Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Stonehenge, Jan 26, 2001.

  1. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Looks like I should've been taking shop classes in high school....

    I just started a welding class, in the hopes that when my equipment breaks or when I need to fab something for my equipment, I can do it.

    For those of you with some experience, what kind of welding eqpt would you recommend? Here's what to keep in mind:

    Most all of my wleding will either happen outdoors or inside garages with doors tall enough to let a good amount of wind through.

    I don't want to become a welding master - this will just be for the occasional project or repair, so I don't want to spend a ton of money ($600 or less for eqpt, mask, gloves, etc).

    I may only have access to a 6000W (surge) generator for emergency repairs.

    I'll be doing work on trucks, trailers, skid loaders.

  2. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    Stone thats a tough one we carry a a wire feed welder in our trailers for small repairs (bracket on a saw or tamper) for the big stuff we call them in (mobile welder) is it worth it to have a big machine on site don't know but small one under $300 it is.
  3. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    Are you learning on an ARC welder with rods or are you learning on a wire feed or mig welder?? Electric or gas?? You want to get comfortable with whatever you decide to use. For small jobs we have a little electric arc welder, but we have a good sized miller MIG welder at the shop when we fabricate parts, repair buckets, etc. The small one is actually pretty good if you have good rods, takes some practice though.

    Good Luck!

    P.S. While we're on welders, I was looking into buying one of those electronic self tinting masks they have out. Do they really work or what??
    I know they're big bucks, but it might be worth the $$ for me.

  4. CHC

    CHC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    I bought one of the smaller MIG welders - from Century, I think- that will supposedly handle steel up to 3/16 - 1/4" thick. I got one of the masks that come & go automatically; Gempler has them, as does Northern Tools. anout $ 150 -200, and worth every penny. I've had a lot of fun with it, even managed to make some lasting repairs. On the bigger stuff, I swallow my pride and take it to a pro with real equipment & experience. Makes all of us happy. It is a great thing to learn; hopefully, as I get beter I can justify the bigger equipment. Get the one that will allow you to use the gas bottle
  5. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,555

    For welding big equipment,you only need an arc welder,the thick steel is not ideal for a small amperage MIG welder,no penetration and hard to get a good bead with a small unit.Forget the 6K generator,thats only enough for a 110 MIG.Id look for a used Hobart,or Linclon portable in the want ads,they are 2500 new,Sams club has Lincolns with 20hp Kohlers,but i have seen older ones with 16hp Onan's for like 800-1300 used,you could mount it in a truck or on a small trailer,they weigh about 4-500 lbs.They are also 8K watt generators too,so you have portable power,enough to run a whole shop or house in an extended outage.These welders are built like tanks,and will last a long time,they are commercial units,and the only way to fly if your seriuos about welding in the field or away from power.
  6. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    I have a little 110 MIG (No gas) Century also. Ditto CHC's comments except for the gas, because mine doesn't need that. If its something serious I take to a professional welder, something easy I do it. The bad part for me is that I learned with arc welders so I have found it difficult to get used to the wire feed, so I agree with Guido's comments about getting a unit that you are familiar with. John, your ideas are great except that Stone said he wants to keep it under $600.00, so he'll have to wait on going for the big daddies. I'm looking forward to someday having a set up like you mention too.
  7. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    The class is sheilded metal arc welding, but the instructors are pretty flexible - they have TIG and MIGs, and will teach us any of 'em, and let us play with any of 'em, most any day of the week.

    I've seen those fancy masks, too. I might check into one as well. When I hit my head on the table I'm working on, trying to get close enough to see what I'm doing prior to striking an arc, then I need to be able to see better. :)

    But I'm worried about the size of the welder and power it'd take to run. Maybe I'll also have to stick to the little stuff for now, bringing in the big stuff for the pros.

  8. eskals

    eskals LawnSite Member
    Messages: 210

    The auto-changing masks are awesome. They are worth the money, as they make welding much easier. I think you can find them for around $175 now. If you are going to do much welding, or if your going to do just a little welding and want it to be less frustrting, get the auto darkening sheild.

  9. SpringValley

    SpringValley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    I would stick to a MIG (otherwise known as a wire welder) for beginners. Yes you get better beads and penetration to the base material with a stick welder but wire is so much easier to strike an arc with. You could use flux cored wire to alleviate the gas blowing away as you stated you will be doing most of your welding outside. If you need to weld heavier material, preheat the item you are welding with a hand held propane torch. This will allow the wire welder to weld and not preheat and weld. Works great. You should stick with a 220V welder if you can, they are much better. Check with the welder dealer about using it with your generator and stick with a Lincoln or Hobart MIG welder. TSC was running a special on the Hobarts for $675 awhile back that included the auto darkening helmet.

    Good Luck
  10. JeffC

    JeffC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    with a mig you need clean metal or take the time to clean it up unless you are runnig fluxcore wire and it to me doesn't to a good job in a small cheap unit you can use a stick welder with a 6011 or 6010 1/8 or 3/32 rod and do a better job for the time and money this rods will freeze quickly and penertrate good

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