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frenchyd
frenchyd Reader
7/22/16 1:19 a.m.
Rufledt wrote: I was looking at Eastwood mig welders, I like the idea of infinitely variable wire feed and power. Most of the ones I saw for sale locally (at the nearby Airgas place) were much pricier and only had a few presets for adjustments. I'm a noob so the fine tuning will likely be lost on me, though. I'm basically planning on starting small and going from there if I indeed get really into it. I don't have a super high budget but once the dust settles from this move I will have regular income, so buying more stuff is possible in the future. I was thinking to start with go with what I saw in a few demo videos, the mallet and sandbag, then basic hammer/dolly set, maybe one of those anvils that clamps into a vice, and possibly the stretcher/shrinker combo. How does that sound for basic starter stuff? I already have a grinder and a vice, and although some other cool stuff looks awesome and useful, I'm trying not to stretch the budget a huge amount. Right away. I also had an idea, would it be possible to make any of the anvils out of hard wood? I've seen some work done on aluminum that used wooden tools, but my project will likely be in steel (it's an old ford, WAYY pre-aluminum bodies). I have done lots of wood working so I'm pretty confident I can make some wooden lumps but less confident I can bash steel sheet on them without wrecking the usefulness of the wood. Hard maple in a butcher block arrangement is pretty resilient, but other potentially better options can raise the price into "just buy a metal one" range. NOHOME: that combo brake/shear/roll thing looks pretty awesome, what do those usually go for? Also, that English wheel looks huge! I was looking briefly (until I eyed the price) at some English wheels, but I kinda liked the Eastwood one as it is bench top mounted and thus removable and storable off to the side a bit more out of the way. When do you find it to be indispensable? One video I saw had a guy hammer in some walnuts to stretch a piece, then smooth it all down in seconds using the wheel, while another video showed a guy doing the smoothing and shaping all hammer and anvil style with similar results (though not as smooth of a finish).

A lot of very famous cars where hammered out on wooden stumps. Look at early Maserati for example. A great source for insanely cheap wood is your local tree surgeon. Another place is the small Sawmill.. Some of those guys squeak out a living selling railroad ties and pallet material.. How cheap? in 1998 I bought over 20,000 board feet of Black walnut for 17 cents a board foot. 200 bd.ft. of fiddleback maple for 10 cents.. Various random hardwoods such as ash, hackberry, elm, soft maple, for 20 cents.. Thins (wood less than an inch thick) and slabwood for $10 a truck load. A truck load was whatever I could put on my truck (at night my headlights illuminated all the squirrels in the trees and I had to lean forward to get my front wheels to touch so I could turn) Now those were at the mill, Green, rough, and millrun(no sorting, just as the board came off the saw) It cost me nothing to sticker and air dry The 12 inch thick timber took a decade but the 1 inch thick boards were dry within a year. I bought a Delta bench top planner to smooth the first 5000 bd ft.. but eventually bought a 20 inch Grizzly for boards up to 20 inches wide.. The 22 inch and 24 inch wide boards I'll haul to a local Hobby shop that has a 24 inch wide planner..

You can make wooden forms to stamp out copies using your hydraulic press! Also you can should make a wooden buck if you are going to make a whole body or create something original. Working in three dimensions can quickly turn into frustration without something to work on..

Rufledt
Rufledt UltraDork
7/23/16 12:42 a.m.

I never thought of making wooden molds for use with a hydraulic press! too bad i don't have a hydraulic press. I have a few tree stumps that were cut out a couple years ago, i've been using them as a stand for things outside. maybe i should look into carving out an anvil on one of them...

Around here i know a guy with a tree service, and a lumber yard that's a ways away, but that's about it. Not a lot of logging here (Southern WI), mostly agriculture, though the tree service guy might be able to help. I have lots of spare wood, but it's all either soft wood or in small sizes, would be a bit tough to laminate it all up into a block. I'm still thinking hard maple would be my best bet.

I don't plan on hammering out entire car bodies or any of that (yet), mainly just patch panels and making small metal things for fun at first. I'm hoping i can get decent at it by the time i fix all the rust on my van (it'll take a LOT of patch panels) but if i can't get the hang of making them at least purchasing them is an option.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
7/23/16 5:02 a.m.

There is no stead fast rule about wire thickness. It is like setting up a cars suspension. On driver will love it another will want something a bit different. I will confess that unless I am doing alot of tin work I leave .032 or .035 in the welder and just use it. Wire thickness is another one of those setting things that you can then fine tune the welder to.

I also agree that with the more heat comment. I like good penetration of my welds and you will only get that with more heat. The down side is when working with thinner metal things happen faster so burn through happens faster. it just takes practice. Once you get over the initial flash of welding that makes beginners jump you start to concentrate on what is happening in the pool and how the metal is taking the heat and that is when the real fun of welding starts.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
7/23/16 6:15 a.m.

I have used an HTP 160 amp MIG welder for over ten years. And by use, I mean as recently as yesterday. We also have an Eastwood Plasma 60 that works great. I cut 1/4" plate with it, again, just yesterday. A sheet metal brake and cutter are good tools to have, and air shears and a chop saw are the best tools you can get for a total spend of about $200. We have also used Miller, Lincoln, Daytona MIG and Eastwood welders all with satisfactory results.

Wall-e
Wall-e MegaDork
7/23/16 11:48 a.m.

Some people have a gift for welding that can pick up a mig and never have to clean anything up or fuss with settings. I worked with a guy that could hang quarterpanels fast with almost no cleanup. I am not that person. Without my assortment of grinders people would know what a hack I am.

Rufledt
Rufledt UltraDork
7/23/16 2:18 p.m.

So you're saying i should stock up on grinding wheels? I was looking through my tools the other day while organizing, turns out i don't have a grinder and a sander, i have 2 sanders (one electric, one air). Looks like i need to invest in something like that.

I imagine i'll learn all about wire thickness and how it pertains to my lack of welding skill when i start trying. The more I read, i seem to be getting individual preference/ability suggestions, and do find out what works for you. I just can't figure that out yet.

What i'm getting so far in this thread is that the name brand welders are all perfectly functional, so i'll probably be more limited by myself than the tool. I already knew that going in, but i wanted to make sure i'd avoid anything that would get in the way.

I was looking at that Eastwood plasma cutter and their welders since they seem quite cheap compared to others offered by Lincoln or Miller. Is there some sort of catch with Eastwood stuff? like is it just built cheaper, or does it have limited abilities compared to others with thicker metal? I ask because i don't plan on doing anything with metal thicker (or even as thick) than the 1/4" you mentioned, but i don't necessary want something that will fall apart.

Rufledt
Rufledt UltraDork
7/23/16 2:25 p.m.
dean1484 wrote: I also agree that with the more heat comment. I like good penetration of my welds and you will only get that with more heat. The down side is when working with thinner metal things happen faster so burn through happens faster. it just takes practice. Once you get over the initial flash of welding that makes beginners jump you start to concentrate on what is happening in the pool and how the metal is taking the heat and that is when the real fun of welding starts.

The lincoln pdf also mentioned penetration and puddle width and all of that being influenced by gas choice, is that true? The pdf seems to be quite broad in it's approach, touching on many kinds of welding for different applications, and it can be hard to pull out the 'Mig for cars made of steel' information.

edit: i'm trying to find the exact PDF i'm talking about so you can see what i'm working from, but i can't. Lots of info on lincoln's website, however.

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
7/23/16 4:15 p.m.

I am a total tool junky with a budget to buy whatever I want. I really want a plasma cutter, but have never needed one in 20 years of doing this.

As far as welding is concerned, have you found my "How to"? It is not a "preference" and it does not care what wire or welder you have; it is a process that will get metal stuck together regardless of the person behind the gun. That said, don't buy flux core welder unless you are a farmer welding gates out in the field.

Rufledt
Rufledt UltraDork
7/23/16 4:29 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

i have been binge reading your volvo thread but i'm not up to the "how-to" yet, i think i'm up to where you have turned 2 miatas and 2 volvos into 1 volvo on a stretched miata with a foam engine, and a few giant piles of scrap. BTW i'm super impressed with what i've read, i would never thought of half the stuff you pull off.

just one thought on your build so far, where are you going to fit the turbos?

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
7/23/16 5:13 p.m.

Flux core has its place. Yes it is messy and yes I prefer welding with gas but there are times when flux core is the answer. The biggest is when you have to bring the welder to what you are welding instead of the other way around. I have done a ton of flux core and like anything with some practice you can lay down some nice welds. In fact I do most of my welding with my little lincoln 135 with flux core. It is almost always easier to bring the welder to the thing that is broken so I don't have to take it apart.

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
7/23/16 9:57 p.m.

Halfway down this page is the same welding tutorial. Lord knows what page it is on the build thread.

http://retrorides.proboards.com/thread/188308/welding-advice?page=2

I weld with two hands. One on the trigger and the other holding the cup to accurately locate the wire and deal with any shaky hand syndrome.

Rufledt
Rufledt UltraDork
7/24/16 12:03 a.m.

I think I found it on page 18 or 19, it was about welder set up, right? I read past it, made a mental note of where it is, and continued on into V8 Volvo territory! That thing will be seriously awesome. I have a SBF/AOD in my econoline, not nearly as much fun with 3 tons to move!

Edit: just read the link and thank you! That is very helpful. After reading all the theory and different ideas online (which I'm sure is useful in certain ways) it's nice to have a step by step process simplified and drawn out like that.

Rufledt
Rufledt UltraDork
7/24/16 12:22 a.m.

I should also ask, where do you guys get metal? I have seen some local metal places advertising "public welcome" or "Walk ins welcome", is that worth a shot?

BrokenYugo
BrokenYugo UltimaDork
7/24/16 12:49 a.m.

In reply to Rufledt:

Like the distributor outlet stores (Alro around me)? Those are good.

pushrod36
pushrod36 Reader
7/24/16 7:33 a.m.
Rufledt wrote: I should also ask, where do you guys get metal? I have seen some local metal places advertising "public welcome" or "Walk ins welcome", is that worth a shot?

Metal supermarket is a good one for small orders. I believe they have locations around the country.

BMG metals is one by me (not sure if national locations or not) that will deliver free if the order is over $150.

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
7/24/16 9:02 a.m.
dean1484 wrote: Flux core has its place. Yes it is messy and yes I prefer welding with gas but there are times when flux core is the answer.

I've heard that using flux-core AND gas is like magic for some applications. I heard about it in the context of filling lug stud holes in preparation for changing bolt pattern.

Wall-e
Wall-e MegaDork
7/24/16 7:15 p.m.

For cleaning up most of my welds I use a small air powered right angle die grinder with roloc disks. It does a good job without being bulky and tiring to use.

frenchyd
frenchyd Reader
7/25/16 4:15 a.m.

In reply to Rufledt: Type 2 yellow wood glue is amazingly strong. Fibers will tear out from the wood before it let's go so a properly done glue up isn't to be feared..

As for hard hardwoods Hard maple is rated at 1450 but Ash is only 100 below at 1350 (for comparison Pine can be low as 140) Hickory is 1820, White oak is 1600, Ironwood is 2200 and I don't know what Mesquite is but I'd be willing to bet above all of them.. Same with Bristlecone Pine. Some of which might be over 5000 years old.
* Side impact resistance(lbf) Plus none of those is old growth wood. (Most of the timbers in my home are old growth wood with extremely dense growth rings).. That brings up a whole new calculation. There are still some old growth hardwoods being milled.. Some hardwood woodlots predate the American Declaration of Independence. However such maximum strength isn't needed for a one off panel.. A lot of low volume cars had their bodywork hand formed over the very Ash used to hold them together.. Technique matters much more than how hard the wood is..

frenchyd
frenchyd Reader
7/25/16 4:30 a.m.
Rufledt wrote: I should also ask, where do you guys get metal? I have seen some local metal places advertising "public welcome" or "Walk ins welcome", is that worth a shot?

Roof tops of Vans/station wagons etc. Old signs, Junkyards, scrap metal places.. I've also bought sheets of aluminum / copper/ steel at Recyclers and paid a few bucks over it's scrap value..

kb58
kb58 Dork
7/25/16 7:17 a.m.

Asking where to get metal is like asking where the best place is to buy tacos; every area has its own local places. Ask around, check your local directories, ask local metal recyclers.

pilotbraden
pilotbraden SuperDork
7/25/16 3:15 p.m.

A Lincoln or Miller welder is hard to beat, I use both in the class I teach at the local College. I have a Tweco 181i fabricator, it does MIG,TIG,Stick and Flux core. I have used it with good results in the shop and the class room. Also check Welding Tips and Tricks on youtube for welding info.

Kreb
Kreb UltraDork
7/25/16 4:25 p.m.

If you understand how metal acts, it's amazing how much can be done with the simplest of tools. I recommend following the "subcompact rule" which is "use the minimum tool necessary to accomplish the task until you either can't stand the inefficiency of it, or the upgrade is necessary to get your project done to a high standard." So many people think that they need a $4k english wheel, then you see videos of some dude in the boonies with a couple hundred bucks worth of stuff doing exquisite work.

I have several hundred thousand dollars worth of metalworking equipment in my place of business, but I have a relatively cheap Eastwood welder at home. It's a damn site better than HF and surprisingly close to Lincoln in terms of being able to produce quality welds. Will it take much abuse? Nope, but that's Ok for my needs.

edit: All fabrication shops have lots of usable drop. We sell it by the pound, and people regularly pick through our bone piles for their projects. Mild steel's pretty worthless in scrap form, so shops will be glad to make anything off of it.

Rufledt
Rufledt UltraDork
7/25/16 9:08 p.m.

Thanks for the metal source info, i'll have to make a list! to keep this thread complete, mezzanine suggested onlinemetals.com over on the garage build thread i'm doing. I'll have to do some price shopping real soon because i want to build a small rack to hold some bins as part of the garage build. That's more of a cut/screw together kind of project, as i don't currently have a welder. Start small and work up, i guess!

Wall-e said: For cleaning up most of my welds I use a small air powered right angle die grinder with roloc disks. It does a good job without being bulky and tiring to use.

Thanks! i'll have to look into one of those. I have a massive air compressor, but it runs on 220 and i have yet to get 220 run to my garage, though that is in the works for the future. I want to utilize the air compressor as much as possible since it's a big old Curtis and i think it's amazing looking.

In reply to frenchyd: Funny you mention that, i have all of those kinds of woods in my garage right now! But they are unfortunately already earmarked to be made into bows. I can get most of those kinds of woods easily in board form, but i don't know exactly where to get logs of a specific shape. A guy down the road from me is having multiple trees removed, but i don't know what kinds, and i don't know him. It might be a bit odd for me to come up and say "hey, random guy, can I have those chunks of the trunk?" By "it might be odd" i mean I'd totally do it, but i work all freakin day and the tree guys are gone by the time i get home... I'll keep that in mind, though.

I came up with a source of free sheet metal that might help- discarded appliances. I do appliance repair and we often take old stuff out when we install new stuff, most everything has some sort of case made of thin steel. Some even have stainless fronts of them. The normal scrap metal guy barely comes around because scrap is so worthless at the moment, and i could probably use some of the larger sheets for practice if nothing else.

pilotbraden wrote: Also check Welding Tips and Tricks on youtube for welding info.

I already subscribe to that channel! very nice to watch, though i'm never fully trusting of the videos i see. Every appliance repair video i watch is either laughably oversimplified, or borderline lying to sell the viewer something. Generic parts at quite a markup, usually. Like I read in NOHOME's Molvo build somewhere, I assume that Ron Covell guy sure makes it look easier than it is! I assume it's in part due to the nature of instructional videos, but also his great amount of experience.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
7/25/16 10:50 p.m.

If the sheet metal is coated, painted or galvanized make sure you either clean it well or have respiratory protection.

It also is important NOT to use brake cleaner or any other cleaner that has CFCs in it on metal you will then be welding.

Very bad for you at best and death is a possible outcome of not being careful of CFCs.

Rufledt
Rufledt UltraDork
7/25/16 10:53 p.m.

cleaned for which application? hammering into shape or welding?

what would you recommend to use for a cleaner? How about respiratory protection? In grinding and stuff, what kind of mask would work?

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