View Full Version : FNG here

05-18-2011, 02:56 PM
Yes I'm a new guy. I've always wanted to learn to weld and manipulate metal. I've never had a garage or location to build/store my assortment of tools. I don't have the time or $ to spend on training at the moment. I currently am in an appartment and renting a garage. I'm lookin for advice on a few things...

Books/learning material or web sites (obviously this one)?
Good old equipment that can be used on a standard house outlet 110?
(I say old because I will likely be shoping craigslist)

If anyone in my area would be interested in giving me some hands on training I can swap my time and labor.


05-18-2011, 03:33 PM
Good old equipment that can be used on a standard house outlet 110?

That's going to seriously limit your options.

No 220V where you live?

05-18-2011, 03:38 PM
No, unfortunatly not. I'm renting an appartment with garage bays.

I understand I will not be able to do any heavy material projects like auto/motorcycle frames or any load bearing items but just to get started learning is it even worth attempting with only a 110 available?


David Hillman
05-18-2011, 04:09 PM
You can still learn with only 110v available. In fact, there's no reason you couldn't build a motorcycle frame, which isn't going to be very thick material. Like me, you need tons of practice before you start building anything dangerous like that, so buy whatever you can afford and have power for, and get started.

Watch craigslist and eBay constantly, and pounce when you see a deal. On the plus side, 110v equipment tends to be real cheap, because a lot of people buy them, and then upgrade.

05-18-2011, 04:50 PM
Is something like this a good start?



05-18-2011, 05:04 PM
That machine won't work for you. It needs 30 amps at 110v power. At best you might have 20 amps on 110v. If you can't get 220v theres no way you can get 30 amps of 110v. I had a 220v machine in an apartment. I ran it off the 30 amp 2220v dryer outlet in one place and the 50 amp 220v range outlet in another. I built a 220v extension cord to get the machine out in the yard/drive to work. If you search, you'll find a good thread here on building the 220v extension cord.

Small 110v migs are useful for sheetmetal, but not much else. Even the best 140 amp migs top out at 1/8" on 110v power. You can get some stick machines that will run on 110v, but they are inverters and the decent ones are about $1K and up. The cheaper inverer stick machines are limited to very small rods (1/16" and 5/32") and are limited to thin metal as well.

The inexpensive way to go is 220v power. You can find nice stick machines for $50-150 easily on CL. Decent 220v migs can be had for $500 and up used, $675 + new.

05-18-2011, 05:14 PM
How about something like this??


Thank you for all of your input. I just don't want to go out and get something that wont work in my environment. Sorry for my lack of knowledge in this arena.

Donald Branscom
05-18-2011, 05:25 PM
Forget all this...

Go take a beginning welding class at a junior college or welding school.

You will have great equipment great instruction .
You will be MILES ahead.

05-18-2011, 05:41 PM
How about something like this??


Thank you for all of your input. I just don't want to go out and get something that wont work in my environment. Sorry for my lack of knowledge in this arena.

Not worth the money. It's underpowered and FC only which means it will be a PITA on thin metal, yet lack the balls to do "thicker steel. It will have a VERY limited thickness range, probably around 1/16"-3/32" at best.

Donald's suggestion on a class is a good idea. When you sit down and add up what it would cost you for electric, gas, wire/rod, meterials and so on not to mention instruction, a class is usually stupid cheap. You will learn faster and not develop any bad habits that have to be unlearned later. Also you will usually get to use better machines than your buget currently will allow. This will give you a good bench mark against which to evaluate a machine when you go to buy your own. You will read this time and again when guys finally upgrade to a 220v machine, how much better it welded than the cheap POS they started out with. Add to all of this most schools also have other equipment students can use, plasma, OA torches, shear, saws, iron workers presses and so on. Trying to learn on your own can be done, but usually it will cost more in the long run than simply putting the money in a class up front.

David Hillman
05-18-2011, 06:41 PM
How small is your budget really? Don't forget that even if you score a 110v welder that's worthwhile, you still need safety gear ( helmet and gloves at a minimum ), consumables, and some raw material to practice on.

Maybe if you give us a little more precision on your budget, we can help more.

This seems like it might be a good deal if you want to learn stick and tig, http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/tls/2318424383.html but if that's too much money, it doesn't really matter, does it. I'm assuming this is a 95S, which runs on 110v. Learning to tig will keep you busy for a long time.

05-18-2011, 07:31 PM
If the neighbors don't mind, you could buy a small portable generator, probably 5-6,000 watts and run a cheap 220v welder off of that. Yeah it'd probably get annoying listening to it run for long periods of time, but if thats what it takes to get 220v power to your garage, then so be it. There's really not much you can do with a 20 amp 110 outlet.

05-18-2011, 11:42 PM
Take this at the price you get it for. Without 220/240, try oxyacetylene welding and/or cutting to start, no electricity required. It is a good process to learn anyway, you can start with a smaller bottle set that remain relatively portable. That just leaves the instruction part of your inquiry. Try one or two of the very good quality videos available through Northern Tools. Steve B. does a fine job of packing good information into all of his productions. I really enjoyed using these videos to augment the schooling that I have involved myself in these last few years.


05-19-2011, 10:08 AM
I did find a class to take for almost $1,100. It is 2 days a week for 8 weeks and says: "By the end of the class, most students will be able to earn an AWS certification in his or her chosen specialty welding technology." Does that sound realistic?

This is much greater than my original budget but sounds like it may be the way to go.