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Beginner help - where to buy/get practice steel/scrap

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  • Beginner help - where to buy/get practice steel/scrap

    I've recently decided to learn to mig weld. I started out by doing a lot of reading here as well as over on the Weld Talk forums on Hobart's site. I decided to go with a HH187 and it is supposed to arrive in a few days. I'm trying to get everything else I'll need ready for when it arrives.

    One tip I read was to get some 16 guage CRS cut to 2"x4" 'coupons' to practice on. My question is where would I get these coupons? Would the average steel supplier in the yellow pages be able to easily cut these for me? How much should I expect to pay? I assume I'll have to buy a sheet and have them cut it.

    I usually like to walk into places and talk face to face with the people there, but most places seem to operate on a 9-5 schedule that interferes with my own full time job. Because I can't walk in I'll have to call around and I'd like to have some idea of what I'm talking about before I do that. Is the term 'coupons' something that most places would understand or was that just a word made up by the poster of the comment I read in some thread.

    Can anyone offer any low cost solutions to getting material to practice with?

    Thanks,
    Jason

  • #2
    welcome to the board. ive never heard of those but sounds like a good idea . it depends on where ur located on what places to go to and prices. what u could do is ask them what scraps they have from other people buying and having things cut. some places also have deals where they have sales and have like 4 foot pieces of metal fairly cheap that could be cut up for practice.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by weld_13 View Post
      ive never heard of those but sounds like a good idea
      "Coupons" are what the strips from a welding test are called. If you do a pipe then 4 strips are cut out the pipe and they are hydraulic bent to test them, 2 forward and 2 backwards to test for strength. Same with plate postion welding, you would cut 2 from each position, horizontal, vertical and overhead and do bend tests on them. A lot of companies and construction jobs require you weld up "coupons" to prove you are a capable welder. Any shop with an ironworker machine should be able to run you off a bunch of 2x4 or 6 inch coupons easily.

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      • #4
        welcome to the site.
        coopons is a fairly common word but i would not be too concerned about the sizes as its just for practise. you might try stoping by a fabrication shop and asking if they have any scraps you could get a a cheep price to practise on. getting a sheet cut to 2"X4" pices is going to be expensive most likely. i would just get a sawsall and cut some stuff up. a pice of 1"X1/8" bar would be a goos thing to cut into 3" pices to practise on and can possibly be had for less then $1.00 a Lbs. at a steel suplyer they generaly charge for every cut, some times you get one cut per pice free then they start charging. so its best to use that one cut to get it small enough to fit in the truck.
        keep you eye open for stuff being thrown out thats steel, take it home cut it up and put it back togather.after all its just practise.
        did you figure in a tank of C-25 or Co2?? you will want that right away, you can use flux core wire but it would be better to lern using solid wire and gas.
        a 4.5" grinder and some disks and wire brushes would be a good starter also.
        happy welding the HH187 is a nice welder, should serve you well.

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        • #5
          I have thought of a bottle of C25. I've called a few places and I'm trying to decide between a 40cu and 80cu. One place said that they can always fill the 40 while I wait but could not always promise to be able to do an 80, I'm not sure why that would make a difference. I called another place today and they had a better prices ($140 and $180) and charged the same amount to fill be it 40cu or 80cu but I didn't inquire about fill time.

          I've already bought a dewault 10amp grinder, some cut off wheels, and a wire brush.

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          • #6
            Tank rental vs. purchase

            [QUOTE=dedfish;12221]I have thought of a bottle of C25. I've called a few places and I'm trying to decide between a 40cu and 80cu. One place said that they can always fill the 40 while I wait but could not always promise to be able to do an 80, I'm not sure why that would make a difference. I called another place today and they had a better prices ($140 and $180) and charged the same amount to fill be it 40cu or 80cu but I didn't inquire about fill time.QUOTE]

            I too did some research with my local welding shops and found similar issues. I want to go with an 80cu bottle, but they won't be able to fill it while I wait. Overnight turn-around, best case; possibly one week. This meant either no welding for upwards of a week, or purchasing 2 tanks. In order to keep my down time (and trips to their shop) to a miniumum, I'm going to try rentals first. Sure the tank is going to be beat-up looking, but I will walk out of the shop with a full one and be welding ASAP. I like what Fun4Now does to his tanks. He covers them like he does the welder unit. Very professional, the color matches no matter which tank you get.

            If I start to slow down in my gas consumption, then I'll purchase a tank to eliminate the monthly rental fees. For now I'll rent. The money I save (from delaying the tank purchase) will go toward metal and wheels for a welding cart.

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            • #7
              I just got my tanks last week, bought em, 300 cf buggers, O2, Acy and argon. Got them from Airgas for $275 each, and 1/2 price on the 1st fill I went with the big boys, because it will be a PITA to get them out of my shop and down to Airgas or Toll (a LWS), and figured the price wasn't all that much different, and they will hopefully last me a while. I bought em, but they still swap them out each time. I get to pick the tanks when I get refills, so I tried to get nicer ones, but more important to me was the last hydro, I made sure they were from this year in case I don't go thru as much gas as I thought, I would be able to avoid paying for one the next time I exchanged it. just my 2

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              • #8
                i rented for a few years at $53 a year, then got a few tanks. owned or rented they should still swop out the tank, you guys should ask why you cant swop out owned tanks. yea you may get some ugly tanks but as you said do a cover like i do and its all good. i would defenetly go with the 80cft over the 40. you will get twice the gas for the same $$ thats a no brainer, especily when lerning and playing all th time.
                Co2 tanks are about 1/2 the price and fill cheaper and last about 8X as long by tanks size. so keep that in mind as a starter option.
                i recently wenyt to Co2 for my MIG so i could use the 80&125 tanks for strait argon for my TIG. the Co2 dose just as nice a job as the C-25 i think. i have not had any isues with it that make me think i want to go back to C-25 and i have used it on a thin as 20 gage. so i'll be sticking with Co2 as i now have 2 tanks of Co2 and 2 for argon for TIG.
                just some thing to think about.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the suggestion on renting. I'll check into that. I'm sure I won't go through a ton of gas to begin with, but it would be nice to figure out how much I will go through to get an idea of what to buy.

                  Thanks
                  Jason

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fun4now View Post
                    did you figure in a tank of C-25 or Co2?? you will want that right away, you can use flux core wire but it would be better to lern using solid wire and gas.
                    why would u say that ? not that its bad to start with solid core just wonderin cause i thought it helped me to learn on my piece of junk wire feed with flux core before i got spoiled on the solid core.

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                    • #11
                      because it considerably easyer to see whats going on without all the smoke and slag. nothing wrong with lerning with flux if its all you got, but if you just bought a new HH187 why do it the hard way.

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                      • #12
                        true. didnt think about smoke. hope u enjoy ur new soon to be new welder

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                        • #13
                          Since I've been learning welding at home, I walk and drive around with an eye out for potential scrap in dumpsters and other locations. Places you've driven by a 100 times and not noticed suddenly become gold mines. Bed frames, rebar cutoffs, busted office chairs, etc. are all great to practice on. Just remember to use judgment and ask the smaller places if it's OK to dumpster dive. If it's a big commercial business like Home Depot, I don't bother asking because I don't mind getting told to leave (though it's never happened) and it would be too much trouble to find who to ask anyway. But for smaller businesses I try to ask because they might get more upset. If you keep an eye out, you'll soon find more than you can can stash.

                          Another technique is to pick the best metal supplier in your area (that doesn't mind dealing with hobbyists) and spend a few bucks there a few times. You don't need to spend a lot because the guys working the floor don't really care how much you spend (their not on commission), but once they recognize you, you'll feel more comfortable about asking to rummage in the recycle bin. Half the time they let me do that for free after I've spend $20 or so.

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                          • #14
                            gotta love the dive. only thing i had to pay for on this hole thing was sone welding wire (flux core), a few boxes of screws and a few bags of cement.
                            now i got a 2story 22'X20' shop. its amazing what some people will throw out.
                            ok so its not a perfect shop and it still needs a lil more work, but hay for the price its great. and i dont have to work on my truck in the rain anymore.
                            Attached Files

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                            • #15
                              fun4now,
                              outrageous shop! I'm so HAPPY for you!!! I see you're still sleeping in that tent

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