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Wanting to Weld. What do I need to do to start?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by OKOLDS smashitup, May 18, 2010.

  1. OKOLDS smashitup
    Joined: Mar 4, 2010
    Posts: 18

    OKOLDS smashitup
    from OKC

    I am getting ready to buy my first welder and was wondering what kind of other things I need to get started. Tips for a learning welder. What brand do you guys like, I am going mig. Just some good info will help. Thanks guys.
    Joined: Jun 1, 2006
    Posts: 1,593


    Lincoln all the way man. not baggin on the miller but you can save a little money and still get a great machine. Not sure about your budget but I know you can get a great deal on the 215xt power mig. I just got one this week. It is ALOT of welder for a beginner but It will do anything you will ever want and you can find em as floor models they are clearing out. I bought mine through Air gas. The 180c is up there too also a great machine.Buy more machine now you will thank yourself later. The worst mistake I have ever made is buying too small of unit. Hope this helps. what kind of stuff do you think you will be welding? How far into fab do want to go?
  3. itsnotaratrod
    Joined: May 18, 2010
    Posts: 50

    from california

    i go to school to get my certs and i would buy a lincoln too , we have millers and my school and thers always somthing wrong or touchy with them. im with meddler on this ...
  4. Godspeed
    Joined: Sep 5, 2005
    Posts: 357


    Joined: Jun 1, 2006
    Posts: 1,593


    Man this is so true and must know info!In my rambling I spaced these facts completely.Read on.....[​IMG]
  6. Maco-B
    Joined: Mar 30, 2010
    Posts: 93


    First off is this a 110 mig? If it is then run a 0.25 wire for all welding up to 1/4" thick mild steel. We always use 75/25 (Stargon) gas in our machines. Great protection and less spatter clean up. If you want P.M. me and I'll go into more detail.
  7. Go to school, take a class and learn to do it right, once you learn bad habbits they are hard to break.
  8. Is there la local Tech or other place you get do some night time welding classes? If so, perhaps do a couple of terms to learn some skills. Otherwise, find some experienced guys in your area to give you some instruction.

    I'm a self-taught welder (everyone always seemed to be too damned busy or to teach me or didn't have welding skills when I was a tool and die apprentice) and took some night classes many years later to undo a lot of bad habits! :eek:
  9. gsport
    Joined: Jul 16, 2009
    Posts: 678


    i'm new at welding too and just got a miller 211... it's a combination 110/220 with just the change of the plug end.. it's also a millermatic meaning you can set it for your wire size and thinkness of your meterial to be welded and it sets itself.. pretty much a no-brainer for me.. it sure makes me look alot better than i know i am... good luck on which ever machine you decide on..
  10. SakowskiMotors
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,240


    Just some advice, not meaning to come across harsh at all, you sound responsible, but just throwing the facts out.

    Learn learn learn.
    If you weld on a car that is going down the highway, you are responsible for the little kids that are in all the cars around you.

    It is a HUGE HUGE HUGE responsibility. I have been doing this for a while now, about 20 years, and it still makes me nervous, the responsibility.

    I do feel confident in my welds because I know exactly what is happening and why when I weld. I am in control of what is happening, and understand what is happening, and watching it happen, and making happen what I want to happen, how I want it to happen.
    Once you understand this and can do this, then you are ready to weld on a 3000 pound missile going on the public roads.

    If you would hang a heavy object from your welded bracket, and stand under it while it shakes so that if it breaks it will crush your skull and you would die, and feel at ease that it won't break, then you are ready to weld on the car on the public road.

    Well, this is what I ask myself on everything I weld.

    Most people can do it with the proper education and practice.
    You can do it.

    You have to stay sharp, my welding was getting bad since I have not been on it a lot last year, so I spent a bunch of time polishing my skills up, and now I am killing it again like magic. Thought I might have lost it, but just takes tons of practice.

    Test all your pieces, show them to a professional to test and brake.

    Find someone who will be extremely critical of your welds, and really know what they are looking at.

    I hope this was helpful in some way, just finished a 17 hour day at the shop..... heading home now... well I did surf for 2 of those hours, so only 15 hours working..

    Have fun with the new welder!
    Take CAre
  11. SakowskiMotors
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,240


    1/4 inch with a 110 mig with .25 ( I think you mean .025?).
    Are you using a torch to pre heat?

    I think that either I am too tired and need to go to bed, or you, maybe both of us?

    good night
    wil sakowski
  12. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531


    Sign up for classes at your local junior or community college and practice, practice, practice.

    Buy a 220VAC machine so you won't outgrow it anytime soon. I have used all brands but I only have Lincoln machines in my shop.
  13. OKOLDS smashitup
    Joined: Mar 4, 2010
    Posts: 18

    OKOLDS smashitup
    from OKC

    I started out helping my best friend, a 75 year old man who hung out with me every day, doing body work and some small other stuff on his 32 and his 27. I am going back down to where he lives for a week or so this summer so that he can teach me some welding skills. Thats why I wanted the info. On that note, thank you so much you guys really poured so good stuff into this.

    I really like the way you put it sakowski. Thanks.

    On the fab end, I want to be able with help put a chop and channel the model a 5W when I find the right one. I would like to build my frame, but that seems like I am really getting out there for myself. The shop that I talked to that would be building the frame already said that I could sit in why they build to watch and learn.

    Thats the bad thing about Oklahoma, no real shops. I just want one that would let me scrub bathrooms and sweep so that way at least I would be around their fab work. Ask questions when I can and just watch.

    As for a school, I am now going to the University of Oklahoma but think that I am going to move to McPherson which is in Kansas. They are the only college to offer an automotive restoration degree.
  14. Mike Rouse
    Joined: Aug 12, 2004
    Posts: 363

    Mike Rouse

    Learn how to Oxy Acet weld first.
    Use a small aircraft torch on sheetmetal and practice flowing the metal.
    Then move to heavier metal and arc welding.
  15. 1959apache
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627


    If you are going mig do a lincoln 135. That is what all the resto shops use around here for damned near everything. I have that and a 4 ft. tank. 20 bucks for a refill on the tank, 40 new.
  16. Take a welding course at a local community college or vocational center. Use all the machines that they have, to get a feel for them.

    THEN buy what you like. That's how I ended up with a Miller Syncrowave 250, I used it back-to-back with a Lincoln, and the Miller suited me better.

  17. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    Member Emeritus

    I'd suggest checking with your local welding supply house to see if they are having any open house type of get together in the near future. My supplier had a real nice one with factory reps and demo machines from different brands to try out before you buy. You can get some good tips from the pros and sometimes a special show price.

    Brand loyalty is like the Chevy vrs Ford debate.

    One word of caution buy a professional welder and not a "starter kit". You will quickly out grow a toy and not be able to get anything for it when you want to move up. Try them all and find the brand that you like.
  18. ken1939
    Joined: Jul 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,558


    Really cant ad more than this, I think he covers it all very well. I practiced alot on simple things. Sheet metal, small brackets etc, learing to understand the metal, the welding and the reactions. I did my first frame front to back on this car, and I have been working on my skills for 15 years. Education is a wonderful thing for those who seek it.
  19. sir
    Joined: Oct 8, 2005
    Posts: 467


    ...two words..."COMMUNITY COLLEGE"....if your on a budget get on C.L. and find a helmet and leathers hammer BUY your gloves NEW, good luck...
  20. JohnEvans
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,883

    from Phoenix AZ

    Learn to gas weld first! The things you learn there will help you in doing all the other processes.
  21. Racewriter
    Joined: Nov 14, 2008
    Posts: 780


    I liked what Sakowski said - and no, I'm not at that level with my own welding! I have a Hobart Handler 135 and love it, it works great on up to 1/8" wall tubing. BUT - to do heavier frame work, I will want to get a 220 MIG. Lincoln, Miller, Hobart - IMO they all make great welders.
  22. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,794

    from Wa.

    This is the way most basic welding classes are done.
    I taught welding for several years and I started them with gas welding,
    then went to TIG which is very similar, then to conventional arc, then to mig.
    I have used just about every make of welder there is or was and I like Miller or Lincoln.
    To my students I always recommended buying a welder a whole lot bigger than they needed
    for the type of work they intended to do. It has to do with DUTY CYCLE...If you plan on doing a lot of welding at around 90 to 110 amps and you have a 300 amp welder, you probably have 100% duty cycle. Increase the amps to 250 to 275 and the duty cycle will drop to 20%. 120 volt welders will usually have a 15 to 20% duty cycle.
  23. nali
    Joined: Sep 15, 2009
    Posts: 828


    I m not a pro , welding is just a hobby for me , as well as fixing cars .
    My first welder was a cheap Mastercraft , without gas . Really difficult to learn welding with this ...
    I updated it with gas .

    Even for small job, it wasn t enough , so I finally bought a Miller 211 .
    It works much better than small machines .
    Save money , buy a big one instead of buying 2 :)
    Of course , the price is not the same .... The Mastercraft cost 350 $ and the Miller 1500 $ ... :(
  24. retiredfireguy
    Joined: Oct 18, 2009
    Posts: 240


    I agree with everything that has been said...Except I think the Miller is superior to the Lincoln. Something that I didn't see mentioned is safety equipment. Get good gloves, and always wear them. Always wear a long-sleeved shirt, or better yet, buy a set of leather welding sleeves. Get a good quality, brand-name, self-darkening helmet - Don't even consider a cheap imported helmet. I learned the hard way, you will end up throwing it away and buying a good one in short order. Another thing that comes in really handy is a good welding blanket. Take classes. And like everyone said...Practice, practice, practice.
  25. choppwatchagot
    Joined: Apr 18, 2010
    Posts: 166


    mig welding is easy and dosent take long to figure out just buy a book or vidio and that will teach you a few tricks other than tha burn up alot of wire on scrap before u move on
  26. 57 3100
    Joined: Apr 9, 2010
    Posts: 344

    57 3100

    very good advice there, and so true. thats what we learned first in school. oxy-acetylene gas welding and brazing, then on to the other processes.
    although MIG is one of the easier processes, i wouldnt do anything structural until you get good at it.


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