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Turn your Brain Off and Shoot the Shit => Loungin at da club => Topic started by: scott s on Nov 02, 2017, 10:02:29

Title: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: scott s 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!
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: SONIC. 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.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: JustinLonghorn on Nov 02, 2017, 10:48:21
Flux core welder from HF and lots of scrap steel. Practice practice practice.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: scott s 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.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: irk miller 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.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: irk miller 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.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: scott s on Nov 02, 2017, 11:12:19
 What about gear? Decent helmet, gloves, jacket, etc, recommendations and advice?
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: SONIC. 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)
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: SONIC. 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.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: J-Rod10 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.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: SONIC. on Nov 02, 2017, 12:02:50
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.

That's the one major drawback to the eastwood, no real option for a water cooled torch. That thing gets HOT when welding at 200 amps for a few minutes.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: doc_rot on Nov 02, 2017, 12:08:57
That's the one major drawback to the eastwood, no real option for a water cooled torch. That thing gets HOT when welding at 200 amps for a few minutes.

True but how often do you weld at 200 amps on a motorcycle?

I have the Eastwood TIG and with an upgraded foot pedal and a different regulator it has been a fabulous welder
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: teazer on Nov 02, 2017, 12:41:32
I have that helmet or similar from Eastwood and the AC-DC version.  I do have a thick welding jacket that I sometimes use but usually just a cotton work shirt and thin leather gloves for TIG.  I also have an OXY set that I use more and for that I have to use thick, insulated welding gloves because stuff gets really hot really fast with OXY. 

I tried welding old 2.5mm aluminum sheet recently on the AC setting and it wasn't pretty but it did an amazing job considering my lack of skill. 

I have tried stick and MIG and for a bike I'd go straight to TIG and get lots of practice. 

Ask around your local welding stores to see if they have classes.  One of ours runs TIG classes, but not very often.  You could also ask around and see if there's anyone in your area that can teach you the basics.   
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: J-Rod10 on Nov 02, 2017, 13:03:46
That's the one major drawback to the eastwood, no real option for a water cooled torch. That thing gets HOT when welding at 200 amps for a few minutes.
True that. That's where the Invertig comes in.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: pacomotorstuff on Nov 03, 2017, 07:28:39
I'm not a pro welder but I'd suggest starting with oxy-acetylene or at least get your first lessons on it.
A lot of the skill set you learn with gas is transferable to any other type of welding.
Pat
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: J-Rod10 on Nov 03, 2017, 10:32:09
I'm not a pro welder but I'd suggest starting with oxy-acetylene or at least get your first lessons on it.
A lot of the skill set you learn with gas is transferable to any other type of welding.
Pat
You'll have an easier time learning on tig, and moving to oxy compared to vice versa, imo.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: jag767 on Nov 04, 2017, 09:15:12
Mig is very easy to learn, I learned off a few youtube videos and practice with a Lincoln 140. In short, if you are observant, this falls into the learn by doing category. Google and youtube can teach you almost anything these days  ;D
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: Rat_ranger on Nov 04, 2017, 10:06:05
I started with one of the harbor freight flux welders, they do work and can lay a decent bead.  You really need to get better wire for them though, the harbor freight wire is junk.  But I upgraded to a hobart 140 with a bottle and wow, so much easier to get good welds.  Never want to do flux wire again.  But I do want to learn TIG as well, part of it is saving up for a welder.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: dakine_surf on Nov 04, 2017, 10:33:06
Mig is very easy to learn, I learned off a few youtube videos and practice with a Lincoln 140. In short, if you are observant, this falls into the learn by doing category. Google and youtube can teach you almost anything these days  ;D
+1

I’ve learned more from YouTube than my $250k top tier education ever did for me.

I think tig is really the way to go... but if you do go mig, stay away from flux core and go straight to a gas setup... you can get infinitely better beads with gas on your mig, and good quality wire.  I used a cheap HF flux mig to learn on and as soon as I got behind a gas mig my beads were a million times prettier.  But now I want tig and I really wish I had just gotten one of those Eastwoods from the beginning.


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Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: J-Rod10 on Nov 04, 2017, 16:18:50
That's the one major drawback to the eastwood, no real option for a water cooled torch. That thing gets HOT when welding at 200 amps for a few minutes.
I was looking for a new torch for my Eastwood this morning, with a flexible head on it. Stumbled across a guy on eBay named usaweld. He sells a water cooling system for the Tig200.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: Rat_ranger on Nov 04, 2017, 16:52:45
Slightly related, a cheap stick welder and a manual tig torch to start learning tig. https://youtu.be/RyZVkGdfkDU
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: SONIC. on Nov 04, 2017, 19:37:35
I was looking for a new torch for my Eastwood this morning, with a flexible head on it. Stumbled across a guy on eBay named usaweld. He sells a water cooling system for the Tig200.

I have one of his torches on my Eastwood. The air cooled one.
I may at some point get the water cooled version.
His torches are very nice. The hose is much higher quality than the eastood one. I broke 3 at the outlet before upgrading. Eastwood replaced them all, but I got tired of dealing with it. A worthwhile upgrade.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: SONIC. on Nov 04, 2017, 19:38:45
Also the Eastwood flexible head torch is junk. Doesn't stay put and leaks argon, it's also huge. They sent me one by mistake at one point. I think it's still in my tig drawer.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: J-Rod10 on Nov 04, 2017, 21:02:56
Also the Eastwood flexible head torch is junk. Doesn't stay put and leaks argon, it's also huge. They sent me one by mistake at one point. I think it's still in my tig drawer.
I was looking at his torches, are they junk, or the actual Eastwood?
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: Hoofhearted on Nov 05, 2017, 17:49:06
An interesting read.  I'm not a welder but equally I can't afford to pay to have things welded.  I have a 110v. mig that I use for welding non vital tabs and the like.  I wouldn't use it for anything I'd have to bet my balls on.  If you do get a mig get a 220v.   Pretty welds are lovely to look at.  But without penetration you might as well use JB Weld.

I was surprised that no one mentioned a stick welder.  I have an ancient Montgomery Ward 220v stick welder.  I don't lay down pretty welds but I do get penetration  I welded up my sidecar frame 9 years ago with the stick.  Its been running at Bonneville and El Mirage for those years and no busted welds.

A mig is easiest.  Almost like paint by numbers.   Just remember weld penetration is the key.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: SONIC. on Nov 05, 2017, 19:30:09
I was looking at his torches, are they junk, or the actual Eastwood?

the eastood brand ones are junk.
The usaweld one I have is nice, but I have the strght head and can't speak for the flex head.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: DesmoBro on Nov 05, 2017, 20:11:53
https://youtu.be/x_HQJxezbh0
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: scott s on Nov 06, 2017, 07:25:45
 I really appreciate all the advice, guys. I'll make time to watch the videos soon.

 I talked to a couple of buddies and they've both agreed to teach me. One is a maintenance mechanic where I work. He's retiring in February and lives about two miles from me. He said he'd be happy to help and that it would be easy.
 The other has a background in electronics, but his fabrication and welding skills and professional level. He also offered to teach me.
 Both pretty much echo what has been said about stick vs. Mig vs. Tig, etc.
 The mechanic says he prefers MIG, but TIG is prettier. The other guy says TIG has the steeper learning curve but that's where you'll end up anyway, in the long run.
 I'm looking forward to learning. Probably be after the first of the year, when all the holiday OT is over.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: datadavid on Nov 16, 2017, 07:42:35
I hope you are aware that you get skin cancer from the radiation, wear long sleeves at least. And watch some youtube walkthroughs of the different methods. Cheap ass flux core migs ive never had any luck with, annoying, and bad ugly welds. Go for a tig, mig or oxy setup. Its really fun when you get past the "i cant do this" part. Been welding professionally for ten years myself, but i went to a proper school and became certified to work at nuclear plants a few years ago.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: TranceMachineVienna on Nov 16, 2017, 10:35:29
i got into welding a few months ago in summer and got a TIG machine as a present.YOU CAN DO THIS!i never ever welded anything and now I can connects steel,stainless and some ugly ass ally welds :-)!
inform yourself, there´s a lot on youtube (weld.com, weldingtipsandtricks.com), but my advice is to directly shoot for a TIG machine,more money but in the long run you are way more flexible and can work more precise!
TIG welding is not that messy and you can adjust mostly anything!
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: teazer on Nov 16, 2017, 15:43:19
What is wrong with Eastwood hand pieces as it relates to their ability to weld?  It would be nice if I could blame my crappy TIG welds on the equipment. :-)  I did manage to "hot glue" some aluminum parts recently - not pretty but strong enough.

I also managed to burn straight through a leather glove and part of my right thumb when I accidentally grabbed the wrong end of a tube I was oxy welding. Not sure what was worse, the bite or the smell. Third degree burns in an instant - fortunately a small area.

Lesson - Be really careful when welding.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: SONIC. on Nov 16, 2017, 17:03:53
What is wrong with Eastwood hand pieces as it relates to their ability to weld?  It would be nice if I could blame my crappy TIG welds on the equipment. :-)  I did manage to "hot glue" some aluminum parts recently - not pretty but strong enough.

I also managed to burn straight through a leather glove and part of my right thumb when I accidentally grabbed the wrong end of a tube I was oxy welding. Not sure what was worse, the bite or the smell. Third degree burns in an instant - fortunately a small area.

Lesson - Be really careful when welding.

Nothing that will effect your weld unfortunately :D
A gas lens will help if you don't have one. It will give you the ability to run the tungsten a little further out for better visibility, and you'll get better gas coverage over your welds. The eastwood torch is a standard wp17, any parts for that torch will work they don't have to come from Eastwood. Airgas carries all the parts.

I found that the hose itself gets brittle, because of the power and argon running through the same hose, the hose gets hot and eventually becomes brittle and cracks.
The rigid torch itself is fine, its just a standard 17 torch. The flexible one is crappy because it way bigger than it should be and the flex head isn't rigid enough to hold itself. You bend it where you want it to go and then it bends halfway back. Looking at them again I am referring to their "ergo flex torch" as that's the one they sent me by mistake.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: teazer on Nov 16, 2017, 17:58:12
Gotcha.  Thanks. I finally got some thinner electrodes and thinner filler rod and that's making welding thin sheet metal much easier.  Now I need to learn how to control the heat and do multiple tacks and not try to weld seams before it's all held securely in place.

I have a tendency to tack things up and if I start welding the seam and it's going well, I don't stop until it's too late and the parts are distorting. Patience is a virtue I need to learn with this stuff.
Title: Re: I want to learn how to weld.
Post by: Jewbacca on Nov 17, 2017, 16:36:21
Heat is your friend and your enemy. Gotta get it hot enough to get penetration but too hot and you'll get the distortion. My boss taught me to weld, same as you, never held a stinger in my life, now I'm welding steel, stainless, aluminum, cast iron, etc. Tig gives you way more control and almost no clean up, but the cost of machines is a hindrance. If you go with mig, save yourself the headache and get a gas machine with hard wire. Still lays beads nice, good penetration and little clean up. Make sure to grab a couple cans of anti spatter and spray it around the weld area. Helps keep the ditty balls from sticking to everything.
As far as gear, I run a Miller auto darkening helmet with fine adjustment and 4 modes. Costs about 200$ but will last you forever. Gloves, just buy leather welding gloves, don't have to get fancy. And yes, long sleeves. Welders tan is nothing you want.