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Well, hello there to you all. Today we are entering into the ‘world of welding.’ Let us take a look at six of the best welders for auto bodywork. The machines we are taking a look at here are more aimed at the home hobbyist welder rather than the professional.
If you are restoring a classic car, have some rust issues on your daily driver to sort out, or you just want a welder for those jobs that arise as and when. Then one of these welding machines should suit you.
So, let’s find out which is the best welder for auto bodywork for you…
- Top 6 Best Welders For Auto Bodywork In 2020 Reviews
- Best Welders For Auto Bodywork Buyers Guide
- To Summarize…
- So, What Are The Best Welders For Auto Bodywork?
Top 6 Best Welders For Auto Bodywork In 2020 Reviews
1 Hobart Handler 500559 MIG Welder
Let us start by taking a look at this cracking little machine by Hobart. The Handler is a MIG only, wire feed welder. It comes ready to work with all necessary kit included with the purchase. This is a portable unit that is easy to transport, weighing in at 57 lbs. It allows you to ‘go to the job’ rather than the job come to you.
The Handler is a welder ideal for the beginner or hobbyist. It will run and operate safely off of 115V standard household electrical current, though a 20 amp circuit is recommended.
We have here a very versatile machine that is able to MIG weld mild steel from 24 gauge up to ¼ of an inch thick. So it has the perfect range for any kind of auto body repairs or indeed other projects such as exhaust systems, frameworks, fences, garden equipment and much more.
To enable the secure penetration for different gauged steel, there is a five-position voltage control selector for a smooth, stable arc ranging from 25 to 140 outage amperage.
A built-in industrial cast aluminum drive system will feed your welding wire with a speed range of 40 – 700 IPM. A heavy duty work clamp will prevent wire feed slippage giving an industrial grade performance. The MIG gun with liner is 10 foot in length as is the earth lead and power cord.
This gives you a nice long reach from your power outsource to the vehicle or components you are working on. The regulator has dual gauges to show bottle gas level, and you can control the gas outage while welding.
Supplied on purchase is a sample spool of .030 flux-cored wire however we would recommend stepping up to an 8-inch spool of which there is an adaptor included.
2 Lotus MIG Welder
Again a MIG only machine but it is well up for the job. This model will run directly from your existing wall outlets. Most suitable for welding stainless and mild steel from 18 gauge to 3/16 inches. This means we have here a welder that is fine for body panel work and for thicker steel welding such as frameworks or heavy duty chassis rails.
As an advantage, however, the Lotus MIG can also weld aluminum up to ⅛ of an inch thick. Aluminum welding is much trickier to master though, so be very careful with the voltage output to prevent just blasting holes, rather than actually welding pieces together.
We need to add that, if you require to weld aluminum, you will need a spool gun for ali’ welding which is not included in the purchase package.
…will inform you of your wire speed and voltage settings. The wire feeder is made of durable, high-quality aluminum that will firmly grip and feed the wire smoothly up to the torch.
There is an added feature of a 2T manual and a 4T semi-auto switch to the feeder drive. So, for long line welding, you can release your finger to further control the weld run. A newly designed ground cable with a quick release connector is fitted that allows for rapid changes from +/- voltage.
The wire size range is from 0.06-8 mm using flux covered cord. You can choose from 4 or 8-inch wire spools.
We recommend fitting the 8-inch spool for better economy and longer lasting usage. Both these spools incorporate a thermal overload protection system to keep the machine from working too hard and becoming too hot.
3 Forney 324 MIG/Stick/TIG Welder
This machine is able to MIG, stick and TIG weld. For the auto body repairer, it is a unit that has all the capabilities needed for the whole range of car welding repairs.
Firstly it is set up to do flux core MIG welding (gasless). But is easily switchable to run mild steel with a gas set up too. You are able to weld up to 3/16 gauge steel in a single pass but up to ⅜ gauge in a multi-pass setup. Wire spool sizes are either 4 or 8 inches.
You can change easily to stick electrodes, and a stinger and ground clamp is included for this setup. The unit can weld with electrode diameters from 1/8 up to 5/32 inches maximum.
For TIG welding you will need a tungsten inert gas process which is sold separately. TIG is very good for panel and bodywork welding because of the low heats used. This vastly reduces the risks of distortion to the panel you are working on.
TIG is difficult to master but once you have it, is an excellent method for auto-body panel work. So, even though you need to purchase some extra components, we feel for the serious welder this is a great option to have in place.
With a 190MP the Forney can be used with standard 115V (15 amps) or also 220V (50 amps). A digital readout displays the output current and arc voltage, allowing for your own judgment of power outage to weld different gauges of steel.
…will allow the machine to optimize the arc. This, in turn, minimizes spatter and produces a higher quality weld.
A Euro-connect style fitment alleviates your torch issues. Removal and quick switching between torches makes for easy weld style changes.
4 Metal Man Inverter 80 Stick Welder
The Metal Man machine is firstly and most predominantly a stick welder. There is however the option for TIG welding using this machine, though the equipment needed for a TIG set up is sold separately.
This is a nice, small and light piece of kit with a shoulder strap provided, so it is a fully portable unit. It weighs in at just 13.18 lbs. The machine is an 80 amp DC inverter stick welder that uses 120V with 60hz of input power, running through a dedicated 20A line.
This makes the Inverter 80 a most suitable unit for do-it-yourself projects and light maintenance welding. The arc is trigger activated only that will allow for a smooth weld run.
It is able to use all sizes of DC electrodes up to 3/32 of an inch in diameter. A nice touch is the hot start feature that helps to get the electrodes started easier and to avoid sticking. The unit features a cooling fan and thermal overload protection so you won’t go burning the motor out in a hurry.
This is not a commercial spec machine, but for DIY use at home, this is a great little package.
5 Suncoo 130 MIG Welder
Suncoo offers you this heavy duty gasless Mig welder from their range. A nice sturdy unit that is compact and most durable to the hazards of a workshop environment. This is a machine aimed more towards the serious hobbyist or even the professional welder.
It is still a portable unit that is small and easily moved around your workshop. There is an easy to adjust dial for wire feeding speed. The current-voltage is controlled with minimum, medium and maximum switch settings.
The wire is cored and has a self-release metal-inert gas feed in place while welding. This aims to prevent oxidation of the welded parts. For good solid MIG welding, this machine calls all the shots. It can weld steel up to 3/16 of an inch gauge.
There are some neat safety features incorporated into this machine too. It has an overheat protection system in place. If welding temperatures exceed the critical value, the output is immediately cut off, and the cooling fan will kick into play.
Once at an acceptable level normal control is resumed. An overload protection will prevent the machine from exceeding its rated capacity. Insulation protection protects the inner circuit boards. The metal bodywork is insulated and earthed to prevent electric shocks being passed to the user while welding.
Lastly, an overcurrent protection is in play to ensure currents do not cause damage to the machine. Two side mounted air vents with an electric fan fitted will keep the machine’s core temperature safe and stable.
The Suncoo 130 is a nimble little machine with on/off trigger for weld control on the torch. For bodywork repairs, this is an able machine. Gasless welding is convenient too because you don’t have the added concern of lugging a gas bottle and regulator about. Just plug in and weld away.
6 Hit-Box TIG-stick Welding Machine
The last machine we’ll look at in this review is the Hit-Box TIG Welder. You are also able to stick weld with this machine. It comes complete with a 200 amp IGBT TIG torch, earth clamp, electrode holder and a gas tube.
IGBT is a newly adapted inverter technology that when compared to MOS technology shows this method dramatically reduces breakdowns. It will give good, stable performance up to a frequency of 100KHZ. This is a DC only machine.
TIG welding with this machine produces a light arc ignition with a good high frequency for easy starting. Thus providing limited splattering while giving you a nice smooth running weld. Currents remain stable to allow for good shaping during your run.
Argon gas supports the TIG process and can weld from 1/16 to 2/8 of an inch thick steel. This is a very good range and means you can weld some good thick metal together with a nice weld finish.
The Hit-box is a machine that is quick and easy to set up for use. It is most suitable for a hobby welder to operate for any special projects that you may have planned. But, for long operating periods, day in, day out this may not be the machine for you.
A gas regulator and pipe fittings we would like to point out are not supplied, so they need to be purchased separately. But it is a good unit that operates very well.
Best Welders For Auto Bodywork Buyers Guide
There you have it, a quick look at six of the best welders for auto bodywork on the market right now. So, we have given you an idea of these six machines capabilities. Now, let us inform you about what we feel is important to look out for when you are choosing a new welder…
First off, you need to think about what you plan or aim to be welding and understand the main three welding types offered from these machines.
This is the most common method of welding auto bodywork. Most machines will be able to weld all thicknesses of metalwork found in a car’s construction. MIG is able to weld structural chassis repairs as well as thinner panel bodywork steel.
The issue with MIG welding is a lot of heat is fed into the welded areas through the electrical current. So for bodywork patch repairs, you need to work slowly and steadily keeping the steel’s temperature to a minimum.
If it gets too hot or is welded too quickly, then the panel will distort. This then results in vast amounts of bondo needed to fill over your work. The less of that used, the better.
This is becoming a much more popular used procedure. However, a great deal of skill is needed to be successful at TIG welding. But with practice and perseverance, you can have good results with TIG.
It will cope with all thicknesses of car bodywork though is mostly preferred to be used on panel work. The reason being it is the opposite of MIG welding. Very little heat is passed into the sheet metal which in turn means no heat distortion to large flat panels.
TIG welding, once mastered has a very neat finish, and little excess is left to grind off after welding.
Now, stick welding is a little different. Rather than a wire being fed and an electric current to the vehicle creating an arc to weld, with stick welding you use a stick, ha, funny that!!
But seriously, you have a rod called an electrode that creates the weld as you arc the metal. Stick welding is strong and very good for thicker gauge metals such as auto chassis repairs. However, you will not be able to weld panel bodywork.
The electric current will just blow holes in the thinner steel. Stick welding is really much more suited to handyman welding jobs of a scale larger than car bodywork.
So, now we have established that we hope it has helped you to consider which type of machine to go for. Just bear this in mind…
MIG is the most popular and versatile method for auto bodywork and has a medium skill level
TIG can cope with all auto steel thicknesses but is the most difficult to master. It is a very awkward method to use in tight or underneath areas.
Stick welding is really suited to thicker gauge steel only. It cannot be used on regular bodywork.
Well, we hope you have followed all of that, and it has given you an insight into the different styles of welding you can use on a machine suited for home use.
So, What Are The Best Welders For Auto Bodywork?
There we are then. A brief guide to the ‘ins and outs’ of welding and a look at six of the best welders for auto bodywork currently available.
In our opinion, we would suggest opting for a machine that has the capabilities to do all three types of welding. So the Best Welder for Auto Bodywork is the…
This is because it fits the bill, being able to do MIG, stick, and TIG. Making it a good machine that would be a great addition to any guys workshop.
If you are going with a MIG system, our choice of the Best Welder for Auto Bodywork would be the…
A nice piece of kit. Suitable for all kinds of auto bodywork repairs, it has the added bonus of being able to do aluminum welding too, though extra accessories will be needed.
The choice is now yours. We hope this has given you an insight into the ‘world of welding.’ Until next time, see ya.