how to make jeeptent

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For the complete beginner.

Learn to Arc Weld in 10 minutes by
following this simple guide.   

Make your own tent for the Jeep Cherokee XJ. 

To make the tent for the Jeep Cherokee XJ in an afternoon, you will need a small arc welder, sometimes called an "inverter arc welder" and some 2.5mm diameter electrode rods, a welding helmet, gloves, chipping hammer and wire brush. I have taught all ages, even my own son learned to arc weld at 10 years old.

The skill is a steady hand. 

arc welding lesson

This simple guide describes “How to Arc-Weld Item [L] the jeeptent roof support socket, to Item [A], the jeeptent Roof support right, using a 90 amp minimum Arc Welder, or better still you could buy or hire a small Arc Welder Inverter for the day. 

                                  Now to start welding:

      First clamp two bits of 2mm square tube together ( A and L ) on a flat steel plate   so they form a 90 degree
      angle at the join. See photograph below.

         Place the earth clamp onto the item you are welding.
         Put a 2.5 mm 6013 general purpose electrode in the handle and bend the rod            down 20%, at the handle end.

         Switch the welder on, set it to 80 amps, please note that the handle holding            the welding rod must not touch the earth clamp.  Keep both apart or they will            spark.

      Pull the welding helmet down over your eyes and tap/scratch the rod in the               groove where they join furthest away from you. 
      An arc will light up now count two seconds then draw the rod away from the weld       pool
towards you, while lightly touching the metal keep the rod in the groove

                                                                 at 45 degrees on both planes like below.

jeeptent welding


The rod will melt very quickly and reduce down in length.
The latest good quality rods allow you to lightly touch the metal whilst keeping a small gap between the metal and tip of the electrode. Bias more towards item [A] , as it has thick sides, a 25mm length run of weld will take 6 seconds. Practice by pulling a pencil along a sheet of paper over a distance of 25mm in 6 seconds.


As the rod burns down, draw the rod towards you very slowly, and push the rod “in” gently as it burns down. Move the rod away from the weld which you have just laid.This picture above shows the right angle to hold the rod at all times.

The slower you travel the better. As the rod gets shorter you will need to stop and bend the rod up a little, to keep the same angle of approximately 45 degrees or lower.
When you stop welding, pull the electrode sharply and cleanly off the job quickly.

Wearing goggles, chip off the slag coating on the weld, and then wire brush the weld to give a good finish. 

First practice weld on some 2mm thick scrap steel using 70,80 & 90 amps.

When ready to weld, clamp tube [L] at 90 degrees to tube [A] on a flat metal plate with two “G” clamps. Lift tube [L] 2mm off the plate with metal packing. It will now be positioned centrally. Attach the earth clamp from the welder directly to the job.


    The finished weld should look semi-circular, about 4mm wide and uniform,
     like this picture below right.

arc welding lessons

Check the item is square. Turn job over, clamp down tight and weld other side. Then weld the last two sides. Keep checking item is square and not tipped over at an angle.
 When cooled down Paint all bare steel with a rust proof paint, to stop any rust forming. Finnish the steel in olive green gloss but do not paint the sockets [I] [K] [P] [L]. 

       How to Arc-Weld Item [P] the leg socket to item [G1] leg bottom

  1. First practice weld on some scrap steel using 90 amps.
  2. Drill a 12mm hole in item [G1] 38mm from the end
  3. Insert item [P] to a depth of 76mm. Clamp in place squarely.
  4. Using a 2.5mm rod and 90 amps fill up the hole with weld. Lay the rod down at 40 to 30 degrees. Do the sides first then the middle. Chip slag away before each next weld or weld will fail.
  5. Finally chip off all the slag and wire brush clean.
  6. Leave the weld a little proud so it looks like a button. This will keep the strength.  File or angle grind  down.

Marking out and cutting detail of the 2012 model roof socket, this is how you
 make out and cut the joint, use a bit of spare square tube to mark the white line
      How to tell a good weld. 

A good weld should look Bright and Shiny, not dull and burnt.

It should be uniform in width and height along its length.

It should have slight ripples width ways.

It should penetrate the job and have no discernible undercut, for example it should not look like a pencil laying on a table 

It should not be thin and stringy.

It should be semi circular on the upper surface not flat

The slag should come away very cleanly, if not, this points to cheap rods, or the amps are too high.

If you were to put a test piece in the vice, and hit it with a hammer, it will not break at the weld.

Fillet and tee welds must be concave (hollow) not convex (curved out) 

Smooth Edges    



If the rod is sticking to the part you are welding,

then run through this list of solutions.


  • If the rod keeps on sticking then 99 percent of the time the amps are most probably set to low, for example 70 amps in stead of 80 amps for a 2.5mm rod.  A larger 3.25mm rod will not work at all at 70 amps, as the amps are set too low.
  • Are you welding normal mild steel, or is it a high carbon tough steel which a file will not touch. (different rods will be required if you are using high carbon steel)
  • Are you using cheap welding rods that keep sticking, that could be the problem.
  • Are the rods damp you are using, and did you keep them wrapped up in the warm, try drying them in an oven for 10 minutes. at 100 degrees do they look a horrible dark grey? and not the usual light grey dusty colour they should be.
  • Has the flux broken away from the rod tip, strike an arc up on some scrap steel to get the tip back into a square condition.
  • Up the amp setting, possibly a bit higher could improve matters while learning, go up 5 amps each time like 80 to 85 amps.
  • Change the angle of the rod, lean it down a bit more, you might be too vertical. The rod should be at 45 degrees or less, eg 35 degrees
  • Bigger rods are “less” likely to stick, e.g. 3.25mm. are better than 2.5mm.
  • You cannot use 3.25 rods on steel 2mm thick because you will burn a hole through it. Use 2.25mm rods.
  • Would sitting down to weld help, or leaning against something, or use both hands.
  • Did you “Strike up first” on a scrap piece of steel to get the rod up to working temperature. Attach this scrap steel plate directly under the earth clamp.
  • Always warm up the rod at the same angle you will finally weld at. ie 45 degrees.
  • Is the steel totally free of oil, rust and paint, if not the weld will be contaminated?
  • Is the job galvanized, if so it needs removing with an angle grinder.
  • The earth clamp must be attached to the actual steel you are welding, and the steel “angle ground” off and clean and bright.
  • Have you removed the slag before doing another weld on top of the first.
How to tell a bad weld. 
The slag will stick and not want to come off.
The weld will be thinner than 4.00 mm when using a 2.50mm rod.
The weld will not be bright, but burnt and a dull blue .
The weld will not be uniform in shape along its length.
There could be slag stuck in the weld, & splatter everywhere.

The 2012 model in its rough stage.

If the bead of weld too thin
Then change the speed or travel of the rod, most probably slow down. 

If the bead of weld is too wide.

Keep the rod steady and do not weave from side to side, try holding your breath, or move the rod a bit quicker, and do not feed in so quickly. 

If the arc flares up wildly.

Then keep a constant smaller gap between the job and the tip of the rod, you are creating too big a gap between the rod tip and work piece. Touch the job.

Are you using the right amps for the right rod, you could be using too many amps, an indication of this would be splatter beads on the job.

Are you moving the rod away from the molten pool, not into it. It is like holding the rubber on the end of a pencil and dragging the pencil along. It is also like putting mastic sealant round a bath with a mastic gun, you run away for what you lay down.

         The skill is in; 

  • Maintaining the small gap between the rod and the job, and continually quickly feeding in the rod at the same time while moving along.
  • Making your posture fluid while you breath in and out, but still keeping a steady hand.
  • The correct amp setting for the rod and steel thickness, remember a  thicker piece of steel about 3mm thick will require the amps to be turned up to 90/95 amps. Experiment on scrap steel first each time.
  • The correct angle to hold the rod, for example 45 degrees for a flat or “V” weld
  • Moving along at a very slow speed is a special skill to be learned.
  • Choosing the correct rod diameter and type of rod, e.g., general purpose, all position rods are good.
  • Always attach the earth clamp directly to the job in a clean area, not on a painted part.
  • Cleaning the steel off with a 4 ” angle grinder prior to welding is essential. A file and emery cloth is also fine to use.

Parts Laid out and "jigged up" for welding. This is the jeeptent 2012 model for
 the more advanced welder.

Here are all the Jeep tent 2012 parts laid
 out next to a shovel so you can see
 the scale, its so easy to make with very few welds.