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Technical welding secrets

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by sunbeam, May 13, 2020.

  1. rooman
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,050

    rooman
    Member

    I started stick welding with a three range buzz box when I was about 14 and progressed to gas welding at 17. In the late 70's I asked a neighbor with a welding business to teach me to TIG and he told me that it was basically gas welding with horsepower and he was right. By then I had done a lot of gas welding and having more control over the heat input with the TIG just made it easier. Got my first MIG welder a couple of years later and then my first TIG unit in the mid 80's. I currently have a Smith Aircraft gas torch package and three TIG units (a 20 year old Miller Syncro 250, a brand new Syncro 250DX with the wireless pedal package and a small AHP for taking to the races). I also have a Miller 250 MIG but that has been in my brother's garage for the last 10 years or so.

    Roo
     
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  2. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,983

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Auto-darkening helmets are great, but when you get older, a proper magnifying lens in the helmet is one of the best aides there is. I tried wearing my glasses, but that didn't work for several reasons. Also, they make the glass cover plates replaceable for a reason. Just don't forget to take your glasses off before putting your helmet on.

    Oh yeah, I also started stick welding many years before I got a Mig. Unless there is a good reason not too, I'll break out the stick welder before the Mig any time. Todays AC/DC stick nwelders are a big step up from the old A/C only "Buzz-Boxes".
     
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  3. Pipe fitters are true artists. I was an oilfield engineer for 50 years and loved watching them do their magic. The most fantastic one I remember was a guy re-piping a 3-cylinder 600hp air compressor from 3-stage to 2-stages requiring complicated interconnecting piping. The guy went to the compressor, took a few measurements, went back to his truck and welded up the manifolds. They bolted up perfectly!
     
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  4. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 343

    cfmvw
    Member

    I did a lot of gas and arc welding in highschool metal shop. Then I joined the Air Force and got into Civil Engineering metal shop, where I got spoiled by TIG. Had a guy who could weld soda cans together, and another one whose arc welds were so good the slag would just curl up and off. I was good, but not THAT good lol! Did a lot of TIG at several places, mostly aluminum and stainless steel. I often ran an argon purge for stainless steel tubes, fittings, corners etc... it was a source of pride for me to see a shiny bead on both sides of a weld, and I just like to make nice stuff.
     
  5. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 1,819

    gene-koning
    Member

    I learned to arc weld so I could weld stuff on my dirt track race car. I got a lot of practice! I got to the point I could weld sheet metal with my old Lincoln buzz box stick welder with 1/8" rod. Wasn't pretty, but it held together through many crashes.
    I bought my Miller 250 Mig just before I opened my welding shop. Most of the stuff i delt with in my shop was 1/8" or thinner, but occasionally I'd get into up to 3/8" thick stuff on snow plow brackets. Welding thin stuff like 18-20 gauge sheet metal is a different world then most pipe fitters and production workers deal with. Just like me with the heavy metal in the 3/8" and thicker, most welders spend their time working with a specific range of metal thickness, and when you venture out of the area you usually work in, you get pretty discussed with how your own welds look. If you want someone to help you learn to weld, find someone that normally works with the thickness of metal you want to work with.
    When you buy that 1st auto darkening helmet, do yourself a huge favor and don't buy the cheapest damn helmet you can find, buy a good helmet (Harbor Freight helmets are NOT good helmets!). Then buy extra protective lenses and change them out when they get to the point you can't clean the old ones enough to be clear. Then get a light that works for you to put light on the weld bead area. Clean lenses and good lighting improve most welds! Gene
     
  6. Abqwill
    Joined: May 11, 2020
    Posts: 3

    Abqwill
    Member

    Good lighting a good helmet and lots of practice with different thickness of metals. When I need to weld sheet metal I grab some scrap of the same gauge and play with the mig setting until I get the results I am happy with. Works for me as I don't do enough welding to remember the settings each time.
    Bill
     
  7. fordflambe
    Joined: Apr 9, 2007
    Posts: 482

    fordflambe
    Member

    That's like saying "driving time behind the wheel makes a good driver"........I respectfully disagree in that i believe "Practice time under the hood" is only one component to learning how to weld.
     
  8. mickeyc
    Joined: Jul 8, 2008
    Posts: 1,048

    mickeyc
    Member

    I made many welds in the field and in fab shops.
    I thought I knew about light metals as well as heavier
    metals. Wrong! When I started trying to accomplish
    rust repair and sheet metal replacement panel welding
    I found out the difference! I made wrinkled, burned,
    and molten slag out of a lot perfectly good 18 quage
    sheet. Had to cut out a lot of repairs and begin again!
    Now I am more confident and have learned a lot
    regarding fitment, heat distortion and methods in
    panel repair. I do think the learning curve was worth
    the frustration and project delays. Now I am moving
    ahead at much more productive rate and may actually
    achieve the end goal.
     
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  9. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,890

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Following what a good friend, fellow shop teacher and all around good guy who ran his welding studen ts though the weld scrap together, then weld up plant stands or other pieces to take home to mom and then you actually get to weld something.
    We have 7 of these mounted on our fence posts with hanging baskets on them and I have a batch made up to sell. Even though I have done a lot of welding over the years a bit of simple and non critical things are good practice plus my wife likes them an the one I put up for my mom is special because I made it and she can brag about that.
    Not long before John retired a couple of his students decided that they wanted to to to the Tulsa pipe welders school and did an learned a lot. When they finished they came back and both applied at the Hanford Atomic works and got hired. Thing was, the guy who hired them told them it was nice that they went to Tulsa but now he was sending them to the Columbia Basin college welding program to learn how to weld. https://www.columbiabasin.edu/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=3874 The majority of the nuclear welders at Hanford Atomic works have been though that program.
    I've got a buddy who I have known since my mom held me over his crib to see the baby that can weld anything in the world that can be welded. he has a cabinet full of certificates and welds up mega micron filter screens for processing plants by hand on a regular basis.

    DSCN9342 (2).JPG
     
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  10. The most important welding secret I ever learned, and it doesn't matter if you are gas welding, mig welding, or stick welding, is let it cool off before you pick it up. :eek: It took me 30 years to learn that, and even now sometimes ... :mad:
     
  11. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,409

    Beanscoot
    Member

    "...to see the baby that can weld anything in the world..."

    Now that's a tough act to follow!
     
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  12. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,843

    arkiehotrods
    Member

    My mom was the secretary at Tulsa Welding School in the 60s and early 70s, beginning at the downtown location on 2nd St. and then out to 3038 Southwest Blvd. She left after Dan Derrick sold the school in '72. I worked there two evenings a week in high school, cleaning up the shop, offices, breakroom and bathrooms.
     
  13. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,018

    Boneyard51
    Member

    Tulsa Welding school has taught many many men and women how to weld. What you learn there is up to you. They taught my BIL to weld , in the eighties, he went on to have a great career because of that school and influenced many other young men with life changing decisions! It is considered the best school in the nation.










    Bones
     
  14. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,849

    sunbeam
    Member

    My intent was if you read the book you will see things you haven't thought about. I know I did.
     
  15. When you get that one totally figured out, let me know how to do it.
     
  16. :) :) :)
     
  17. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,084

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The old guys in the welding shop I worked at (Peninsula Steel Products) had a 'system'...

    One old guy when I first started dropped a welded fixture on the concrete floor, reached in his pocket and found a piece of white chalk. He scribbled 3 letters next to the piece: 'HOT.'
    On the workbench, welding tables, welding bucks...I'd notice the chalk: 'HOT'.

    Good idea, I used it years later in my shop.
     
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  18. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 1,819

    gene-koning
    Member

    I used to write "HOT" on stuff when I finished welding things, but soon discovered most people just had to touch it to see if it was still hot.

    Then I got to the point that whenever I finished welding stuff, I would tell them not to touch because it was hot, There was still an amazing amount of people that would still reach for the hot item.

    It got to the point, no one was allowed to touch anything until I handed it to them.

    I retired about a year and a half ago, I still find myself saying "Don't touch that because it i still hot." even though I'm the only one there most of the time. Old habits die hard. Gene
     
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  19. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,459

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    Yeah, the cold end dummy! :D
     
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  20. RidgeRunner
    Joined: Feb 9, 2007
    Posts: 851

    RidgeRunner
    Member
    from Western MA

    Thanks sunbeam for the initial post. Started looking for the book and discovered it's a bit hard to find now, thanks TIME TRAVELLER for the download link.

    I've been learning to weld since I got my Craftsman torch set up well over 50 years ago, picking up a 110v Mig and Lincoln AC/DC stick along the way. A lot of new to me info in this book. Some I had observed happening but never knew the "why" or how to correct until now.

    Ed
     
  21. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 1,048

    alanp561
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Second one looks like it was put on with a machine. A manure spreader;)
     
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  22. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,849

    sunbeam
    Member

    I had a welding instructor his saying was It looks like a pigeon shit there and would hold as much..
     
  23. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,664

    1946caddy
    Member
    from washington

  24. stpaulsdealmaker
    Joined: Sep 29, 2009
    Posts: 197

    stpaulsdealmaker
    Member

    Years ago when I stumbled on this sight I thought I could weld, i worked 40 years in Industrial Maintenance, now I really love to see some of the articles on here where guys weld and fabricate body parts , It just blows me away at the talent they have, still here but not welding just melting pieces of metal together L O L !
     
  25. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 14,808

    Paul
    Editor

    Practice makes perfect my ass,
    I've been practicing for 48 years,
    Some of welds still look like shit.

    Best welds always had the best prep and setup,
    best fit, cleanest materials, cleanest equipment, best lighting, clearest visibility and best position
     
  26. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 14,808

    Paul
    Editor

    YouTube does have some good stuff on it.
    For sheet metal work watch the Mad Fabricators Walden Speed Shop series on chopping the '32 3 window.
     
  27. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,018

    Boneyard51
    Member

    Paul, the last half of your post is the secret! Poor fitting, dirty metal, can’t see = bad welds for anyone! Position, sometimes, sometimes not! Lol




    Bones
     
  28. LWEL9226
    Joined: Jul 7, 2012
    Posts: 272

    LWEL9226
    Member
    from So. Oregon

    I have been welding well over 50 years.... Used to call myself a welder, until I worked with some REALLY GOOD welders...
    Now I just call myself a mechanic that knows how to weld....

    LynnW
     
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  29. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,533

    jetnow1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    The biggest help I found on my welds was upgrading my welding helmet to a better quality one. If you cannot see it you cannot weld it. This is one area the cheap harbor freight ones will not cut it.
     
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