View Full Version : My Welding Experience Thread

12-15-2008, 04:00 PM
Hey ya'll!!

I first got here and lurked around for the past couple of months or so trying to absorb everything I could, and I have learned SO much already ... and I haven't even laid my first bead yet!

I pulled the trigger on Saturday--my father and I went to a local welding supply store and supported them by purchasing all of our stuff from there instead of trying to find it marginally cheaper online. Because of our garage electrical setup, it needed to be 110V, so we went with a HH 140 setup for flux core as of right now ... but I'm going to buy a 40-60 CF cylinder with C25. If I ever need to go bigger, a HH 187 might be in my future if we add a 220V circuit, but I'll stick with the basics for now.

I split the cost of the purchase with my father since this'll be my one and only Christmas gift this year ... got the 140, two sets of extra tips, regulator/hose (came with it), can of anti-spatter spray, and a nice pair of blue, 1/4 forearm length leather welding gloves (forgot the brand) for $550. A little more expensive than some internet retailers, but I like to support my local suppliers since all my consumables will be from there ... considering the state of the economy, I'm sure it didn't hurt on that front, either. (My GF got me one of HF's solar-powered, auto-dimming helmets for Chrstimas as well).

I'll be getting some 1/8" and 3/16" steel plate to just practice striking an arc and getting my settings/stickout correct with the flux core ... and that'll be on Christmas day (since, even though I'm 23, my father feels the need to make me suffer and wait since it's my only substatial gift this year). :blob2: Then, when I feel confortable, I'll throw in the shielding gas and some er70s-6 ... I like to take things one step at a time so I'll tweak my gas settings (from what I've read, it should be around 20 CFH?) at that point.

Just want to thank everyone for their help and useful information! I'll be updating this thread (to keep the board clean) regularly with pictures & projects (starting near Christmas) for feedback and suggestions on my technique and settings!!


12-15-2008, 04:17 PM
Congratulations !! I don't think you will ever want to get rid of the 140 no matter how big you go. I guess until Christmas you should be gathering up all the scrap metal you can find. ;)

12-15-2008, 06:30 PM
u will love that 140 i do mine. even tho im getting a bigger welder next year i will keep this one. i love it for body work.

David R
12-15-2008, 09:53 PM
Welcome! Have a blast!!

I remember buying my SP100 for $850 waay back in the mid 80s when they first came out. Still have it and use it.


12-15-2008, 10:01 PM
I look forward to seeing your work, welcome to the site Josh.

12-18-2008, 12:53 PM
By the way (to avoid any future confusion) the title of this thread is supposed to read "... Thread" not "Threat," LOL. You'd think a technical writer wouldn't let such a mistake be released. I'd change it but I can't figure out how to edit posts here ... I guess it's not possible on WeldingWed ... maybe a mod can help me out! :jester:

Only one more week until I burn!


12-18-2008, 01:13 PM

12-18-2008, 04:33 PM
Glad to see a fellow 4-wheeler.

Show us pics later

12-18-2008, 05:47 PM
Welcome aboard. I thought it was supposed to read "Treat". Everytime we buy a new tool "what a treat".

12-18-2008, 06:35 PM
Congratulations! I learned a lot here as well. I focused all my energy on tig welding and played very little with a mig. My bigest problem was setting the machine (dials) up. I had a class and used the mig and laid perfect beads. Go home and no luck...I have to play with the mig again. Let us know how you make out. Only 1 week let to play!

12-18-2008, 07:16 PM
:jester: Time limit to edit your posts is only about 15 minutes, give or take??? After that... :sleeping: ...adios!

12-18-2008, 07:49 PM
... maybe a mod can help me out! :jester:


Welcome aboard. I thought it was supposed to read "Treat". Everytime we buy a new tool "what a treat".

I thought he meant "threat" like his lack of experience made his Jeep a threat to others :laugh::laugh::laugh:

12-18-2008, 11:54 PM
I like your dad already!!!! (Making you sweat it out for a week!!)

12-19-2008, 10:19 AM
Haha, yeah--it's definitely his rules or "get the hell out," LOL. Guess I can't complain since I'm crashing at home until I can save up enough money to move out. Just started this real job about 2 months ago, so I'm gettin' there!

Thanks for the fix Burnit ... good to know about the 15 minute edit window (tanglediver). I guess it could work either way!! I'm definitely going to be a threat to my garage and TJ when I first get goin'!!

Having trouble finding scrap steel to practice on ... I'm tracking down a lead in my company today for a source. I work at a company that makes braking systems, HVAC systems, and door systems for passenger trains and we do a lot of fab downstairs ... I'm going to talk to the head fabricator ... apparently he's a stand-up guy and would definitely help me out. The only problem is I'd have to make sure he knows I can't take anything galvanized!! :eek:

You can see all the pics of my "rig" (if you can call it that right now, LOL) you want at my CarDomain page (http://www.cardomain.com/ride/650375). Nothing even remotely approaching "hardcore" right now, but hopefully that'll change quite soon. :cool: If anybody's from my area (DelMarVA/PA) I'm going to Rousch Creek after Christmas and GWNF in the Spring!

Thanks for all the support everyone! Only 6 more days ...


12-20-2008, 11:39 PM
You'll have fun with it! I've been rebuilding a '66 FJ40 for the past year (frame off) and my welding skills are starting to take shape. I too started with a 140, but got a 187 for this project. Hope to have my rig at Rausch in early spring to run a few blacks and reds an see if my welds hold up. Maybe I'll catch you there some time.
(PS - That's Pizza Rock at Rausch in my avatar. Before they logged the area.)

12-25-2008, 02:00 PM
Merry Christmas!!!

Bought the air compressor myself ... split the buzz box with my dad:




The whole shebang ... ready to make some bumpers!!

My first welds (ever!)!!! The first one is a little spot weld to see if my helmet window was dimming right (it's just a Hobart entry level guy ... permanently set at 10, auto-dimming). Second and third welds were a little bit longer, still on the 3/16" plate. Third and forth are fillet attempts (not pretty I know). Got a shot of the penetration on the bottom, too. My stick-out was all over the place ... basically from sheer excitement. I'll work on steadying my hands tomorrow and find a comfortable position to brace myself.

So whaddaya guys think? My settings on my HH140 were max amps (4) and about 3.5 on wire speed. Banged on it pretty good with a 4 lb sledge and it didn't budge.




Needless to say, I'll be getting shielding gas soon!!!

12-26-2008, 01:36 PM
congrats. way to go! keep burning.. :blob2:

12-27-2008, 12:00 AM

Congrats~~ I wish I had done what your Dad did with you at your age, I have been welding and twisting wrenches since Moses was a Deacon, but I failed to slow down and teach my two boys step by step.

I admire you both and you are in for a great time and future. Side note, now my boys (both grown) are coming back around and we are doing all sorts of projects together from remodeling their homes and hot rods. (besides now I get to teach Dad and Grandkids--it don't get much better then that.

Be blessed,


01-02-2009, 08:32 PM
Thanks for all the encouragement everyone!

Time to get serious!!! Ordered an 80 CF bottle I intend to use for C25. Got it for $150 shipped to my door. Regulator was included with my HH140--I can only use it for Argon/CO2 mix with Argon being the major component ... if I want to run straight CO2 I need to use a different regulator.

Here's some examples of some beads I've been laying ... mostly on 1/8" to 3/16" plate and I'm using whatever flux core wire came with my HH140. Experimented on the higher settings since I'm working on the thick side of my machine's capabilities mostly ... on 3 or 4 for power, between 20 and 35 for wire speed.

I need to work on keeping my stick out consistent (excessive spatter) and keeping my speed consistent as well. Burned through on a couple of lines ... but I'm learning and having fun which is what I'm going for! :blob3: I'm also a little shy on the penetration side of things ... I know I need to slow down (wire speed and gun movement) and get my push technique and angle correct. And then again, sometimes I go too slow and my penetration is way too deep! I'm learning though ... have about 5 hours of welding experience under my belt, LOL.

Just take a look and let me know what 'ya guys think:




And just for fun (Jake's my brother ... and he doesn't love poop, for the record):


I tried some weaving techniques just for fun ... it's hard. Sticking to string beads for now ...

Over and out!

01-13-2009, 09:34 PM
Holy crap! Welding with shielding gas is so much nicer!!! My pieces don't look like a 13 year old's face with an acne problem.

I'm still getting everything figured out, but I'm getting better. I'm still doing string beads, sometimes back tracking a bit then moving forward ... not really weaving yet. I'm using C25 with .023 ER70S-6 on 1/16" - 3/16" plate. Had absolutely no penetration on the 1/4" plate I experimented with a non-prepped (no beveled edges, preheating, etc) fillet weld.

Still getting some spatter ... I'm pretty sure my stickout is too far. My regulator is set at 20-25 cfm.

Just take a look ... I'm having trouble finding the right wire speed ... sometimes my welds make that constant popcorn (high frequency) popping sound, and at slower wire speeds no popping at all but I get a little bead stuck to the end of my fill wire after done the weld. Not burning to the tip, though.

Should I have that constant, really fast popping like with Flux Core or should I have no popping at all?




Not quite there penetration-wise on the 3/16" ... should I slow down? It seems like my filler wire just builds up if I slow down ... and when I turn my wire speed down I don't get the constant popping like with Flux Core.

Thanks for checking up on me!

01-13-2009, 09:52 PM
One thing i always heard was the sound should be like frying bacon, a fast crisp sound.

01-13-2009, 10:16 PM
One thing i always heard was the sound should be like frying bacon, a fast crisp sound.

Gotcha ... I was trying to explain the sound ... frying bacon sounds better. I get that frying bacon sound when I have my wire speed up around the 25-35 setting on my HH140. Lower than that and it still welds, but it's just a hum and it'll pop sometimes.

After some reading, I guess I'm short circuit welding and the frying bacon sound is what I'm after. I just seem to get a very tall bead if I do that and I have to move faster ... which doesn't get me my penetration.

I'm just gonna' keep going at it!! :cool2:

02-26-2009, 09:43 AM
Well I was out in the garage for about an hour last night trying to fine-tune my wire speed to get my weld hotter.

I varied my wire speed from 30-45 in about 2.0 increments ... all on the highest power level (4). This is on my HH140.

I laid some more practice beads and then tried a butt weld on two pieces of 3/16". I still feel like I can't get the penetration ... but I really don't know anything. You can comment on the practice beads if you want to, not required.

Here's the top and bottom, just look at the butt joint on the left (I used a ladder technique to keep it from distorting).

PS. What's the brown stuff that the weld "sweats" after I finish burning? It turns really hard. Is that slag? Does that mean anything detrimental? And this is all with .023 ER70S-6 wire and C25.

Thanks for the help everyone ... I got my metal and I'm ready to start going!




Is that heat discoloration on the backside of the butt joint saying that I've got good penetration, or should I be able to see some fill material on the backside?

02-26-2009, 10:15 AM
Well, I see you are having a good time with your new welder :blob3:

One thing that might be a help is to get some pieces of thiner sheet. Perhaps a Tinshop can sell you some shear droppings that they throw out anyway. Explain to them what you plan to do and they will be helpful I am sure.

Get some of each thickness from thin and thick as you are using now and try each until you see penetration on the backside. That will let you know how you are doing in that regard. After you gain confidence you can try thicker and thicker sheet until you find the limit of penetration for your setup. :cool2:

Hope this helps.