Welding Bumpers, Winch Mounts... Minimum requirements?

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Hey everyone,

I am a beginner fabricator. I have built projects like a recumbent trike for myself, but haven't really applied my welding... uh... "skills" to my truck (88 Burb) yet. I'd like to be able to do things like bumpers and winch mounts. Probably from flat pack kits at first. But, I'd like to be able to weld them myself.

I have a cheap inverter arc welder from Amazon but it says it'll do 1/4" steel. Its rated up to 160A. It works fairly well for what it is. But power is the problem. I don't expect it to do that with 120V. I do have a 240V outlet for my dryer, and it's 30 amp (numa 14-30). Could I reasonably expect to weld this kind of stuff with decent penetration? I don't mind doing multiple passes. I know I could tack it up at home and then having somebody else do the big stuff welding. But, I'd prefer to do it myself.

And no, I can't add a 50A outlet. It's a rental.

Thoughts? Thanks tons.
 

2mbb

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Here is a thread in the 60s forum for a front bumper I made with a 110V mig welder. This post I'm linking to is by a fabricator explaining how 110V welder could be OK for something like this. I made the bumper 15 years ago and so far it has not fallen apart, but I haven't been in any accident either. And a bumper is maybe a different animal than a tow hitch which if it fails could create a bit of mayhem...

I'm not an expert at all so I can't comment how your stick welder may have different performance than my MIG.

 
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Thanks 2mbb. I really liked your method of bolting the shackle mounts direct to the frame, rather than relying on the welds. Then the bumper does bumpery things and the shackle mounts can send the load right to the frame. Great idea man. That might account for a lot of it right there tbh. Thanks again!
 

2mbb

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Thanks 2mbb. I really liked your method of bolting the shackle mounts direct to the frame, rather than relying on the welds. Then the bumper does bumpery things and the shackle mounts can send the load right to the frame. Great idea man. That might account for a lot of it right there tbh. Thanks again!
I also mounted the winch plate to the frame rails and it is separate from the bumper.
 

NCFJ

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Does your rental have an electric stove or dryer? Make up a heavy duty extension and run the welder off of that. I did a great deal of welding on my metal barn on 100' extension with a 220 unit.
 

PIP

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is a 240V 30A circuit enough to do welds with full penetration on 1/4" thick metal?

Yes.

One thing to realize is how different MIG and stick welding are. Some things worth mentioning might be that a cheap MIG can be a terrible thing to use and a good quality one, even a tiny one, is fairly expensive. 120V MIG can probably weld 1/4", but not in one pass. It's really not the right machine for that. A 240V mig should do it fine. 30 amp breaker should be fine for 1/4". That decent 240 MIG is pretty expensive.

On the other hand, your most basic old used Lincoln AC only tombstone buzzbox sells for $100 regulalry on craigslist. Nothing to go wrong with it. Your grandkids can learn to weld with it. Stick is different. Stick has dramatically different penetration compared to standard MIG. You can weld any thickness material with a small stick welder and the appropriate rod.

Stick definitely requires more skill, but some people find it fun, I know I do. Strategy with stick is totally different than MIG. When you get the hang of it you can do crazy vertical ups and downs, fill gaps, reach around corners and weld through paint, rust and grease like it wasn't even there (6011 is neat).

So, IMO, a cheap used stick welder is a better investment than a cheap MIG welder if you're willing to put in a little practice time. You can make some really pretty welds with stick and the right rods too.
 
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This has been really eye opening. THANK YOU for all the replies! I didn't even think to check on the welder for amperage needs. Turns out 20A at 220 is enough for the full 160A output. That should be enough for 1/4" according to what I've read here. Also very interesting about MIG vs Stick welding. I personally enjoy stick welding and think it's underrated. TIG is sexier on youtube I guess :D

Thanks again. Going to build the needed cord and get some steel. Gonna be fun :)
 
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What @PIP said, stick welders are awesome. They are also much funner to weld with than a mig. If you can learn to stick weld than you will quickly master mig if you ever need to use a mig welder.
 

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