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  #1  
Old November 2nd, 2009, 10:22 PM
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Rick Mabus
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I wanna learn to weld

So I wanna learn to weld right. I got some projects I am dying to do on the truck that I hate to pay a lot for when I THINK I would enjoy the project. I want to weld my own sliders, winch bumper etc. Can anyone with welding experience recommend a welder and for that matter other materials I would need just shy of the steel? Thanks.

Rick
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  #2  
Old November 2nd, 2009, 10:25 PM
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I made my own winch bumper and sliders for my series. A chop saw with an abrasive blade, a grinder, a sawsall were all necessary. The welder I had at the time was a lincoln sp175. Great little machine although I did sell it and got a bigger machine later.

Relearning basic geometry also was a big help in getting things laid out properly.

Daniel
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 10:57 PM
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Get a Miller 175, 185, or whatever they're up to now, or a 200 series if you're feeling particularly sassy. MIG is the cheapest to get into, but now having done it, my plan is to make the migration over to TIG. MIG is too damn messy and promotes bad habits...
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  #4  
Old November 2nd, 2009, 10:58 PM
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Charles Galpin
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Rick, you can get away with a sawsall and grinder if you need to (I do) but a chop saw is nice. I have a little Hobart Handler 175 which is adequate for these kinds of projects. I bought it used off of craigslist - keep your eye out and you should see equivalent class machines come up pretty often. You'll need to get a decent helmet (I recommend getting an auto-darkening one as it's much easier to weld with) and gloves if they con't come with your welder. You'll go through lots of consumables like sawsall blades, cutting wheels, grinding wheel, welding wire, and gas.

I recommend seeing if your local community college has welding classes. I learned to stick weld as a young teenager but hadn't welded since so I wanted a refresher. I found a class that was effectively shop time since it was designed for students needing to prepare for certification. So I got access to all kinds of great equipment, and some great mentoring for super cheap. It might also answer your question whether you'll enjoy it or not before you buy a welder.

hth
charles
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  #5  
Old November 2nd, 2009, 10:58 PM
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I'm looking into learning to weld soon myself but it's for building bicycle frames. I'm taking a class in a couple of weeks in NC.

From what I've read, many comunity colleges or trade school have night time classes for welding. A friend of mine did it and is now making cat and exhaust pieces for BASF. He's offered to help get some intro lessons before the class in NC. I've also read that it is just practice, practice, practice.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by don
I'm looking into learning to weld soon myself but it's for building bicycle frames. I'm taking a class in a couple of weeks in NC.

From what I've read, many comunity colleges or trade school have night time classes for welding. A friend of mine did it and is now making cat and exhaust pieces for BASF. He's offered to help get some intro lessons before the class in NC. I've also read that it is just practice, practice, practice.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
A very high end bike shop is a customer of mine and I can tell you that the welders (all AL) are some of the highest paid people in the shop. If you can get into that, its a great trade to make a living. What these guys do is pure art.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 11:07 PM
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I have a Hobart 135 (I prefer the 110 volt to the 220 volt 175 so I can take it with me to other people's places). It works well and was pretty inexpensive new. Miller/Hobart are basically the same (same company owns both, miller is slightly nicer). I use flux core and even with my amateur skills I can get some pretty nice welds. My uncle (prof. welder) taught me, but the book and some practice is nearly as good. As long as a weld failing won't kill me or is not under high stress I am ok welding it.
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  #8  
Old November 2nd, 2009, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madcowdungbeetle
Get a Miller 175, 185, or whatever they're up to now, or a 200 series if you're feeling particularly sassy. MIG is the cheapest to get into, but now having done it, my plan is to make the migration over to TIG. MIG is too damn messy and promotes bad habits...
I recently decided to purchase a tig welder. I got a lincoln precision tig 185. i love it, but still use the mig more often. I use the tig to weld small parts more often. I also have an ancient hobart beta mig 200. Its a tank but it welds really nicely and is much cleaner than my old sp175. I would recomend going with a gas setup what ever you do. The flux core wire feed welders leave a bunch of splatter. Have fun!

Daniel
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickM
So I wanna learn to weld right. I got some projects I am dying to do on the truck that I hate to pay a lot for when I THINK I would enjoy the project. I want to weld my own sliders, winch bumper etc. Can anyone with welding experience recommend a welder and for that matter other materials I would need just shy of the steel? Thanks.

Rick
The hobart handler 187 is the best welder for the money you can buy. I would put IMHO, but I actually think it is, not just my opinion!

Here are some pics from my recent Rover Tummy tuck project.









It lays great beads. I have never taken a class, just learned from trial and error. I really enjoy it, but the gas seems to get to my face after doing too much of it.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1962siia88
I recently decided to purchase a tig welder. I got a lincoln precision tig 185. i love it, but still use the mig more often. I use the tig to weld small parts more often. I also have an ancient hobart beta mig 200. Its a tank but it welds really nicely and is much cleaner than my old sp175. I would recomend going with a gas setup what ever you do. The flux core wire feed welders leave a bunch of splatter. Have fun!

Daniel
The Lincoln is a nice machine, I'm partial to blue though. I'm planning to get one of the new Miller Dynasty 200's soon.
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  #11  
Old November 2nd, 2009, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckon37s
A very high end bike shop is a customer of mine and I can tell you that the welders (all AL) are some of the highest paid people in the shop. If you can get into that, its a great trade to make a living. What these guys do is pure art.
I'm pretty sure I know the shop you are talking about and totally agree that their work is pure art. I'm going to take it a much easier route and start with steel HT frames.

I know there is so much to learn but it's something I've wanted to do since being a kid and since I've done the college/advertising/computer programming/business thing already I figure "why not" My riding buddy throws down some nice welds and I'm hoping he can get me going.
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  #12  
Old November 2nd, 2009, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madcowdungbeetle
The Lincoln is a nice machine, I'm partial to blue though. I'm planning to get one of the new Miller Dynasty 200's soon.
I'm partial to "cheap". I found this thing on craigslist in perfect condition for $700 and went for it. I'm sure the miller will be a great machine.

D
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  #13  
Old November 2nd, 2009, 11:40 PM
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I had a lincon 110 for a while, flux core, then i moved up to a craftsman gas, then this year I bought a Miller 211 auto set.. By Far the best.. Ill tellyou what Ive never welded so good.. alot of it is your skills, but the machine plays a huge role in that.... Get the miller 175.. I know someone sellign a 175 here I an see if I can get you a good deal if you want...
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  #14  
Old November 3rd, 2009, 06:25 AM
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As far as classes, here in New York, we have adult ed classes for welding right at my Votec at night. In New York its run by the Board of Continuing Education Services (BOCES)
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Old November 3rd, 2009, 08:18 AM
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My suggestion (as someone who used to be a pipe weldor) is don't buy any welder until you've taken some classes. It's easy to develop really bad habits messing around on your own.
Focus on learning SMAW (stick) welding first. A good stick welder is much more versatile than (GMAW) MIG and even more so than FCAW (flux core), which most of the cheap wire feed welders actually are.
With a good stick welder you can weld just about anything you can with MIG, plus for a small additional investment you can also do scratch start GTAW (TIG). You can also use it for carbon-arc gouging, punching holes and even thawing pipes.
The main advantage of MIG is that it is faster, but for home garage use that's usually not an issue. The down side of MIG, and I've seen it a lot, is that it's really easy to get cold lap so you end up with great looking welds that aren't worth spit.

If you end up doing it a lot, you'll find that an oxy-acetylene torch will come in very handy.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 07:05 PM
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I'm all about the oxy-fuel. You can weld, cut, braze, etc. Awesome and a simple set up. Granted, I wish I had one of those fancy Miller's to do GTAW.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antichrist
.....The down side of MIG, and I've seen it a lot, is that it's really easy to get cold lap so you end up with great looking welds that aren't worth spit.
Having had hundred of thousands of dollars of destructive tests done, I fully agree. It is VERY hard to make a MIG weld as strong as the parent metal. You need to be very good and have perfect procedures. The problem is making sure you melt ALL of the parent metal surface that the molten filler touches. It is not that easy. The high heat input when it is done right causes other problems.

For most junk it is fine, but if you are doing structural work, do it with stick or TIG.......
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Old November 18th, 2009, 09:57 PM
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I agree that taking a welding class at your local community college is the way to go. I got into a class that started at torch welding and then advanced into arc welding. Torch really isn't that far from TIG in reality, and arc is certainly a strong weld as has been stated already. Dollar for dollar, it's hard to beat the material fees in a class like that. The materials including rods, steel, gasses and access to machines and knowledge are definitely worth the price.
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