welding primer

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welding primer

Postby john warren » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:04 am

i often see questioins about welding and types of welders to buy. so here is my expert oppinion.
just remember what an expert is, by breaking down the word.
an ex,,,,,is a has been
and a spert,,, is a drip under preasure.

basic welding machine types are
arc welder, uses ac or dc current to cause an arc that melts the parent metal and the filler rod to join the work. the filler rod,,,or welding rod, is coated with a material (flux) which burns and forms a gas bubble around the weld to protect the molten metal from the atmosphere. to weld you scratch the rod on the serfuce of the metal, then as the arc starts you adjust the gap to maintain a smooth stable arc. with the rod at the proper angle of lead .

flux core (with a flux core......go figure)is a wire feed welder with a gun that automaticly feeds the filler metal into the weld for you. also known as a innershield welder. to weld you simply aim the wire at the seam, squeeze the trigger and draw the gun along like a giant pencil on the seam. speed will become appairent.

mig welder, same machine as the flux core welder, but with solid wire.
instead of flux it uses a shielding gas such as argon, or argon/co2 mix, or pure co2 to protect the weld puddle. this requires a tank of gas, and a regulator to be added to the machine. to weld with this set up you place the wire at the seam, pull the trigger, then push the gun along the seam.

these are most likely the machines you will choose from in a home shop.

an arc welder, once mastered, specialy in a unit with both ac/dc current ability is the most versital. allowing welds on steel, cast iron, aluminium, or almost any metal you run acrossed.
the down side,,,, some skill is required and lots of practice to master it.
if i could have only one machine this is what i would go with. understanding of course i have about 20 years of practice with them.

the majority of you will want something easier to master and thats what the wire feed welders excell at. we old guys swear we could teach a monkey to weld with one,,,,lol.

between the two choices,(really the same machine) the cheapest and easiest is the fluxcore. at least to purchase. BUT, flux core wire is expensive.
that being said. it does a good job and if your not going to do a lot of welding its a good choice. say building one trailer per year or a few repairs. in addition, if you find you use it alot you can always add the tank and regulator as need or finances allow.

ok,,, how much power do you need?
depends on what your working on. most trailer parts are between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. the box the welder comes in will tell you how thick it will weld in one pass.
by making multiple passes you can far exceed this. but that takes some learning to do properly. so try for one pass. as with most things we guys like,,,,, more power is always better,lol. usually the cheapest machine at home depot does 1/8, the next machine up will do 1/4 or so. i'd go with the second.

the only other welder that you will come up against would be a tig welder, also known as heliarc. this is an electric torch held in one hand, while the filler metal is added into the weld with the other hand. the weld is shielded with an inert gas like the mig welder. this is the prefered welder for aluminium and stainless steel, and for precision weldments.

i hope this stuff helped someone, if so,,,,my mission is accomplished. :thumbsup:
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Postby Steve_Cox » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:30 am

Hello John Warren,

Always room for another ex-spurt on the forum. :rofl:

I would guess you have been reading the posts here a while, nice to have you join in. If you have any questions, be sure to ask. Most of all, have fun. :thumbsup:
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welding

Postby robs5230 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:21 pm

hi , i'm also a welder by trade and good info given above .
however it is wise to bear in mind that if you are to weld outside you will be better with a no gas mig or an arc welder. in any sort of breeze / wind the gas shield on a mig with gas will be blown away by the wind leaving porous and very weak welds with no structural integrity.
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Re: welding primer

Postby PirateJohn » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:43 am

Out here in the oil patch we have a number of welders (usually pipeline welders) with welders that run off of a generator.

My RV generator is on the order of 6kw. The previous one was around 12.5kw but it was a thirsty old monster.

I have just taken delivery of a Class 5 diesel truck. I would like to find a generator/welder combination for backup and occasional welding that, ideally, doesn't require another fuel.

Any suggestions for a unit that is in this ballpark that won't cost an arm and a leg?
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Re: welding primer

Postby Shadow Catcher » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:17 pm

As a weld inspector from the space shuttle to oil refineries and have seen some of the absolutely most awful welds in areas you do NOT want to see them i.e. repairs on carnival rides (the requirement is that they be welded with the same procedure as the manufacturer). My advice is that if you do not have a very good idea how to weld, take it to a certified welder who does. I do not do my own welds I know better! :x
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Re: welding primer

Postby ctstaas » Thu May 29, 2014 11:34 am

Hi everyone,
Like many others on this forum I too have extensive experience with certified welding and I would like to add a few thoughts.
The difference between a journeyman and an apprentice is the journeyman can fix his mistakes before the boss finds out. Even the best screw up, so don't take it so badly. Some things will take two or three attempts to attain perfection. Not everything needs to be that good. Choose wisely Grasshopper.
I use a Lincoln 110V wire feed welder. I typically weld with 0.030" flux cored wire. The finer the diameter the higher the price for flux cored wires. When I need to have a perfect weld the first time I always run cover gas with my flux cored wire. When I use cover gas I use 75% CO2/ 25% Argon mix. Using a good cover gas will dramatically improve your w2eld quality and is reasonably priced.
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Re: welding primer

Postby ctstaas » Thu May 29, 2014 11:59 am

Hi Everyone,
Like many others in the forum, I too have extensive experience in certified welding and would like to add some thoughts.
The difference between a journeyman and an apprentice is the journeyman can fix their mistakes before the boss finds out. Even the best screw up, so don't kick yourself too hard when it's your turn. Perfection often takes two or three attempts. Most things don't need to be that good. Choose wisely Grasshopper.
I do most of my welding with a Lincoln 110V wire feed. I usually run 0.030" flux cored wire. The finer the wire the higher the price. When I need a weld to be perfect the first time I always use cover gas. When I use cover gas I always use 75% CO2/ 25% Argon mix. IMHE a good cover gas will improve your weld quality dramatically and is reasonably priced.
I agree with Shadow catcher, get someone else to do it.
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Re: welding primer

Postby chriskoebb » Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:58 am

Thanks to everyone that contributed to this post :applause: very informative!
"If you don't make mistakes your not doing anything"

Chris
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Re: welding primer

Postby RJ Howell » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:22 pm

No one has touched this thread in 5yrs, yet I'm going to see if I can give it a bump (or someone point me to a current one).

MIG or TIG is the biggest question for me. I just broke out the torch and my brazing tips to practice up a bit again (15yrs of dust on it). Soldering and brazing I can do. That comes to me easily. So now I'm adding the challenge of brazing (to welding) aluminum. Yes, with my oxygen-acetylene torch. I'm coming along decently, especially for forgetting half of what I never knew to start with, LOL..

I like the idea of TIG, because the torch welding has come to me so easily. MIG (or stick), I still haven't grasped. With the upcoming project (next summer) I may just step up and buy a machine to make life easier. Now what to buy..

How far can you push a TIG? Is it like torch weld in that you just turn up the heat and go? Can I reasonably TIG 1/4" steel?
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Re: welding primer

Postby tony.latham » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:49 pm

MIG (or stick), I still haven't grasped.


I think MIG is awful easy. Lots of good Youtube videos on it.

TIG? I wish I had one and I can't answer your 1/4" question.

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Re: welding primer

Postby PCO6 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:34 am

Old but interesting thread. Thanks for bringing it up again.

Just to add a few more to the original post, There's also gas welding with an oxygen/acetylene torch. I learned back in the late '60s and still prefer it, along with MIG, above most others. Learning to gas weld without filler rod is tricky but essential for panel beating. Other advantages of O/A torches is that you can use them for bending/shaping and for cutting metal, although plasma cutters have become very useful for this.

There's also spot welding for sheet metal. It can get very complex but for home hobbyists it can be very simple. I almost feel like I'm cheating when I do it. I have a common 240V "jaw" spot welder that is great when you want to take the machine to the metal. I also built a stand with a foot pedal and timer for it for when you want to take the metal to the welder. This is very helpful as it frees up your second hand to hold the sheet metal panels. I also have a Porta-Spot welder. It's about the size of an arc welder and requires 240V. It has 2 long heavy gauge cables with a "pistol" and pointed copper rod at the end of each one. One pistol has a trigger/button; basically contact the metal over metal sheets about 1" to 1.5" apart with the 2 pistols, push the button and you get 2 spot welds.

Also, anyone looking to weld aluminum should get a spool gun for their MIG welder, It will require a 100% argon gas bottle. I've tried gas welding aluminum with bad results … not enough "practice, practice, practice" for me. This makes it a lot easier.
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Re: welding primer

Postby RJ Howell » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:15 am

Still working with my Oxy/Acetylene torch.

So, I'm getting a decent bead on the first corner of the angle aluminum, why do flat stock.. that's easy.. I know, I'm nuts.. Yet might as well build something.
Second corner okay, third.. what's a mess!

Off to the supply store to possibly change out the filler rod, new tip or whatever. Talking to the gent behind the counter as I told him what was happening, he smiled and said it's oxidizing on ya. He continued and explained aluminum oxidizes quickly, as in a 1/2hr and progresses from there. No wonder the joints got progressively uglier. I was prepin' all 4 corners at once, then clamping up, then finally brazing. Too much time lapsed.. Lesson of the day learned!

Correct me folks here please, I do believe you step past brazing once you start a puddle. I'm entering this phase.
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Re: welding primer

Postby twisted lines » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:26 am

RJ Howell wrote:MIG or TIG is the biggest question for me.
I like the idea of TIG, because the torch welding has come to me so easily.
How far can you push a TIG? Is it like torch weld in that you just turn up the heat and go? Can I reasonably TIG 1/4" steel?


I used TIG for work and have one at home, I no longer think its fun or enjoy it, I only have it now because it is very capable of stick welding as well.
1/4 " Steel, TIG you would want a large machine and a water cooled torch, they get very hot to the touch turned up, and its slow. $$$
I use my MIG / Spoolgun a lot; Only one machine this would be my choice hands down.

As for the Oxy/Acetylene and Aluminum that is magic I don't even try :frightened:
5.5 X 10 Flatback Benroy in a pile,
And it's growing!
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Re: welding primer

Postby PCO6 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:34 pm

twisted lines wrote:As for the Oxy/Acetylene and Aluminum that is magic I don't even try :frightened:


Years ago a friend who was a professional panel beater showed me a trick on how to weld sheet aluminum. The key was to use the exact same material for the filler rod. He took a new sheet and cut of 1/8" lengths of it with his foot shear. They became his filler rod. It made good sense … but I still never got the hang of it.
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Re: welding primer

Postby Squigie » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:21 pm

PCO6 wrote:
twisted lines wrote:As for the Oxy/Acetylene and Aluminum that is magic I don't even try :frightened:


Years ago a friend who was a professional panel beater showed me a trick on how to weld sheet aluminum. The key was to use the exact same material for the filler rod. He took a new sheet and cut of 1/8" lengths of it with his foot shear. They became his filler rod. It made good sense … but I still never got the hang of it.

I've seen it done with sheet and castings.
It's very difficult to read the metal (if you go for a molten "puddle", you've gone way too far). It's more of watching for the subtle indications that a phase change is imminent. (Like when lead 'flashes' as it cools, followed by color and 'gloss' changing ... but before it would be 'oatmeal' if you poked it.)
Having identical filler definitely helps.

A/O aluminum is the #1 reason why I pestered my brother until he gave me two complete A/O torch rigs, minus tanks.
If it's something that even professionals run away from with their tails between their legs, then THAT is what I want to learn to do. If I can do that, I can do anything.

.... Or at least have fun failing. :thinking:
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