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Thread: Welding: Getting a Start

  1. #11
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    Red face

    I am 75, been welding off and on since I was 12 and on the farm. I have had a lot of welders and I would suggest a Hobart Handler 140 its 115 volts. It can do flux core right now, no gas needed and yet it comes with a gas regulator and set up for gas.... if someday you decide to go with gas and MIG. Watch some videos off the Hobart or Miller website and practice, practice, practice.

    If you want a dual voltage unit that will do Flux core (no gas) or MIG I have a Vulcan 215 from Harbor Freight. Plug it in and go. I hate to say it but its the best welder in that size or class I have used, and its from China gasp.

    If you have the time, take a class. I took one on TIG welding and it consisted of, watch a video go into the shop and practice, practice, practice. Sure the instructor came out from time to time to see how we were doing and answer questions. Big advantage..... the gas and consumables were free.... sort of.

    Duty cycle 20% or 30% at full power is fine, I have never had to shut down a weld project because of duty cycle. Only commercial production line welders need 100% !!! Its just not feasible.
    Last edited by wmgeorge; 08-03-2018 at 09:29 AM.
    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Fine Line Automation CNC 4x4 Router

  2. #12
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    There is quite a difference between a 10 to 15% duty cycle and a 20 to 30% duty. And it depends on the unit involved, as well. The little 110V 90A welders have a real problem with thicker material, even though they are specified to "be able to weld" thicker material. The ones specified as "up to 140A" may do better, don't know, have not used them.

    The higher the specified amperes of the welder, the higher the current that the duty cycle applies to. If the unit is specified at 90A, then that is the power at which the duty cycle applies. If you need that amperage, as you would with 1/8" steel or larger, you will hit the duty cycle limits hard.

    If your welder is specified at 150A, then it will handle the 90A at a considerably better duty cycle than at the 150A spec point (where duty cycle applies).

    Sometimes a duty is specified for lower current, or lower current and higher voltage with wire welders. The Handler 140 is specified at 20% duty cycle at either 90A @ 18.5V, or 63A @ 21V. The Lincoln power mig is rated 90A @ 19.5V. The Lincoln home depot 88 A version does not even give a duty cycle rating, and limits to 1/8" material, for good reason......that's the limit it can do effectively based on current and duty.

    I had the displeasure of using one of the older Home depot versions, and it welded almost 1 minute out of 10 at full current. The very first pass, it went more like a minute and a half.

    A higher rated unit should always run longer at lower current and same voltage. It might not run longer at lower current and a higher voltage.



    Quote Originally Posted by danlb View Post
    The big difference between soldering and welding is this:

    In soldering, you heat the base metal to the point where solder will flow when touched to it. You never want to touch the solder directly to the heat source except to tin the iron.

    In welding you heat both pieces of the base metal to the point where the surface is melted and the puddles are flowing together. When necessary you add filler to the puddle to fill gaps.

    .....
    Dan, of course I think we all understand the textbook differences. However, both processes are involved with melting and manipulating metal "in position", with all the peculiarities that come with that. Possibly only if one has done both can one truly appreciate the similarities.

    I am pretty sure Paul has done a heck of a lot of soldering, and not always in perfect textbook fashion. I know that I have, and that it was pretty helpful in understanding what to do with welding. One gets a "feel" for how melted metal behaves when making a joint. The textbook differences between the processes are not an issue with that.
    1601

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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wombat2go View Post
    I started out with a 3 month night school covering the main types of welding.
    It was worthwhile and most of the class members gravitated to their prefered method, and did that for the last few classes.
    I have stayed with OA which is good enough for the projects and repairs I do.
    I also did a weekend school Experimental Aircraft Association specialising in OA chromoly but that was more specialised.
    I found OA to be pretty easy, but slow once I had somebody teach me how. Took about ten minutes to understand it. It was the first way I learned how to weld. Wasn't the first welding I'd done, but it was the first that I really understood. An old farm mechanic had me practice welding muffler skins with a clothes hanger. He blew several holes in a muffler and then said, "ok, patch them." No getting in a hurry there.
    *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob La Londe View Post
    I found OA to be pretty easy, but slow once I had somebody teach me how. Took about ten minutes to understand it. It was the first way I learned how to weld. Wasn't the first welding I'd done, but it was the first that I really understood. An old farm mechanic had me practice welding muffler skins with a clothes hanger. He blew several holes in a muffler and then said, "ok, patch them." No getting in a hurry there.
    This is the beauty of O/A welding, you can weld various thicknesses of metal quite successfully. Not only this but you learn the art of controlling the puddle, the most important fundamental aspect of any type of fusion welding. This lays down the basic groundwork of all types of welding that you may undertake later on if need be. Also, and this is an important aspect, you do so at your own pace unlike the mechanized process of wire feed welding or stick welding where you are forced to follow the process, ready or not. Almost like a low-cost tig if you will.

    The big downside of O/A welding that comes to mind is that heavier gauge sections tend to not be as comfortable due to the time required to heat the base metal and the heat exposure to the operator. Plus of course is the fact that this is not a process conducive to a production environment.

    The big plus though is that it opens the door to soldering heavy gauge metals and brazing, a process that is extremely useful in the shop. Quick heating to remove seized parts, shrink fits, heat treat and cutting are additional bonuses that accompany the O/A setup.
    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willy View Post
    This is the beauty of O/A welding, you can weld various thicknesses of metal quite successfully. Not only this but you learn the art of controlling the puddle, the most important fundamental aspect of any type of fusion welding. This lays down the basic groundwork of all types of welding that you may undertake later on if need be. Also, and this is an important aspect, you do so at your own pace unlike the mechanized process of wire feed welding or stick welding where you are forced to follow the process, ready or not. Almost like a low-cost tig if you will.

    The big downside of O/A welding that comes to mind is that heavier gauge sections tend to not be as comfortable due to the time required to heat the base metal and the heat exposure to the operator. Plus of course is the fact that this is not a process conducive to a production environment.

    The big plus though is that it opens the door to soldering heavy gauge metals and brazing, a process that is extremely useful in the shop. Quick heating to remove seized parts, shrink fits, heat treat and cutting are additional bonuses that accompany the O/A setup.
    The only thing wrong with OA is the cost. Cost of the good torch, tips, cutting head and the tanks of course. Filling the tanks, prices have gone out of sight. Some will say not so, but around here unless you have a commercial account and buy $10,000 a year, you pay full retail plus.
    I sold mine years ago. Get a Mig or stick welder.
    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Fine Line Automation CNC 4x4 Router

  6. #16
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    I always support the idea of a guy learning to weld. Once you have that skill you will find that you will use it all the time.
    Doing the school thing is always a plus, but it's not always feasible. Another option is find someone that welds that is willing to teach you.
    But others have addressed this. I have different input.

    My input is about the machines.
    There are a number of machines out there and prices vary from under 100 bucks for a ultra cheap stick or flux core wire feed welder to over 10K for an engine driven multiprocess unit.
    Stay away from the ultra cheap stuff when learning to weld.
    This would be the wire feed welders that have 1 or 2 heat settings, and the stick welders that are under 180 amp rated.
    For stick welders, get a lincoln 225. But most any older transformer unit that is rated 200 amp or better is a good choice if on a budget.

    MIG welders are a bit more complex.
    First get one that at minimum has 5 heat settings. The variable ones are better but that additional circuitry is expensive.
    Fluxcore welding requires more power than MIG for a good weld. So the little 90 amp stuff is out if you want to do that. minimum is 140 and bigger is better to 200 amp. After that, you are spending money for no good reason unless you want to build bridges and skyscrapers.
    Figure out what you are going to be welding as far as metal size. Again the little 90 to 120 amp units will do sheet metal, but not much else. Figure 140 amp for 1/4 thick steel. Aluminum pulls heat away from the weld faster than steel, so more power is needed for it. And I would really advise against even trying to weld aluminum when first learning to MIG weld. The gas is different with aluminum. You HAVE to keep the stinger pulled out flat or the wire willl drag in the stinger and birdnest in the feeder its' just a PITA. It's typically enough of a headache that you will just set the machine in the corner and never use it again sort of difficult. Welding aluminum is more difficult in all manners of welding, bear that in mind and learn to weld steel first.

    Don't be afraid of used machines, if you can see them running. There are alot of machines out there on craigslist that are fine machines. But you need to see them operating before buying them. 3 phase stuff will NOT run on a VFD. you will need a rotary phase converter to run them but they will run on a RPC. If you have one, or can build one, then 3 phase gear that is realy nice is there as well, but keep in mind that industrial gear can be complex to setup. Make sure that you can obtain manuals for it or have a welder friend that can assist you when setting it up. And have an understanding of what it is. Industrial unit's will be marked as CC, CV or sometimes both. They are very different. CC is Constant Current, this is for stick and TIG welding. it can't be used for MIG welding unless you have a very specific wire feeder that has a voltage regulator in it, and those are 1000 used. A CV or Constant Voltage unit is for wire feed welding. Both Flux core and MIG operations. It requires a wire feeder and they are typically not attached. You can't TIG or Stick weld with this type of power source. The units that do both will obviously do it all.
    Again if you are on a budget, know what the stingers, ground cable, wire feeders and the like are going to cost you before buying a bare power source. A 25 foot ground lead and stinger will be $100 in wire alone, plus the clamps, lugs, rod holder and such. A wire feeder will require leads as well. I am not saying to shy away from industrial units, just know everything that's needed and the money aspect of it.
    One other note on industrial units. Find the power requirements plate on the unit. it will say what type of power is needed. 208/230 1 phase is ideal. 208/203 3 phase will require a RPC, as mentioned above. Then you can run into units that require 480 or 575 single or 3 phase. Walk away from those. Making 480 power in your garage is a PITA. And it's expensive. It requires an RPC and a large transformer and the RPC needs to be oversized because or the losses in the transformer. If you have other 480 equipment or have access to it, only then is it reasonable to go that route. Setting up to have 480 for one machine is a waste of a lot of money.

    Hope this helps.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhioDesperado View Post
    I always support the idea of a guy learning to weld. Once you have that skill you will find that you will use it all the time.
    Doing the school thing is always a plus, but it's not always feasible. Another option is find someone that welds that is willing to teach you.
    But others have addressed this. I have different input.

    My input is about the machines.
    There are a number of machines out there and prices vary from under 100 bucks for a ultra cheap stick or flux core wire feed welder to over 10K for an engine driven multiprocess unit.
    Stay away from the ultra cheap stuff when learning to weld.
    This would be the wire feed welders that have 1 or 2 heat settings, and the stick welders that are under 180 amp rated.
    For stick welders, get a lincoln 225. But most any older transformer unit that is rated 200 amp or better is a good choice if on a budget.

    MIG welders are a bit more complex.
    First get one that at minimum has 5 heat settings. The variable ones are better but that additional circuitry is expensive.
    Fluxcore welding requires more power than MIG for a good weld. So the little 90 amp stuff is out if you want to do that. minimum is 140 and bigger is better to 200 amp. After that, you are spending money for no good reason unless you want to build bridges and skyscrapers.
    Figure out what you are going to be welding as far as metal size. Again the little 90 to 120 amp units will do sheet metal, but not much else. Figure 140 amp for 1/4 thick steel. Aluminum pulls heat away from the weld faster than steel, so more power is needed for it. And I would really advise against even trying to weld aluminum when first learning to MIG weld. The gas is different with aluminum. You HAVE to keep the stinger pulled out flat or the wire willl drag in the stinger and birdnest in the feeder its' just a PITA. It's typically enough of a headache that you will just set the machine in the corner and never use it again sort of difficult. Welding aluminum is more difficult in all manners of welding, bear that in mind and learn to weld steel first.

    Don't be afraid of used machines, if you can see them running. There are alot of machines out there on craigslist that are fine machines. But you need to see them operating before buying them. 3 phase stuff will NOT run on a VFD. you will need a rotary phase converter to run them but they will run on a RPC. If you have one, or can build one, then 3 phase gear that is realy nice is there as well, but keep in mind that industrial gear can be complex to setup. Make sure that you can obtain manuals for it or have a welder friend that can assist you when setting it up. And have an understanding of what it is. Industrial unit's will be marked as CC, CV or sometimes both. They are very different. CC is Constant Current, this is for stick and TIG welding. it can't be used for MIG welding unless you have a very specific wire feeder that has a voltage regulator in it, and those are 1000 used. A CV or Constant Voltage unit is for wire feed welding. Both Flux core and MIG operations. It requires a wire feeder and they are typically not attached. You can't TIG or Stick weld with this type of power source. The units that do both will obviously do it all.
    Again if you are on a budget, know what the stingers, ground cable, wire feeders and the like are going to cost you before buying a bare power source. A 25 foot ground lead and stinger will be $100 in wire alone, plus the clamps, lugs, rod holder and such. A wire feeder will require leads as well. I am not saying to shy away from industrial units, just know everything that's needed and the money aspect of it.
    One other note on industrial units. Find the power requirements plate on the unit. it will say what type of power is needed. 208/230 1 phase is ideal. 208/203 3 phase will require a RPC, as mentioned above. Then you can run into units that require 480 or 575 single or 3 phase. Walk away from those. Making 480 power in your garage is a PITA. And it's expensive. It requires an RPC and a large transformer and the RPC needs to be oversized because or the losses in the transformer. If you have other 480 equipment or have access to it, only then is it reasonable to go that route. Setting up to have 480 for one machine is a waste of a lot of money.

    Hope this helps.
    Very good. As to MIG aluminum... I sorta disagree. I wouldn't do it at all with a regular push feed stinger. The "cheaper" way to MIG aluminum with few feed problems is with a spool gun. The commercial setups usually run push/pull feed so they can run bigger spools of wire. That is a coordinated feed roller at the machine and a second at the stinger. I use a spool gun on my 212 (not autoset sadly) and its adequate for .080 to .250. From everything I have read and heard a for production I'd have been better off with a pulse MIG like the 350P or as a hack like I am with an AC/DC TIG. That being said. Just playing I have welded aluminum as thin as .043 and as thick as 3/8. With .043 I had to make very short welds and move the gun stupid fast. with 3/8 I had to bevel everything and preheat the metal. To be clear I was actually corner joint welding .125 to .375. It was just barely (BARELY) possible. 1/4 was the easiest. I could wallow around like I was welding steel.

    As to the smaller MIG/fluxcore I pretty much agree. You can improve your duty cycle by going to .030 instead of .035, but anything thicker than 1/8 inch and even some types of welds with 1/8 inch is going to require multiple passes starting with stringer beads with either wire. My little Lincoln Procore (flux only) does a passable job upto 1/8 inch.
    *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmgeorge View Post
    The only thing wrong with OA is the cost. Cost of the good torch, tips, cutting head and the tanks of course. Filling the tanks, prices have gone out of sight. Some will say not so, but around here unless you have a commercial account and buy $10,000 a year, you pay full retail plus.
    I sold mine years ago. Get a Mig or stick welder.
    If you think a quality O/A set is expensive try shopping for a good wire feed welder and not a cheap flux core only machine.
    And yes I do expect to pay full retail for my gas. Why would I expect the same price level as a commercial account that spends thousands monthly? If I had a major commercial account I'd be real pissed if Joe Blow got the same discount as I did. Am I missing something here?
    Unless you spend an awful lot of time cutting and welding the gas cost just isn't that much of a factor. Much like a lathe or milling machine has tooling costs welding in whatever form also has consumable costs.

    The main reason I support the idea of starting with an O/A set though is that the learning curve is much easier than it is with wire feed or stick plus one gets a better understanding of puddle control. Also the torch setup has a lot of other shop uses due to it's versatility.
    Stick is probably the cheapest way to get into an acceptable machine that will give adequate results and service however one has to commit oneself to a bit of a steep learning curve in order to achieve acceptable results.

    However no matter what avenue Paul decides to pursue there will be an associated learning process. This can be fun though, I always enjoy learning new skills. I think this is an intrinsic quality we all share.
    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
    Bad Decisions Make Good Stories

  9. #19
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    Go for TIG if you can get Argon gas with reasonable pricing. (stupidly expensive around here)

  10. #20
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    Before it scares people off, the "stupidly expensive" argon used in TIG welding is less off-putting if you look at it as $$$ per hour of welding.

    My local dealer does a 60 CF tank of argon for around $100 once all the fees are added. I understand that my area is one of the higher priced areas in the USA.

    At 12 cf per hour that 60 CF tank will run my TIG welder for 4 hours or so of ARC time. That's a LOT of welding when you consider it takes much longer to set up for a weld than it does to weld it.

    Dan
    Measure twice. Cut once. Weld. Repeat.
    ( Welding solves many problems.)

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