Welding Question

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Mike in Pa, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking to buy a cheap welder ... preferrably one that runs on 110 and no gas to do minor repairing around here. I've never welded before and know NOTHING about it. Can someone point me in a direction? Can this type of welder weld aluminum and steel? Do I need other accessories to weld proper 90 degree angles? Should I just forget it unless I can take a class?
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    A class would certainly help. Look at the little 110 stick welders. I've used my little Clarke turbo weld with flux coer and while it works it makes ugly welds. Well worth a bottle of co2 witha regulator and straight wire if you insist on the type. My mechanic has a 110 Lincoln MIG which is very much better than my Clarke. Neither can match the versatility of the bigger MIGs. I have a Miller 225 amp beast that does 90% of the welding jobs here. I also use the magnet corner "clamps" for fast 90 degree corners for gates etc. Not exact but close enough for most projects.
     

  3. srj

    srj Member

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    Mike i wouldn't go less than 220 stick unit Lincolen(sp?)makes a good ac/dc unit unless your just doing lite sheet work,,i've heard there is alum. stick rods but have never used,,to go without gas in open air situations your kinda limeted to stick for reasonable cost & effectivenis,,,,,by all mean's take a class
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I will second what srj stated. Not having any welding experience will run you nuts trying to start with a buzz box. The subtle advantages of the DC will be appreciatedly when you do the more difficult position welds. Get a Lincoln 225 AC/DC and some 1/8 inch 6011 rod. Keep the rod dry and start practicing with some clean metal. Soon you will be making welds that will hold, they may not be pretty initially but the welds will be functional. I see these Lincoln welders at the local pawnshop and at estate sales going for less than $200 and they usually have cable, electrode holders and helmet.
     
  5. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I'm partial to my Miller and stainless steel rod except for big welds. Man you can sure do some pretty welding with stainless steel rods and probably teach a monkey it do it also. 312-16 stainless rods are on eBay usually and not all that expensive.

    Check with your local vocational school to see if they offer evening or weekend welding classes. Take arc, oxy/ace and MIG for the background and then make your choice.

    Question myself though. When I have used the magnet it seems like it is much harder to get the rod started and a good bead. It's like the magnet is drawing the current away. Is this just me?

    Ken Scharabok
     
  6. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Alas its not cheap, but look at the Zena welder. It looks like an old GM alternator and mounts like one, but its not some puny alternator conversion, it just uses the GM alternator housing. Rest is custom from what I understand. Its a high frequency welder. Thats how they get the performance out of it or at least my theory. This thing can do about as much as my buzzbox and is rated 100% duty cycle. (there are bigger models with more capacity) I got to use one and abused it. I dont know about claims to long lifespan, but it does work. Not quite the full capacity of 220V buzzbox, but would do most repairs around homestead. No problem welding 1/4 inch plate. I didnt try welding 1/2 inch but might require bevelling and multiple passes. Only thing I didnt like was having truck engine running. I dont like lot background noise when doing something. My old Miller buzzbox is nice and quiet since fan went out on it some years ago. Might mention due to Zena being high frequency , it is much less picky about maintaining constant arc gap. You basically can weld with no gap and electrode wont stick doing this. Took me a bit to get used to that. You wont do that with buzzbox. Gives nice high quality welds also. Should be easier for a beginner not used to traditional buzzbox.

    As I said this isnt cheap, although if you have to pay $$$$ to get 220V then it may be a bargain. Or if you need your welder out in the field. They used to sell demonstrator versions at discount on ebay. Maybe they still do. Definitely read about it. Go try it if you ever get the chance at some demonstration.
     
  7. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    " to do minor repairing" How minor a 110v welder ising to do much minor repairs if your talking farm machinery. If your talking smaller materials then it may work.
    if you need welding training you might check at your local tech schools or voag school and see if they off evening training.
     
  8. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Gary. A small 110V MIG can be usefull to weld sheet metal. A small 110V stick welder is pure crap not really useful for anything. Its a female dog to weld sheetmetal with stick welder, and they arent really powerful enough to weld anything else. Dont waste your money. You pretty much end up limited to 1/16inch 6013 electrodes which are useless. Or maybe 3/32 inch which are not particularly useful. Also since they are intended not to even really be used, they construct them as cheap as possible so can be tricky just to just to establish and maintain an arc. REally, just stay away from them. Either buy a 220V buzzbox or small engine powered welder.

    If you really want a low power, low cost arc welder, go look in Mother Earth News archives and you will find an article on how to build a very light duty welder out of a car alternator and an old lawnmower. You can scavenge most of parts. It will at least do everything some cheapo 110V buzzbox will do, probably more. At least you wont be out much money when you are severely disappointed. Think their are sites on web with simular homemade welders. (do a google for "homemade welder") Dont however confuse one of these with the Zena I mentioned in previous post. That isnt just a converted alternator. It works.
     
  9. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I have the TMEN article - somewhere. Seems to me they came out with a correction to it a couple of issues later. That was one thing you had to watch out for with TMEN plans. Sort of like MicroSoft. Known for getting it right the second or third time.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  10. the little 110 volt wire feeds are fine for welding body panels on vehicles better for sheet metal than larger welders. for welding on farm machinery or angle iron and pipe for fence or gate type work say 1/4 inch or up you want the buzzbox or the ac/dc machine. it all depends on what you find i own a buzzbox and it can actually make a quite decent weld you have to have the correct rod and the duty cycle should be honored especially if it is hot it can be a major paine waiting around for the machine to cool so the duty cycle can be honored. another real pain is delivering power to the unit. for farm use a gasfired unit is really best and in that case the little wildcats or thunderbolts i think they call them are really not very durable something like the lincoln pipeliner in good shape or the miller should last a lifetime. not sure about aluminum with a stick but a gas torch will do aluminum even the single bottle plumbing type. What you realy need for a farm rig is a trailer with a gas fired unit and a set of bottles to cut with same thing a rig welder carries. anything less is really inadequate. you are better off with one new enough to have aux ac then in a bind it can be an emergency generator to keep the chest freeze cold during power failures as well as power the hand held grinder to clean up the weld and prep the weld.You can also do some decent steel welding with a 2 bottle gas set and even coat hanger fill. If you are intrested in welding stainless either use the mig for thin work or go to a tig addon for the ac/dc machine if it is thick. sorry but no easy answer and really a buzz box using 220 is probably the lightest unit of any use at all for farm machines but quite limited and slow. a capenter square is really all you need to make a squre joint tack square up and weld out.
     
  11. a class is pretty good but not necessary the lincoln manuals are realy pretty good and mostly you just need a thousand hours of burning rods to be a decent welder. Always use the apropriate lenses and protect your eyes also flux can pop off and go in your eyes after you flip your hood up.long sleeve denim untucked welding gloves all exposed skin can be burned and sunburned.
     
  12. goggleye57

    goggleye57 Active Member

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    Look for a good used one. I just bought a 220 stick welder sold through Montgomery Ward. Looks like a sound unit for $45! :cool:
     
  13. srj

    srj Member

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    Mike was thumbing thru a "northen tool & eqip. "catalog today they have some training video's ,might help ya out , about $25 a pop , check there online catalog if your interested