Learning to weld

Discussion in 'Painting, Welding, Bending and Gas Tanks' started by impression, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. impression

    impression Member

    Hey all, well i'm thinking of taking up welding.

    Steel first and then move on to alloys and Tungsten, but that's further down the road.

    any tips/advice on gear to get started, any advice in general is welcome :)

  2. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    IMO, a small wire feed MIG welder is an essential piece of shop equipment. Aside from fabricating things, you'll be able to fix things that would not be salvageable without welding. (from broken swing sets to lawn mower decks and automobile exhausts)

    If you've got the money, buy a welder that carries the name of a commercial welding equipment manufacturer. Big names like Miller, Lincoln, and Hobart have "light duty" grade equipment that will have you welding like a pro in no time.

    If you are short on cash, you can get an imported welder for a lot less, but these are often not as easy to weld with as the higher quality units. But they will get the job done, and you can always trade up later if you really get into it.

    Good Luck!
  3. airbrusher

    airbrusher New Member

    a small mig is the thing to go for,there is a web site that has welding dvds,for mig, tig, gas and stick,there all p2p,so are FREE,:devilish: i dont think i can put the link on here?? if your intrested drop me a pm:cool2:
  4. Revorunner

    Revorunner Member

    Check out your local collage for a night course.A few nights of learning can go a long ways.

    And after that it's practice,practice,practice!!!!!!!!!:grin5::grin5:
  5. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    helps to repair that thing

    that's where I went to learn about welding years ago now

    can not beat the price
    much knowledge waiting right there

    helps to repair that thing
  6. Gas/ O2 welding

    Where in Southern CA can I take a class?
  7. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    used to be City College ??

    hi there Zomby Builder motor bike in the blood guy

    I took welding at City College -- downtown San Diego
    many years ago

    I think that it may also be offered thru some of the job trainning classes
    a Lady down the mountain was taking welding just a few months ago
    some type of free class so as to possibly help her get a welding job

    if you look into it -- let us know what you find here in the San Diego area

    ride that thing
  8. spad4me

    spad4me Member

    Oxy acetylene for me.

    Lotsa farms here .
    No electricity needed.
    Extremely portable

    Easy to use it welds steel, and solders aluminum. and it also has a cutting tip.
    I use this stuff to solder al.

    I can even use cheaper eye protection.

    Mig and, tig make pretty welds.
    Not cheaper welds.
  9. fastboy9

    fastboy9 Member

    I'm just starting to learn how to weld, looking at buying a cheap mig welder at the moment. Its fine to post up some links of that site if you want to, I cant really find any decent how to's.

  10. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

  11. for the money I like the campbell housefield not sure if I spelled that right.

    get one that is capable of using gas & tractor supply carried their brand of the cambell housefield for $30 less than you can buy the regular version.

    I can get you model numbers if you need it is harder to weld with than a good profesional welder but it works great for me.

    I bought it to have a truely portable welder that I really could carry to back yard & hook a heavy duty extension cord. (READ 10 & 12 GAUGE WIRE) & for heavy stuff you will need a dedicated circuit with at least a 20 amp breaker

    I have owned full size welders & own a "portable" 110 volt Miller & it is excellent but portable it really isnt. when something breaks & you need to carry the welder to it. no thanks.

    also for a good combination a oxy accetelene torch is a great combo & for the torch body get a Henrob 2000 they have a website called (cuts like plasma) they work very well for fabricating.

    if you get the cheap mig welder get a decent welding helmet it comes with a hand held welding shield

    I also have something I shouldnt. I put a #10 lens in a torch welding gogle to make outside farm repairs easy when sun is behind you it will glare inside helmet & make it a pain to see & that seals to your face. but it isnt good. & you will get sunburn to your face if you use that much.. I had to weld bushhog one day. but for a couple minutes outside it is a inexpensive option to a helmet with a cover.

    I am not a profesional welder but I have turned down many jobs over the years based on my welding abilities. my best friends dad taught me to weld when I was 10 years old & I welded up my car engine hoist when I was 13 & I still use it to this day & in college I was best in my class at welding.

    for ease of use if you can afford it a Miller is hard to beat. with Lincoln coming in close second to me & Hobart third. but this is opinions & what works best for one person may not for another.

    you can teach yourself how to weld after you buy a welder & I helped one guy learn how to weld with a campbell housefield over internet, he send pics & we discussed the welding it took him around 6 months to get good enough to trust his welds & now he welds up anything he wants for around his farm & fabricates equipment for his tractor.

  12. MotorMac

    MotorMac Member


    Randy, for general around the home and farm use is a 220volt mig welder better or easier to use than a 115volt unit?The 220 volt unit can plug into my homes dryer outlet?
    thanks for any advice.
  13. in all honesty I prefer a 220 welder I think they run better from my experience. but for portability is only reason I went to 110. my Miller I bought after working in a body shop a few years clipping cars on the side & thats all they had before that I was strickly a 220 welder person I didnt thing a 110 was adequate & it did a great job. I put a floor pan halves in a 69 camaro a little over a year ago & I used a 220 miller at another shop & guy wanted full bead perimeter welding top & bottom & I feel the 220 did a better job.

    I always tried to read my welds & I adjust my gas flow to just over what I think I need to conserve gas. I can usually get by with 12 to 15 CFM with small gaps on sheet metal.

    so to answer your question. a 220 welder? think about your cords? are you going to run heavy duty extension cord? it try to make a home made cord with house wire they wont hold up good & if a mig you will need to have it close to where your working.

    do you want to weld aluminum? thinking of purchasing a spool gun? & commit to using pure argon, instead of CO2 or Co2/argon mix, or have 1 tank for each?

    there are no easy answers... I have a 220 ARC welder & I plug it into range & with a remodel I am doing it will have its own circuit on porch your range has a larger diameter wire. & larger breaker. so if you wanted to run a cord you would have less drop & better power at range outlet. so keep any extension cords as short as possible & of adequate wire size. say my 220 arc welder I would use multi strand 8 gauge & not over 100 foot if over 100 I would try to go with 6 or maybe 4 gauge wire... well actually I would take my torch with me.. but in theory.....

    my 110 Miller would do anything a 220 would do but it will use more amps for same given work so a 220 would be more cost effective with electricity if you think your going to do alot of welding.

    my Campbell housefield will do alot of what my miller will do but with less of a duty cycle you have to stop to wait for it to cool off more often & with multiple passes it will weld some heavy stuff but I normally weld heavy stuff with my torch.

    220 welders are normally built better, some have nearly continious duty cycle & usually are quite large & even on carts take a little effort to roll across a shop floor & this would be in your house???? my campbell is under my stairway but not my tank & I currently have flux core wire in it because I found a bargain 10 LB spool for under $30 I definately wont recomend the campbell for .035 flux core wire. it is too small of an amperage of a welder I will have to try .030 flux core but it does good with .023 & a co2/argon mix

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2009
  14. MotorMac

    MotorMac Member


    Thanks for all the excellent information Randy, actually I have a 220 volt outlet in my garage that the wife has the clothes dryer plugged into , so that would work to power a mig welder ok?
    I can get a 220 mig cheap , new for under $200 this wil be fine for general light duty hobby use?
  15. I would be questioning the quality of a new 220 volt welder that only cost $200 new. how many heat ranges does it have? & does it use gas? with a regulator? does it have variable wire speed?

    do you have a link you could send me in either on here or in PM that I could read & give an opinion on? or give me a model number so I can look it up.

    the welder would say how many amps are required. most dryer circuits are wired for 30 amps check your breaker box to check what your amp rating of your breaker is & it hopefully is wired to code, do not overload your wiring.

    Thank you,
  16. MotorMac

    MotorMac Member

    Mig welder

    I found an old PDF catalogue for Princess Auto the welder is on sale this week for 199.99.I was just in the store a couple days ago It doesnt show that price in this downloaded catalogue. But it shows the features.
    Its #8154718 listed here at 299.99 now on sale 199.99 they are cheap and made in China.

    • Variable wire speed
    4 duty cycle settings:
    20% @ 105A, 30% @ 75A,
    60% @ 50A, 100% @ 30A
    • Cold wire trigger
    • Automatic thermal shutdown
    • Can be converted from flux wire to
    gas operation
    • 18A input
    230 V MIG WELDER
    8154718 – Wt. 61.5 lbs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .299.99
    • Variable wire speed
    • 4 heat settings:
    20% @ 65A,
    33% @ 50A
    70% @ 35A,
    100% @ 25A
    • Cold wire trigger
    • Automatic thermal shutdown protection
    • Can be converted from flux wire to gas welding
    • 17A input
    8154700 – Wt. 55.3 lbs.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24999
    • Variable wire speed
    • 2 settings/duty
    cycle: 10% @ high (90A)
    20% @ low (65A)
    • Live wire trigger
    • Automatic thermal shutdown protection
    • Can be used for flux only welding
    8209686 – Wt. 38.2 lbs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19999
    120V WIRE

    I know its cheap and made in China but ok for homeowner occasional use?
  17. impression

    impression Member

    wow, i was reccomended a 'cheaper' welder to start with that had the price tag of $1600 AUD ( about 900USD) 200amp 240volt that done AC and DC. is that an ok deal ?
  18. this is for everyone else reading this post I been PMing the poster about the welder he was interested in.

    the welder in question so far we do not know if you can get replacement parts or repair parts for wear the tips need replacing occasionally & you have to use different tips for each size wire like .035 flux core .030 flux & .023 for solid wire when used with gas. without a source for replacement tips do not even think of buying. a friend bought a china made plasma cutter & when the tip needed replacing guess what. cant find a replacement & normal name brand parts do not interchange so he was left with a $500 wall hanger & had to buy a name brand plasma cutter. he only uses it to cut floor pans & heater channels out of old air cooled VWs

    the welder there is CONVERTIBLE to gas.. which means the parts to make it use gas isnt included so figure another $65 or so for regulator & hose not including the tank.

    also look at the duty cycle so maybe 12 minutes of use per hour so plan to let it cool a little over 45 minutes after 12 minutes or risk overheating. if you overheat enough even though it has overload protection it will burn up & most warranties will not cover overheating. as that is not a defect...

    even the campbell hausfeld I have isnt a great welder but will do a decent job. for the money I am pleased they also have knowledgeable people answering the phones. I have ordered tips as well as ordered parts for mine as mine was an open box & was missing a part. I have been 100% pleased for what it is. I would not hesitate to weld in a floor in a car with it. actually many VW people use that one & based on their recomendations is why I chose it as well as price & portability it was around $269 new with regulator already set up for gas you just need to purchase a spool of wire for gas as well as a tank & have tank filled of either CO2, CO2/Argon mix, or Argon.

    I recomend the mix for most all around work. straight CO2 will work but will not give as nice looking weld & argon isnt worth the cost but has to be used if welding aluminum.

    also for rusty sheet metal I will recomend 100% argon as the arc temp will be coolest & will allow you to weld thin rusty sheet metal the easiest, next is the mix with a little hotter arc temp & co2 last as hottest in shielding gas, & .035 flux core will burn so hot you probably wont be able to weld thin rusty sheet metal. yes but it is a pain... I have never tried .030 flux core. normally flux core wire runs close to $50 for a 10lb spool most of the welders will include a full pound of flux core or maybe just a sample starter roll.

    so be careful on any bargain welders also see what the winding are made of I have heard of aluminum which could easily melt during a overheat condition.

    make sure you can get replaceable consumables like tips, nozzles & a gun or cable if it gets damaged. a new roller or any misc parts. that means more than name brands.

    the bike shop I used to work at had one of the 110 volt Daytona migs a small lightweight mig welder with gas & it was the worst welder I ever used I literally had trouble trying to do a good weld.

    so what ever anyone buys, one of most important things is availability of parts besides costs. you can always google the name & see if there are any reviews good or bad or indifferent.

  19. Junster

    Junster Member

    I use a 220v Hobart, highly recommended. A little more money than a 120v but much longer duty time. (length of time you can weld before it needs to "rest") Also the consumables are readily available.
  20. neicull

    neicull Member


    I have the Lincoln Weld Pak 100hd - It does the job every time. It'll weld up to 1/4" steel, plugs into a regular 115V, 20 amp outlet. Came with a video (watch it, it does help), came with 3 year warranty, 1 lb of wire, and a mask. It comes with flux core wire...or you can upgrade it with MIG Conversion Kit and use gas. Basically plug it in and practice for a bit and then go for it.

    Nothing to be scared of. Buy what you need, and what you can use. I'll probably never need to weld anything thicker then 1/4" and I wanted to be able to plug it a regular 115v socket. I think I paid around $300-350? for the weld pak. Well worth it.

    The gas will clean your weld up.. flux core tends to spatter and you get a little slag and smoke. Once you get good you can get nice welds tho. Buy a wire brush too and have a bucket of water handy.