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Thread: Welding: Getting a Start

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobinOK View Post
    Self taught farm welder here but probably typical home shop needs. You can get into metal fab pretty cheap with everything needed that will get you there. My O/A setup is a ~$120.00 set of torches with purchased bottles. I was renting the bottles for a few years then realized I could have bought the bottles for what I had paid out in rent. You will need the O/A setup for cutting, heating and brazing. Get a used Lincoln AC 225 off craigslist $100 - $150. Use it on anything 1/4 inch and over with AC rods. I have a Craftsman 225 that fills this need. My wire welder is a Lincoln 180 bought off eBay for ~$500.00. I use flux core wire mainly because I didn't want to deal with another bottle but also discovered it was the best for what and where I weld. Sometimes outdoors on not so clean metal.

    With these 3 pieces of equipment you can do anything but aluminum with under a grand total investment. Start with the O/A setup along with the AC arc welder. Rent your bottles to start and watch the YouTube videos on cutting and arc welding. You can do an awful lot of work with a ~$300.00 investment and learn the basics of cutting and welding. When you find the need add a wire welder to round out your options.

    Worked for me, YMMV
    You started out like me it seems. OA then AC stick. Although I did use a DC stick previously. I hardly ever use my OA rig anymore. Just hate to get rid of it.
    *** 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.

  2. #42
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    A major hurdle I see with first-time welders is, as has been pointed out, puddle formation and control.

    A most successful technique I've used to teach those aspects is with O/A.
    Once instructed how to arrive at the point of lighting off the torch I have the student take their first coupon and...heat 'til they blow through!
    Do that as many times as you have coupon left then go to a different thickness and blow through again.
    Then change materials and keep blowing holes.

    This teaches what the material looks and acts like at the point of failure.
    Get to recognize the characteristics and how to control them to achieve desired results which is much easier with a flame than an arc.

    Makes more sense than stopping a person at what appears to be an arbitrary point.
    After they learn with gas, electricity is a breeze.
    Len

  3. #43
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    That's the point of the soldering comments....

    If one solders long enough, and does a few things soldering that are not precisely along the lines of what the "purists" approve (and you WILL do that), then you get a good handle on how metals act when melted, and how you can melt partway and get a workable joint, etc. The chemical details of how the processes join material are not relevant, it is the matter of manipulating the heat and molten material. Good practice for welding, as in some cases it basically IS welding, welding solder, not steel.

    A person good at soldering can solder two sheets of solder together. That's welding, just with a different tool and material.
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  4. #44
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    While I agree that one adept at soldering under a wide variety of conditions will have a good understanding of the fusion process, because as you say there are some fundamental similarities, the process focuses mainly on bonding not fusion.

    This is why myself and others want to emphasize the importance of puddle control and how it relates to the fusion process. Creating and controlling a molten puddle of steel gives one a better understanding of the fusion process as it relates to the fusion process of steel in this case.
    Watching the subtle color and temperature changes of the base metal, wetting an edge, the changes that occur from too much or too little heat can be most easily observed with the use of an OA torch. It can of course be done using other methods but the OA torch does it economically while giving the user ample time to deal with what is going on and reacting to it.

    Create and run a puddle across a piece of steel, don`t even worry about filler wire yet, just run the puddle big and small and see how everything near it reacts. Do this in various positions to get comfortable with the concept. It lays the groundwork to all of the other welding processes at a leisurely pace.

    The other benefits that a OA torch offers like quick heat and the ability to braze are bonuses that will come in handy for decades.
    And don`t forget you can weld with it too!
    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
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  5. #45
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    Far too many differences between soldering and welding for the uninitiated to transfer skills.
    That's not to say that soldering anything other than wires is easy, but controlling all the parameters of welding is a good juggling act under the best of circumstances.
    Learn to control the phase changes of parent metal and you're miles ahead.
    So much easier to do by just flicking a flame away than manipulating an arc...until you learn.
    Len

  6. #46
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    I'm a hobby welder myself. Started with oxyacetylene when I was in college in the early 1960s and now have MIG and TIG. Taught myself with a little help from others so it can be done. For hobby use I strongly recommend MIG. The 220 amp MIG from Harbor Freight will work fine (I have one). Not the ultimate, but inexpensive and works well. I also strongly recommend you begin watching the instructional videos on YouTube. Great stuff there!!! With MIG, the trick is balancing the wire speed with the correct amperage. The rule of thumb for selecting the correct amperage is "One amp per one thousandth inch metal thickness". This will get you in the ball park. You will have to do a little adjusting from there as you work. Good luck!
    Last edited by Planeman41; 08-10-2018 at 05:13 PM.

  7. #47
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    Everyone differs.

    I have been soldering and silver brazing for 50 years or more, and when I took a course, I found that I already understood how to operate the puddle. I had zero problems with TIG, that seemed really really similar and not at all hard to understand.

    My main problem with the course was a helmet that was effed up and did not allow me to see. After not understanding what the issue was, the instructor finally put the helmet on, and understood right away. After that was squared away, things were much easier.

    I put it down to soldering experience, not just wires, but soldering and silver brazing tinners type work, and metal sculpture. Just a lot of experience with manipulating molten metal to fill space and join parts.

    Now, I had one thing I flat did not "get" and still do not.

    We had some work with a spool gun and aluminum. I went at that as I would have steel... And there was no joint, no puddle, I do not even know where the filler material went. Not onto the pieces, or into a joint, for sure. So I tried again, moving the spool gun much faster than would even work with steel. Got a good joint, and to this day I have no idea how. It was not a big part of the course, more of an "exposure" to it. Aluminum welding is a dark mystery to me...... it seems not to follow the same rules at all.
    Last edited by J Tiers; 08-11-2018 at 02:01 AM.
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  8. #48
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    Only due the lack of differentiation between the lack of the color change between the solid and the molten state of aluminum. No color change, only a few subtles change in texture and behavior of the base and filler metal. Aluminum , as I'm sure you know reacts totally different than iron when at or near it's liquid state, more like solder.
    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willy View Post
    Only due the lack of differentiation between the lack of the color change between the solid and the molten state of aluminum. No color change, only a few subtles change in texture and behavior of the base and filler metal. Aluminum , as I'm sure you know reacts totally different than iron when at or near it's liquid state, more like solder.
    Some silicon-aluminum alloys are thixotropic over a range of superheat.
    The alloy remains solid and suddenly turns liquid at a shear point.
    Even gravity can provide the shear.
    I don't know anything about welding thixotropic alloys.

    The effect is used in "semi solid melting" to produce intricate high accuracy
    parts like automotive inlet components and military small arms parts.
    The alloy billets are accurately through heated by induction,
    then a ram forces the solid billet
    into the split die cavity where it melts and then solidifies.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by wombat2go View Post
    Some silicon-aluminum alloys are thixotropic over a range of superheat.
    The alloy remains solid and suddenly turns liquid at a shear point.
    Even gravity can provide the shear.
    I don't know anything about welding thixotropic alloys.

    The effect is used in "semi solid melting" to produce intricate high accuracy
    parts like automotive inlet components and military small arms parts.
    The alloy billets are accurately through heated by induction,
    then a ram forces the solid billet
    into the split die cavity where it melts and then solidifies.
    I've MIG welded a little aluminum, and I've found the only thing you can do is practice self restraint. If its welding good STOP. LOL. Seriously, except for 1/4 inch and thicker you can't play around. I've welded a bit of .080 and .125, and I've found I have to figure out how much weld bead I can lay down before it drops out, and then move around the work piece laying down about half that. On .125 I can lay down beads about 6 inches long all day as long as I move to another area of the seam to avoid heat build up. On .080 maybe 3-4 inches, but I find myself pushing it longer, and dropping out holes. Well, that's with plain old DC MIG. I've never run AC MIG or pulse MIG, but I've been told an experienced welder can run several feet of continuous weld once the setup is right with a more advanced machine than mine. The Miller 350P is popular for that sort of work I hear. I wanted to learn weld aluminum to build boats (and I have repaired a few) where long welds on thin aluminum is the norm. I probably bought the wrong welder for the job. My 212 can do it, but its a struggle in good practices.
    *** 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.

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