Re: Old dog learns new trick...Welding!
The photos tell it all. Starting out with what looked to me like an almost hopeless situation...
I set the Hobart on the lowest amperage and wire speed settings. I also cut off some small diameter all thread sections and with vice grips clamped one into the void on the chain stay. ZZZT and some more ZZZT. Then clamped another and another. The fender stay repair only required one.
I never did allow the frame to get very hot and tried to be very careful about that. After each spurt of welding I cleaned up the spatter with the wire brush. Once the welds began to build up I also did some grinding with the side grinder to tell how the fill was going. In between the welding I worked on the gas tank and stripping the paint off the frame in preparation for paint.
Eventually I decided enough was enough. I'm very pleased with the repair and confident that the frame was not weakened by my welding and that the repair is sound. Time well spent as my Panther lives again!
The palm sander blew up as I was nearly done sanding the gas tank. Black and Decker, which used to be made in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. Who knows where this one was made. I can do the rest with a little block sander by hand. Can't decide if I should leave the edges super crisp or round them off a bit. Bondo is pretty fragile stuff where it's thin, so I think I better round the edges.
Thank you guys for the welding repair tips and good advice on the gas tank, too. The Panther will have new paint pretty soon and a spiffy new gas tank in the frame. Is welding cool or what! Wohoo!
Someday when I grow up I will probably lose interest in toys with wheels, but until then...