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Thread: Small scale welding

  1. #1
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    Default Small scale welding

    Ive never done any welding. Ive done lots of woodworking, carpentry, automotive wrenching, but never any welding other than electrical or plumbing soldering. But I occasionally think it would be handy to tack a couple of small metal parts together in my shop for various projects. Nothing fancy, but maybe like attach a 6 handle to a 5/8 nut or things like that.

    So are there any worthwhile small tools to do things like that? Would it be gas or arc? A quick google turned up this 110v unit, is something like this a good place to start?

    941D8531-717D-4B99-BEA0-181DD8B12DEF.jpg

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    I'd go for stick ark welding for tiddley jobs like those.
    TIG and MIG require a supply of inert gas with all of the cost and dangers that involves.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Not familiar with that brand but an excellent idea for light duty shop work. Flux core wire is readily available which eliminates the need for cover gas. Don't understand Nick's danger comment as the cover gasses are inherently inert. The regulators and initial tank cost is significant but the ongoing cost of gas is pretty insignificant unless you weld for a living.
    If you don't know where you're going, you might not end up there.-Yogi Berra

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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    I think this may be what Nick is referring to.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inert_gas_asphyxiation

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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Hi Ron,
    For sure having the ability to quickly tack things together is fantastic. We have some serious MIG and TIG equipment, but a little fluxcore welder is great to get going. I've seen some inverter based ones that auto switch between 110V and 220VAC. The higher voltage allows more power so the capability is increased. If you plan on having it for a while spend a bit more money and you won't regret it.

    Careful with autodarking helments, some of the cheaper ones aren't rated for colder temperature (don't think this is an issue in Seattle).

    Don't forget a grinder, wheels and resperator so you don't breath in all the junk.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    I should have added that I know next to nothing about welding, and in addition to buying a tool, I will need to do some studying. I just started with a quick beginners youtube which briefly explained the differences among MIG, TIG and STICK. Because my little shop is a garage in the house, I need to keep the mess and fumes down. Seems to me that MIG would be the best at this, of course with the garage door open. Anyway, back to youtube U, I have a lot to learn.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    I am in the same boat, except I own a small arc welder, something I bought so a friend could do some welding on a boat project.

    I would like to learn to use it
    Elect a clown expect a circus

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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    MIG with inert gas has less fumes than fluxcore or stick. You also get way less spatter.

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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Carter View Post
    Not familiar with that brand but an excellent idea for light duty shop work. Flux core wire is readily available which eliminates the need for cover gas. Don't understand Nick's danger comment as the cover gasses are inherently inert. The regulators and initial tank cost is significant but the ongoing cost of gas is pretty insignificant unless you weld for a living.
    That means id they build up in a confined workshop you can suffocate, because inert = don't support life or smell bad.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    I think this may be what Nick is referring to.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inert_gas_asphyxiation
    Thanks for the link. Was completely unaware of the potential.
    If you don't know where you're going, you might not end up there.-Yogi Berra

  11. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    I should have added that I know next to nothing about welding, and in addition to buying a tool, I will need to do some studying. I just started with a quick beginners youtube which briefly explained the differences among MIG, TIG and STICK. Because my little shop is a garage in the house, I need to keep the mess and fumes down. Seems to me that MIG would be the best at this, of course with the garage door open. Anyway, back to youtube U, I have a lot to learn.

    Pratt runs beginning welding classes They're up in the CD/ID. Class starting 4 June, another starts 12 June.

    http://www.pratt.org/category-listing.php?id=36

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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    I've done a lot of MIG welding in my garage over the years and I'm still here. It would be pretty tough to displace enough oxygen in your shop to accidentally asphyxiate yourself.

    When I stopped working in production shops I bought a Lincoln Electric Weld Pak 100HD (had to go look at it for the name). Works off household current, here in the US at least, and can set set up for either MIG or flux-core welding. Great for the sheet metal bodywork I've done on a couple of car restorations and for building a little motorcycle/utility trailer that was mostly 1/8" tubing.

    Welding is a skill, it will take some time to get good at it and if you stop for any length of time you'll be clearly rusty for the first few passes then you'll be back on the bike.
    Steve

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Ron I took a welding class at South Seattle Community College many years ago. Learned oxy-acetylene, stick, MIG and TIG. Never did much with it and I'd barely even qualify as a novice welder now but a couple of thoughts.

    1) Small MIG units are readily available, easy to use and MIG provides a lot more flexibility in material thickness and metal. I don't know that they are any more dangerous than any other tool. I'd probably choose MIG if I was going to get something for general purpose.

    2) I definitely recommend taking the SCCC class if they still have it, or an equivalent. The Pratt class looks great. Might have to take it myself as a refresher someday.

    Here's a good summary of welding options for novices from Miller:

    https://www.millerwelds.com/resource...oityourselfers

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    MultiProcess is the new way to go . . . . .

    MIG is the sheet metal or production weld goto.
    TIG is the small parts goto, DC for steel/stainless is cheap-common , AC for AL is high $$.
    - TIG needs steady hand but with a foot pedal there is LOTS of control and good visibility.
    STICK can sort of do to all but it has a long learning period with difficulty learning motions and learning to see the puddle, takes many hours practice.

    Lincoln has a $800 140A 120Volt Stick/MIG/TIG but has no TIG torch
    Everlast has a $1200 200A 120/240V Stick/MIG/TIG with all needed equip except bottle of inert gas.

    Everlast seems to be a good up and coming brand I would strongly consider.
    This is the first lesson ye should learn: There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, it doesn't behoove any of us to speak evil of the rest of us.
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  15. #15
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    Default

    Several years ago, I stopped at a garage sale here in Ballard, over on 28th, a few blocks up from 65th street.

    Buy had a Millermatic wirefeed welder, with a gas rig and owner bottle, like this one. It was something like $2,000 rig. Barely used: he'd bought to build/restore his '69 Charger (nice job, too. I remember that car).

    He wanted $300 for the whole setup. I waffled, 'cause SWMBO would have ... opinions ... if I dropped $300 w/o talking to her first. And because I could see getting a welder as a slippery slope to metal clamps, saw, a welding table....

    Went home, about 4 blocks, mentioned it to SWMBO. She said, without even being prompted that it seemed like an awfully good deal and I should do it. Went back to buy it, maybe 30 minutes later. It was gone. Somebody else had been on the ball.

    Regretting that ever since.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Flux cored Mig is great for someone with little experience. You can produce a good weld right out of the box. However I would not buy a 110 machine. A 220 machine doesn't have a much bigger footprint and will produce better welds every time. 110 machines are for sheet metal like car body repair etc. anything over an 1/8" is usually a fail.

    edit;
    https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/t...606551111.html

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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Lots of opinions regarding welding here. All good. My own: Mig is easy peasy. Stick welding is difficult... I can do it but would rather not. Plus, stick welding has a minimum stock thickness you can weld. There's just too much heat developed. Whereas a mig unit can be dialed back and a small wire used. I use 0.030 in my machine and have never needed larger. I occasionally use 0.025. And get a bottle of 75-25. Flux core will work but takes more practice and is not as clean.

    One can weld bronze using a mig welder. It's different, but not difficult. You'll need straight argon. And bronze wire, of course. Aluminum can also be welded but the learning curve is steep. And not all machines will feed the wire well. Stainless steel is not difficult with a mig but you'll need straight helium or other exotic gas....

    Tig is not easy, is more expensive to get set up in, and is simply not as fast.

    I've taught art students how to do basic mig welds in less than 30 minutes. They aren't proficient but able to continue on their own. As with most processes, practice makes one better.

    Jeff

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    I buy 7018 "stick rod" in 50 lb tins and burn through 5 or 6 boxes a year!

    For "in the field" fabrication and repairs it is still an industry standard. If you are faced with wind, weather and out of postion welds on larger stuff it works really well. But the learning curve is steep, about like playing a piano. A few hundred hours of doing it and it starts to be passible!
    I have other welding gear, a tig set-up, a good 400 amp suitcase mig welder with all the bells and whistles for shop work, but I can't seem to get away from my old SA 200 DC Lincoln machine...

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    So what is this thing I pictured in the OP? (I just picked the first picture, I know nothing about it). Why is something like that only $89?
    https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS-Performa...SABEgKyvPD_BwE

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    It's the bottom of their line, only uses flux-core wire with no ability to add gas later. You'll notice the next level up is the much more expensive model they are hoping you'll come back for if the whole welding thing works out.

    We used to teach folks to stick weld first, once they were reasonably proficient (stage hands/theater carpenters not nuclear plant-level welding) we let 'em loose with the MIG. The only real downside is carting around the big tank of gas, last time I needed some it only came in 5' tall bottles. But building yourself a welding cart is a great first project.
    Steve

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Mig welders ought to figure out how to tap into the forum's Bilge. Plenty o' gas there. And thank goodness most of it's inert.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    I buy 7018 "stick rod" in 50 lb tins and burn through 5 or 6 boxes a year!

    For "in the field" fabrication and repairs it is still an industry standard. If you are faced with wind, weather and out of postion welds on larger stuff it works really well. But the learning curve is steep, about like playing a piano. A few hundred hours of doing it and it starts to be passible!
    I have other welding gear, a tig set-up, a good 400 amp suitcase mig welder with all the bells and whistles for shop work, but I can't seem to get away from my old SA 200 DC Lincoln machine...
    Before my local Boilermaker/ fabricator retired and moved away, I got him to show me the basics.
    He only used 7018, so I learned the hard way.
    After a few jobs,where I shadowed him,I said,"Now what?"
    "Ya gotta burn lotsa rods."

    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    I have a 60 year old stick welder, a massively heavy copper coil on wheels.

    These days I'd buy an inverter stick welder. Light and easy to use.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Williamson View Post
    Before my local Boilermaker/ fabricator retired and moved away, I got him to show me the basics.
    He only used 7018, so I learned the hard way.
    After a few jobs,where I shadowed him,I said,"Now what?"
    "Ya gotta burn lotsa rods."

    R
    In '81-'82 I worked in a shop that bought welding wire by the ton!
    All for cyclical loaded fabrications, transportation equipment so the choice of wire was "fussy".
    (We made "tugs" and scissor lift trucks for airports, I worked as a machinist. The welding shop was over an acre, the machine shop about a half acre!)

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    I have a small stick welder, 2 actually, which I can use really, really badly. im going to buy a small mig.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    Several years ago, I stopped at a garage sale here in Ballard, over on 28th, a few blocks up from 65th street.

    Buy had a Millermatic wirefeed welder, with a gas rig and owner bottle, like this one. It was something like $2,000 rig. Barely used: he'd bought to build/restore his '69 Charger (nice job, too. I remember that car).

    He wanted $300 for the whole setup. I waffled, 'cause SWMBO would have ... opinions ... if I dropped $300 w/o talking to her first. And because I could see getting a welder as a slippery slope to metal clamps, saw, a welding table....

    Went home, about 4 blocks, mentioned it to SWMBO. She said, without even being prompted that it seemed like an awfully good deal and I should do it. Went back to buy it, maybe 30 minutes later. It was gone. Somebody else had been on the ball.

    Regretting that ever since.
    You dodged a bullet, and read your wife perfectly. If you'd just bought it she'd have been totally pissed at you and that little thing would have festered for years. By now you could hardly even walk past that stinking welder without kicking the damned thing for the grief its caused. Well played sir, very well played.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Id get a stick welder... Can't remember any names, but several companies make inverter stick machines. A 130 amp unit can be slung over your shoulder... Lovely, they're really small and light. A standard weighs about 15 kilos. An oil filled stick welder, such as an Oxford weighs about 80 kilos, but will never cut out because it gets too hot.

    With stick you can go as thick as you like doing multiple runs, you don't try to weld 20 mm in one go. Clean after each run, weld over.

    Id reccomend a class or an afternoon with a welding buddy.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    to the OP, if he's still listening: I was in the same situation as you a couple of years ago. After extensive research, I settled on a Lincoln 175 Pro, MIG welder made in the US running on 220. It will allow you to weld 1/8" easily and thicker if you pre-heat the piece. It'll do sheet metal if you have a light touch and I have never bought a gas bottle because it adds quite alot of expense (buy a large tank and then sign on for a yearly gas filling agreement-sort of similar to joining a country club!). It allows me to do all I ever want to do and I purchased it used for around $300. There are lots of them out there on CL and such. A class is nice but you can buy yourself a book and climb the learning curve without doing much damage to your wallet.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Mig is the way to go, but do not buy a cheap one. Put out a few extra bucks and go first class. Cheap migs are a pain in the but and you can't find parts. I am 70 years old and have been welding for a living sense I was 16. Been there done that. It is not hard to teach yourself to weld with a mig.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    That means id they build up in a confined workshop you can suffocate, because inert = don't support life or smell bad.
    + 1.

    Plus, there was a nasty acident with the assistant welder at my yacht clubs principal metal-working shop; a valve/fitting on the inert-gas cylinder was insufficiently secured, came loose and struck the young chap in his face, right beneath his eye.....it was a really awful sight, although he was very fortunate not to lose his eyesight.

    One needs to be very careful with gas under pressure in ones shop.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    When I wanted to start welding, I took a day-long course at the local technical college. It was just MIG all day, and I spent the entire lunch break practicing, too. I found a really nice Everlast inverter machine on Craigslist; it does MIG, flux core, and stick welding. It can run a spool gun for aluminum, but I just use rod for that. A buddy gave me a gas cylinder.

    YouTube is a beautiful thing, and I've learned a ton from watching others. But nothing replaces practice, practice, practice. We have a local scrap yard that buys and sells metal. I've spend scores of hours just running beads in all sorts of configurations. MIG is definitely the easiest, but if you buy flux core wire you don't have to invest in the gas cylinder right away. Stick welding is certainly an art and I'm not great at it, but I have gotten good enough to actually use the skill for projects. Of course, I'm not so much a good welder as a proficient grinder, but I'm not doing production work, I'm doing home hobby projects.

    My machine automatically switches between 110v and 220v, but I strongly recommend going with a 220 machine.

    A couple of years ago my lawnmower broke. My wife came out into the driveway headed out shopping. She doesn't know ANYTHING about using tools of any sort, but I handed her the MIG gun and gave her a brief tutorial. She fixed the lawnmower.


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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    ^^^Awesome.
    That reminds me.
    Almost burned up my buddy's house and my dirtbike,welding the kickstand back on.
    Tank and carb vents poured fuel onto the gravel while the bike was lying on it's side.
    Welding sparks lit it up.
    I wasn't super helpful with a cast on my freshly broken thumb(same crash that broke the kickstand).
    Good times.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Yea, I let my wife use the welding gear and now we have a 25 ton boat that needs rigging.... Lol

    Mark

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    Id look into a short class. It will be worth every minute and every penny. Around here its called Apex Tech. One night a week for 3, 6 or 9 weeks.
    Wire welding is beyond my skill set, I learned stick welding in my first shop job but dont do enough to be even remotely proficilent.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Small scale welding

    I highly recommend taking a class before getting any equipment. I did and for my purposes decided that oxy-acetylene was the way to go. Not something I would have considered before the class. It's a very versatile tool to have in your shop and takes up little space. Does a lot more than just welding and used rigs can be had for cheap. That said, I can understand the many reasons folks might not want to have an acetylene tank in their shop and for many applications other welding rigs are more useful.

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