Metal inert gas and the MIG welder has made it pretty dang easy for the beginner to be able to do some welding. Since these welders are a point and shoot type of design, all you have to do is pull a trigger and focus on moving the molten puddle at the right speed. That is, if you get the settings correct. If you read the feature "Jed's Juggernaut" in this issue, then you know the car is loaded with a full cage, custom back half, and hand fabricated suspension components. These are all things that needed a welder and a ton of expertise to accomplish. We were lucky enough to meet the actual fabricator of those components, Mike Larabell from Larabell's Racecars in Eureka, Missouri. Mike took us to his shop to show off some of the projects he was working on when we got an idea. Since it takes nothing more than practice to create a good bead once the welder is properly set, we asked Mike to show us the basic process of setting up the welder. Being that kind of nice guy, Mike stopped what he was doing, broke out some scrap pieces, and gave us the skinny on setting up his Lincoln 216 Power MIG welder. If you think welding is still out of your grasp after reading this, there are still other options. You can go to Lincoln Electric's website and sign up for one of the welding classes they offer, or just pay someone like Mike to do the job for you. 1 One of the simplest welding projects most of Super Chevy readers are going to encounter will be a rollbar. While exhaust tubing is probably more common, it's a bit harder to practice on because it's so thin. The thicker material of rollbar tubing is a bit more forgiving. Here is a typical rollbar set up you will need if your hardtop car runs at/below 11.49, or if you have a convertible running 13.49s or quicker. Anything faster than a 10 second E/T, and you'll need a certified cage. There is one more bar not shown in the picture, which is the driver's side door bar that runs from the seatbelt bar down to the kick panel area. These DIY rollbar kits can be picked up from Chris Alston's Chassisworks, pre-bent and ready for you to weld together. 1 One of the simplest welding projects most of Super Chevy readers are going to encounter 2 Besides some sort of cutting implement like a Sawzall, chop saw, or cut off wheel, you are going to need a drill motor and some sort of fixture to notch the tube to create what they call a fish mouth cut, which will be necessary to join the tubing properly. You can get one from places like Harbor Freight or Summit Racing. 2 Besides some sort of cutting implement like a Sawzall, chop saw, or cut off wheel, you 3 At minimum you are going to want a good welding helmet, a pair of diagonal cutters, and some welding gloves. A set of welding sleeves or a full welding jacket aren't a bad idea either. 3 At minimum you are going to want a good welding helmet, a pair of diagonal cutters, and 4 When you get your rollbar kit, look at the specs of the tubing. With that information you can use the settings guide under the door of the welder to get your initial settings pretty dang close. 4 When you get your rollbar kit, look at the specs of the tubing. With that information y 5 After you have made you fish mouth cut and dressed the edge a little with a grinder, you want to approach the area to be welded like this. With the tip aimed directly at the joint, you will be traveling down the tubing. 5 After you have made you fish mouth cut and dressed the edge a little with a grinder, yo 6 If you are reading this, then we suspect this it's your first time using a welder. We suggest practicing on a few pieces of scrap to get the hang of how the gun works, the speed at which you'll need to drag it, and of course to see if your initial settings are correct. 6 If you are reading this, then we suspect this it's your first time using a welder. We s 7a If you have everything right, the welding process will give off a consistent crackling sound... 7a If you have everything right, the welding process will give off a consistent crackling 7b...and leave behind a nice smooth bead. But, if your bead looks like this, go back and make sure you have the gas on. 7b ...and leave behind a nice smooth bead. But, if your bead looks like this, go back and 8 Try again... 9 If the weld looks like this--mostly on top of the surface with very little heat discoloration on the side--then it could be one of two settings causing the issue. The wire speed is too fast, or your heat is too low. 9 If the weld looks like this--mostly on top of the surface with very little heat discolo 10 If the gun feels like it's pushing back in your hand with considerable force while welding, you might have the wire speed to high for how fast you are welding. Turn it down a half setting and try again, until you find the right speed for you. If you end up slowing down the wire speed too much, the welder will stutter and almost weld in pulses. 10 If the gun feels like it's pushing back in your hand with considerable force while wel 11 If the gun feels fine and doesn't really push back, then you need to turn up the heat. Now pull the trigger one more time. Again, just go one setting higher each attempt. If you finally get to a point where you instantly blow a hole in the tubing then you know the heat is too high. The idea is to get the perfect balance of wire speed and heat till your bead looks like... 11 If the gun feels fine and doesn't really push back, then you need to turn up the heat. 12 ...This! As you can see the bead is pretty flat and has a nice heat soak mark, which shows you're getting good penetration into the metal. If you get the settings right and practice just a little, you should be able to lay a bead like this with your MIG welder. SOURCES Larabell Race Cars 314-602-2294 www.facebook.com/larabell.racecars Lincoln Welders 216-481-8100 www.lincolnelectric.com By Calin Head Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!