We stopped over at Melendez Restorations of Rancho Cucamonga, CA., where they were working on a 1964 Impala. While we were visiting them, they caught our attention as they were in the process of beginning welding on a 1964 Impala. They decided to mold up several of the factory seams to allow the paint to flow. In order to accomplish this, they showed us the shop’s latest acquisition; the MillerMatic 180. This Auto-Set machine is an all-in-one wire welder that welds 24 gauge – 5/16 inch (0.8 – 7.9 mm) mild steel. This makes this machine perfect for several types of build jobs, from sheet metal replacement to our fender molding in this month’s feature.
Since we happened to be at the shop when they were about to start, they allowed us to view how they welded up the front fenders. Now follow along, as the pros of Melendez Restorations show us their welding skills using Miller’s latest sheet metal welder, the MillerMatic 180.
1. This 1964 Impala original fender came as a two-piece fender.
2. We decided to mold it and make it look like a one-piece fender, in order to make the fender look longer. The two-pieces were lined up in bare metal before they were welded together.
3. The first thing to secure when welding on anything is to have a good ground.
4. Gilbert dialed in the MillerMatic 180 and started spot welding.
5. To keep the metal from warping, the fender was tack welded in sections.
6. To cool off the metal, the crew simply used air.
7. Once the welds had been finished in sections, they were grinded down using a Makita grinder.
8. The fender should look as if it is all one piece before any of the bodywork is added to it.
9. A thin coat of fiberglass and kitty hair was used to reinforce the weld, and to also make sure that the metal didn’t crack.
10. Once the bodywork was finished, it was sealed with primer for its final block.