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If you weld - need advice

 
Old 07-06-2012, 08:54 AM
  #21  
bb69
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There have been a lot of good suggestions here. I took a great TIG class at the local CC and was very happy with it. I had 4 hours every Saturday morning to use an unlimited supply of coupons, filler rods, and electrodes. I'm sure the cost of the supplies I used was more than what I paid for the class.

One thing that hasn't been talked about though is how clean your work pieces need to be for each type of welding. Lots of people are suggesting TIG, but you mentioned working on household projects and things like lawn mowers. Those types of items are rarely clean. TIG welding requires the base metals to be darn near spotless. With TIG, you spend more time cleaning and prepping than welding. Any grease, dirt, (or foreign metal when doing AL) will contaminate the weld.

MIG is more tolerant of dirty base metal and the flux core wire even more so. Good ole fashioned stick arc seems like it will burn through anything. The point is, don't go buy a TIG machine and then spend hours trying to figure out why you can't lay down a nice bead on that rusty mower.

Ken
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:40 PM
  #22  
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I would say that a MIG is a great hobbyist welder. Until you get into serious fabricating a TIG welder just seems like overkill to me. Yes you get better control of heat with a TIG, but I think MIG is a great way to learn. It's how I learned, went to work for a shop with a guy who taught me about welding and fabricating; before I can in all I could do was turn a wrench and swing a BFH.

Biggest suggestion I can make is get a good helmet, auto-darkening preferred. When I first started to watch and learn, I couldn't see what my friend was talking about. I couldn't see the puddle very well, etc. The helmet was so scratched up and beat up that I couldn't tell what was going on. Which was fine for him since he could weld by listening on the back side of a pipe, complete clear sight wasn't such a big deal for him, but when learning you really need to see what the metal is doing.

If you have a good friend who can teach you or take a class will obviously help a lot. But practice, practice, practice.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:40 PM
  #23  
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I would suggest a OK mig machine for around the house. Unless your house is more like a space ship. Mig is far easier to prep metal for as said above. The mig is better for tacking things into place by yourself. Mig is better for welding up exhaust on jack stands, or any other weird weld that you have to do. Spool guns are a PIA for the most part, but most of the time the parts are light enough to transport to a welding shop. You can buy a ton of beer for welders before "paying" for a fancy tig machine.

Have a friend get you started, it will save a ton of time in the learning curve. But at the end of the day, you just have to do it often and frequent!!!

Randy
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Old 04-30-2019, 05:07 PM
  #24  
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I have Miller Matic 185 (older Transformer style, 220) and 200DX TIG/Stick inverter type, they both work great (bought both used non-working and fixed them) so I understand the sticker shock.

If you are limited to 110V type I'd get an inverter MIG machine, if you can do 220V an older Lincoln/Miller/Hobart transfomer MIG will serve you well (but not portable) and you will be hard pressed to kill it (an inverter welder can be damaged from overheating more easily). The nice thing about Lincoln/Miller/Hobart is repair/consumables are easily found local/online.

I've used Century and ESAB units also and they are fine too. For typical home use an inverter in the 130-180 range will handle most everything and be portable. If you think you want to do some Aluminum, spool guns work well for most repair/fab that you'll do at home (used Miller stuff at work at one time when I was a maintenance guy).

The TIG isn't that hard to learn, it's just time consuming (I'm still learning, steel/stainless is quick to pick up, Alum is a longer/steeper curve), it isn't quick in use either (set up/prep time is more) but you can weld really thin materials with little to no warping if you keep the heat affected area under control.

The older Mller/Lincoln/Hobart transformer machines usually have a better duty cycle and were typically a little under rated, my first Miller (120A transformer, 220V) easily welded 3/16 steel in a single pass (0.023 wire and co2/argon) with a 20-30% duty cycle and with flux core wire it could do 1/4 in a single pass.
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:48 PM
  #25  
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Sorry folks, didn't mean to rivive an old thread (used wrong reply window)
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:50 PM
  #26  
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I went with a 200A TIG - teaching myself as I go. I wouldn't turn down a MIG, and I keep trying to get the wife to buy me a gas setup, but the TIG has worked fine. I went that route knowing that for the most part I'd be doing: thin wall tubing, stainless, and AL, and not high volume. Whatever you do: practice practice practice.
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:58 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by suprspooky View Post
Sorry folks, didn't mean to rivive an old thread (used wrong reply window)
You get points for calling yourself out, but I still can't resist.



Personally, I'd like to hear how Froggy progressed and what he ended up buying. I've been working on a 10 pound roll of the gasless wire on my Lincoln 180 HD since 2012. I've sworn when it runs out I'll pony up for the bottle. Still waiting. . .
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:30 AM
  #28  
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Froggy? Any updates on your welding progress?
I bought a low end Miller Mig (110v) a bunch of years ago. Still can't weld for sh*t, but I am a LOT better than I was.
IMO: The gas bottle/regulator/wire was well worth the $$, as was an auto-darkening helmet.
Practice, practice, practice.
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Old 05-02-2019, 01:05 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Nowanker View Post
Froggy? Any updates on your welding progress?
I bought a low end Miller Mig (110v) a bunch of years ago. Still can't weld for sh*t, but I am a LOT better than I was.
IMO: The gas bottle/regulator/wire was well worth the $$, as was an auto-darkening helmet.
Practice, practice, practice.
I have not bought one yet, so I am starting to forget the **** I learned in welding class



But it'll come back. I paid to have my rim welded, which was probably a brilliant choice. Rims for sale other thread.

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Old 05-03-2019, 03:44 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Supercharged111 View Post
You get points for calling yourself out, but I still can't resist.



Personally, I'd like to hear how Froggy progressed and what he ended up buying. I've been working on a 10 pound roll of the gasless wire on my Lincoln 180 HD since 2012. I've sworn when it runs out I'll pony up for the bottle. Still waiting. . .

Thanks for the points , The jpg is perfect, but come on get on the gas, it'll make that 180 even better to work with like 0.023 wire for really thin stuff ( 180 nice size, especially if you have both flux and gas setup). I agree with the sentiment though 10 lbs of wire lasts a while, both my MIGs came with 30# spools and they'll oxidize before I finish them (usable but not pretty and hard on the liner)
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:38 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by ErnieN85 View Post
Best thing you could do would be to sign up for a welding course at a local community college. then make up your mind what you want to buy
When I was diving commercially in another life I took a 30 day welding course in New Orleans, Airco welding class. Find one in your area or at a trade school. It really gets you going on the right foot.
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