View Full Version : Welding?

03-30-2007, 04:34 PM
What kind of start up tools will I need other than the welder itself?

Tools that come to mind are: Angle grinders, face sheild, protective clothing,
metal chop saw, gloves, and ?............

I have some simple projects on trucks and trailers that I have in mind.

I think I will be purchasing an arc welder for simple trailer repairs, maintenance, and some minor fabrication (racks, cages, and so on).

I have never done any welding, so any other tips would be helpful

03-30-2007, 04:49 PM
Chipping hammer, wire brush mounted on you grinder, a drill press, a good 1/2 chuck drill, a good set of drill bits, a cutting torch, a bench grinder (not everything can be hand ground well). The auto-darkening helmets are awesome (unless you are working in the sunlight) but can be quite pricey. Always wear safety glasses under your helmet when you are welding.
I can't hardly go without my air powered die grinder, my 4" hand grinder is awesome, but I have to use my air powered die grinder so much to get into tight places.

03-30-2007, 05:49 PM
dont buy an arc welder, buy a flux core if you want something simple and easy to use, just buy a good angle grinder, like a dewalt or makita or something that will have some power and last, then you need a helmet, just get a cheapy to start with, 15 bucks or so.

03-30-2007, 06:18 PM
dont buy an arc welder, buy a flux core if you want something simple and easy to use, just buy a good angle grinder, like a dewalt or makita or something that will have some power and last, then you need a helmet, just get a cheapy to start with, 15 bucks or so.

Isn't flux core the type of rod or electrode? Could I not use a flux cored rod with an arc welder?

03-30-2007, 08:13 PM
I dont know a whole lot about welders but isnt flux core a type of wire run through a mig welder its basicly taking the place of using gas as a shield i believe. If you dont run flux core you can run regular wire with the shielding gas but it doesnt work that well in wind thats flux core advantage i believe

03-30-2007, 08:27 PM
First off, before buying any hardware, go to AMAZON.com and look up welding books. I don't have the time to do the search for you but I know there are lots of beginning welder books there. They will explain everything you need to get going. I wouldn't waste my time with an arc welder. Go right to a MIG and start there. The only problem with a MIG is that you use a tank of inert gas, CO2/Argon mix. In windy conditions outside the gas will be blown out of the weld and it won't be a quality weld. Do some reading and you will get the idea quickly. And start with some practice pieces, don't go right to a trailer repair or project till you figure things out. Good luck.

03-30-2007, 08:30 PM
vntgrcr cant you use flux core wire when out side to weld? I know the weld will not be of the same quality as using co2 and argon but cant you use it or am i mistaken?

03-30-2007, 08:32 PM
You can get a small 110volt wire feed that will do most repairs and fabrication up to 1/8 thick metal. They arent that much and are easy to use for a first timer. You'll need a helmet and gloves. A long sleeve COTTON shirt works fine for all but overhead welding or serious cutting. A grinder is nice,since the prep work is very important. Clean metal! You can buy the cutting wheels for the grinder so that saves on hacksaw blades and such to cut your metal. Flux core wire is good for beginners. Easy to weld, no shielding gas needed.
Also I would say to take a course in welding at your local community college. Cheap, usually about 60 to 70 dollars and worth every penny! And of course check out weldingweb.com. Lots of info there!

03-30-2007, 09:06 PM
Head over to weldingweb. They are helpful.

Get a Hobart Handler 140 will handle both flux core and CO2. Flux core is helpful if you are welding in the outdoors. The wind or breeze will blow the gas away and the weld quality will suffer.

03-30-2007, 09:46 PM
Welder's Handbook by Richard Finch.........AWESOME BOOK! i read it cover to cover twice before ever picking up a single welding rod

03-30-2007, 09:53 PM
I like arc welding myself. It's what we used when I worked as a machinist. They had a big Miller welder. Never used mig, but when I was looking to buy a little welder for around here I didn't want to mess with the gas.

Bought the Lincoln AC225 from WalMart for something like $300. Works likea charm. Built my 6x12 trailer, tractor implements, overhead lift ..

Mig might be easier for a beginner to make a prettier bead but arc and some 7018 rods is what I prefer.

03-30-2007, 10:45 PM
the only way to weld in this business is with a wire feed setup. Go to home depot or something similar and look at the lincoln weld pack 100 HD. Its like 350 bucks and it will weld 1/4 in. Flux Core is a wire fed through the machine that has the gas basically built into the wire. I have a lincoln 135 and in the last few months i have built plow wings, a basket for the front of the trailer, and just finished my sulky tonight. Ive also made numerous repairs to my trailer that were needed. Dont read a book, dont buy videos, just buy a welder and start practicing, once you get it, your beads will be perfect and you will make tons of cool projects.

03-31-2007, 01:12 AM
i had to buy one of those little home depot lincoln welders once, i was working out of state and our Miller bobcat took a sh*t. all i can say is that there good in a pinch. The box says its rated for 1/4" and "serious fabrication" my a$$. that thing will maybe weld 1/8" when its turned up all the way. Flux core is also messy like stick, there will be a decent amout of splatter. Like some other people suggested, auto darkening helmets are an awesome investment if you got the money. i have a Jackson Nex-Gen, its by far one of the best purchases i ever made. i would highly suggest buying a mig welder you wont regret it. I deal with mostly lincoln gas driven welders, and miller migs. they the best out there and in the long run your better off spending alittle more and getting a machine rated for higher than you think you will need. the ratings are usually not accurate. nad if you still have money left over buy a plasma cutter. there awesome i have a hyperterm 1250, it makes a torch look caveman. A torch is also something i would highly suggest.

03-31-2007, 04:20 AM
This is a good little all around welder. Good price and large enough to do most repairs in the lawncare business.


03-31-2007, 11:12 AM
i have the same one duncan is showing, i have welder 3/8 with it and it was fine plus it is setup for both mig and flux core

03-31-2007, 12:26 PM
First tool is to take a class first so you know what your doing and your welds will hold and be good welds. It isn't as easy as getting a welder and welding.

03-31-2007, 02:17 PM
The reason I am thinking about an arc welder is because of its simplicity. No drive rollers, gas tanks, replacing tips, and so on. The information I have on welding is limited to what few articles I have read on the subject so keep in mind I am definetly open to all suggestions.

Most likely most of my welding will be outside in the driveway and I do have a 220volt outlet.

I will probably only use the machine 3 or 4 weekends per year.

03-31-2007, 03:09 PM
I'd look for a used Lincoln then. The old red buzz boxes work great.

General Landscaping
03-31-2007, 03:20 PM
Whatever you get, make some different welds with different joints and run 'em through the chop saw afterward to see what you actually did.
Once you get an eye for things, you can tell if a weld penetrated or not.
The suggestions for welding class are right on, unless you have an accomplished welder willing to spend some hours with you. It would be good to be able to at least pass the 3/8" plate test before you do anything structural.
There are things to learn like how things will draw if you start sticking before everything is tacked down.
Don't forget to add welding clamps and a welder's magnet to your grocery list.
Unless you have the $$$$ to drop on a big MIG, plan on a 240 stick welder. Once you get further along, pick up a 120 MIG for most general use and nice, clean welds.

03-31-2007, 06:49 PM
Thank you all for the helpful insight into the various welding processes, equipment,and other suggestions . I am still absorbing all the info gathered so far. More questions will follow I'm sure like: what is a welding magnet?

03-31-2007, 06:54 PM
Thank you all for the helpful insight into the various welding processes, equipment,and other suggestions . I am still absorbing all the info gathered so far. More questions will follow I'm sure like: what is a welding magnet?


03-31-2007, 06:57 PM
I looked them up and there a few different kinds. Some are for help holding material at 90 and 45 degree angles and there were some for the ground clamp to attach to. Are there any other magnet devices that I am unfamiliar with.

Hurricane Lawn
03-31-2007, 09:59 PM
Also, find a proffesional welder in your area that can show you some things. Welding classes are fine and all, but you can save the green and learn all you need to know from someone who does it everyday for a living. Anyway, I think you'd be happier in the long run with a wire machine. They are extemely versatile. I've use stick welders and wire machines both for about 16 years now. I could live without the arc welder but not the wire machine. You'll also be using it far more than you think, once you get the hang of it.

General Landscaping
04-01-2007, 12:14 PM
what is a welding magnet?

A triangular magnet used to help position parts and hold them while you are doing setup and tacking.

04-01-2007, 05:27 PM
Welding magnet is a great investment.

04-03-2007, 01:08 AM
I just did the same thing. I looked around at the lincolns and like the flux core one at Lowes. I ended up with a Clark 130EN. For $350-400 it comes with everything (including a roller cart) but the gas bottle and does flux core also. It has a 10 year warranty. My neighbor is a professional welder and he really liked it for a 110 volt welder except the splatter. It's the same as rod welding but you can place the gun where you want, flip the mask down and then pull the trigger. I just welded an equipment rack for my landscape trailer with it and it did great. Plenty of power also. It has 4 power settings and I was using 1/8" angle and could nearly punch holes through it if I wasn't careful on setting 3.

04-04-2007, 01:28 AM
I use both stick and wire. I think you can by a 240 vote, ac/dc lincoln stick for around $400. The 135amp lincoln is also a great starter wire welder. Buy one that is at least capable of using gas, even if youu intend to use flux core, gas produces much cleaner welds. I dont know why some here cant weld 1/4inch stuff with their 135 am welders, As long as you Vee it out first, you can weld even thicker steel with the 135 lincoln mig. I wouldnt think of buying anything smaller than the 135 amp mig. I have a 125amp hobart and it just collects dust.

Depending on budget, they do make combo machines that mig, tig, and plasma cut and have a built in air compressor, expect to pay around $3grand for something like that tho.

If you wear glasses, I suggest that you purchase some of those magnifying lens for your helment. the lens are available in different magnification. I wear bifocals and it makes it hard to focus when welding in tricky positions. the magnifying lens allow me to take my prescription glasses off when I weld, Plus, it will keep someone else from trying to use your helment. :nono: I prefer the aouto darkening helments.

Plasma cutters are great, but the consumables are a little pricey. Plasma cutters cant take the place of oxy/acet torches if you need to preheat metal before welding, or just need to bend something. With a plasma cutter you will need a good air compressior with an air dryer. With oxy/acet, you can rent the gas bottles, but one years rent will usually pay the cost of just buying the bottles.

Books will help some with the basics, but nothing beats practice. For just light frabrication, a little help from an experienced welder might be all you need to get started. If you plan on doing a lot of welding and fabricating, you should definately look at taking a few classes.

Accessories would be a good chipping hammer and wire brush, a good air compressior if you are going to be thinking about arc gougeing and cutting. Get a 5 inch grinder instead of the 4 in ones. Disk last much longer and grinds faster with the bigger grinder. Assorted types of disk to fit the grinder. A Bench grinder is handy to have around. Chopsaw, bench vise, a tape measure with the magnetic tip, assortment of clamps and magnet holders. Consider the leather arm covers and apron to prevent burns, as well as a good pair of welding gloves. Leather boots, nothing like a hot welding bead burning thru a pair of tennis shoes. Ear plugs are another good safety feature, splatters have a way of finding a path into your ears, and it hurts like heck. A good drill press and hand drill, as well as a good assortment of drill bits and maybe some bi-metal holesaws. Might as well buy a Drill Doctor to keep those bits sharp. A portable electric hacksaw is nice and maybe a floor model metal bandsaw. Yea, I know, I'm getting carried away. But once you start, you will probably want all these things, even if you dont really need them.

04-04-2007, 11:16 PM
Thanks Muddstopper!

Good tip about the boots, I would not have thought about that until the little toes were smoking.

04-05-2007, 04:24 PM
Thanks Muddstopper!

Good tip about the boots, I would not have thought about that until the little toes were smoking.

You will like the ear plug tip even better. Dont wait until you are trying to overhead weld and a piece of slag gets into your ear to try that tip out.
Take my work for it, I've been there and done that and it hurts.

04-05-2007, 08:24 PM
YUP! Did the ear slag thing about 5 yrs ago cutting a bracket from a frame. Right down the ear canal! Bled for a few days. Hurt like hell! Ear plugs are a must now!

04-08-2007, 11:48 PM
ok, after further research and the help gathered on lawnsite, I have decided to go with a mig welder.

I am leaning towards a 175amp / 220volt mig welder. This seems to be a versatile enough machine that I will not outgrow anytime soon.

I will startout practicing with the flux coated wire, then maybe later add some gas for prettier / thinner welds.

The machine I am considering is a lincoln 175. Output is 175amp 208/230-volt.

Now for an ignornant ? I have a 220 outlet set up for a delta unisaw(tablesaw). Is there any reason why I should not use this 220 outlet. Would the difference between 208/230 lincoln welder and the 220 outlet cause any problems for the welder.

04-08-2007, 11:57 PM
Nice, how thin of metal will one like that do? Check what your current breaker is rated for and make sure it is within that of the welder. Nice choice though.

04-09-2007, 12:08 AM
It will weld as thin as 24 gage.

Another ? This welder has a 30% duty cycle. Will the machine stop welding by itself when this has been reached or will I need to keep up with the time used?

04-09-2007, 12:23 AM
Even my Clarke has a thermal cut off so I would think Lincoln would have one as well. I doubt you will ever have to worry about the duty cycle though. I welded for what I thought was several minutes straight and my 110v never stopped. My neighbor who is a pro welder by trade said the same thing about never coming close to the duty cycle using it in the way you describe. Just leave the power switch on while in use and for several minutes after your done so the cooling fan can do it's job.

04-09-2007, 09:43 AM
What is Duty cycle? Duty Cycle- The amount of time a machine can be used at a particular output. Expressed as a percentage of a ten minute cycle, a 150 amp machine with a 30% duty cycle set at maximum will allow 3 minutes of use for every ten and a 60% duty cycle would allow 6 minutes of use for every ten. The duty cycle increases as the power setting decreases so if the 150 amp machine were to be used on a 30 amp setting the duty cycle might be 100% allowing it to be used 10 minutes out of every ten.

Keep in mind, however, that the actual total time a machine can be used continuously is not determined by a timer, but typically by a thermostat within the machine which will shut it off if the machine is too hot and needs to cool down before it does more work. Therefore, even a 30% machine can be used more than ten minutes at a stretch. Factors affecting duty cycle include whether or not the machine has an internal fan and ambient temperature of the work area.

From http://www.daytonamig.com/faq.htm

04-09-2007, 01:13 PM
Take a class and practice, practice and practice some more.

A couple of years ago I ran over a trailer tire, came off the guy in front of me going 70 mph on I-40. His self made spare tire holder broke, did some major damage to my car.

MIG or stick, either one is easy to learn with a good teacher. Unless you do sheetmetal repair, nothing is wrong with a good stick welder.

04-09-2007, 01:30 PM
Dad and my brothers have been using migs for last 20 years. For general repairs a mig will do just as good a job as a stick. In fact they used on several equine projects, the flatbed that I have on my old pickup and a lot of items in between.

Both a mig and stick welder can do sloppy poor welds as well.

Practice, practice, practice.

04-09-2007, 11:46 PM
Thanks for the replies.

Not to worry, there will be plenty of practicing before I will attempt any structural welding.

I am sure there will be more questions as I go along.

04-10-2007, 07:26 PM
That 175 lincoln will last you a life time, and unless you start doing a lot of fab work with heavy metal, it will be the only machine you will ever need. Personally, I like Miller products better. I suspect with your Lincoln you can change out the tip and use smaller wire and weld tin cans together, or use .035 or .040 wire for the heavy gage stuff. Fine you some scrap steel and start playing with temperatures and wire speed before you tackle a real welding project.