If you have a snazzy four-wheel-drive vehicle that is missing something, a little time on your hands, and some novice welding skills, creating a custom steel bumper is not as difficult as you may expect. In fact, most people who have access to materials and a welder could create a custom bumper to outfit their ride with a little research, time, and effort. While building a steel bumper from rods and plates is fairly straightforward no matter what type of vehicle you drive, there are a few good tips to keep in mind when you are using a welding machine to put the thing together.
Make the more detailed welds first.
Making the bumper will involve using mostly steel plates and tubing that has been properly bent to the size specifications of your vehicle. However, there can be some small tack welds that will be used to hold smaller joints together. Even though you may be tempted to start with the bigger welds first and get them out of the way, it is usually better to start with the smaller, more detailed welds. Securing these small welds first prevents you having to weasel your way into tight areas once the bigger components are welded together.
Using a TIG welder is usually the best choice.
TIG welding machines work really well to give you a nice, smooth weld that doesn't look bumpy or spotty once it is dry. This is because the TIG welder has the ability to send continued heat instead of pulsed heat when the welder is in use. Because of this function, building your bumper with a TIG welder is going to give you a more professional appearance when all is complete, especially if you plan to leave the bumper in its plain metal state.
You will need extra hands to help you with the build.
Even though the parts you will be working with are going to be pretty lightweight on their own, once you start piecing together rods and plates, the bumper is going to get heavy. As you weld, the bumper will need to have a good support system in place, and as you move the bumper, it needs to be properly supported on all sides. It is always best to enlist the help of a person or two to help you with the process of moving the bumper as you work on welding different parts.