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First Welding Project from a Newbie

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  • craiger5
    started a topic First Welding Project from a Newbie

    First Welding Project from a Newbie

    I've always wanted a welder and to learn to weld. I've been in manufacturing for 22 years and been around welding but never learned. A friend of mine and I bought a small factory and our Plant Manager told me that he'd teach me to weld. One of our suppliers allowed us to go "shopping" in their surplus equipment. I picked up a rough looking/well used Millermatic 200. I took it back to the shop and went to work rehabbing it. In the end, it didn't really need much mechanical work to get it going. A good cleaning of the years of dust, new rollers in the feeder, cleaning the liner, tightening up some loose wiring and fittings and a ton of bodywork and it looks like the first picture on this post. I wired up an outlet in my barn and was in business.

    My first project is to build a fire pit for my patio. I got an old LP tank and some pipe from my neighbor's junk heap and went to work. After opening up the tank and letting it sit with the opening down for a few weeks, I threw it in a bonfire. I was still a little nervous when I started to cut it with the plasma cutter at work even though I knew there couldn't be anything left in it. I started the first cut with the tank on the forktruck while I was standing behind the mast anyway. I will post pictures of my progress.

    Please let me know what I'm doing wrong as you view my pics.
    Attached Files

  • Don52
    replied
    It looks great and is a job well done.
    Hopefully you are now hooked on welding like the rest of us.

    Don

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  • craiger5
    replied
    Finally completed the fire pit this weekend. After making a handle, installing some air inlets and drilling a drain hole; I painted the whole thing with Rust Oleum high heat black paint.
    Attached Files

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  • craiger5
    replied
    I got a little time today to work on my fire pit. I had to build a couple jigs to bend the rod for the foot rest and to get it held together in a hoop before welding it to the pit.

    After I got it tacked together in the hoop configuration, I cut a hole in the middle of the jig to allow me to drop the pit into the middle and set the foot rest 3/4" below the top edge of the pit. After cutting each of the small attachment pieces to fit, I welded the hoop to the fire pit.

    The hinges that I made to attach the top to the pit didn't work as well as I had hoped. It will work, but I may grind them off and try something else.

    I still need to:
    1) cut holes/install pipe or something in the bottom to let it breathe
    2) cut a drain hole or two so it doesn't fill up with water
    3) make a handle to lift the top
    4) wire brush the rust off the pit and paint the whole thing with high heat paint.
    Attached Files

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  • craiger5
    replied
    Update

    I got a chance to finish the top to my fire pit this afternoon. It isn't perfect, but I'm satisfied with it at this point since it's the first project I've attempted with steel and welding.

    Bending the expanded steel into the corner pieces was pretty tricky. Took lots of hammer swinging, clamping and patience.
    Attached Files

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  • craiger5
    replied
    It wasn't really unknown. I had taken the gauge out which left a hole without a feed tube etc. I then turned it upside down for about 2-3 weeks with that hole facing down. I probably didn't need to burn it in the brush fire but thought it would be a good additional step.

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  • HodgeHER
    replied
    i would never put a unknown propane tank in a fire. the safest way to make sure you can cut a propane tank is to shoot it from a distance. ive done it before. and no it wont explode.... if you want it to explode you have to cover it in gas, light it on fire and then shoot it from a distance.

    cool project btw

    Leave a comment:


  • craiger5
    replied
    I got a couple hours yesterday and today to work on my fire pit. I ground the welds on the dome and installed a couple pieces of 9 gauge expanded metal. It was a bit of a challenge to form. I cut the pieces with an angle grinder and cutoff wheel. I then clamped one edge to the side of one of the propane tank halves. I beat the metal with a sledge hammer and ball peen hammer to the approximate curve of the tank which wasn't quite enough for the dome. To get the metal closer to the shape of the dome, I used a piece of scrap C channel and beat the metal between the edges of that to gradually get the curve closer to the dome shape.

    After I got close, I used vise grips and welding clamps to hold the expanded metal to the dome and welded. It was more of a challenge than I thought it would be to weld the expanded metal. It was kind of tedious.

    Lesson of the weekend came from my aching back...first project should have been to build a tall welding table/workbench. I'm about 6'2" so I typically build all of my workbenches higher than normal to save my back.
    Attached Files

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  • craiger5
    replied
    After I had the hoop welded up and looking ok, I went back to the bending jig and bent a couple more piece to be the arch of the lid. Once those were bent and pretty similar in shape, I welded them to the hoop. Then it was dinner time and time to get the kids to bed so I'll be revisiting this project as soon as I can.

    Once again, if anyone has suggestions to improve what I'm doing, please throw them out there.
    Attached Files

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  • craiger5
    replied
    After getting the ends bent to my satisfaction, I had to cut a few filler pieces to make the hoop the overall length that I needed. I welded the four pieces of steel together and had my hoop. A bit of tweaking/stretching with my hands and feet got the hoop adjusted to fit around the pit.
    Attached Files

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  • craiger5
    replied
    Rainy afternoon so the kids didn't have softball or baseball games and I finally got a chance to play metal shop for a couple hours. I'm going to try to build a domed lid for the fire pit. I will be using 1/8" x 2" flat steel for the frame and lining it with expanded metal. I build a jig using 3/4" plywood cut to the approximate shape that I want the base to be. I then bent some of the flat steel around the frame. Since steel has a memory, I used a piece of C channel as an "anvil" of sorts to round the steel into the shape that I wanted.
    Attached Files

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  • craiger5
    replied
    Originally posted by Bistineau View Post
    Now you can do it all again with the remaining half of the tank. Then give it to a friend or sell it, or keep it as a spare for when the first one eventually rusts out. You might want to consider making a small hole in the bottom, to drain accumulated rain water so your not running a mosquito maternity ward though.
    My father-in-law had his eye on the other half of the tank. I'm hoping he forgets about it :-)

    I plan on drilling a hole or two in it for drainage...thanks for the suggestion.

    I bought rod, flat bar and expanded metal to build a hinged dome over the top. It may work or it may not. I figured since it's my first project, I may as well overthink it and go all out. My issue at the present is that I only get an hour or two to work on it every couple weeks due to business demands, wife demands and kid demands. I'll post some pics when I get a little further.

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  • Bistineau
    replied
    Now you can do it all again with the remaining half of the tank. Then give it to a friend or sell it, or keep it as a spare for when the first one eventually rusts out. You might want to consider making a small hole in the bottom, to drain accumulated rain water so your not running a mosquito maternity ward though.

    Leave a comment:


  • craiger5
    replied
    Originally posted by H80N View Post
    It's nice to see yet another MM200 put back to useful service...

    what a great old machine,,!!

    if you did a search on "MM200" you will gind several threads on it...

    Little known secret......the MM200 has an output and duty cycle equiv to the new 250 amp machines..

    BTW... Great project...
    I didn't know that about the output and duty cycle. It's more of a welder than I had ever anticipated having at my house, but the price was right. I love it so far. I had a lot of fun getting it cleaned up and back in working order.

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  • craiger5
    replied
    Originally posted by kiwi View Post
    The fire pit looks as if it is coming along nicely. Might I suggest that you clean your metal prior to welding. Good luck.
    Nick
    Yeah, I got a little excited about having the welder hooked up and running and neglected the metal prep. I used a wire brush but not enough to get down to the bare metal. I'll do better next time.

    Leave a comment:

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