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I Want to Learn to Weld

Discussion in '<a href=http://www.lawnsite.com/buttons/jump.php?i' started by Chopper Lover, Apr 27, 2001.

  1. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Just a couple bits of info to pass along: most arc (stick) machines used in home workshops are AC (Alternating Current) only. Nothing wrong with that, it's just that 7018 welding rod isn't happy with AC current and it's a bear to work with. You can get 7018AC rod, some other types of welding rod I use at home on the AC machine are: 6011, 6013 and 7014.

    When torch cutting, use a straightedge to aid you whenever possible. I like to use a piece of 3/8" x 2" flat bar, I mark out the piece I'm cutting, and clamp the flat bar down allowing for the thickness of the torch tip - typically I keep the flat bar 3/16" to 1/4" back from my layout line, you'll need to find out what your torch requires. Start your cut, and draw the torch along the flat bar - just like drawing a line with a T-square in mechanical drafting (remember that?) Easier to produce a clean cut this way, and more efficient (faster) too. I use a straightedge for cutting as much as possible. Yes, I can freehand a decent cut but I can do it faster with a straightedge - and when the customer is paying $$$ per hour to have me on a jobsite, efficiency is important!

    And always, ALWAYS keep those safety glasses on! I can't believe the number of times I catch some of my co-workers finishing a weld, lifting their helmet, and chipping the still-hot slag without their glasses on - or grinding away, again with no glasses. The human eye protects itself by blinking, but there is no way you can react fast enough, particularly with a grinder turning at around 10,000 rpm. Makes me shudder just watching it - eye injuries are not fun.

    Quick tip to help in the fabbing end of things: when cleaning up small pieces of plate with a grinder, it's often a nuisance to clamp each one into a vise or to the table to keep them in place - particularly when there's a lot of them. Using one hand to hold them while you run the grinder with the other is NOT a good idea - I've got a few scars on my fingers as proof of this! :eek:

    Use a piece of old conveyor belting (2' x 2' is a handy size) on your workbench, set the plates on it & there is enough friction between the rubber & steel to keep the parts from scooting all over the place on you.

    Hope this can be of some help - more info to follow as it comes to mind!

    [Edited by 75 on 04-29-2001 at 11:21 PM]
  2. Mudbug44s

    Mudbug44s LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Its Great that you want to learn a new skill and become more involved in making your own "Toys". I have to recomend that you take an entry level class at your local trade school or community college. The instructors can demonstrate to you the proper welding techniques and you can SEE for yourself exactly how the weld profile should be.

    The instructors will be able to assist you in deciding what kind of equipment you will need for your application. I would stick to a simple AC/DC SMAW welder (Stick). Commonly called a Buzz Box. These work well and can get you welding for under $500, complete.

    I work as a Pipe welder for the Local Union, I am an AWS Certified Welding Inspector and I work For a large Community College as a Welding Lab Tech. I can tell you how to weld but the seceret to becoming a good welder is PRACTICE. Arc on time is the only way to hone your skills and with a good instructor to guide your progres you will be amazed at how fast you progress!!! Good Luck!

  3. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Hi Andy - welcome to Lawnsite, and especially to our newest forum! Nice to see another person making a living in this field.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, you're right about the value of a trade school class - and this is coming from someone who mostly "learned by doing".

    I'm employed by a fairly small company, so I get to enjoy lots of variety. Generally, I'm doing mobile welding - structural steel, some pipe and a lot of repair welding. Going into week #6 at a local quarry tomorrow morning. I've got my Welding Supervisor rating through CWB - no Inspector qualifications yet though!

    On the money with your suggestion of practice, practice, practice. THAT's the way to progress!

    DYNA PLOW LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    , i learned to weld when i worked in a fab shop for 4yrs, so i learned
    with the best equip. also learned how to run a shear and set up brake presses, punch presses, rollers and just about everything in the shop. when i left the shop i couln't afford a real good welder so i started with a 110v flux core mig welder, it worked well for things up to 1/8 inch but anything bigger than that i called it a bubble gum welding machine. i could weld 1/4 inch with it but i would first heat up the area to weld with my torch then burn it in.i have since graduated to a hobart ironman 210. with my plasma cutter and welder, torch,drill press ,grinders. i can and do tackle all sorts of projects.
    my advice to you, start small meaning don't start welding on things that are critical such as trailer hitches and other high stress things, start with mower decks, brackets and other light stuff like that.
    my final piece of advice, if you can afford it buy an auto darkening
    helmet, i think it will help you to learn easier ang make you a better welder. up down, up down , up down, o sh t how did my wire get over ther? i pd. 158.00 for mine and would't trade it for anything.
    when you buy your welder if you get it from a supply store ask if they can give you a better price on a helmet if you buy the welder .
    have fun!!
  5. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    This will seem like pretty "basic" information to those of you experienced in welding, but for someone just starting out with "stick" (arc) welding, here are some "rules of thumb" regarding what size electrode to use & how hot to set the machine at:

    Welding rod size is determined by the diameter of the metal part of the rod, the 3 sizes you'll generally use are 3/32" (2.4 mm) 1/8" (3.2 mm) and 5/32" (4.0 mm)

    Welding heat is determined by amperage, the basic "rule of thumb" is 1 amp per thousandth of an inch of electrode diameter. 3/32" = .093, so around 95 amps. 1/8" = .125, so 125 amps. 5/32" = .156, so about 160 amps. These numbers are a guideline, you may find you have better results with the amperage set a little higher or lower, but they give you a place to start.

    I generally use 1/8" electrodes for the majority of my work, the 5/32" is used for heavier welding especially when a fairly large weld deposit is required - it takes fewer passes to lay down a 1/2" fillet weld with the larger electrode. 3/32" is useful for working with items like thin-walled tube (railings) and plates 1/8" and under. It's also handy for the root (initial) pass on some pipe welds.

    As far as what type of electrode to use, that's a whole discussion in itself! One thing to remember is that most welding machines you're likely to find in a home workshop are AC current only. Nothing wrong with that, except that some types of welding rod (such as the 7018 which I use every day at work) don't perform well with AC current. When fabbing stuff at my "home" workshop, I usually use 6013 for most welding and 6011 when working with items that may be dirty/rusty such as snowplow repairs.

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