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Old 03-06-2015, 01:57 PM   #1
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Welder

So I have been doing a bit of research and have decided instead of paying someone to do something I could do I thought it might be time for a welder. I have read just about all I could on the net, watched videos, and thought I would reach out -
Anyone near Bellingham that could share some tips face to face? Show some basics? What would be your suggestion on the best welder for a beginner? I am looking for something to plug in to my 20 amp 110 plug here in the garage. Yes I have 220 but don't want to be tied to my garage. Inverter/transformer? Model/Make suggestions? One of my first projects is to weld on my new trailer and add a bumper cut and extend my tongue add a receiver to the back for cooler/wood rack, etc. I don't ever see needing to weld 1/4" - I find the thought of welding my own trailer build to be very enticing, I understand that I need to learn how to generate a good bead and penetration so the welds hold long term down the road with a lot of abuse. Heck I am even thinking of taking a few quarters at the local tech school. Thoughts and opinions? Thanks.
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Old 03-06-2015, 02:26 PM   #2
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Re: Welder

I love this guy's videos:

http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com

If you want to weld everything, tig is likely what you should put your time into learning. But I started with a big mig machine Millermatic 350P. Now I really want to weld aluminum so I am stuck with a machine that will weld aluminum but will cost about the same to set up to weld aluminum (Python push-pull gun) as a separate tig machine would cost. So a tig machine is probably in my future. Most important purchase is an autodarkening helmet. I have a Miller Titanium series helmet and like it alot.
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:06 PM   #3
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Re: Welder

+1 on the auto darkening helmet. This is really important. Try it with a regular old school helmet and then auto darkening and you will see.

I bought a cheapo Harbor Freight model (+/-$100) and have been happy as a clam learning with it. I need a bigger, better welder now with shielding gas as I have just about worn this one out. Shielding gas will enable you to make a lot less mess (slag) and get much cleaner welds. The gun and hose/cord/whatever are coming apart on my cheapo, but it has served me well for a few years. Whatever you get, just give it a try! It really is fun. In addition to the welder itself I recommend a good auto-darkening helmet and quality gloves, and an assortment of different clamps, etc. and a decent metal table to work on. I actually have done a lot of work on an old wooden workbench but have nearly caught it on fire several times. Also, I would keep an eye out on Craigslist. If you are in a decent sized town welders are aplenty on CL. My next one will most certainly be used.

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Old 03-06-2015, 06:22 PM   #4
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Re: Welder

Quote:
Originally Posted by E350
I love this guy's videos:

http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com

If you want to weld everything, tig is likely what you should put your time into learning. But I started with a big mig machine Millermatic 350P. Now I really want to weld aluminum so I am stuck with a machine that will weld aluminum but will cost about the same to set up to weld aluminum (Python push-pull gun) as a separate tig machine would cost. So a tig machine is probably in my future. Most important purchase is an autodarkening helmet. I have a Miller Titanium series helmet and like it alot.

Thanks, I sat down this afternoon and watched all his Mig basic videos. Great education! I'll be visiting a welding supply store next week and will go from there.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:16 AM   #5
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Re: Welder

I forgot to mention that though I love to weld I completely suck at it. I suppose some take to it better than others, like most crafts. I can put things together and have never had a weld fail, but my welding is pretty ugly. If at first your projects don't look like an Aluminess bumper just keep trying and enjoy the journey!

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Old 03-07-2015, 11:40 AM   #6
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Re: Welder

^^^ Me too. That's why I say "I am a grinder, trying to become a welder."

Once my welds are deep enough and structurally done, a little grinding (sometimes alot) to make the joint look better and it's all good.

So that's why, in addition to a 14" chop saw, you will eventually accumulate a couple of Makita 4.5" paddle switch angle grinders - one with a cutting wheel on it and the other with a grinding wheel on it.

(Once boywonder starts welding, he can school us on that too...)
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Old 03-07-2015, 06:13 PM   #7
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Re: Welder

Quote:
Originally Posted by E350
^^^ Me too. That's why I say "I am a grinder, trying to become a welder."

Once my welds are deep enough and structurally done, a little grinding (sometimes alot) to make the joint look better and its all good.

So that's why, in addition to a 14" chop saw, you will eventually accumulate a couple of Makita 4.5" paddle switch angle grinders - one with a cutting wheel on it and the other with a grinding wheel on it.

(Once boywonder starts welding, he can school us on that too...)
Very true. Yep, all three of those tools are pretty handy with a welder, the angle grinder being completely a must. I have a portable bandsaw that works great for cutting angle and small pieces, since I don't have a chop saw. I'm watching CL as we speak.

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Old 03-08-2015, 11:43 AM   #8
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Re: Welder

Maybe you should reconsider and look at 220V welders, you can get a much more useful welder for not much more money.

Then invest in a long extension cord for the welder. I have a 75' extension made from 10-3 SJOOW cable. The cord and the outlet/plug aren't cheap, but they greatly increase the utility of the welder. I also made my 220 outlets in the shop use the same outlet as the dryer plug in the house so can get more range out of the welder.

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Old 03-08-2015, 12:02 PM   #9
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Re: Welder

^^^ Yep that is also what I did. 220-240v 50 amp dryer plugs and receptacles.
You simply will not get a long enough "duty cycle" out of a 110-120v mig unit regardless of the make or model to weld very far on a joint without it losing power.
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Old 03-09-2015, 10:05 AM   #10
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Re: Welder

Quote:
Originally Posted by E350

(Once boywonder starts welding, he can school us on that too...)
Did I mention that I suck at welding?..........I do have a Lincoln Arc welder that I bought on Craigslist years ago, but I hesitate to weld anything that needs to be structural......I used it mainly to weld up wrought iron railings for my deck. If these were to fail, someone would plunge a good 20 inches to the ground....

....perhaps I should try a wire feed MIG welder at some point.....
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