Stud welding is a type of flash or heat welding that occurs between a fastener and a nut, and many construction professionals use stud welding guns to attach two pieces of metal together quickly. Stud welding guns can be used by homeowners or residential consumers as well, and one of the most common uses involves dent repair. Large automobile dents are often repaired at home with the use of drills, and a plunger can be slipped through the drill hole to pull out substantial indentations. However, this requires you to damage your vehicle and fill in the hole later on. You can avoid this damage if you use a stud welding gun instead. Keep reading if you want to know how to do this.
Prepare the Dent
Stud welding can only occur against a metal surface, and this means that the paint must be removed from the automotive dent first, before any welds can be made. To do this, you need to remove the primer, base coat, and enamel clear coat that sit on the car over the steel body. You need to do this without scratching the vehicle or removing paint from far outside the dent though. It is wise to sand off the paint by hand to avoid any issues. Wet sanding can also help you to avoid car damage, and so can the use of 600, 800, or 1,000 fine grit grit sandpaper made out of silicon carbide. With this paper, spray some water on the surface of your vehicle and use circular motions to remove the clear coat. Continue to spray water and replace the sandpaper as it becomes encrusted with paint.
Once you reach the steel underneath the paint, use gentle pressure to lightly buff the metal to make sure all paint is released. Use soap and water to remove paint residue and then wipe that metal clean with alcohol to make sure grease and fingerprints are released from the dent.
Use the Stud Welder
At this time, you need to purchase a stud welding gun if you do not already own one. There are special kits that you can buy for dent removal purposes. You can also look for stud welders that come with different sized electrodes and studs. Just make sure the device has either threaded or straight pin studs. The hardware also should be thin or small in diameter, since the pins will need to be released after the dent is pulled out. Also, a kit or welding device that contains a plunger or an attachment tool to pull on the studs is optimal.
After you purchase the welding device, place the correct electrode on the end that fits with the small pin studs, plug in the device, and secure one stud in the end. Place the stud near the outer left side of the dent and pull the trigger to activate the welder once the stud is in contact with the steel of the car body. Place three to seven studs, depending on the size of the dent, until you reach the right side of the damage. Set the studs in a straight horizontal line across the damage and secure them about one-quarter to one-half inch apart. Use the plunger to gently tug on each pin to release the dent from the vehicle. If you do not have a plunger, then use the claw end of a hammer or a pair of needle nose pliers.
Finishing the Job
Once the dent is released, you will be left with the studs sticking out of your vehicle. Use a pair of wire cutters or a small pair of 14" bolt cutters to cut off the pins or studs. This will leave small metal protrusions behind that can be ground down with the use of a handheld sanding tool. A large grit piece of sandpaper will likely be needed to release the metal, but be careful not to mar the body of the car.
After you are done, you will need to repaint the damaged area. Go to your local automotive repair store to purchase the primer and the clear coat. You will also need the colored paint as well. Providing the auto shop with the make, model, and year of your car may be enough to match the color, or you may need to look on your vehicle or in the manual to locate the color code that can be matched to available paint colors in the shop.
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