View Full Version : Utter Newbie
04-26-2004, 03:44 AM
I live in the UK and have just bought a Arc-Welder I thought I would "Give it a go". A hand held welding mask came with the welder and after reading the instructions and many visits to webs sites to learn the basics, I had a go! only to find I can not see a thing through the filter?
My first questions to my American cousins (Who seem to Know what they are talking about) and of course any gened-up Brits. Is it best to go for one of these react-to-light filters and what is the secrets to seeing the work piece.
secondly, can you weld mild steel to cast-iron
I apologise if these points have been raised before I could not find the answers.
04-26-2004, 09:37 AM
Welcome to our little board, looks like you walked in at a slack time here. Business will probably pick up in a little while.
I definitely had to have an auto-dark helmet to be able to see the work, strike an arc or find my way around. A hand-held shield is a waste of time, ties up your hand and really doesn't offer enough protection anyway.
I think any one here will tell you that you will do best by taking some classes or finding a mentor to get you started, if at all possible. Getting off to a proper start not only can save you so much time but can also prevent development of bad techniques that will need to be overcome later & you will soon find that there is so much more involved than just "sticking two pieces of metal together". It will also be a lot more fun. There are nearly always some community colleges, continuing education courses or something like that available here & I would think there should be something similar over there. We have a member from the UK who posts here occasionally, goes by One Rod, who can suggest how to find a place, I betcha. Maybe he will come by some time soon.
As to welding steel to cast iron, that's out of my area other than brazing it but there have been some threads discussing it here.
Try doing a search for "cast iron" (minus the quotes) and you will find lots input on welding helmets by searching for "auto dark".
04-26-2004, 09:46 AM
I had your countryman's ID a little bit wrong; it's one_rod. He is a really nice fellow, posts some interesting comments and I bet you he can point you in the right direction as to getting into some classes and finding a good helmet. You can search for his ID and pmail or email him if he doesn't turn up pretty soon.
04-26-2004, 07:28 PM
Is it best to go for one of these react-to-light filters and what is the secrets to seeing the work piece?
The auto-darkening helmets are nice, but not required. Like Cutter said, get rid of the hand held shield. (keep it for visitors) Get a helmet with a shade 9 or 10 lens and you should be able to see the weld fine.
secondly, can you weld mild steel to cast-iron
Yes, you will need a nickel based electrode. Over here we us Ni-rod 55 or Ni-Rod 99 (55% and 99% nickel). There are specialty alloy companies (like UTP, MG, etc) that also make electrodes for MS to Cast.
04-27-2004, 09:03 PM
Hello egoprime. It will get better the more you weld, unless there's something wrong with the helmet. I couldn't see well at all when I first started, but it seems your eyes get trained after awhile. That probably make no sense, but it happened with me. I bought a cheap auto darkening helmet not long after I started welding and it made a big difference in my ability. But I think that's just because I was so new to welding. My son was over at my shop a couple of weekends ago and he won't touch my auto helmet. He was making a drop down ramp for his 4-wheeler trailer and used the helmet he uses at work, fixed shade 10. He welded the expanded metal all the way up one side of the ramp without raising his hood, skipping every few inches, but that's what he learned on. When I put on a fixed lense helmet I strike arcs in a 3 foot radius of where I actual want to strike one. All this means is practice with what ever you've got and it will get better.
04-28-2004, 01:24 AM
I think the autodark helmets make things a little easier. Both hands free, and no need to aim then nod. I use a "SpeedGlass" brand helmet. Try different viewing angles, as to look under the smoke and spark, to see the puddle.
04-28-2004, 07:04 PM
Hi Ron, (from the other resident Brit on this panel)
Yes, throw away the hand shield. They are given away with all new welders so you can't sue the makers if you blind yourself; "We gave you a screen, not our fault if you did'nt use it......"
Cromwell Tools were doing autos for £40 recently, may have a few left if your quick. Don't know if they are any good but for that price its got to be worth the chance.
I use Esab myself. Not cheap, but nice if you have to wear for long periods. Maybe not a consideration if you are a hobby welder and can take the thing off whenever you want.
As for welding mild to cast. Its a a BIG subject and without a few more details its dificult to give a usefull answer. After 20+ years of stick welding its something I am still wary about. Tell us a bit more about what you have in mind and I'm sure someone will be able to help.
Welding is basically a manual skill and the best way to learn is by practice. Get every bit of scrap metal you can find and weld it to something else.
04-28-2004, 08:32 PM
One_rod! Glad to see you show up again. I was worried that you had drifted away & seriously considered emailing you to let you know you had a compatriot here that wasn't getting off to a very good start, from the sound of it. Egoprime just sounded like a good candiate for some beginner lessons or classes and I felt sure you'd be able to advise him where none of the rest of us could. And now he's disappeared! :p Hopefully, he'll check back in soon.
big rig guy
04-28-2004, 08:54 PM
Welcome Egoprime, lots of good guys here and ton of good advice.
For sure, get yourself a auto darkening helmet, then you can concentrate on the welding/learning.
04-29-2004, 07:49 AM
Thank you all very much for taking the time to respond to my questions.
I will take your advice and ditch the hand job! and go for a proper helmet.
I'm trying to repair a garden parasol base. The metal tube the parasol pole goes into broke round the thread, the heavy base looks like it was cast in a mould so I assumed it was cast iron. Hope this makes sense.
04-29-2004, 10:35 AM
I think I understand what you're wanting to do, Ron but like one_rod said practice on lots of scrap before you take on a project. And welding cast iron is a whole different animal so be patient about that.
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