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I havent welded since 1984

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  • I havent welded since 1984

    ...and a lot has changed! All i used on the job was an acetylene torch for cutting and a lincoln arc welder.

    I would like to get back into it to shore up my skillz.

    I was at harbor freight and they had an arc welder for 79 bucks about the size of a lunchbox! to me thats like going to 1955 and showing someone a cell phone.

    where would you start if youre essentially a beginner again?

    i'll probably be willing to spend the extra money to avoid cheap chinese crap so i guess lincoln or miller would be the way to go....but what kind? the multiprocess models like the multimatic look attractive so I could practice with each type.

    Im not really sure about what fields of use MIG and TIG are best suited for....and why stick/mig/tig for whatever application. (assuming mild steel)

  • #2
    It really depends what you intend to do. Lots of guys go with the 211 mig since it's dual voltage and relatively portable. Others like the real light weight and multiprocess the multimatic offers. Then others really swear by their dynasty's. Others run a small mig then use a maxstar for stick work.

    So, what do you plan on doing with a welder? Do you have access to 220v? Do you need it portable?

    Comment


    • #3
      Where would I start?

      - Get an old Lincoln or Miller AC "buzz box" stick welder off local Craigslst for $50 - $150. If you just want to play, the little Harbor Freight inverter "toaster" 80A welder is cute.

      - Get an AC/DC version of same stick welder for $150 - $250. I have even seen 250 Amp Idealarcs and Dialarcs going for as low as $150 - $250. if you have the power to run them.

      There are deals for old/odd brands that are OK, like Sears, Wards, Century (made them for Sears & Wards), Marquette, Mid-States, etc. $50 - $100.

      I bought a Thermal Arc 85 Dragster inverter welder in beautiful shape for $50. Got a pristine Clarke 130EN MIG with a nice 5-pound CO2 tank and flow gauge and about 5 spools of wire (with a cool storage case) for $85.

      MIG and TIG, with inert gas, are a bit more spendy.

      Comment


      • #4
        thank you for your responses. I guess more properly phrased is stick welding used anymore compared to mig and tig? i can get a cheapo stick welder and for slightly more a mig welder capable of fluxcore or gas and of course tig is going to cost a lot more.

        is mig/fluxcore a 1 to 1 replacement for stick?

        Comment


        • #5
          I havent welded since 1984

          With GMAW(mig) you have a shielding gas. Usually 25/75 co2/ argon. The gas is blown onto the puddle so you need to be in a shop with no wind or possibly outside with no wind( rare). FCAW(flux) is a hollow wire with shielding properties built into it. No worries about wind, like stick. Both processes have higher deposition rates vs. stick. I use both processes just depends on the situation,material, etc. etc.
          Hope you have fun gettin back into it. This place is filled with good knowledge so good choice in coming here to converse.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by echinacea View Post
            ...and a lot has changed! All i used on the job was an acetylene torch for cutting and a lincoln arc welder.
            I was in a similar boat. Hadn't welded since 1984, but withdrawls got to me sooner that they did you. I picked up a Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC (stick) and oxy/acet bottles in the early '90s. I had kept my OA torch setup. Did a few projects around the home. A few years ago, I needed to rebuild the wear shoes on the snowblower and was really struggling. About ready to give up on the whole welding thing. Then a brain storm. Put my reading glasses on under the hood. I discovered that one can't weld if he can't see! Since, I have rediscovered that I really enjoy welding and go out of my way to look for things to weld.

            So if your eyesight is anything like mine, the best advice I can offer is to use reading glasses, a cheater lens in the hood, whatever it takes to see the puddle.

            Good luck to you and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

            Comment


            • #7
              It really depends on what you want to do.

              One way to get a good, broad, view of processes and capabilities is to look around for an adult ed. course (or similar) in welding. That's how I learned --- we got to play with O/A, stick, FC, MIG, and TIG. From that little bit of experience I was able to make a fairly well-informed choice...

              As a result, I have a MM140 and a Lincoln tombstone. For the level of stuff I do, this is all fine. Though, now, I'd probably have bought something like the MM211 because of the dual-plug arrangement (just to have the ability to do heavier work -- though I've never needed it :-)

              And welcome to the forum

              Frank

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by pin2hot View Post
                I was in a similar boat. Hadn't welded since 1984, but withdrawls got to me sooner that they did you. I picked up a Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC (stick) and oxy/acet bottles in the early '90s. I had kept my OA torch setup. Did a few projects around the home. A few years ago, I needed to rebuild the wear shoes on the snowblower and was really struggling. About ready to give up on the whole welding thing. Then a brain storm. Put my reading glasses on under the hood. I discovered that one can't weld if he can't see! Since, I have rediscovered that I really enjoy welding and go out of my way to look for things to weld.

                So if your eyesight is anything like mine, the best advice I can offer is to use reading glasses, a cheater lens in the hood, whatever it takes to see the puddle.

                Good luck to you and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
                this is really weird, it was a "plate of shrimp" moment as my friends say (in reference to a scene from the movie Repo Man) because just before going to bed, i was thinking how am I going to weld with glasses on? my eyesight is a lot worse now than it was when i was 18. i can wear contacts but i cant see very well within arms reach. if i have glasses then i take them on and off a lot. so before going to bed, i was checking what kind of goggles (for acetylene) and helmets are available that can fit around glasses without fogging them up bad. I just figured i would cross that bridge when i get there and in worst case just not wear glasses, i do my best detail work up close with glasses off.

                then i checked for followup posts and this saw your post about vision and welding.

                thanks for the input!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by fjk View Post
                  It really depends on what you want to do.

                  One way to get a good, broad, view of processes and capabilities is to look around for an adult ed. course (or similar) in welding. That's how I learned --- we got to play with O/A, stick, FC, MIG, and TIG. From that little bit of experience I was able to make a fairly well-informed choice...

                  As a result, I have a MM140 and a Lincoln tombstone. For the level of stuff I do, this is all fine. Though, now, I'd probably have bought something like the MM211 because of the dual-plug arrangement (just to have the ability to do heavier work -- though I've never needed it :-)

                  And welcome to the forum

                  Frank

                  thats a good idea. a co-worker mentioned the same thing because at a community college i would be able to access much more equipment than i could ever have on my own.

                  so far ive downloaded a few full length instructional videos off the internet and varios e-books. that along with youtube postings and learning from people like you guys on forums can get a lot of info in your head....but along with info comes questions and only hands on learning can answer that.

                  my vision may be too bad or my hands too unsteady for welding....i;ll just have to practice and see.

                  thanks for reply

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What type of projects do you have in mind?


                    You really can't beat a wire feeder mig machine like the MM211 for home/hobby stuff.

                    Where are you located? I heard that Farm & Fleet is having a sale on the Hobart handlers 190 and 210


                    If you have the coin the Multimatic is a nice machine but quite the $ for a home machine.





                    ... Nice Repo Man reference

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Broccoli1 View Post
                      What type of projects do you have in mind?


                      You really can't beat a wire feeder mig machine like the MM211 for home/hobby stuff.

                      Where are you located? I heard that Farm & Fleet is having a sale on the Hobart handlers 190 and 210


                      If you have the coin the Multimatic is a nice machine but quite the $ for a home machine.





                      ... Nice Repo Man reference
                      well, i'd like to be capable of doing enough welding/cutting/brazing to support building a house (i know, more carpentry skills needed for that, doing that too) and light fabrication of trailers (i came across literature on how travel trailers didnt exist unless you built it yourself...so I want to make one to my specs as opposed to buying) and general construction.

                      i work as a software support at a defense contractor. i make about 3 or 4 times as much as I could as a welder, but I want to learn it to shore up my skills. I dont expect to work here forever, im a contractor....but once im out of this field i dont expect to come back. i spent 10 years as a draftsman for an OEM manufacturer and i miss working closely with shop processes to create things. I see a value add to that. I remember pulling my hair out trying to make a design (this was on a 2D cad system....i now support high end 3D systems that have complete welding packages in them) that would satisfy customer requirements AND be capable of being built with a minimum of effort. I was amazed at some of the quality work the welders did....they could make stainless steel structural supports so smooth it looked like it was CNC machined.

                      after doing that I went to work for a series of IBM business partners supporting and teaching the software at various aerospace manufacturers....Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, Bell Helicopter, Sikorsky aircraft, Ingalls Shipyards....but always from an educational and support standpoint. i miss creating things

                      Ive learned enough blueprint reading, GD&T and other industry practices from the design standpoint and now i am seeing how it is implemented on the manufacturing side.

                      im starting out all over again

                      ....and to think about how we welded on the job way back when. to clarify, i was doing maintenance for an apartment complex and was making steel railings, balconies and stairs for refurbishing. it wasnt anywhere close to strict manufacturing quality. when i read about safety and preparation i am horrified at what we did!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you can swing the CC program that would be ideal with your long term goals.

                        Hands on with all of the equipment and then it is easier to make a decision on purchases.


                        Iffin' ya wanna get to it right away a MM211 would be a good buy, it will still be useful to you in the future.

                        Mig is easier to get going on your own* where as Tig and O/A would benefit from one on one instruction.


                        * Mig also has the problem with being too easy that people tend to not really learn it

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Broccoli1 View Post
                          If you can swing the CC program that would be ideal with your long term goals.

                          Hands on with all of the equipment and then it is easier to make a decision on purchases.


                          Iffin' ya wanna get to it right away a MM211 would be a good buy, it will still be useful to you in the future.

                          Mig is easier to get going on your own* where as Tig and O/A would benefit from one on one instruction.


                          * Mig also has the problem with being too easy that people tend to not really learn it
                          that looks like a pretty good welder. for the price i could add a bit more and get a multiprocess machine but since it has gas capability thats a plus.

                          i was thinking about picking up one of those small lincoln mig machines at home depot that can be fluxcore only or gas....i think there about 400 bucks. probably ok to learn on but when you need to use it on something large and structural (or aluminium, stainless) i guess it wouldnt have the power.

                          i get to be a voracious information hound at times....when im interested in something that is an unknown, i want to learn all i can about it.

                          i think a good approach might be to look at the specs and different types of machines used in the industry...and every time something is mentioned that i dont know what it means or does (like why a squarewave?) then learn it, know it.

                          im in CT and it has one of the two lincoln tech schools for welding in the country.....but its out of my price range for now. local community colleges have year long programs that similarly might be good, but i dont think i could swing at the moment.

                          ill have to do it all myself. my problem is....where? i rent an apartment here. i could use it at my girlfriends house which is in another state but i'll see what arraingments i can make here. from what ive seen TIG welding looks pretty clean....not much of all the sparks and splatter flying everywhere. i havent seen MIG yet. i still doubt i could do it indoors safely enough

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by echinacea View Post
                            i was thinking about picking up one of those small lincoln mig machines at home depot that can be fluxcore only or gas....i think there about 400 bucks. probably ok to learn on but when you need to use it on something large and structural (or aluminium, stainless) i guess it wouldnt have the power.
                            The 110vac machines are generally considered underpowered for use on critical applications, like trailers.

                            Also, when an apparently identical product is available at a big-box store and at other suppliers, it generally is believed that the big-box version is substandard in some subtle ways to keep the price down. ymmv.

                            Originally posted by echinacea View Post
                            ill have to do it all myself. my problem is....where? i rent an apartment here. i could use it at my girlfriends house which is in another state but i'll see what arraingments i can make here. from what ive seen TIG welding looks pretty clean....not much of all the sparks and splatter flying everywhere. i havent seen MIG yet. i still doubt i could do it indoors safely enough
                            Sparks and spatter are a part of the danger. There also are fumes. Also you've got this hunk of hot metal that needs to get put down someplace... Finally, when you get out the grinder to smooth things down, you get more sparks and grit than you'd believe.... In short, don't weld inside unless it's in a space that is really properly built/ventilated/etc-ed for it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by fjk View Post

                              Sparks and spatter are a part of the danger. There also are fumes. Also you've got this hunk of hot metal that needs to get put down someplace... Finally, when you get out the grinder to smooth things down, you get more sparks and grit than you'd believe.... In short, don't weld inside unless it's in a space that is really properly built/ventilated/etc-ed for it.
                              oooh! that begs the question....if you were to fabricate a shop for yourself (when we tie the knot we're getting a house on some property...and MY space will be a shed/workshop of my own creation) what would you include as far as flooring, benches etc? im gonna make one large enough to drive through.

                              Comment

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