This little piggy needs a welder

CandyPants

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So I have decided to take the plunge and learn how to weld. Now, I need a welder. I imagine a lot of what I am going to do will be sheet metal on the pig, but I'd like to have something that's versitile enough to also weld heavier steel as well.

I put this in here because a lot of you have welded sheet metal on your pig and I am looking for recommendations on what you like and don't like. I don't want to spend a zillion dollars, but am willing to make a bit of an ivestment. I'll be looking in the for sale listing for used welders as well.

Thanks for any input...the piggy will rise again!
 

Southeast Overland

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I've got a MIG welder on loan that you are welcome to experiment with a little. I plan on doing the same with my Piggie - I picked up sheet metal this week and might do a bit of trial and error this weekend. I'll get specs on the welder this weekend.
 
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Start by "F"ing around with some angle iron and cheap scrap first. It's easier and more forgiving to work with than the sheet metal on your car. I've gotten to be decent with a mig, and I always test things on a piece of scrap first (usually just with thin stuff) because it is easy to burn through and make a bigger mess than you started with... You will thank yourself later. Just practice a little on similar material to what you will be working on.
Oh and there are a lot of portable migs out there that run on household current and can use gas shielding, that are great for sheetmetal and thin stuff, and very reasonably priced... but most won't be able to handle anything thicker than 1/4" mild steel.
Also a higher duty cycle means the welder will be able to weld for a greater period of time on it's highest setting, than a welder with a lower duty cycle...
 
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LC_Hamma

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Hey Heather - good to see you steppin up into the fabbin world :bounce2:
If you ask *most proficent (certainly not me) fabbers out there, be it pros or vendors, you want a machine that is rated for a higher duty than what you originally planned for. Whether it's a welder, plasma, air compressor, etc. You will be dissapointed if you ponied up some ca$h for a buzzbox that won't burn 1/4" (H.D. or Lowes products) when you decide to weld up a bumper, sliders, etc. That being said, I'd look in the Atlanta Advertiser or Constitution for a used high 100 series (ex: 175) from any reputable company - Miller, Hobart, Lincoln, etc. that runs on a 75%/25% gas mix. Wire size is also important - .30 would be good for sheet metal, which requires a different gun than a higher sized .35, which is for heavier gauge metal. I just use the .35 on the lowest setting. If you check out prices on Ebay, you'll know why I suggested used ;) An auto-darkening shield & leathers should be factored in your budget as well. Besides your technique, learning your heat settings will be the biggest key in making sure your welds are of sound penetration. After some practice, bring some samples of your welding skills to a meeting & hopefully Gordofab Engineering can give you some expert pointers. Do not come to the meeting with a sunburned face from welding or you'll here it from me ;p
 
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There's lots of good info on the workshops page. I like my miller 135 mig and hobart stick. I think I can do pretty much everything i need with those two. Miller has a new DVI mig that runs on 115 for the thinner stuff and 230 for the thicker. I think on 230 it'd do up to 3/8"? It looks very attractive but some folks seem to like the good old 210. Welding can be addictive; especially stick. I tend to zone out as I focus on the weld pool and where it's going. Have fun! ty
 

LC_Hamma

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A few other tips I've been thinkin was:

Wire speed is not *very critical (*some weld faster than others) unless you're welding overhead or uphill turn up your speed so you don't get "the drip". I generally set mine on almost the lowest setting.

Never weld downhill as impurities can contaminate the weld puddle.

If your welding & start popping, instead of a fine bead, either adjust your ground or make sure the pieces to be welded are firmly clamped.

Use a slight bevel to deburr & to make sure the center of both pieces to be welded get fully penetrated.

A no-brainer, but make sure you fully clean the welded areas.

A general technique I thought up for you is to remember "Heather feather 1/4"
& that means gently wave the gun side to side 1/4" when adjoining the pieces. This would pertain to mainly larger than sheet metal & also depends on the angularity of your joint.

Inside your machine there should be a heat setting chart. Another no-brainer but the thicker the metal the higher the heat.

Be aware of welding close to any exposed threads. Cover them with a sacrificial bolt cuz spatter will melt onto them & that's a *bugger of a repair.

Get yourself some metal grinding bits & no not the el cheapos at H.D. or Lowes.

Heat is your enemy welding sheet metal so it's okay to tack, tack, tack the joined pieces.

That's all for now maybe we can discuss this further at the next meeting ;)
 
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i have had my miller 210 for about a year now and love it!! it should be the only mig welder ill ever have to buy and the way prices keep going up im very happy i got it when i did

I have very little welding time and this is the first welder i ever used and it makes things pretty easy, i built a bunch of shelving and 2 work benches and my stuff has really improved (most of the time heh) im not quite to the point where id build anything to save my life (roll cage) but i did almost finish up my exhaust today.

you should look at the pirate4x4.com forums, lots of guys there getting the Parker plasma cutters and welding stuff, awesome cust. service and a good product. so they say but i personaly dont own any of their stuff but will most likely get a parker plasma cutter, you should take a look and read up. Other than that id go Miller or Lincon MIG.

Good luck, i dont know how i ever lived without a welder, even more so now with my rusty junk :lol:
 

CandyPants

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WOW, that's a lot of information...some of which I don't understand, yet.

I do think that I need a welder that will run on common household current. I don't have a 220 line, but if, and only if NECESSARY, I can run a 220 to the garage. But it will be a PITA.

I think my approach will be as suggested, practice, practice, practice. I guess y'all started to answer my next question, and that is what do I put on my shopping list? Obviously a welder is on there, and I want to get one that can use gas.

I expect I'll need 2 guns...one for heavier metal and one for sheet metal. And of course the wire for both. The sheild for my non-sunburned face :), and good gloves (which I assume would be "leathers"). Scrap metal to practice with is also on the list. Oh, and grinding bits.

I would love to be able to come see "welding in progress" before I take the plunge and have someone school me a bit on what all this stuff means. I understant the cleaning, beveling, "Heather Feather 1/4" (which is funny as hell, thanks Chuck) things. But I have never put welder to metal before in my life, so a little lesson would probably go a long way to helping me figure out what I need to invest in.

Chuck, you are probably the closest to me, do you think I could come check out your Piggy and your welder/welding some time?

Steve, thank you for the offer to try the welder, I may take you up on that after I have a chance to see what I am getting in to. But if it's on loan...we are a bit far from each other, I don't want to take your welding time!

I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the help. I pulled the piggy out of the garage this morning to make room to do my brother's longfields today, and I think it actually looked at me with sad face. It's just begging to be fixed up! :)
 
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Heather if you have a dryer you already have a 220 line. ;) Now if that dryer is in a place where you dont mind welding closeby becomes the question. We used to have a garage and the dryer was down there so when I borrowed Marshalls gas shielded mig I would weld down there, just had to make a short extension cord to adapt from the funny dryer plug that cost about $15. You can always toss something over the dryer to protect it. If your dryer is up in a laundry room or something then that doesnt help. You should have put this up before the last meeting you could have rode up to my place before the meeting and checked out how a little flux cored welder does and even played around with it and layed down a few beads. If your gonna be this way for one of the other meetings and want to stop just let me know.
 

D'Animal

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I have a Miller 175 and use Argon.

Before I could stick metal together using my Lincoln stick welder. My little Miler wire feed made a better weld out of me. They are less forgiving so the prep time is a little more.
 
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you will only need one gun, you can get different tips that accept different size wire, that should do everything unless you want to weld stainless then you would need a spool gun.

i picked up a book on welding and my miller came with a video on welding nothing special but between the two they offer different welding techniques and show you all different kinds of welds good, bad and the ugly and tell you why each is what it is, ie. going to slow, to fast to much wire speed, to little ect...

i got my stuff from cyberweld.com they had the best prices at the time and offered free shipping. look around and you can see all the accesories they have gloves, tips, gas cylinders, helmets ect.. i have an auto dark helmet and love it

A full leather jacket is on my list of things to get, holes in my shirts and sunburnt forearms and there is nothing like the sizzle of sparks on the back your neck :doh:
 

n2666s

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any one here with experience using oxyacetelyne?...............was thinking it could be used for cutting and welding; have seen it used years ago but no personal experience

Lou
 
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So, Ty, there's a welder that can run both voltages?

(if this is true, I can do my light stuff at home and thick stuff at work during off hours, and this would be much easier for me)

Thanks,
George

Here's the link to the miller page:


http://www.millerwelds.com/products/mig/millermatic_dvi/



It has a lower duty cycle than the 210. Since I have the 135, I'd probably go for a 210 if I had my 'druthers.


I'd also highly recommend a welding course. There's usually one at at local vo-tech or community college at night. I've got some great books and there's good videos out there, but someone to ask questions and give feedback on your technique and welds is worth its weight in gold. You might even get a few club members together to get a "crash course" in welding from a pro. I'm sure someone could be willing if people chipped in for "tuition." You could then try out different welders mig, stick, tig, oxy-acytelene and plasma cutters to get a feel for how each works. What I learned is bright and shiney metal is best, a fume hood or good exhaust is important for health, and moving the pieces for the best weld position is critical. You can eliminate a lot of the out-of-position problems by planning how you weld things up. Clamps for making jigs and holding pieces tight are also great to reduce heat distortion.

If you know an electrician, they can set up a 220/230 line pretty fast. It doesn't really cost that much to get a dedicated line to a garage/carport if it's not too far. The extension line idea is good too if your dryer is in a mud room or close to the garage. If your dryer is in your garage, you're set! If you buy a 230 welder, make sure it's a single phase. Industrial equipment use three phase electrical lines. Probabaly not a concern if you buy new but the big old school stick welders people sometimes find are probably 3 phase.

Sorry for the rant, ty
 
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any one here with experience using oxyacetelyne?...............was thinking it could be used for cutting and welding; have seen it used years ago but no personal experience

Lou

Yes. Found the welding to be harder I also dont believe it is the best for things like fabbing a bumper or something. A cutting torch can be pretty useful though.
 
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Wow... information overload going on here...

I think I'll add to it. :D

Keep in mind that metal thickness ratings are single-pass, meaning a bead down one side of the metal. If you can get to both sides of the metal then you can double the thickness rating, providing you've chamfered the metal joint (ground it at an angle). I've also welded thicker steel using multiple passes, and it held great.

Also, you can weld thicker steel with flux core wire than you can with gas, since the flux core burns hotter.

When I recently bought a welder, I picked up a 110v Hobart 140, which puts out 25A to 140A of current. I chose 110v because of portability. I didn't like the idea of being tied to a single outlet.

Here's a link you might find helpful of a series of welding instructional videos. Expert Village Welding Intro

Forgive the host, though... he's Canadian. :D
 
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inkpot

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Yes. Found the welding to be harder I also dont believe it is the best for things like fabbing a bumper or something. A cutting torch can be pretty useful though.
Howdy! I keep a small O/A mostly for cutting and heating. I also have a monster 220v stick welder that goes up to 240A. I will do virtually any thickness I will ever need. Yardsale/divorce $50. Couldn't pass it up. But, most of my fab work has been with a cheap Chinese AstroMig 140, 110v wirefeeder. I picked it up at the ToolBarn out at ParknSwap 20 years ago, and it still works great. I have done 3/4" with multiple passes, and none of the welds have failed yet. I did a lot of research back then, and ALL of the different brands, including domestic products, had the inards made in ITALY! Only service I've had to do so far is to clean the contactor surfaces with a pencil eraser, but that is about a 10 minute job. John
 

CandyPants

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Information overload is right. I will spend some time looking at links and funny Canadians and see what I can learn. I am a research kind of person...lots of it! Richard, I didn't even think about the welding thing before the last meeting, but I will take you up on your offer to come up and see sometime. You really aren't that far from me (as I learned last weekend). I think it would do me a world of good to give this a go. I looking into the votech thing a little bit, but the more I read and learn what I don't know, the more attractive that option looks. I gotta do some more research...:)

Y'all are so wonderful, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate the help.
 
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No problemo. :)

It's actually much, much easier than it appears from all the information in this thread... think of it as 'hot glue' for steel. :D

The hardest part with welding is making it look pretty.
 
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Howdy! I keep a small O/A mostly for cutting and heating. I also have a monster 220v stick welder that goes up to 240A. I will do virtually any thickness I will ever need. Yardsale/divorce $50. Couldn't pass it up. But, most of my fab work has been with a cheap Chinese AstroMig 140, 110v wirefeeder. I picked it up at the ToolBarn out at ParknSwap 20 years ago, and it still works great. I have done 3/4" with multiple passes, and none of the welds have failed yet. I did a lot of research back then, and ALL of the different brands, including domestic products, had the inards made in ITALY! Only service I've had to do so far is to clean the contactor surfaces with a pencil eraser, but that is about a 10 minute job. John


Not sure why you quoted me b/c you arent referring to the same thing I was so it really makes no sense.
 

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