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Gary Fri Jun 23, 2006 6:55 am

The more I cut up cars for parts, the more I take care to use a surgical approach. The Karmann Ghia presents challenges, because many of the spot welds are around complex curves, which requires using a rotary file on a high speed cutter to grind the spot welds. On flat panels, I would prefer to use a spot weld cutter. Drilling is an option, but it's too time consuming, plus drill bits have a tendency to walk, which botches the job.

I have one of these cutters and I find that it's useless:


This cutter is advertised by Eastwood as self centering, plus it breaks the weld on the top panel, saving the bottom panel from damage:


Can anyone give me a solid recommendation for Eastwood's cutter? I figure that, with a panel knife, will make panel removal/salvage much easier.

Matt K. Fri Jun 23, 2006 7:14 am

Icy, i have both, the second one is not Eastwood's but along the same lines. I t does well for the most part but it will sometimes walk around before it gets started, maybe Eastwood's model is somewhat different.

Alot of times i will just use a regular drill bit a little larger than the spot weld and most of the time it will take off the top of the weld and leave a little a little divot for the new weld.

diy570 Fri Jun 23, 2006 3:05 pm

yeah, those bits pictured at the top are not that great. i use bits very similar to the ones in the lower picture. we get ours from wurth and they are very expensive, but the shop buys them so it works out. the most important thing when using those bits is to use a low speed, high torque drill. when you run those bits fast, it ruins the centering tip rendering the rest of the bit worthless.

John Kelly Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:43 am

About ten years ago I used two different brands of the type pictured at the top. The ones made in China were absolute crap. The ones made in the US were more expensive but lasted a lot longer....so they were actually less expensive per spot weld, funny how that works. I've never tried the bottom one, but it looks like winner.

John www.ghiaspecialties.com

i_want_a_pre_49_ratbeetle Sun Jun 25, 2006 3:16 pm

I have used many various cutters snap-on, blue point, cheapo hole saw cutters & my personal favorite is the wurth cutters still have a few from shop that bought them in big quantities. as far as self centering feature I still prefer to use a second drill with a 1/8" bit to give a pilot hole Ihave broken many tips off the self centering bits.

here is the wurth website www.wurthusa.com in body shop under drill bits spot weld bits... in my opinion these are the best in the industry

if im cutting the panel off of where metal doesnt matter underneath I use 2 drills 1 with a standard 1/8" drill bit the other with either a 5/16" or 3/8" bit. it saves on wear on the cutters if I dont care if I drill all the way through because metal under would be scrap. but if you need to reuse panel then use a cutter not a bit
Randy

diy570 Sun Jun 25, 2006 3:29 pm

i_want_a_pre_49_ratbeetle wrote: as far as self centering feature I still prefer to use a second drill with a 1/8" bit to give a pilot hole Ihave broken many tips off the self centering bits.




also instead of drilling the 1/8 pilot hole thru both layers, i just use a punch to indent the spot weld and it seems to work well for the centering tip. it's quicker and no hole thru the inner panel.

i_want_a_pre_49_ratbeetle Sun Jun 25, 2006 3:52 pm

irievolks wrote: i_want_a_pre_49_ratbeetle wrote: as far as self centering feature I still prefer to use a second drill with a 1/8" bit to give a pilot hole Ihave broken many tips off the self centering bits.




also instead of drilling the 1/8 pilot hole thru both layers, i just use a punch to indent the spot weld and it seems to work well for the centering tip. it's quicker and no hole thru the inner panel.

very good point & for most part will work great. I have just been around too many american cars with multi layers of metal welded together & also tight quarters where you need angle drills & probably couldnt get a decent swing to center punch so I tend to forget easy steps. I by habbit usually just use 2 drills & either a bit or a cutter depending on whether im saving lower panels & if doing plug welds with a mig you will be plugging the 1/8" holes but it is best not to have them..

I miss 1 old shop I worked at they had old style spot welders 2 15 foot cables with gun attachments at both ends you held both & pulled trigger.... did a very nice job compared with all other spot welders I have tried.. but most places I have worked at just plug holes with mig welding
Randy

poky69 Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:20 pm

That eastwood spotweld drill can also be made at home. I have done this several times with great success. You must buy one to use as a sort of template, after which you can make your own very cheaply on a fine bench grinder. Just use an old drill bit of the size you want and cut it back to the part with no spirals, then grind the angles in it just like on the eastwood cutter. Its way cheaper, and I've found it works great.

vogel22 Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:46 pm

I have used both with mixed results. The top spot cutter is only good if you are going to use both the original pieces, otherwise its a large plug weld. These break really easy and need to be used at a low rpm.

The Eastwood cutters are much better but again you will have problems with them walking.

I would agree that the best I have used is a regular titanium drill bit and a sharpening tool. For the money involved in the cutters, better results are achieved with a standard bit. I also bought a depth stop that ataches to the bit to make sure that I do not drill straight through. I have dismanttled most of my car in this manner with very good results.

coW Sat Jul 01, 2006 8:42 am

I use the bottom one. Eastwood has a deal for two different sizes at a reduced price.

They work well enough, but you will have a problem if you need to get into a tight spot because the drill head may get in the way.
To make it work, I got a bit extender at home depot - the ones you'd normally use for spade bits - and drilled it out to fit this bit.

It works well now, if you can keep the bit from walking.

i_want_a_pre_49_ratbeetle Sat Jul 01, 2006 6:56 pm

tight quarters...
first i have an 1/2" 90 degree angle drill & short cutters if that wont get to it....

well i have a few weird things i may do to get to a spot weld
1 i have a 1/4" drill chuck that is hex drive for use like with cordless screwdrivers... & for a few idead use a taped 1/4" swivel or even 2 the taping keeps them from swiveling
a cut down 5/16" drill bit with shank cut to fit the 1/4" chuck
also use a 1/4" air ratchet with the hex adapter & chuck to get into tight quarters
last they have a spring swivel for use with 1/4" usually 6 inches long looks like a spring & use chuck on that..
P.S. USE A GLOVE ON YOUR HANDS IF YOU TRY THIS... & only use the low speed devices not a high speed drill.. SAFETY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT..
yes this will cut slow but it gets me into most of the tight quarters where nothing else would &where you normally would need to damage panel & chisel the spot weld
Randy

YellowSplittie Fri Jul 07, 2006 1:31 pm

I bought the Eastwood cutter about 10 years ago. It sucked. It cut about 5 welds before it became so dull it was useless. I called Eastwood up and they refunded my purchase price. Maybe they've improved the durability since then.

I've tried the cutters at the top, also. I found them to last longer than the Eastwood.

Naked Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:32 am

This is what I have for panel removal ,and it uses bits similar to the bottom one in the og post. Whats great about it is low rpm/high torque and when you pull the trigger it "engages" the bit and it can be set to go as deep as you need it too. So it will cut only through the first panel. And it doesnt wear you out as much as a regular drill.There pricey but worth it. The bits get worn out but I remember finding a place that sharpened them for like a $1ea dont remember the name though, if I find it I'll post it. Bodymen at my shop just chuck them when there done so I have about 20 or so of Wurth and Kent ones.




http://206.117.149.144/acb2/showdetl.cfm?DID=6&Product_ID=30&CATID=3


I found one Astro makes similar one to it, about 1/2 the price.

http://www.mytoolstore.com/astro/astmat04.html#ast1755

i_want_a_pre_49_ratbeetle Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:34 am

Naked wrote: This is what I have for panel removal ,and it uses bits similar to the bottom one in the og post. Whats great about it is low rpm/high torque and when you pull the trigger it "engages" the bit and it can be set to go as deep as you need it too. So it will cut only through the first panel. And it doesnt wear you out as much as a regular drill.There pricey but worth it. The bits get worn out but I remember finding a place that sharpened them for like a $1ea dont remember the name though, if I find it I'll post it. Bodymen at my shop just chuck them when there done so I have about 20 or so of Wurth and Kent ones.




http://206.117.149.144/acb2/showdetl.cfm?DID=6&Product_ID=30&CATID=3


I found one Astro makes similar one to it, about 1/2 the price.

http://www.mytoolstore.com/astro/astmat04.html#ast1755


these seem very very nice never used one though reason i never bought 1 they wont work for alot of the welds...
if i found myself needing to drill alot of spot welds that are at a seam where you can get the clamp in & the deep clamp would be what i would purchase if i was going to buy one then i would believe they would be great..

couple weeks ago i spent over 12 hours just drilling spot welds & for most part one of these wouldnt work

im not trying to put the tool down I believe it has a good purpose just not the best for me because of the clamp limiting its use but that is what makes it so unique & gives it a purpose for all the seams...
Randy

Naked Thu Jul 13, 2006 8:41 am

Honestly I have never cut a panel off an older VW,but I should of posted that the Clamps are removable and can be used with out them also. You can purchase larger clamps. No need to buy a different drill for each clamp.

i_want_a_pre_49_ratbeetle Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:47 am

removeable makes them better.. & different clamps i can see helping
the only advantage of using it without the clamp would be the low speed?
& high cost of it for a drill?

when im using my air drills i have a cheap brass air regulator on them it restricts the air flow & you can dial the speed you need & it make a variable speed out of a 1 speed drill when you first pull trigger it will be fast then it will slow to airflow... & i use 2 drills to cut spot welds 1 with a cutter or bit the other drill with a 1/8" bit for drilling pilot holes i find it quicker..im not advocating cheap tools just best value for buck & purpose...
chaep tools cost more in long run when have to replace broken tools & can be dangerous...

if im not around an air supply i use 2 ecletric variable speed drills & dial speed setting to a slow speed so wont over heat the bit.

i pretty much work on what ever comes in not only vw's right now working at a restoration shop working on muscle cars.. mustangs, cudas, challengers, thunderbirds, corvettes, camaros, etc..
also help out at local vw shop & hope to have me a vw shop & salvage yard in near future... up to 8 bay windows, 1 vanagon, 5 beetles, 1 type 3 fasty. & growing...
Randy

diy570 Thu Jul 13, 2006 2:30 pm

the spot weld drills are nice. i have a spotle which is similar to what you pictured, but inline. one thing i really like about them is that they make it nearly impossible for you to destroy a bit (as long as you use quality bits). the bad thing is that they are $400+ for a decent set up and limited in use. if you are a hobbyist it's probably not worth your money.

diy570 Fri Jul 14, 2006 3:58 pm

i was cuttiing off some parts today at work and figured i would snap a picture of the tools i mainly use for removing panels which are spot welded on. the drill on top is my spotle, it's similar to the drill posted above, but less versatile (the clamp cannot be removed to use the drill as a regular drill). bottom left is a cut off tool which is good for grinding off the spot weld if you are only removing the top layer panel and do not plan on re-using it. i will still most of the time use the spotle or regular drill w/ spot weld bit if it's not tight quarters because the sparks that the cutoff wheel throws are annoying and not to mention that they will etch uncovered glass on the car you are working on or the car next to you. the 3 bits at the bottom right are a kent 8mm, a wurth 8mm, and a wurth 10mm. all those are pretty much overkill for an old vw spot weld, but 6mm's are available from the same companies. my spotle came with 3 size bits and chucks, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm. the 6mm work good for old vw's, but still a little big.


wheel607 Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:54 pm

[quote="YellowSplittie"]I bought the Eastwood cutter about 10 years ago. It sucked. It cut about 5 welds before it became so dull it was useless. I called Eastwood up and they refunded my purchase price. Maybe they've improved the durability since then.

Eastwood cutters still are JUNK....a BIG waste of money unless you have only 5 or less welds to drill

slow36hp Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:05 pm

http://www.blairequipment.com/Spotweld_Cutters/Spotweld_Cutters.html rocks and under 20$ 3/8" works great and works like a lazer



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