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Anyone want to teach me the basics of welding?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by CJ Steak, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. CJ Steak
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,377

    CJ Steak
    from Texas

    After digging into a book, watching youtube videos, and getting motivated by the fantastic welding posts here, I decided to try and tackle a little welding project for practice.

    Several hours of grinding later...

    Does anyone in Central TX, or Hutto especially, want to teach me how to weld? I'll pay by the hour, or preferably trade sandblasting services, as that's my trade.

    While i'm not picky about someone being a certified welding instructor (lol), it would be nice to have someone that can teach me the fundamentals of welding, and good welding habits. I don't want to skip straight into chassis work... more like setting up the machine for different tasks, setting up the gas, and basic welding.

    Basically, enough to get me to the point where I can practice and i'm not just turning knobs like a monkey and pulling the trigger. I know some folks can just pick up a book and hop to it, but I think it would be best to have someone atleast give me pointers and GET me to square one.

    I would love to take a class at ACC or something, but between working a full time job during the day, and running my business on the weekends... it would be very hard for me to stick to a class schedule. With this being my slow time of year, I should have weekend days off of sandblasting... and it's too late to register for a course anyway.

    Let me know if anyone out there in HAMB land is interested. Your beer of choice is on me as well. :D
  2. Casey
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,293

    Member Emeritus

    gas welding will teach you what it`s all about .
    get some scrap and practice melting metal together
    I would be glad to help my shop is in dripping springs 825-5547
    I don`t need any sand blasting right now , but the beer sounds good
  3. You can teach yourself to weld. What do you want to learn? Arc , gas or torch welding? Mig?
    If gas is one you wish to learn start with making the letter C in writing script continuous. like CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
    /This is printing not writing but you get the general idea. You must chase the puddle (puddle of molten metal.) There must be a puddle and it must be exisitng on both the metal welded to and the metal beng welded. Without a molten puddle there is no weld, Only a cold joint. Keep the filler rod near the puddle and in a constant state of nearly melted (Orange). I like my OX set at 8 and my Acet set at 5 , some do it different. This works for me. Light the torch with Acet only then add the oxygen slowly till the wisker in the flame JUST disappears. That is neutral point. If you go beyond this the flame is oxydizing and the weld will be no good. If you leave the wisker the flame will be carbonizing and will also lack integrity. I like to use coat hanger. They make the best and smoothest welds although you can buy commercial steel welding rod that works well. Practice is the key. use the filler only as needed and sometimes you wont need hardly any if things are flowing well. This type of welding is an art form and a true joy to do when you get the hang of it. Strength is excellant and appearance is good. Remember to keep making the continuous C shape with the torch as you chase the puddle down the seem or joint.
    In all welding , arc , mig ,tig and gas, the puddle is the key, there MUST be a puddle to have a weld. Otherwise it is just an unstuck gob. Do not get discouraged and practice practice practice. If you dont understand part of what I said dont worry just go at it a practice and all of the sudden it will make sense. Try to avoid those who would complicate the procedure with goblygoop and theories. It is a very enjoyable hobbby and opens you to a whole world. I dont know your personality but I learn better on my own by myself. Not everyone is built the same though. Be patient and be careful. Assume that anything that could happen if you take a chance on safety will. Protect yourself and your eyes.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  4. Casey
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,293

    Member Emeritus

    what he said :)
    I was going to wait till you brought beer to disclose that much info !

  5. ratrodnash
    Joined: Nov 13, 2008
    Posts: 6

    from canada

    hey you got the sandblasting bit down , Clean surface and the right heat and cooling gas control , with a mig also wire speed control , also the right distance , get yourselfe some scrap metal pcs and try welding them together , just take your time , also when your welding on your project tack your metal in place , if you weld too much in one spot you will worp your panel , you can also cool it down with a wet cloth if it gets too hot , good luck trick to it is NEVER GIVE UP
  6. CJ Steak
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,377

    CJ Steak
    from Texas

    LOL... thanks to both of you guys for the advice, and Casey for the offer.

    Casey - I'll give you a call tomorrow if you don't mind. Maybe we can set a day, time, and beer selection.

    I'm all about learning stuff on my own... but there's so many different ways to set up welders etc... I think i'd be wasting a lot of time trying to re-invent the wheel. I can't wait to dig in though... welding is something i've wanted to do since I was a kid. My grandfather's "college" as he puts it, was the U.S. Air Force in the Korean war. He learned all about metallurgy (sp), design, every type of welding at the time etc. He later applied what he learned to hotrods and bikes in the 50's. The only problem is he's in California and i'm in Texas. I'd love to learn directly from him, but it's just not feasible over the phone. He gave me all of his old school welding equipment... so even a plane ticket to California wouldn't help hahaha... and he's getting a little old to be flyin'...
  7. 48reo
    Joined: Feb 21, 2008
    Posts: 299


    to set up a mig welder just turn it on , make sure you have a good ground, set the voltage to any setting and set the wire speed at 1 and start trying to weld while you or someone else slowly turns up the wire speed until it sounds like eggs frying and thats a good start. oh and your body position is important, always prop your welding hand and anticipate mid-weld movements
    oh and test your welds, weld some scrap together, let it cool and see if you can break the weld .... like three hits with a 5lb sledge.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  8. scottybaccus
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,109



    I'm off FM1660 a mile and a half north of 79. I have lots of rust for you.

    PM on the way.
  9. sir
    Joined: Oct 8, 2005
    Posts: 467


    ...see what your community collage has to offer,they will show you everything you need to know,and how to use it.............
  10. first do you have a welder? if you do what kind? every welding instructor i have known said the same thing "a mig welder requires the least amount of skill to operate" i can tell you learning to weld requires countless hours of mind numbing failure! learning the CORRECT TERMINOLOGY first will make things much less confusing. like sneakers vs tennis shoes!:rolleyes:
  11. charkol
    Joined: Apr 8, 2008
    Posts: 100


    nobody mentioned it so....assume every thing is still HOT!!!!! cause burnin the piss out of yer hand hurts (i know) and cover yerself nobody looks good with the lobster effect
  12. CJ Steak
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,377

    CJ Steak
    from Texas

    Thanks for all the great advice guys. I'm going to play with the welder again tomorrow and practice what you guys have told me. I'll admit I got a little irritated today... Welding and painting are kinda my final frontiers, I can do just about anything else with a car/truck/whatever have ya...
  13. Lucky77
    Joined: Mar 27, 2006
    Posts: 2,487


    Do what Casey said, and that's start with gas welding. If you have or have access to a set of torches. It teaches you almost everything you need to know to end up a good TIG welder. The best part is you can actually start joining metal without any type of filler or electrode. Gas welding is a great intro because you learn to watch the puddle which is pretty much the most important aspect to any type of welding.

    Establish a nice neutral flame and put it to the metal till you see that little bright orange puddle form and start to move. The puddle wants to go where the heat is so you start pushing that puddle with a slight circular motion. Once you've mastered moving the puddle overlap two pieces and push the puddle between them and do a lap weld joint. Once you're good at that start practicing adding a filler rod with your free hand.

    For me welding was a natural progression. I started with gas then moved on to ARC. After I was good at that I began MIG welding finally ending up with TIG. What I found was after learning the next process I never wanted to go back to the old way. Once you finally find out how nice TIG welding is you'll never want to MIG or ARC weld anything the rest of your life. You'll find that the basics you learned pushing that puddle and adding filler rod will help you immeasureably when it comes time to TIG, the Cadillac of welding:D This April I finished the welding portion of my Welding Engineering Technology degree. I still have four classes to go but they're all math so I'm putting them off.:eek: If you have any questions PM me or ask any of these guys. I asked some questions the day before my destructive bend tests for certification and I got a lot of good answers. I also passed all four tests first time.
  14. scottybaccus
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,109


    Good words, Lucky.

    I have compared TIG to gas welding at mach 3. I really enjoy all the different processes and find value in each, depending on the desired results. Some work is too detailed to do well with a STICK, some is too tedious to TIG. Some is too heavy for GAS. Some is too cool to MIG.
    I have seen work done with a MIG that I would have sworn was TIG welded. I've seen GAS welds that could not be detected without being pointed out. I've seen STICK welds that were too pretty to grind on. I've also seen TIG welds that would scare the shit outta me if they were on my car.
    I can weld in all of these processes, but I don't consider myself a welder. There are pros out there that deserve that claim. I also know pros that have never stick or gas welded in their lives. I've learned something from every person I ever traded skills with.
  15. zep058
    Joined: Jan 9, 2007
    Posts: 599


    I decided that I needed to learn to weld for my project and bought myself a Henrob and started on an old panel.

    Just cutting off a piece at a time and welding it back on to get a feel for what the metal would do as it cooled, hammering on the weld to pull it back or just watching it oil can on me...

    I spent hours doing that and wish I had some pointers from an old hand, but really it was just doing it that then gave me the feel for when to pull back or steady on..the bloody burn throughs taught me when to pull back.

  16. CadillacCorey
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 111


    If you're serious about getting into this, another resource I would consider is your local unions. They'll teach you everything you ever wanted to know, give you a good paying job while you're doing it, and you don't have to pay for hardly a damned thing. Just another thought for you, although it looks like you've got some good help offered to you already.
  17. the SCROUNGER
    Joined: Nov 17, 2005
    Posts: 489

    from USA

    rather than learn welding, I hire a good welder who works for reasonable rates. I've had frames repaired on old cars about 6 times, he runs a mobile welding van service, the rates are quite cheap- $50-75 for most repairs, sometimes $125-175 for a big job- he'll drive right to my house or garage- all I have to do, it put the car on ramps and lay down a piece of cardboard for him to lay on- he cuts the steel plate, fits it to the frame to box it, grinds it, welds it on, I pay him, he leaves.

    why buy a welder and learn when a pro who's been doing it for 30 years can weld it right the first time

    besides, welding fumes are really bad for you

    if you were fabbing up a complete frame or roll cage, then yes, it would pay to buy the welder, etc. and learn
  18. Here are a few things I know as a rank amateur:

    1) it's not so hard to stick two pieces of metal together without much practice.

    2) it's much harder to do it right enough to create strong welds.

    3) it's even harder to make strong welds that are "pretty"

    I think quality tools matter. I first started with a cheap-o MIG unit and it's poorly translated instructions. Did a couple cars that way, welding things that were not "structural" or sheetmetal that was not terribly visible (new floor pans)

    I relatively recently got a CLARKE arc (stick) welding unit from Eastwood and it had a great DVD (from a UK welding program) and I was immediately a much better welder. The fact that instant-darkening helmets are no longer exotic and no longer cost thousands of dollars probably also helps in my case. (welder starter kit, auto-darkening helmet, etc. < $500 I think).

    My other tip is that clean surfaces are vital to get good strong welds (and eventually attractive welds). Sand/grind to get to the shiny metal. Only weld shiny metal to shiny metal. That's my new rule. I get impatient and break that rule too often...

    I bought some "weldable steel" at the hardware store and have been having a blast practicing. It may be mind-numbing once you get good but I still find it fascinating.

    I even made some "art" that helped me deal with my ex-wife, a piece of art that really impressed my therapist... but that's a post in another forum...

  19. rodknocker
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 2,267


    Like I always say, 80% of a good weld is metal prep,making sure its clean,and you have proper spacing.Another thing that really helps me is getting close to the weld while you're welding your piece.If you can see your puddle you'll have more control over where it goes.
  20. Welding is creating the perfect storm. You bring two pieces of perfectly clean metal the exact distant apart, thicker metal will be perfectly beveled, you exactly adjust the gases coming into the tip, you bring the tip to the exact spot above the joint and apply heat. The metals become wet looking and melt to form a puddle, with the other hand you have a filler rod that is in exactly the right spot, close to the heat of the puddle but not quite melted. at the precise point that the puddle is formed, you jab the filler rod into the puddle, and then back, and the tip of the filler rod will melt and drop into the puddle. This will cause the puddle to swell, at that precise moment you move the puddle in the direction of travel and repeat the process over and over until you have reached the end of the joint. Everything has to be perfect to achieve welds like the pretty guys do.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2008
  21. CJ Steak
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,377

    CJ Steak
    from Texas

    Thanks again for all the great advice. Going to a trade school would be awesome, but with a mortgage and family, I need to stay with the two jobs I have right now lol... If I had thought about that when I was younger, i'd probably be a welder right now.

    In way of hiring a welder. I can see your point, however I really want to learn it for myself. I won't be doing chassis or cage work for a looooooong time. For right now I just need to learn how to weld in floor pans, hidden sheet metal, and basic exterior sheet metal. Like the lower external cowl on my Willys. It's perfectly flat (which is kind of scary in a way). Plus when someone asks me about my cars, i'd like to tell them I was able to do 99% of the work. I don't want to sound like a Nascar driver in a post race interview lol. Althought I will give credit to the person that teaches me how to weld!

    Once I learn, i'm going to teach my dad. He a car nut, but still considers welding black magic. The professional beautiful welding ended with my grandfather, but i'm trying to re-kindle it. :)
  22. TexasDart
    Joined: Oct 11, 2007
    Posts: 853


    So do you push or pull the 'puddle'...yes I to need a welding class...:)
  23. You can do either one. The process of the puddle is the same, but the direction of travel is different. If you are left or right handed, you may find one or the other more comfortable. You don't really push or pull you just move in a direction after depositing a drop into the puddle.
    In arc welding, you get the feeling of pushing or pulling more than the other types. You are consuming the rod and moving into the puddle, so you get that impression of pulling or pushing.
  24. aldixie
    Joined: May 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,642


    My local college offers a welding course and I'm going to enrol in the next spring. They do MIG,TIG,ARC and Gas on different courses. I have a MIG myself but usually hit or miss when I'm welding. They are charging $343 a course and you can take certification as well. Thought I'll have a backup career when I'm finished.
  25. chrislehr
    Joined: Feb 7, 2008
    Posts: 75

    from Austin, TX

    Im in the same boat. And same town. My g/f looked into some of the ACC courses in welding, which might be a good start for basics. Did you already buy tools/welder, everything? Thats the point im at.. trying to decide what if anything to buy to even start to learn with.
  26. 53choptop
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 1,197


    Hey CJ,
    I have something that I think can help supplement your learning. Its an old MIG welding video I picked up long time ago that goes over pretty much everything. Heck its a VHS video, that should tell you everything. I learned alot from it, its good for the beginner, shows actual welding close ups of puddles and how they should look, etc etc.

    Pm me to set up a time to get it to you, heck I'll even throw in the VCR. Its been in my closet for a while and I don't use it anymore, so you can have it.
  27. Lucky77
    Joined: Mar 27, 2006
    Posts: 2,487


    When talking about gas welding you push. The metal needs to be hot to keep the puddle moving. When you push you can control how hot things get by backing off or getting closer with the flame. Try to visualize pushing the puddle with your right hand and adding filler with your left, your index fingers would be pointing towards each other. If you were dragging the puddle your right hand would be flipped and in a really unnatural position plus you'd be coving up your work with the torch and your hand and wouldn't be able to see.
  28. Misfit
    Joined: Sep 8, 2006
    Posts: 99

    from Upstate NY

    I was wondering if gas welding was similar to TIG welding. I've gas wleded before I got a MIG, but would like to try TIG at some point.

    When gas welding, why does it pop? Was I gettting too close? Tip gretting too hot? Been a while since I've done it, but it's relaxing when it's working right.
  29. Lucky77
    Joined: Mar 27, 2006
    Posts: 2,487


    Popping is usually caused by two things:

    1. Insufficient gas flow. Oxygen tanks have a valve that needs to be opened fully to work properly. Acetylene just needs to be opened a few turns to work properly. Increasing gas flow can cure popping.

    2. Popping also happens when you linger too long in one spot and overheat the weld pool or if you keep the flame in the same position and don't melt enough filler metal into the weld pool.

    Dirty tips usually result in an ugly non-uniform flame when you light the torch and it's pretty recognizable. I don't know if it will cause popping, if I see the tip is dirty I clean it before I start to weld/cut/braze.
  30. Crey
    Joined: Oct 29, 2008
    Posts: 96

    from Tejas

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