Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 50

Thread: Welding: Getting a Start

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    SE Texas
    Posts
    11,881

    Default Welding: Getting a Start

    For years now, actually for decades I have been intending to get into welding. I have made some real light efforts at it prior to now, but they were so amateur that I won't even mention them. And I have prided myself by using clever methods to avoid it in my past projects. But now I have a project where it seems to be an absolute must. I want to create some steerable wheels for a tool chest. By steerable I mean that I want a wheel/crank/lever that can rotate them to point in one of three directions: front-back, side-side, and on a circle so the tool box can rotate in place. What I plan to do is take a standard, rotating caster with a 2" to 3" wheel and modify it so that the wheel is on the center of it's vertical axis instead of being offset. Cut a Vee, bend it to the center, and weld it back together. I also want to add a half part of a pulley for a steering cable. I may assemble this from three or four layers of 1/8" thick steel that I happen to have. I may use them for a rectangular frame that fits the bottom of the tool chest to better support these wheels. The steel parts will all be between 1/16" and 1/4" thick.

    I want to get a small welding outfit and whatever other supplies I will need to do this. I am not going to worry about future jobs as this will be my learning experience and that will probably tell me a lot about what I may want from here on. Space is limited in my shop so I don't want to go with gas. TIG and MIG seem to be the choices, but TIG does require gas so that is a minus there. But I am open to suggestions. As always, $$ are limited and important. I would appreciate any suggestions as per which system, how big it should be, what other supplies and equipment, etc., etc., etc.

    Oh, I do have 230V, 20 Amp circuits available and would prefer not to add any new ones. I have done enough electrical work in the shop. I can just unplug the AC unit while I am welding if the 230 V is needed.
    Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 08-02-2018 at 05:15 PM.
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    1,010

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
    TIG and MIG seem to be the choices, but TIG does require gas so that is a minus there.
    If you're contemplating "gassless MIG" consider MMA instead, you'll get better welds with fewer inclusions.
    If you benefit from the Dunning-Kruger Effect you may not even know it ;-)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Rugby, Warwickshire, England
    Posts
    956

    Default

    Before you teach yourself how to do welding (not as easy as you might think), are there any vocational colleges or similar that do welding courses within reach of you? I've been (privately, not via work) on training courses for MIG, arc and TIG, and learned much more on the courses than I could teach myself, even with the help of Youtube.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    In the desert
    Posts
    1,056

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
    For years now, actually for decades I have been intending to get into welding. I have made some real light efforts at it prior to now, but they were so amateur that I won't even mention them. And I have prided myself by using clever methods to avoid it in my past projects. But now I have a project where it seems to be an absolute must. I want to create some steerable wheels for a tool chest. By steerable I mean that I want a wheel/crank/lever that can rotate them to point in one of three directions: front-back, side-side, and on a circle so the tool box can rotate in place. What I plan to do is take a standard, rotating caster with a 2" to 3" wheel and modify it so that the wheel is on the center of it's vertical axis instead of being offset. Cut a Vee, bend it to the center, and weld it back together. I also want to add a half part of a pulley for a steering cable. I may assemble this from three or four layers of 1/8" thick steel that I happen to have. I may use them for a rectangular frame that fits the bottom of the tool chest to better support these wheels. The steel parts will all be between 1/16" and 1/4" thick.

    I want to get a small welding outfit and whatever other supplies I will need to do this. I am not going to worry about future jobs as this will be my learning experience and that will probably tell me a lot about what I may want from here on. Space is limited in my shop so I don't want to go with gas. TIG and MIG seem to be the choices, but TIG does require gas so that is a minus there. But I am open to suggestions. As always, $$ are limited and important. I would appreciate any suggestions as per which system, how big it should be, what other supplies and equipment, etc., etc., etc.

    Oh, I do have 230V, 20 Amp circuits available and would prefer not to add any new ones. I have done enough electrical work in the shop. I can just unplug the AC unit while I am welding if the 230 V is needed.
    see my sig line. take with grain of salt.

    I can half ass MIG weld aluminum with pure argon. Regular gas shield MIG for steel seems to allude me. I may try a different ratio next time I replace my bottle. Flux core MIG is probably the dead easiest way to weld steel for me. I have done AC stick and DC stick welding steel and gotten results that didn't break. I've got three mig welders (one has dual stingers) and except for the spool gun for aluminum they all have flux core in them. Its just the easiest way to weld. Its messy though. Seems to have more spatter and definitely more crud/slag than regular MIG. When I have to weld something heavier I reach for the old Lincoln Tombstone though. Its just AC, but it works. I do wish I had a nice DC stick....

    Anyway, for a hack like me throwing together tube, sheet, and light rod I really can't beat the ease of flux core. I just read the settings off the machine and go. If the wire is stubbing I turn down the feed rate a little. If I'm not getting good flow into both pieces I turn up the power a little. Now lots of guys will deride the little 110V units you get at the local box store. They don't have much duty cycle at any power setting, and they really don't have the umph to single pass anything thicker than 1/8 inch, but if its all the money you got and you have to weld a handle on a gate to finish a job and get paid, well you go for it. My first wire feed was a 110V machine I bought for just that application. I figured I could always run my heavy 10gage extension cord to somewhere I could plug it in. (I did a fair amount of access control work including biometric and card access systems. The have to be able to open the gate after they read their card.)

    There are two things that took me the longest time to learn before my welds started to stick more often then they didn't.

    1. Duty Cycle. If you are welding along just fine and then the welds start to look like **** your welder may be getting over heated. Go take a break, drink a glass of tea and come back. Your jangled nerves will be calmed down, and the machine will be cooled off enough to weld again. This is critical if you have a little el cheapo box store welder, but even on my Miller 212 I run into the duty cycle when I have a large assembly all tacked out ground cleaned and ready to just throw a few pounds of wire at it. My Lincoln tombstone will hit a wall too. The little Procore will give me a good foot or so of weld and then it starts to weld badly, but the little Century only gives a few inches and that was after adding my own cooling fan. Before that it was nearly worthless.

    2. See your welds. For years I would only weld outdoors in direct sunlight. (Or in a pinch with a couple thousand watts of halogen work lights shining on the work piece) Of course that's a good argument for flux core. (or stick) It takes a decent breeze to blow your shielding gas away with flux core, but with MIG or TIG a light breeze can make welding a nightmare. Sometimes its just not practical to weld outside in the sun though. One day I repaired a boat trailer for a buddy of mine, and to thank me he gave me a brand new auto dark welding helmet. Now it was the cheapest throw away Harbor Freight helmet ever made, but it was so cool. I researched what shades were recommended for what type of welding (and how heavy) and learned to love it... until the battery went dead. The non replaceable battery. LOL. Anyway, that autodark helmet changed my welding 100%. I could adjust the shade and see the metal actually flow. I never developed that knack for flicking my head to bring the helmet down, but with the autodark I didn't have to. I could just leave it down. I could even weld in the shade or in the shop under artificial light after that. It was awesome. I do keep a fixed #10 lens helmet in the shop for a backup, but I can't imagine getting by with out an autodark today. Decent ones actually start pretty cheap (relatively speaking) and top of the line ones are only a few hundred dollars. Unless you just can't get one I can't imagine not taking advantage of an adjustable autodark helmet today.
    *** 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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    30,087

    Default

    I am certain from what you have done that you can solder very well, even things that are outside of the usual. You have probably developed the ability to solder another wire onto a junction without melting all the existing solder. That is much like welding, in some ways. (welding, or what is called "lead burning")

    I very much suspect that as a result, you would be good at TIG welding, and would like it. probably would be good at most forms of welding, for that matter.

    Probably the easiest way in is a flux core welder. They have issues, most of which Bob la Londe has mentioned. But they do work, especially with metal up to 1/8".

    If you cannot take a course, OK.

    I am no expert, but having taken a course, and knowing what I learned, and what I found to be key...... The very first part of welding is to melt metal. Sounds stupidly simple, but it's important. You have to get a "puddle" going, an area of melted metal, which you "drag along", mostly by gradually moving the location forward with movement of the gun/stick. The puddle is not really moving, the front of it is newly melted metal, and the back of it is continually freezing into solid metal.

    When you see "bird poop" welds, you know that the person did not get a puddle going. They were too impatient, and never really got the base metal to melt, which is the essence of the "puddle". All that happened was that they laid down new metal, and maybe some of it fused to some extent with each part in the joint. So maybe it is "stuck together", but the pieces are not "fused together" as if they were one part, which is the true result of welding.

    You do not do well just moving along, so there are various "movement patterns" that are used. For mig/flux core, what many seem to do and worked for me, is a roughly circular movement, the path being like a flattened coil spring.... once the puddle is made, a circular movement, with the "circle back" being maybe 2/3 of the forward movement. The exact amount depends on how well the puddle is doing, and how much metal is being deposited. You need to deposit metal to roughly a cross section similar to the metal thickness, so you need to be around any area long enough to put that much metal down.

    As you make the circle movements, the "circle back" keeps the puddle melted, and adds metal to the fillet, while the forward movement heats and melts new metal and starts the depositing of weld metal in the newly melted area. It is very much like soldering a seam.... you have to heat the metal you are moving toward, and you have to let the metal behind freeze, and the area between needs to stay melted to get good fusion. But with mig and flux core, the "solder" is automatically added. (with TIG, you have to do that yourself, without letting the "solder wire", i.e. the stick of new metal, freeze to the parts.)

    By keeping moving, you tend to avoid "burning through" and making a hole. Holes are hard to fill, in welding as with soldering. But if you do have to do it, you do it similarly to soldering, melting and adding metal to one side or the other, until you can melt the two parts together.

    If one part is thicker than the other, it will take more heat to melt, so as you "circle", you spend more time on the side that is harder to heat. And probably you circle in such a way that you move ahead slower. You still have to move into both sides and melt the material.

    If you imagine that you had to solder together two sheets of solder, with your experience soldering, you probably know what you would do. And what it would look like. Welding is very much like that, but the "soldering iron" is different (in fact, soldering those sheets of solder together would BE welding. The iron would be much like a TIG torch in its action).

    If you can get a puddle going, and keep it going as you advance along the weld, you are better off than many, and well on your way to effective welding.
    Last edited by J Tiers; 08-03-2018 at 02:45 AM.
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    SE Texas
    Posts
    11,881

    Default

    Yes, there is a trade college in town, perhaps more than one. And I have thought about taking a course. Perhaps this will provide the final kick to get me there.

    Thanks Bob and J. I was not aware that the inexpensive and perhaps the not so expensive welders had such a severe duty cycle problem. That's OK as I probably would be taking breaks anyway. But 10% or 15%? Really? That seems horrible.

    I like the comparison to soldering: thanks for that J.
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    499

    Default

    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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    SF East Bay.
    Posts
    6,174

    Default

    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.

    Now on to suggesting a welding set. The restriction that Paul will run into is the 20 amp 220V circuit. That will limit the power of the welder. If you get an inverter based machine you should be able to do decent work with a decent duty cycle. You could, for instance get a Miller Autoset 212 MIG unit which can output from 30 to 212 volts but on a 20 amp breaker you'd be limited to around 100 amps output. The good news is that it will provide 100% duty cycle at 130 amps or less. The Lincoln POWER MIGŪ 216 MIG Welder has similar specs.

    Just for learning I'd suggest a small MIG that will have a 100% duty cycle at 50 to 80 amps. That's plenty for thick sheet metal. Pick metal thickness to match the capability of the machine. I like Lincoln, but Miller, Hobart, etc are all usable too. Consider it a throwaway since you will want to sell it and move up if you find you enjoy it.

    You will find that MIG with gas is much cleaner than the same machine using flux core. Flux core generates smoke as it vaporizes the flux. This vaporized flux creates the shielding gas that protects the puddle while it is melted but it also tends to obstruct your view.

    Dan
    There is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Medford MA
    Posts
    611

    Default

    By definition, MIG uses gas (the IG stands for “inert gas”).
    You usually can do fluxcore, which is sort of like stick welding, except it uses wire and the flux is on the inside) with a MIG machine.

    As to duty cycle — I’ve never run into an issue. I have a miller matic 140, which takes ordinary (for the US) 120vac and has a low duty cycle. Usually it’s “weld a few inches, check, adjust, move a bit, repeat”.

    I suggest taking an adult ed course, if available. Welding is one of those things that seems to be more art than science — getting the sound, the look, etc, “just right” seems to go better with someone else who knows what he’s doing saying “that’s it”
    YMMV

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    1,010

    Default

    If you struggle with mild steel fabrication using MIG (actually it's MAG on CO2) then either your welder is badly adjusted or it's just plain shonky, I spent one summer building mini-skips on my drive for a local haulage company with my ESAB MIG & CO2.

    A few months ago I taught a friend to MAG weld a variety of thicknesses of steel together (1mm to 4mm) in various combinations and joints in about 45 minutes, that included teaching him how to set up the machine and me scrambling the settings for him to start from scratch.
    If you benefit from the Dunning-Kruger Effect you may not even know it ;-)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •