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yupididit
yupididit UberDork
4/18/20 10:45 a.m.

I figured I teach myself some new skills this year and welding is one of them. I've never tried it nor do I have a single thing necessary to even get started. This why I have you guys to ask lol

I don't have a large garage or workshop. It's a two car garage (barely).

 

What is the best way to go about this? 

What machine do I need? Affordable, beginner friendly, used is welcomed lol

What tools? 

What safety equipment? 

Are there any recommended YouTube channels or books?

 

 

akamcfly
akamcfly Dork
4/18/20 10:50 a.m.

I bought a Migpack 140 and a ppe bundle and just went for it. I'm not great at it, but whatever. yes

FatMongo
FatMongo New Reader
4/18/20 10:50 a.m.

This thread is very much aligned with my interests.

bgkast
bgkast PowerDork
4/18/20 10:53 a.m.

I would recommend starting with a cheap 110V gas-sheilded MIG welder, or a 220V if you already have a 220 plug in your workspace. You could start with a flux-core MIG, but they make a big mess.

Minimum equipment would be

  • welder with gas bottle, wire, etc
  • Helmet (auto darkening is nice)
  • Welding gloves
  • Small tools you probably already have like wire brush, wire cutters, clamps
  • Angle grinder

Im sure there are good beginner videos on the YouTubes. If you don't have an automatic machine (and a cheap one won't be) spend some time playing with the power settings (higher for thicker metal, lower for thin) and feed speed (again higher for thick, lower for thin, but you can fine tune depending on your type of joint, bead height, etc).

When laying down a weld you want to move the tip in a pattern to help spread out the heat.

 

I typically use the circular patter, but as you can see you can get quite fancy with it.

Get some scraps and play with it!

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) UltimaDork
4/18/20 10:57 a.m.

Safety wise welding will give you sunburn.  If an ember gets between your toes in your flip flops it will hurt.  I recommend long sleeve shirts, long pants, and closed toe shoes.  Do as I say not as I do.  Oh and clean the metal.  If all of a sudden it doesn't want to weld as good as it was before then check your ground.

FatMongo
FatMongo New Reader
4/18/20 10:57 a.m.

I've had this on the shelf for a few months as a starter welder, but havent made the time, effort, and space to grab it. Maybe this thread will get me going:

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/18/20 10:57 a.m.

MIG, whatever brand, at least four heat settings, and gas to go with it. (I don't like flux core, but it -does- work)

Get an auto-darkening helmet with four sensors.

www.weldingtipsand tricks.com

thefabricationseries.com

CLEAN the metal (sand/grind shiny, splash with lacquer thinner or acetone)

FIT the metal (no gaps)

Get CLOSE, go SLOW. Stay about 3/8" to 1/2" off the metal.

Pointing in the direction you're going looks prettier.

Pointing in the direction you can from burns deeper.

I like to run enough heat that everything melts but it doesn't burn through.

I like to run as little wire speed as I can without the wire burning back into the tip.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
4/18/20 11:06 a.m.

Declare a project so you have some reason to do this.

 

Figure this venture is going to cost you around $1200 if you are buying new name brand equipment. Much more if you get carried away.

 

110 volt equipment will do pretty much anything you need on a car. 220 if you want to get into cages.

 

A welder without a grinder is like Abbot without Costello. Buy three or four, cause if you get on with it, you will use them. Flapwheels and 1/16" cutoff wheels are your best friends.

NOT A TA
NOT A TA SuperDork
4/18/20 11:18 a.m.

I weld and grind things clamped to the edge of a bench often and burned through the right shoelace of several pairs of shoes many years ago. Now a simple strip of wide masking or duct tape keeps me from melting them. Leather upper shoes are a must.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
4/18/20 11:40 a.m.

I haven't read the entire thing, see if it's really free.  Do you know anyone with a welder?  Cut a deal for materials and beer in exchange for a few nights' instruction.  Like the guy with a pool table in his living room, everyone thinks he's a shark.  I have a Hobart 130, but I'm NOT a welder.

Dan

jamscal
jamscal Dork
4/18/20 11:44 a.m.

I'm pretty biased but would not recommend a 110v welder in general and esp. not a cheap one.

(They generally require a 20amp circuit so don't run it on a 15amp circuit and/or an extension cord.)

They can be 'made' to work but I think all the mfgs are lying when they say 1/4" is possible with a 110v welder.

Possible? Maybe under the right conditions but normally the results are all the bird E36 M3 welds you see online.

Hobart Handler 190 would be the minimum I'd consider for hobby use if you want to avoid frustration.

 

Will
Will UltraDork
4/18/20 11:59 a.m.

I also want to learn to weld, so I'm probably not in a position to give advice. But people I know who can weld have told me to concentrate on just getting good at making metal stick to metal instead of trying to actually build anything at first.

NOT A TA
NOT A TA SuperDork
4/18/20 12:21 p.m.
jamscal said:

I'm pretty biased but would not recommend a 110v welder in general and esp. not a cheap one.

(They generally require a 20amp circuit so don't run it on a 15amp circuit and/or an extension cord.)

They can be 'made' to work but I think all the mfgs are lying when they say 1/4" is possible with a 110v welder.

Possible? Maybe under the right conditions but normally the results are all the bird E36 M3 welds you see online.

Hobart Handler 190 would be the minimum I'd consider for hobby use if you want to avoid frustration.

 

I've used a Bernzomatic propane torch to heat up thicker metal before welding when I needed to use a 110 MIG. A little practice with some scraps of similar thickness to the current project will help figure out how much to pre heat.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) UltraDork
4/18/20 12:34 p.m.

+1 on Harbor Freight's new line of 110 welders TITANIUM green or orange.

I can't recommend Jody at http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/ strongly enough. I taught myself to tig using only his videos and a Chinese welder. It is an Everlast, and I like it a lot. I have no experience with their migs, but on the strength of my tig, would recommend one.

The gold standard of cheap welders, in my opinion is Hobart's 110 (115) on the bottle. It is Miller's generic version of their own higher priced units.

 

Shadeux (Forum Supporter)
Shadeux (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/18/20 12:34 p.m.

I want to learn to weld also. I've started by learning to braze. It's not the same thing, of course, but the metal prep is close. I'm beginning to learn, yes I've ground the joint clean, yes, it has flux, yes it's clamped in place. The first 20 times the metal fell apart when I unclamped it. 50 times into it I'm making ok joints. Little steps, little steps for me.

 

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/18/20 1:24 p.m.

For brazing, the secret is heat.  Get the metal red, and melt the braze by touching it to the metal - don't melt the braze with the torch and sno-ball it onto the metal.  You want the braze to be melting INTO the hot, open, pores of the metal.

BUT,

Get the braze TOO HOT (it will be a reddy/brown color), and the fumes are nasty.  Don't breathe it in.  Not much pushing, but a whole lot of wiping.  Poop through a screen door and not clog a wire.

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
4/18/20 2:41 p.m.

I bought a Lincoln 110v welder barely used from a coworker, read the instructions and started making sparks. It's a flux core wire welder and the spatter is ugly, but it's like a hot glue gun for steel. I was actually just out in the shop welding up a new artsy steel mailbox post. I can make stuff stay together but I don't do it often enough to be good, it takes a practiced touch. My motto is weld it strong, grind it pretty.

Seriously, find a welder and some scrap iron and start doing it. You will suck, then you'll look at the tips stuff and figure out what you're doing a little better, then you'll suck less. If you start trying on your own, the tips and instructions you get will make much more sense.

Safety tips: Spend a little extra to get a nicer auto-darkening mask. I used a HF one to start, and the reaction time is just slow enough it bothered my eyes after a while. You can't consciously see it, but it wears on you. Also, make sure you have adequate ventilation, and never weld galvanized. Always think about where the sparks and slag are gonna fall. They hurt. I actually use a good pair of leather gloves but not the heavy padded welding gloves. Not quite as heat resistant, but a hell of a lot more nimble.

 

yupididit
yupididit UberDork
4/18/20 3:14 p.m.

In reply to bgkast :

Thank you sir! Btw your old Benz is up in northern California rally  crossing

yupididit
yupididit UberDork
4/18/20 3:28 p.m.

Thank you all for the responses. 

I want to do automotive stuff. I don't have a 220v in the garage and I'm renting.

I think I'll try and go used decent quality. And for PPE, gloves and helmet are a must and rather not go cheap for that stuff. 

yupididit
yupididit UberDork
4/18/20 3:30 p.m.

In reply to jamscal :

Why Hobart 190 as a minimum. And for hobbyist who only have a 110v, there's nothing you recommend? 

bgkast
bgkast PowerDork
4/18/20 3:57 p.m.

In reply to yupididit :

Awesome! Is it still running the VGT turbo?

I have welded thick plate steel bumpers up for my Land Cruiser with my cheapo no name 110V mig. The trick is a good bevel where you are going to lay down the weld, and it's slow because you can only run a 6" weld then pause to let the welder cool off.  Not an issue for 99% of projects, as I'm using thinner metal and shorter beads.

yupididit
yupididit UberDork
4/18/20 4:01 p.m.

In reply to bgkast :

Yup still running the same setup just lifted instead of lowered now. 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
4/18/20 4:20 p.m.

Is there any value in used? Is it a crap shoot where you'll want to bring a welder buddy to help check out, or is the general concensus buy new, because it hasn't been berkeley with? 

adam525i (Forum Supporter)
adam525i (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
4/18/20 4:29 p.m.

I've had an Everlast Power i-MIG 140E for a few years now and have been very happy with it. The inverter based welders give you more output control as well as a higher duty cycle at full power (the transformer based ones often rate their duty cycle at less than full power). It's lightweight and with 120 V really handy everywhere. I've done everything from thin bodywork to roll bars and weld in coilover kits with it and it hasn't had any issues. I'm also in a rental so 240 V just wasn't going to happen, what convinced me 120 V was going to be more than enough was a post by Loosecannon in his Emod MGB thread, he built that car with a simple Lincoln 120 V welder (I'm sure he has upgraded welders since then and is running 240 V now). 

The drawbacks with the 120 V power is at higher settings the duty cycle of your 15 A breaker will be a lot less than the welder, that means lay a short bead, then wait to do the next one while things cool down so it doesn't pop. That's not the greatest but it's a lot better than no welder at all and for stuff like sheet metal work you do not need to worry about it. Someday when I have my own place I'll run a dedicated 30 A 120 V circuit and replace the cord and plug with something rated for that amperage (Nema 1-30 I guess) and not have to worry. I doubt I'll ever need more power than this unit can deliver and that includes jumping into fabbing up a roll cage at some point. 

Adam

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
4/18/20 4:30 p.m.

If its name brand and in good shape I don't see any reason not to buy used. Make the seller demo it to prove it works.

If you only have 110v just go with that. Buy used and it wont lose much value if you sell it to buy a bigger unit. Plus they make good portables for smaller projects.

I've welded plenty of heavier stuff with my 110v but you have to go slow. If you want to do roll cages, off road fab, chassis work etc, a 220v is what you want. But a 110v does everything around the house,  roof racks, brackets, all that stuff. Fine place to start.

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