little at a time. but the time spent here will save you time later.
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you can see here the magnets allow me to position the patch level to the surface, and have zero gap.
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this is small amount of surface rust.... that will cause issue when fusing... that ill introduce contaminants for sure...
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use an orbital sander or similar to clean the panel then wipe over acetone before starting to tack into place.
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This shows Zero gap and how nice and small a TIG tack can be.
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Tack 180 degrees apart much similar to how you do up head bolts... keep tacking until you have a tack every 20mm.
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once all tacked... I fused the entire panel, the advice i was given was to NOT do small sections and stagger the welding but to start and go all the way around in one go. so thats what i did. This creates a nice even heat effected zone and all shrinkage is even and consistent.
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once welded, there is no more heat needed... no grinding just coat the panel with marking blue. or colour in with a sharpie and start with a panel file, hammer and dolly until its all done..
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Re: File Finish Panel Van Window Repair/Fill

by EJ_VE_EH » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:42 pm

Thanks for taking the time to write this up.
Splendid results!
I'll bear all this in mind if I ever pluck up the courage to do mine.
Rgds.
 
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Re: File Finish Panel Van Window Repair/Fill

by purr_pul_eh » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:20 pm

nice job very well done
 
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Re: File Finish Panel Van Window Repair/Fill

by 59wagon » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:54 pm

"once all tacked... I fused the entire panel, the advice i was given was to NOT do small sections and stagger the welding but to start and go all the way around in one go. so thats what i did. This creates a nice even heat effected zone and all shrinkage is even and consistent."

Hi Ray, thanks for the tutorial. When you fused the entire panel in one hit, did you still "spot" weld like you'd do with MIG, waiting a second or two between tacks, or was it a continuous weld?

Cheers,

John
 
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Re: File Finish Panel Van Window Repair/Fill

by Ray » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:03 pm

Continuous fusion weld with the TIG, set at about 30 Amps. This is not a method that could be replicated with a MIG in any way.


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