For welding sheetmetal a MIG is the only way to go. I just bought a Hobart Handler 135 and it's awesome. MIG welding is very easy to do but it's also very easy to make a weld that looks good but doesn't hold a thing. Getting proper penetration takes a bit of practice. Welding sheetmetal can be done with an arc welder but it takes a lot of skill to do it well. Use a MIG with solid wire and argon/CO2 mix for best results. I really dont like flux core wire.
I've welded a fair bit of sheetmetal with oxy/acetylene and that works well but is slow and takes lots of practice too.
Definately a Mig. Arc welders have to be real low or you'll burn thru an if its to lowm, it wont fuse. Plug weld the floors, get a scrap piece and practise lots before you tackle it, and get a welder book, and read it. Once you get good at it, you will ALWAYS find use for the welder. I broke my kids swingset just so I could weld it,lol.
Also, buy a good MIG (with the gas feed)welder, preferably the best you can afford. You will not regret spending a little too much, but you WILL regret not spending enough. Make sure to buy a brand name, like Century, Hobart, Miller or Lincoln. The Lincoln SP-135 is a great little welder, my friend has one, and I like it better than my 220V Century. Cost @ $500. BTW, if you're wondering if this thing will last, a well known oil pan manufacturer uses this exact welder in a production environment.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Hemikiller on 3/19/02 11:51am ]</font>
Mig is the best way to go, even more so if you are just learning to weld. And i also agree that solid wire/argon/CO2 mixture is the best, but if you are goingto do all or a lot of your welding outside and it is windy a flux filled wire is better. The wind can blow the argon away from your weld. I live in a windy part of the country, and use a solid wire welder. Quite often i wish i had a flux core wire because of welding outdoors in windy conditions. But there is no doubt about it, I love my Mig Welder
Definately the Mig. As soon as your done the florpan, you will notice (as many of us have) that there are so many things you can now build. Chilly' engine stand, I have tranny stand, crank-cart(8 cranks) plus the kids built the window bars (needed to protect the mig)
I'd look for a good used one if you are on a budget. I found my miller (mig) for $150 with tank and cart! Works great! I'd also stick with the 110V for portability. Unless you know for sure you are not going to be dragging it around. The 220V units do work a lot better and have longer duty cycles, but not as portable.
I also prefer the MIG/MAG way .
It is easy to learn and a beginner will have good results very fast .
(after welding the colour of the welded material changes its colour (at thin metals)
it has to be on both sides to make a healthy weld.)
I like all this welding toys.
electric is the best for thick metal,
MIG/MAG is easy and good for middle to thin materials (also to bring some metal on a part)
My lovlyest is the WIG welding, it is the one and only for thin materials, but you may have a special welding-shield because you need both hands !
Miller is pretty much the "Cadillac" of the welding world. But, you can't go wrong with most name brands, as long as you use gas and stay away from the flux-core wire. Some good names are Lincoln, Hobart and Century.
110 Volt machines are very handy and quite portable, plus weld up to 1/4". It's very rare to need to weld anything thicker than this on a car... and it's a lot easier to find a 110V plug-in than a 220V.
I have a 220V Century unit, and the higher power works well with the larger diameter wires recommended for thicker metals. Just figure out what works well for YOUR needs.
Not sure if this would work in your situation, but I took a class at the local community college....cost like 25 bucks for 4 classes. Worked for me. Nothin fancy, just the basics of oxy and mig/arc welding. they offered a tig class too I think. Sometimes, the welding supply house will hold classes too. The one by my house had a "basics of welding seminar" for like 10 bucks for the materials on a sunday afternoon. can't beat that.