View Full Version : New here, looking to learn some things.

10-29-2011, 10:48 AM
Hello, I'm 32 and have welded some with arc and 110v mig. Welded is something I never really thaught of as a unwanted task. I was always motivated to do a small project. Some of my stuff turned out pretty good and other stuff didn't. I have absolutely no training in welding at all. I'm all self taught and have finally came the realization I am missing tons of info that would benifit me. I actually want to start building a couple of small dump trailers and log splitters. I don't have 220v in my garage and was going to buy a Miller Bobcat and try to just do it all on arc but after reading it sounds like a good Mig setup might be better. I might just hire an electrician to install 220v and buy a Mig but not sure which one. I was considering one setup to do aluminum too so I could try some nice truck bumpers. I am out of my league for wanting to try this stuff without any training?

10-29-2011, 11:04 AM
No but a trailer is out of your leauge for a good while, at least one you'd tow on the road.

If you are serious, think about investing some money in a night class at a local tech school. When you sit down and figure out just what all the material, rod/wire, gas, electric and so on would cost you not to mention the instruction, a class is usually stupid cheap. It's also the fastest way to learn. You can fumble around for years and learn nothing but bad habbits on your own. With someone who knows what they are doing watching you and making suggestions, it's usually not hard to get the basics down fairly quickly.

On a trailer you will need to be able to make code quality welds in all positions. Most DIY guys can make fair welds in flat and maybe horizontal, but can't make a good weld vertical or overhead. Here's where good instruction and good practice will pay off. This won't come quick. Expect this can take well over a year, if not more for the average guy who won't sit down and do the sort of intense practice( and expensive) this takes to get up to speed fast.

One last thing, usually trailers are the 1st things many think of when the want to weld. By the time you buy the equipment and get all the training done, chances are you could have bought a trailer and you haven't even bought the parts and materials yet. You will not beat the commercial guys for material costs as well, so usually a home built trailer done right from a set of engineered plans will cost you more in the long run.

I just priced a set of replacement axles, tires and brakes for a 7K trailer. I can get a nice used 10K flatbed for about the same amount of money and I don't have to do any work. It's simply not very cost effective in many cases to build one yourself.

10-29-2011, 11:47 AM
Learn to crawl before you walk..
Building a trailer is classified as a sprint and you need to crawl first..
Better safe than sorry and there are plenty of sorry welders out there.....so..



10-29-2011, 04:46 PM
I cut the rest of this cross tube from the back of a fifth-wheel trailer using my sawzall on Thursday. This end from the right side was then snapped of with a mini-crowbar, using not much effort at all. This is just an example of how not to weld on trailers, or anything else for that matter. The 2" tube was meant to hold up a small receiver for a bike rack. The weld was attempted in the overhead position, and the little bit of bright metal is the entire amount of fusion. A big downside of mig is the illusion of solid fusion, when clearly you have a near total lack.

10-29-2011, 05:06 PM
Best money and time you can spend is at local community college or similar for welding, use their equipment, learn how to do it, then decide what you want to buy,:)

10-29-2011, 10:32 PM
Going to school for welding is not an option for me. I live and work an hour from the closet city that could offer anything like that plus they only do day classes. Back when I was a landscaper I pulled the box off of my 2500HD and welded up a flatbed with a hoist and put it on myself. I hauled lots of firewood, rock, and dirt with it using the hoist many times and never had a failed weld. Infact I ended up wanting to put the box back on the truck to sell it and had to cut and grind my welds off and it took quite a bit of effort to get threw them. I'm not knocking anyone for suggesting attending a program for welding but its just not an option for me.

10-31-2011, 02:07 PM
The Bobcat you mentioned would be a good choice if you can afford it. You don't need an electrician to do anything before you can use it. It has 240vac installed from the factory. It also makes you mobile to go where ever you need to and weld. Later you could add a TIG torch if you want to go that route. If you get a 120/240 vac MIG later it will power most of them. You can also make your own fresh electricity in the event of a power outage, if you have the fuel on hand to run it.;) My main machine is a Bobcat 225G, with a MM140 for the small stuff.