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Welding advice

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by farmerkev, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. farmerkev

    farmerkev Senior Member
    Messages: 847

    I have never had any experience with welding my knowledge of it goes about as far as that I know welding involves joining two metals. It is something that I would love to learn. I am going to take a welding class this year in school. I am just wondering what you guys could tell about it (tools, terms, etc.) so I have a little idea whats going on when I get there. Like I say, I dont really know anything, Ill learn it there, but it might be nice to have a little head start.
  2. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    auto darkening helmets are worth ever penny

    and dont look at the light...lol
  3. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,594

  4. nickv13412

    nickv13412 Senior Member
    Messages: 621

    you can learn a lot from that wikipedia page, so ill just add: dont get frustrated if its hard for you at first, it takes time like anything. a nice way to practice your arc welding is to take an old electrode holder and put a pencil where the rod would be, tape down a sheet of paper to a table, and go to town practicing your form.
  5. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    good idea -
  6. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,990

    Good for practicing motion, but nothing beats hours at the weld bench. Taking a class is a great way to learn, they're a cheap way to get your practice time with an instructor to help you though the rough parts. Learn to run 6010 and 7018 stick and then you CAN:nod: use wikipedia to learn MIG.

    Learn it right, there are too many guys running MIG that are more a hazard then anything else. A MIG weld can look pretty but be no more effective then a bead of caulk. Getting good root penetration, and a proper bond involves more then just melting some metal.

    Have fun and good luck. Running a weld bead is one of the most fun things to do in the shop. even after 35 years i still get a kick out of it. Especially Alum TIG
  7. wild bill

    wild bill PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,239


    :salute:a lot of welder manufacturer's have tutorial site's , i like miller welder's their are generally local community college courses available .depends on what you ultimately want to weld and why ,but buy your last welder first !
  8. farmerkev

    farmerkev Senior Member
    Messages: 847

    I am actually taking the course at a local college. Once Im done, Id like to buy a welder because the things you can do are countess.
  9. itsgottobegreen

    itsgottobegreen PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,351

    1st buy a Miller welder
    2nd buy a welder twice the size you think you need. Because you will out grow your first welder after the first job. (most people buy a 110v machine thinking they are going to do heavy structural welding)
    3rd find someone who knows how to weld to teach your. Old timer retired welders, trade school, etc.
    4th Pratice makes perfict
  10. rebelplow

    rebelplow Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    Welding is a great thing to know how to do. I taught myself how to weld on a gas powered Lincoln stick welder. My first project was a 24' long x 4' wide walking bridge across a creek in my backyard. It was 2"x2" by 1/4" sidewall steel, and I used 6011 rods. It was a lot of work, but I made it about 4 years ago, and it still as straight as the day it was built. The funny thing about that project. I bought a metal cutting bandsaw at Harbor Freight, the $250 one. About 3/4 of the way through cutting all the pieces the bandsaw motor started getting hot, I rigged up some fans to keep it cool. I made the 8th to last cut, and it couldn't take one more minute, and the motor died. I had to finish it off with the Dewalt metal chopsaw.
    I also know a welder who MADE a tree out of rebar. It looks like a real tree. I think it has like 4000 leaves, and 200 pounds of welding rod.
  11. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,990

    Buy a DC capable welder, many of the "good" welding rods want to run DC+. 6010 and 7018 rod demand DC to run properly. AC welding is not as smooth, the arc characteristics and control is much better.

    Lincoln makes a nice inexspensive "Buzz Box" welder, that's available at Tractor supply and others as well as your local lincoln dealer.

    Miller makes a unit as well

    If you can find a Lincoln Idealarc 250 even better, they're twice the money but 3 times the welder. they can also be found cheap ($500-$1000 depending on condition and seller) used.
  12. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,032

    Basher is correct, I couldn't weld very well untill I bought a DC welder and it's a Lincoln Idealarc 250, running on 3 phase. That welder makes me look good.
  13. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,990

    I went to the Linclon factory school back in the mid 70s we learned on the granddaddy of that machine. Was a fine welding machine back then. i still bleed Lincoln red, and instist instist on 5-P (6010) jetweld (7018) others are good but they brainwashed me well. Over the years I've owned airco, union carbide, linde, miller (Goldstar 300 w/TIG) but the shop's all lincoln now with the exception of the gas drive. It's a Hobart, back before miller bought them, and I like it OK but i only bought it because it was CHEAP.

    We run 1 SP-100 for SS Mig a pair of SP-135s for light work and handrail assembly, twin SP-250s, and a Idealarc 300 w/TIG. You're right they make us look good.
  14. creativedesigns

    creativedesigns PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,929

    I think the Forge welding method would be best for you Kev! lol:D
  15. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    2, 3 and 4 are all exellent advice.

    You'll only learn by doing... practice and patience go a long way toward experience and perfection. You can learn the fundamentals by teach (and classes are a great way to start) but only the hands on will gain you the experience.
  16. farmerkev

    farmerkev Senior Member
    Messages: 847

    More good info, but some of your talk, is a little over my head still with all the numbers.:confused:
  17. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    It'll all become more understandable once you get into the welding courses Kev.

    But for example, 7018, 6010, 6011 are all electrode classifications for stick welding rods.

    SP-100. SP-175 Idealarc are all models/model #'s of welding machines. They'll teach you the theory and lingo first. That way it won't be a foreign language to you. :)
  18. Doakster

    Doakster Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 650

    Not to worry, these are all things you'll learn in your class.

    The best advice I can give for a beginner is to concentrate on penetration and realizing where you are putting the heat (referred to as the puddle) when you are welding. These basics should all be explained in your class.

    Total I've had a full year of welding classes all on stick. I would suggest not even pick up a MIG gun until you have stick down fairly well and you realize what needs to be done to make a good weld. That's what I did and it was to my benefit.

    Stick will teach you all of the basics in welding i.e:

    1)Heat control, how to know if you have your machine set too high or too low based on what you are welding and the rod you are using. When you first start setting up your machine don't even look at the settings, look at the weld and figure out if you need more heat or less and adjust the machine. Amperage/Heat is not always the same for similar weld situations.

    2) Feed Control, getting the feel of your hands and realizing how quickly or slowly you need to feed the rod into the weld, this can only come with practice.

    3)Speed Control, or how fast you are moving the stick, i.e: moving too fast or too slow through the basic "weave" patterns or a "drag" patterns.

    Once you're confident in those basics then you can adapted to MIG or TIG easily. Mig just takes the human factor of feed control out of the equation and does it for you with the machine.

    You'll also learn about the dreaded term "undercut", basically when you move to fast or don't have enough heat and don't give the metals enough time to bond together which leaves a hole in the side/edge of the weld.

    And as far as a helmet yes an Auto Darkening can be very useful, but they don't work well in low light situations because they are solar powered, that's why I have both and Auto darkening and a regular helmet. If you want to learn the hard way and learn how to become good at flipping your helmet down and striking an arc right away then just get a regular helmet it will only help out in the long run. My job often takes me to large scale fab shops and most of the guys/old timer just use a regular helmet.

    On a side note, for selecting a welding machine, I've met so many career fab guys who say that a Miller just plain old outlasts a Lincoln, Miller machines are generally built with bigger electrical components, bigger cooling capacity and won't over heat and stop on you. The majority of large scale fab shops and commercial applications run Millers, Lincolns are good machine it just seems that the commercials guys go with Miller. ESAB is also good equipment. Also Hobart is produced by Miller as well.

    Hope the info helps.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2008

    ADMSWELDING Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    Running all Millers at my co. 5 to be exact,most men bleed red,i bleed blue.:rolleyes:
  20. farmerkev

    farmerkev Senior Member
    Messages: 847

    My class starts tomorrow, Ill et you know more about what Ill be learning.