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jtkendall

Getting Started with Welding

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I’ve been interested in welding for a few years now but have been putting off actually doing anything because of machine costs and a general lack of time. I’m finally ready to actually put in the time and money, but could use some information.

 

What type of welding would you suggest someone new learn?

 

I’m leaning towards Mig because it seems like the easiest on the hands since it feeds through a gun and all of the videos on Mig welding say it’s pretty easy to do with enough practice. It also has the benefit of letting me use shielding gas or skipping it and using flux core.

 

Stick welding really doesn’t appeal to me because there are so many types of electrodes, if you want the electrodes to perform at their best people say to buy a rod oven, and it just looks clunky like trying to sign your name while holding the very backend of a giant novelty pen.

 

Tig welding seems interesting, but also confusing because of lift start, high frequency, pulse, and AC/DC.

 

What are your thoughts on the Everlast Power i-Mig 140E?

 

http://www.everlastgenerators.com/product/mig/power-i-mig-140e

 

It’s the Mig machine I’m leaning towards because it’s inexpensive and I’ve seen a lot of people use Everlast machines recently. All I have to do to use flux core is install different rollers. It runs on 120v and sounds like a good starter machine based on their recommended uses. 

 

What do you wear to weld?

 

I see people wearing helmets, gloves, and welding jackets while others seem to skip the jacket for long sleeves and maybe a leather apron. I would assume jeans are probably the go to for pants.

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1. Might as well go might. You're probably better off learning stick first, but for the odd thing here and there just go with might because it will probably suit you better.

 

2. Looks fine.

 

3. At the very least a helmet and leather shoes or boots. DO NOT WEAR ANY FORM OF POLYESTER/NYLON ETC. STICK TO AT LEAST COTTON AND LEATHERS, IDEALLY FR RATED. IF IT CAN MELT, IT WILL. I've welded without gloves and just in a short sleeve shirt and it's NEVER WORTH IT. Decent pair of might gloves are like $15. I wear black stallion because that's what stores carry here. Slide on sleeves are like $12, but I usually just wear a $20 FR treated cotton welding jacket. Never cared for the bulk or temperature of leather ones. Never worn anything but jeans. Make sure they're 100% cotton. I also wear a fiberglass heat shield on the back of my dominant glove. Spend the $70 and get an autodarkening helmet. You can get away with a cheap manual one. I learned work a manual one and you get used to the nod to drop it down pretty quick. If you plan on doing it a lot the auto helmets just are worth the money.

 

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Cheap mig welders are not always a good choice. Pay attention to the duty cycle of any prospective unit. The higher the cycle the longer you can weld at a given stretch. 25% duty cycle might make a good tack welder.  I prefer a minimum 70% duty cycle. Miller makes some pretty bullet proof machines. Find a used one. The off brands will not be easy to source parts or consumables for, whereas most welding supply stores will be able to supply you with any tips or other items you might need for the Miller.

 

While you may not like the thought of the stick welder, it is actually easier to learn than mig, and you do not really have to keep a bunch of rods on hand, limiting any loss. Stick welding units are cheap and there are plenty of used ones out there.

 

This is a good site to read about welding: http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/

Lots of info there.

 

I have an older ESAB mig unit and I like it, but it can be touchy to dial in and consumables are sometimes difficult to find. I also have a Miller tig/stick unit that I bought to teach myself tig welding. Going to sell it and buy a higher grade unit at some point in time. Haven't used stick for a long time, but I keep one around on the chance that I might need to repair some cast iron.

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59 minutes ago, Stercorarius said:

leather shoes or boots

 

Ah, that's something I hadn't thought of, I'll have to get a good pair of leather boots. 

 

1 hour ago, Stercorarius said:

DO NOT WEAR ANY FORM OF POLYESTER/NYLON ETC. STICK TO AT LEAST COTTON AND LEATHERS, IDEALLY FR RATED. IF IT CAN MELT, IT WILL

 

I think all of my clothing is cotton but I'll pick up FR rated clothing and a welding jacket too, I'd rather opt for more safety than chance it.

 

1 hour ago, Stercorarius said:

Spend the $70 and get an autodarkening helmet

 

Autodarkening all the way, I already have to wear glasses I'm not going to risk going blind to save a few bucks.

 

2 hours ago, JMG said:

While you may not like the thought of the stick welder, it is actually easier to learn than mig, and you do not really have to keep a bunch of rods on hand, limiting any loss.

 

Hmm, that might change my mind then because they seem to have higher duty cycles, are cheaper than comparable Mig machines,  and a lot of them also support Tig. If I can pick up a reasonably priced 120v Stick/Tig machine to learn on I can and probably would upgrade it once I get the garage electrical upgraded with 240 this coming spring. That would probably be the best time to buy a Mig machine because I could go 240 only and get a higher duty cycle.

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I was once okay at running a bead with a MIG welder, and constantly sucked at doing the same with an arc machine.  Recent interest in relearning this lost skill had me watching an AvE video where he argues that choosing arc over MIG results in the better skilled (and more versatile) welder.  Looking back, I have to agree; if I'd have been more patient I'd have learned much more about the art and science of welding.  

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Auto darkening helmet is the way to go, 15 years back you had to spend a fortune for one now they are relatively cheap. I would suggest buy the best you can afford, ensure it has grind mode and settingd for tig welding if you go down that path as you will keep it forever and it will generally last longer than a cheap one.

 

Get arm length gloves, a good jacket and spats if your work boots have exposed stitching. 

 

If you can stick weld, everything else will be a piece of cake. I stick weld everything given it's always on site. With stick welding, you don't have to grind off the paint or galvanize,  you don't have to worry if it is wet, dirty or dusty.

 

Mig is much quicker for the application, you don't have to clean off any flux etc but flux cored wire isn't as good as it may seem. It's similar to welding with an inverter welder as opposed to a transformer welder. 200A on an inverter welder will penetrate very differently to 200A on a transformer welder. If you're not doing heavy welding it shouldn't matter.

 

Buy a good welding blanket, I have a carbon blanket which I like as it seems to burn less than leather. Never weld in short sleeves, I do it sometimes and you get sunburn wherever you skin is exposed. I constantly do this when I'm too lazy to get my jacket and weld in a long sleeve shirt and my neck gets burnt.

 

HTH!

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