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Thread: What type of welder?

  1. #1
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    Default What type of welder?

    I'm looking to get a welder, what's the best suited? There's loads to choose from. I mainly want it for general modifications like fixing railings, but I could do overplating?

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Firstly if youíre getting a welder, donít do any work on the hull - this is a job for a specialist welder. However, I think owning a welder is a must have if you have a metal boat.

    Youíre really looking at 2 choices - either get a stick welder or a MIG welder

    You canít MIG weld effectively outdoors because the gas gets blown away, so youíll need a stick welder for this. If youíve got rusty parts youíll need to stick weld or clean then up before MIG welding.

    TBH Iíd just go for a cheap inverter stick welder, pick one of these, probably the Amico http://www.kingsofwelding.com/buyers-guides/best-stick-welder-reviews/

    Hope this helps!

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    I've had the Amico DC 160A for two years. I only use it once in a while. I've only ever run it on 230 VAC. It does a decent job for my occasional small projects, and I have no complaints. With suitable edge prep and multiple passes you can do some heavier stuff.

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    What is 'overplating'?
    I like my Hobart Stickmate.
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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    I recently watched a bloke at the yard using a gasless mig. Didn't know they existed until then. Apparently there is some kind of flux in the wire which allows it to work without gas. I was skeptical, but after seeing it in action it appears to have all the advantages of a mig without having to bother with a gas bottle (and the expense which goes with it).

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Can you weld?

    MIG is easy (relative), stick - well there's a reason its called stick....
    It's all fun and games until Darth Vader comes.

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    which leads to a poor weld causing it to unstick...

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    MIG makes it easy for anyone to get a good looking weld with little penetration/ strength.
    R
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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Small boats rock View Post
    I recently watched a bloke at the yard using a gasless mig. Didn't know they existed until then. Apparently there is some kind of flux in the wire which allows it to work without gas. I was skeptical, but after seeing it in action it appears to have all the advantages of a mig without having to bother with a gas bottle (and the expense which goes with it).
    But the flux wire costs a lot more - so it's close to a wash.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Hi,
    The first question you should be asking is what materials and what thicknesses. We have MIG/TIG/Stick machines and they all serve different purposes with some overlap.
    Cheers,
    Mark

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Small boats rock View Post
    I recently watched a bloke at the yard using a gasless mig. Didn't know they existed until then. Apparently there is some kind of flux in the wire which allows it to work without gas. I was skeptical, but after seeing it in action it appears to have all the advantages of a mig without having to bother with a gas bottle (and the expense which goes with it).
    Flux core wire feed welder. No gas. Quite handy.
    I'm high on life. The trick is to grind it up and snort it.

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    I have a flux core wire feed jobbie for making a blobby mess of thin sheet to 3/32" and a buzz box arc for making a blobby mess of 1/16" to 1/4" .... yeah I could use practice.
    2019: returning from being sidelined with medical probs, crossing fingers worst is over, still in "armchair enthusiast" mode for time being.

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saral View Post
    I'm looking to get a welder, what's the best suited? There's loads to choose from. I mainly want it for general modifications like fixing railings, but I could do overplating?
    What exactly are you planning to do with it, on what type of material, and how pretty does it need to be?

    In order of difficulty to learn from easy-hard: MIG (wire feed), stick, Oxy-fuel (torch) and TIG.

    MIG is simplest and easiest to learn. It’s also one of the least versatile. Stick is useful on heavier metals (greater than 1/8” or 3mm thickness). Both MIG and stick are messy, leaving lots of spatter and in the case of stick, slag that will need to be cleaned off the weld. TIG and Oxy-fuel are both difficult to master, requiring a great deal of practice to get right. Oxy-fuel is of limited use, as it utilizes an open flame; add combustible materials and things get exciting quickly. TIG is the most versatile form of welding, and also the most difficult to master. With the correct set-up, one can weld everything from razor blades to 1/2” (12mm) plate, along with brazing steel, stainless steel, and welding aluminum.

    Not sure what you mean by overplating, but for handrail repairs, etc.; MIG would work well. I’ve been TIG welding for far too long, and I am a bit of a snob when it comes to clean welds, so I would go that route. TIG requires dedication to master, however; it can be an art form in and of itself...
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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    That is pretty. I want to learn TIG but haven't been able to justify spending the money on a decent machine.

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Welding is a learned skill...
    The original question is a lot like "What kind of piano should I buy?"

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Saral
    Could you say what materials and thickness you might be using?
    Since you are in UK, a bit of reading on mig-welding.co.uk will give you a head start. Good tutorials on the top of the page.
    I have had a lot of practice, so can use stick on stuff like 1.5mm stainless tube. Mig is better, but the kit costs more and you need to rent or buy a bottle of argon/co2 mix. Also a MMA(stick) welder of say, 160amps will weld much thicker stuff than a 160amp Mig.
    I have not tried gasless, but the guys on the forum think it is good for thinner stuff outside. Most Migs now come as either. One needs to swop the polarity and the tip in the torch, along with the wire drive wheel (sometimes..)
    DC inverter welders can be used for scratch or lift start TIG, but it is a bit more tricky to get the arc going than a dedicated TIG with HF, which jumps the gap to get it going.
    Don't think of aluminium at this stage, it requires an ACDC machine, much more costly, along with pure argon (as does the DC tig)
    Apart from reading the above site, I would highly reccommend taking a course at some local education place or find an experienced welder to give tips and watch your first efforts.
    Basic advice, get a DC inverter or a second hand older transformer machine(good ones can be very cheap) and start with stick. My little DC machine has 'soft start' which helps avoid the rod sticking when striking the arc.

    A2

    Edit: A girl asked me to teach her the basics as she was going to an OZ outback station. She managed to run simple beads that were strong enough in about two hours from her first touching a welder.

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Our local high school offers adult evening courses in welding (among other things). The amount of materials that you use for practice is barely paid for by the cost of the course- a very good deal. The instructors are good -and they like to work with adults for a change.

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Often the instructors can issue certification in the particular process they are teaching and this is also a good deal. Just learning the "test to destruction" techniques required to be certified is an education in itself.
    Highly reccomended, I took the welding course in High School "special vocational classes" in the afternoons/evenings and each year was a different choice. Automotive one year and machine shop practices another. College prep courses through the am and vocational after lunch. Best thing I ever did...
    (Just last week I picked up a complete 100% duty cycle 300 amp Miller mig machine from a San Jose community college no longer offering that course)

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Often the instructors can issue certification in the particular process they are teaching and this is also a good deal. Just learning the "test to destruction" techniques required to be certified is an education in itself.
    Highly reccomended, I took the welding course in High School "special vocational classes" in the afternoons/evenings and each year was a different choice. Automotive one year and machine shop practices another. College prep courses through the am and vocational after lunch. Best thing I ever did...
    (Just last week I picked up a complete 100% duty cycle 300 amp Miller mig machine from a San Jose community college no longer offering that course)
    Oh, Yaysus!

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    One of my friends who was a shipyard welder some 40 years ago says they used nothing else than stick welders at the time.

    You need a very big and expensive high quality gasless mig to produce welds of the same quality as you can do with any decent quality stilck welders.
    As others have said mig welding with gas is strictly an indoor job.
    To stick weld with 3.2 mm rods you need at least a 160 ampere welder. AC welders are useless. Elderly rectifyers of industrial quality can be had cheap and are usually good if they aren't broken. Parts may be hard to come by. Old generator welders are excellent but they have plenty of moving parts that wear out over time and by now most of those welders are old enough to be pretty much worn out unless you can make the needed parts and rebuild it. Modern inverters of good quaility are usually excellent but don't buy a secondhand inverter of the first generation. They had plenty of flaws in the beginning.

    I have a 1960-ies Unitor stick welder. A three phase rectifyer with maximal output of 200 ampere. Made in Norway.
    A very good welder for it's cost. I paid 90 euros for it some 15 years ago. I regularly weld anything from 2mm to 30mm plate with it.


    Is "overplating" what we call "dubblering" in Swedish? Welding a new plate on top of a rusted out old plate at the waterline. An emergency fix to give you a few years time to save up money for a proper replating job.
    Last edited by heimlaga; 08-15-2019 at 10:25 AM.
    Amateur living on the western coast of Finland

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    MIG welders can be used indoors or out, you just have to pay attention to how windy it is and create a little shielded area around work. When you are stick welding the flux on the outside of the rod is burning, creating the equivalent protected pocket of atmosphere around the weld as you get with whatever mixture of inert gas your MIG is blowing on the work, either one is subject to blowing away if it is too windy. TIG welding has the same limitation.

    I have a small MIG welder that runs off of household current (110 volts here) that I've used to weld sheet metal while restoring cars and up to 1/8" tubing on a small motorcycle/utility trailer, it has proven quite versatile over the years. If I could justify a TIG unit that would be awesome, but I just don't do that much metal work anymore.
    Steve

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    When you are stick welding the flux on the outside of the rod is burning, creating the equivalent protected pocket of atmosphere around the weld as you get with whatever mixture of inert gas your MIG is blowing on the work, either one is subject to blowing away if it is too windy. TIG welding has the same limitation.
    I had trouble with that a few years back, trying to glob a stupid shaped bracket on a stupid shaped exhaust part, with my ancient stick welder, with clock ticking, typical 10 hours into a 2 hour job as everything you touch breaks, weather against me, nasty blustery fall day and I had nowhere to hide. Could not maintain an arc, kept blowing out, got mad at it and it was all *stab* *stab* *stab* *stab* *stab* *stab* *stab* *stab* not sure if I actually achieved welding or just pinioned it in place between two massive wedges of slag... dayyyyum that's fugly, (Sean Connery voice) "One Ping" smack it once with the hammer, stays on, good enough, move on, bolt it up.... well it stayed put another 3 years until the transmission went on that particular wreck.
    2019: returning from being sidelined with medical probs, crossing fingers worst is over, still in "armchair enthusiast" mode for time being.

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    For tubing or pipe, up to 1/4" wall thickness, my go to "welder" is OFW (oxygen/fuel welding) I have to repair a lot of rigid steel hydraulic lines in my job (tractors, excavators) and the only process that seems to work for me is Oxy-Acetylene. That is expanding and contracting critical joins under high pressure (3000 psi)
    Learning to weld with a basic set of torches will open the rest of the processes for you. The concept is the same and it is all about controlling the "puddle" Much like riding a bicycle, that skill will stay with you forever.
    Many airframes, even today, are welded with OFW. It has the benefit of 100% penetration and stress relieving the weld all in one go. (If I only had one choice of welder in my kit it would be that. A decent set of torches and regulators. And for what it's worth, when I had only that one set-up I used to routinely weld up to 1/2" material.)

    A pretty good article here http://www.airbum.com/articles/ArticleZenWelding.html

    I will add that a cheap Lincoln AC Buzz box will make excellent welds that can be certified. $150 will get you a welder that will do 90% of the repairs or fabrications that I run across.

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanM26 View Post
    That is pretty. I want to learn TIG but haven't been able to justify spending the money on a decent machine.
    I’m lucky. I get paid to do this...

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Shame the OP hasn't come back. From the comment about 'overplating' I wonder if he/she has a canal narrowboat? It is quite common to weld fresh plate over rust thinned original with those craft. Weight is not exactly a problem and it saves stripping out the interior behind the repair.

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    In car restoration circles that sort of thing will get you roundly cursed by the next fellow who comes along and has to fix the rust-pocket that sort of bodge inevitably forms.
    Steve

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    I have a Thermal Arc 3 in 1. Its a good machine. I also have a Miller Dial Arc HF that weighs about 400#.

    The skills required are within everyone's grasp.

    Last edited by paulf; 08-16-2019 at 11:28 AM.
    PaulF

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    For tubing or pipe, up to 1/4" wall thickness, my go to "welder" is OFW (oxygen/fuel welding) I have to repair a lot of rigid steel hydraulic lines in my job (tractors, excavators) and the only process that seems to work for me is Oxy-Acetylene. That is expanding and contracting critical joins under high pressure (3000 psi)
    Learning to weld with a basic set of torches will open the rest of the processes for you. The concept is the same and it is all about controlling the "puddle" Much like riding a bicycle, that skill will stay with you forever.
    Many airframes, even today, are welded with OFW. It has the benefit of 100% penetration and stress relieving the weld all in one go. (If I only had one choice of welder in my kit it would be that. A decent set of torches and regulators. And for what it's worth, when I had only that one set-up I used to routinely weld up to 1/2" material.)

    A pretty good article here http://www.airbum.com/articles/ArticleZenWelding.html

    I will add that a cheap Lincoln AC Buzz box will make excellent welds that can be certified. $150 will get you a welder that will do 90% of the repairs or fabrications that I run across.
    The puddle!

    I learned with gas, then learned all the rest, but mostly welded with gas and sticks when I did for work.

    My goofy little wire feed is a hoot. Once I figured out how tenuous the puddle is on thin, thin tubing.

    No, I still do not have the gas rig running. Yes, I have too many toys.

    Peace,
    Robert

  29. #29
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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    It is clever when "the puddle" just disappears into it's own hole.
    The very definition of a black hole...

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    It is clever when "the puddle" just disappears into it's own hole.
    The very definition of a black hole...
    Swear words are LOUD inside a welding helmet.

    Luckily, I am an expert at repairing terrible welding jobs. Iíve been doing it since I learned to weld. Well, what I call welding.

    Peace,
    Somewhat Assembled Loose Change Of Assorted Denominations And National Origins

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    It is clever when "the puddle" just disappears into it's own hole.
    The very definition of a black hole...
    Gosh, I've never done that!

    Ya, right!
    PaulF

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Canoeyawl, have you ever seen a Henrob tourch? I have one for thin material, works great!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB97_tZfqNI
    PaulF

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    It is clever when "the puddle" just disappears into it's own hole.
    The very definition of a black hole...
    Indeed - and Rob is correct about the cursing result.

    I was lucky enough to start with soldering & then "graduated" to brazing, then OA welding & finally to stick. I'm good with torches - and can make 2 pieces of metal stay together with stick, but wouldn't call myself a welder. I have a Miller MIG sitting in its box waiting for my shop to be "done". September sometime I hope!

    I've always been surprised by folks who don't consider OA welding to be "welding". Done properly, it's every bit as good & (as said) sometimes better.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  34. #34
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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Indeed - and Rob is correct about the cursing result.

    I was lucky enough to start with soldering & then "graduated" to brazing, then OA welding & finally to stick. I'm good with torches - and can make 2 pieces of metal stay together with stick, but wouldn't call myself a welder. I have a Miller MIG sitting in its box waiting for my shop to be "done". September sometime I hope!

    I've always been surprised by folks who don't consider OA welding to be "welding". Done properly, it's every bit as good & (as said) sometimes better.
    Oxy-Acetylene and TIG are both forms of welding which border on the zen approach to fusing metals together. The only two things I cannot do with OA and require TIG use are stainless steel and aluminum. Either way, I’ll have a heat source in one hand and filler material in the other...

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    Default Re: What type of welder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Recon1342 View Post
    Oxy-Acetylene and TIG are both forms of welding which border on the zen approach to fusing metals together. The only two things I cannot do with OA and require TIG use are stainless steel and aluminum. Either way, I’ll have a heat source in one hand and filler material in the other...
    I agree on the zen - which includes patience. A guy in a shop I worked in was trying to braze exhaust pipe with a cutting/heating tip. "Damn little one takes too long!" as he was gobbing on blobs of bronze next to holes... [yes, I've brazed with a cutting tip when nothing else was available - but it's not easy].

    Nowadays brazing is little used, but I find it exactly the right thing to use in certain applications.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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