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Author Topic: I want to learn how to weld.  (Read 962 times)

Offline scott s

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I want to learn how to weld.
« on: Nov 02, 2017, 10:02:29 »
I wish I could weld.
Total dummy when it comes to welding with zero knowledge or experience. Amateur home bike "builder" that wants to be able to make the occasional bracket or tab or hoop.

I'm sure the first response I'll get is "sign up for a course at the community college", but I work a rotating schedule, twelve hours, lots of overtime. Just won't happen.
But I do have a couple of friends that can show me. Both active or retired industrial maintenance guys.

If I wanted a cheap Harbor Freight welder (or used Craigslist find) and enough equipment to learn how to make a bracket or tab or, eventually, a frame hoop for a seat, etc, do you suggest MIG or TIG?

Again.... Total newbie to welding. Only occasional use at home, not to make a living with. And 99-100% of the use will be to play around with old motorcycle projects for fun.

 Talk to me!

Offline SONIC.

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Re: I want to learn how to weld.
« Reply #1 on: Nov 02, 2017, 10:47:29 »
Depends on what you want to spend and what you want to do with it.
You can get a flux core mig for 100 bucks at HF. It will make all the brackets you want, and in a skilled hand can lay a decent bead.
You'll be limited on how thin you can weld with flux core mig.

I learned on flux core mig, never took a class or anything like that. Just welded stuff together and tried to break it. You don't need a class to make brackets.

Now, if i had had the budget I would have jumped straight to tig. I almost never touch my mig welder anymore, the tig is just so much more suitable to motorcycle work and small work in general.
http://www.eastwood.com/tig200dc.html

I have this one, and the AC/DC version. The DC only version is hooked to a robot and welds 8 hours a day 5 days a week. Anyone who tells you chinese welder's are shit are ill informed and stuck in the 90's. 2 of my buddies have actually replaced their older lincoln and miller tigs with eastwoods after using mine. The big expensive rigs certainly have their place, but in a motorcycle shop or garage where you're just sticking metal together 400 bucks is pretty damn hard to beat.

For my money, as cheap as theya re these days I would grab one of those 400 dollar Eastwood's and start practicing and never look back.

Offline JustinLonghorn

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Re: I want to learn how to weld.
« Reply #2 on: Nov 02, 2017, 10:48:21 »
Flux core welder from HF and lots of scrap steel. Practice practice practice.
I'm going to eat your brains and gain your knowledge.

Into The Sunset, CB750 build

TT500 the Animal

Offline scott s

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Re: I want to learn how to weld.
« Reply #3 on: Nov 02, 2017, 11:02:31 »
 Dumb question #1: Which of these, if any require a bottle of gas? I told you....I'm clueless about how all of this works.

Offline irk miller

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Re: I want to learn how to weld.
« Reply #4 on: Nov 02, 2017, 11:03:55 »
Dumb question #1: Which of these, if any require a bottle of gas? I told you....I'm clueless about how all of this works.
Non-flux core = gas.  Flux-core = no gas.

Offline irk miller

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Re: I want to learn how to weld.
« Reply #5 on: Nov 02, 2017, 11:06:14 »
Also, I'm with Sonic.  If the price of TIG welders were what they are now when I bought my Hobart, I would own a TIG instead of a MIG.  I do fine with my MIG, but it requires some extra finagling to weld sheet.

Offline scott s

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Re: I want to learn how to weld.
« Reply #6 on: Nov 02, 2017, 11:12:19 »
 What about gear? Decent helmet, gloves, jacket, etc, recommendations and advice?

Offline SONIC.

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Re: I want to learn how to weld.
« Reply #7 on: Nov 02, 2017, 11:32:43 »
Scott,
Tig will always require a gas bottle.
A bottle runs about 40 bucks to fill and will last a very long time in a shop where it's not used a lot.

MIG has a gas bottle as well.
Flux core, is MIG but with the shielding gas infused into the wire. (it splatters and makes a mess but welds fine)

Gear is subjective. I weld in cheap gloves and a HF auto adjust helmet. Call me unrefined! I had a very expensive hood because I thought it would be an upgrade, I took it back, I just prefer the HF helmet.
To start with just go down the welding aisle at HF and grab a cheap pair of gloves and a helmet. That will get you welding. If you want to upgrade later you can.
with a flux core you'll likely want some arm protection as well as it throws molten lava all over the damn place.

Tig doesn't throw sparks. I usually tig in a tshirt and mechanic gloves. (yes I get weld burn)

Offline SONIC.

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Re: I want to learn how to weld.
« Reply #8 on: Nov 02, 2017, 11:42:30 »
For my money:
http://www.eastwood.com/tig200dc.html
http://www.eastwood.com/auto-darkening-welding-helmet.html
http://www.eastwood.com/tillman-24c-kidskin-tig-welding-gloves.html

Then go down to your local welding supply store, Airgas Around here, and make friends with the guy at the counter, open an account and lease or buy a gas bottle.
There's a tradeoff on size and price. A 20CF bottle runs about 70 bucks and is cheap to fill but you'll have to make more frequent trips to the store. My little tig has an 80CF and that will run a god long time. My robotic one runs 2 125CF tanks. I do not recommend going that big as they are a bitch to move around.

Then run down to your local metal supplier and ask for some drops to practice on.
 450+ gas and you're ready to weld everything but aluminum.

Offline J-Rod10

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Re: I want to learn how to weld.
« Reply #9 on: Nov 02, 2017, 11:53:31 »
I'll recommend the Eastwood as well. Good little welder.

As for gloves and such. I have a good lid, I like my eyesight. I normally wear a leather work glove on the hand I am holding the rod with. No glove on my torch hand.