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Getting into Welding/Fab

Old 10-01-2007, 07:11 PM
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Getting into Welding/Fab

Now that I've got some space, I'd like to get into Welding/fabrication. Nothing big, fancy or professional, just for fun and to be able to make stuff that I need (sliders, bumpers, brackets, fix a bike frame, mabey build a small trailer, etc). But I'm not totally sure where to start.

I've got a grinder(both bench and hand), can get my hands on a miter saw pretty easy(beg dad). Figure a bender would be important(Princess auto?), as well as a drill press. But I'm not sure on what I should be looking for in a welder.

I've done a bit or Arc Welding before. But I'd like to be able to run on 110, as that's what my garage is wired for.

Mig looks really cool, but not sure what I should be looking for.

I'm kinda leaning towards Oxy-Acetylene. I've done some "sodering" with it before(not actual welding). Plus I figure it can double as a torch for cutting out flat steel too. But big tanks...could I get away with smaller ones, how long do they last?

I'm going to keep doing my own research. But any imput would be great!
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Old 10-01-2007, 07:21 PM
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i've got a wire feed that can convert to mig. but i always just use the wire feed, its strong enough for me.

start with sliders
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Old 10-01-2007, 08:35 PM
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My step-dad has a 220 mig welder...I like mig the best for fabbing. I am no pro by any means but I can run a decent bead. I am working on welding the legs, plates and gussets on my sliders I got from Wab Fab Then I will weld them up to the frame. I am also working on building some knock offs of the sonoran steel shackle hangers. Grinder, Welder, Chop saw, and drill press are pretty much what I have been using lately.
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Old 10-01-2007, 09:04 PM
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MIG is your best bet for learning how to weld as it is the easiest to get a decent weld out of. I have a 140 amp 110V that does fine and will weld up to 1/4". I have an oxy/acet torch as well but just use that for cutting. It's a good idea on the chop saw, grinder, and drill press. I also got a cheap band saw from Harbor Freight ($150 IIRC) and it is slow but cuts very clean. Here's some stuff I've done/am doing to give you an idea of what can be done in a backyard:



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Old 10-02-2007, 07:05 AM
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Oxy-Acetylene is a difficult art to master.

You have to heat the metal before welding, to red hot. This means you can EASILY warp your project, expecially welding anything over 3/16" thick. A good welder can do it without any problem, but a beginner could end up trashing the whole deal.

110 volt mig is easy. Plus, you can wire 220 if you really want to, its very simple.
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Old 10-02-2007, 03:06 PM
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SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) offers a night class on welding/fab basics that I think I'm going to sign up for.

I think for now I'll talk to my dad and see if I can steal...err borrow his little 110 Mig. play around on some scrap steel for now.
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:33 PM
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I wouldn't recommend using the oxy-fuel for welding in the kind of fabrication situations you are going to see. It could be done, but it would be inefficient with smaller bottles it would be even worse. As of now, I have a little clarke 95E welder, runs on 110v, great stick welder. I have always welded stick, so I have became very good at it, and have no intention of switching to MIG. Right now I have an Oxy-Propane torch, as I decided a few moths ago to stop renting the acetylene cylinder, because my local welding store was ripping me off. Oxy-Propane is limited for cutting, and you can't weld with it, but it cuts most of my metal fine. I can't remember what size my oxygen cylinder is, but its around 4' tall, 1' diameter. I bought it from the high school used. The propane cylinder is a run-of-the mill RV cylinder, something like 20lbs. Betweeen the two, I have a good fabrication setup.
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:05 PM
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I'm in this same boat. I am trying to learn but my local resources for doing so are pretty limited. The college I am currently attending won't let me take any welding courses. They have repeatedly told me that the only way I can take them is if I change my major to welding exclusively. So when I'm not in school I'm usually at a local shop here trying to mess with metals So far I've only used TIG and oxy-acetylene.
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:12 PM
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welding is complicated. just take your time. if you have to lay a huge uneven bead, then just sand down once its done. ive done a couple minor weld jobs.. welded some metal to my buddys trailer for hauling quads, put up steel railings on it, and the welds are very ugly, but strong. depending on the type of welder, GET A WELDER FACEMASK.
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by fork View Post
I'm in this same boat. I am trying to learn but my local resources for doing so are pretty limited. The college I am currently attending won't let me take any welding courses. They have repeatedly told me that the only way I can take them is if I change my major to welding exclusively. So when I'm not in school I'm usually at a local shop here trying to mess with metals So far I've only used TIG and oxy-acetylene.
I just found that out too. I have to be some type of engineering major. Uber lame... But, I'm undeclared now. So I guess I could decalre for a semester or two.
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Old 10-05-2007, 01:26 AM
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oops, double post

Last edited by gearbox; 10-05-2007 at 01:44 AM.
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Old 10-05-2007, 01:42 AM
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Definitely staying away from OAW. You wouldn't even cut with an multi-use oxy-fuel set-up if you get yourself a plasma. I hate explosive gases. OAW is just a pain in the ass. There's very good reason it's not in use today. Slow, hot, tedious, potentially dangerous, poor quality.

If you learn stick (SMAW) and get good at it you'll do better at everything else. MIG and FCAW are great. MIG is clean and FAST and lays good welds. FCAW is hot and a bit messy, but puts in good welds too.

I recommend you sit down and draw out a list of everything you need. Add up how much it will cost and multiply that by 1.5 or more. Add up how much space it will require and double it.



Originally Posted by KevinInSac View Post
I just found that out too. I have to be some type of engineering major. Uber lame... But, I'm undeclared now. So I guess I could decalre for a semester or two.
Go to ARC. Take WELD300 with Mark Reese. That's the best instructor for intro classes: informative, encouraging and not boring. Then take the specialized classes: fabrication, FCAW, MIG, TIG, non-ferrous metals, etc..
You can even take a "projects" class, which I assume just means you pay to use their facilities, which would be an awesome way to learn and develop skills and experience.
ARC has dozens of machines, from SMAW to GMAW to FCAW to GTAW to Oxy, plus angle grinders, rail-mounted OFC, a plasma cutter, etc..




Originally Posted by ozziesironmanoffroad View Post
depending on the type of welder, GET A WELDER FACEMASK.
Actually, get a hood for any arc welding, plus a leather long-sleeved welding jackets. I used a Nomex fire-retardant shop coat and would still get spatter stuck in the crook of the elbow.
Auto-dark helmets for light/casual usage are just $50-60 at Harbor Freight.
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Old 10-05-2007, 09:43 AM
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Im taking a welding class right now in college, It covers mig,tig,stick welding. So far ive only done stick welding and i like it a lot. If you dont have the money for a good mig welder dont waste your time buying one. Your welds will not only look horrible but cheap mig welders just dont get the penetration. Trying learning on a stick welding, If can be a little frustrating in the beginning but its easy to catch on. A good stick welder like a lincoln 220v can weld pretty much anything and they run about 250 brand new.
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Old 10-05-2007, 09:59 AM
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Pick up the oxy-acetylene unit and use it for cutting, not welding. I would highly recommend starting with MIG welding. If your are going to make the investment, you may as well pick up a 220 machine. A 110 will do most everything you need, but as your skills increase, you will want the power and penetration of the 220. I've heard many times that you should never trust a 110 for any sort of cage work.

I am self taught. I bought a miller 175 and just went at it. I studied techniques on the internet and I very confident with my skills now. It just takes practice.
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Old 10-05-2007, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Travisfab View Post
I've heard many times that you should never trust a 110 for any sort of cage work.
Not always true. I will agree that I prefer a 220V over a 110V for most everything structural [body/sheetmetal the 110V is great].

Purchase a welder that you can grow with. Something ~175amps + will allow you do just about everything. Gas is a must IMO [75/25]. Oh, and I'm reffering to a MIG setup... Check into refurbished Hobart/Miller's - Had a good friend pick one up for a great price, and it works extremely well! HTH!
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Old 10-05-2007, 10:58 AM
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What do ya'll think about this welder?

http://cgi.ebay.com/LINCOLN-SP135T-M...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old 10-06-2007, 06:16 AM
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I agree with the others. Start off with a 220 machine. Stick or MIG. I prefer MIG for a general use garage machine. Look at the Hobart 183 (i think that's the current model number). GREAT intro welder that you will probably never out grow either. Can do most everything.
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Old 10-06-2007, 06:41 AM
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i just started about 2 months ago with a lincoln gassless wire feed. they say it will weld up to 1/4 in. steel and thats fine for my trail armor. it's super easy and it can upgrade to gas. after using $2500 migs at my class i have decided to at least upgrade this one to mig. it was only 400 bucks plus a mask (it comes with one but it SUCKS.) here is a link if you wanna check it out.
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...cStoreNum=8125
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:03 AM
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Can you get clean welds with that flux-core wire? I've never used anything but gas.
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:32 AM
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you need some kinda of gas to get a clean weld. the flux core stuff looks like crap, and do your self a favor and buy a auto darkening helm from harbor fright it makes a huge difference. as far as 110 migs go i like the Lincoln models B/c if you buy a few parts you can weld aluminum. Welding is easy it just takes practice. i taught someone to mig weld in about a hour and after he welded for a few hours he was good enuff to weld up a set of sliders.
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