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Thread: Welder advice for newbies

  1. #1
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    Welder advice for newbies

    Quote Originally Posted by joedirt1966 View Post
    Perhaps an informative Sticky relating to “welder advice for newbies” would be helpful to new members/visitors. This topic does come up on a frequent basis. The sticky could address the more commonly used welding processes with their pros and cons, etc.
    I thought this was a good idea, so I figured I'd kick it off with some links to a few threads I could dredge up of people asking about recommendations for a 1st welder. Most of mine deal with mig, if anyone can remember a few good ones on tig, stick or O/A add them as well.

    Maybe we can get someone to write up a quick synopsis of processes and the pros and cons of each.


    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=43726

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=43744

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=43569

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=39087

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=37573

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=37226

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=31894


    Maybe we can cut down on the repetitive "I'm new and need a welder..." questions. Yeah like thats going to happen!
    .



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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    I made it a sticky. Let's give it a month, and see if it works.

    I am betting it at the least gives a few guys a good starting point.
    And then, after so much work...... you have it in your hand, and you look over to your side...... and the runner has run off. Leaving you holding the prize, wondering when the runner will return.

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    The following chart contains some very general information relating to the 4 most common welding processes (GMAW, SMAW, GTAW, Oxy-Acetylene) frequently explored by newbies on this forum. It is not intended to be an exhaustive “text book” list of welding processes.

    I'm sure there are numerous omissions in the chart because I am not a professional weldor/welder (whichever you prefer) and because it's too big a topic for one page. Welding is a very deep subject that does not lend itself to a simple chart or a few sentences in a forum. The more you read and learn about a subject, the more you come to realize how little you actually know about it.

    Please correct and/or add information that you feel would be helpful to a newbie who is trying to decide what process best matches his/her needs.

    P.S. I tried to attach this as an Excel file but couldn't. I then tried putting it into a Word file but it ended up being rejected because the file was too big. I finally put it into a JPG and now it's too small to read. Guess you'll have to "save as" and use the zoom function to read it.

    Any advice to make it readable on the WW page would be welcome.

    Thanks.
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    file post

    Hi Joe
    you may try to send it as a PDF file. I did this as a test but I think as a PDF file the viewer can change the size after getting it on their monitor.

    If you need a PDF saver there is a free one called pdf995 just google it and down load it.
    It acts like a printer and you can select it for any doc and it will save it to your folder location then just attach it to your post.

    have fun
    Tom
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    Last edited by acourtjester; 08-08-2010 at 11:33 AM. Reason: spelling error

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    Here goes.......again.
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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    I might say the thread title would be a better catch all if it read, "HERE IS THE ONLY WELDER YOU SHOULD EVER BUY: Ask your questions here"

    It would be nice if it actually turned in to the novice catch all question megathread. Then I would feel less of a tool when I post my question on stainless later.

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    joedirt1966, your chart looks good. One suggestion.
    Under Amperage to thickness rule of thumb, you show 0.001 for MIG, SMAW and TIG.
    I thought that for SMAW, the rule was amperage to rod diameter = 0.001.
    As you have it now, newbies might think they need 250 amps to arc weld a 1/4 inch thick plate.
    Rick V

    1 Airco Heliwelder 3A/DDR
    3 CTC 70/90 amp Stick/Tig Inverters in Parallel
    1 Lincoln MIG PAK 15
    1 Oxy-Acet

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    Thanks Rick.
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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    Excellent it opened and saved easily Joe and I saved it back for printing and a looksee once in awhile. Thank you much for working it up.
    Lincoln Power MIG 215
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    If all else fails... buy more tools

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    Mig basics 101:

    110v vs 220v:

    110v machines top out at 1/8" steel max. Thats usually using fluxcore wire on a machine rated at 140amps. These machines are really useful for sheet metal and body work, but lack the power to produce good welds in heavier steel when used by the average welder. These machines also lack the power to be very useful at all with alum due to the low max output. The upside is that they are very portable and can be run from most 110v outlets. They usually only reach their max rated power however if used on a dedicated 20 amp line, so on average they run at a reduced power level on the average outlet. One of the big issues with small migs is that you can make a nice looking bead on thicker material that lacks penetration and has no strength.

    220v machines: The "low" end machines usually top out at 5/16" or 3/8" steel with fluxcore wire or gas mig (both CO2 and C25). Larger machines can weld in excess of 1/2". They can be turned down to run thinner material easily. Many of these machines are designed to run a spoolgun for alum, and machines 200amps and up will run 3/16" alum+ depending on max output. The down side is they require a 220v outlet, similar to a range or dryer so are not as portable. There are some 110v/220v machines like the Miller MM211 that can run on both.



    Fluxcore vs gas mig:

    Fluxcore wire is similar to continuous stick welding. You have a flux coating that shields the weld and must be removed. It is messy and smoky and is generally the choice for outdoor work. It will tolerate a bit more contaminants than gas mig. Penetration is usually deeper than gas mig and is why most small "migs" are FC only machines. Also most small 110v migs only reach their rated thickness using FC wire. FC wire on thin steel is quite difficult due to the deep penetrating qualities. FC wire generally runs DC- so the polarity might need to be switched with machines set up for gas mig.

    Gas: There are several choices for mig gases. FC migs converted to gas will need to have the leads switched to DC+ to run correctly. Gas mig usually is best done indoors or on calm days when a breeze won't blow away your shielding gas.

    C25, 75% Argon/25% CO2: The usual gas mix for most migs with steel. It's the mix usually listed in the manual. Gives cleaner welds with a bit less penetration. Good for auto body work on thin metal as well as thicker steel.

    100% CO2: A cheaper alternative to C25. Gives a bit more penetration than C25 so will often be listed for thicker steel on smaller migs. More spatter than C25. The extra penetration can make it difficult with thinner steel. Note an adapter or different reg is usually required to run 100% CO2 as most mig regs come equipped to run C25 / 100% Argon.

    100% Argon: Used to weld alum.

    Other mixes are available for spray and Stainless applications.


    Alum: While many small migs list that they can be used to weld alum, welding alum using the standard gun is usually very frustrating due to the soft wire bending and jamming in the machine/gun. Mig alum usually requires a spoolgun or in industrial migs a push/pull gun.
    .



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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    As a newbie welder I think this is a great idea. I have some thoughts:

    1) Have a moderator edit DSW's first post to keep it up to date with any information posted in this thread (like joedirt's nice pdf). It would also be nice if the links in the first page were given a short description (like "Advice on buying a mig welder" so people don't have to click on them to learn what they're about. Some mods don't like editing other people's posts so perhaps a new thread should be started to replace this one.

    2) I'd love to see a section on recommended books (preferably ones still in print), videos, and youtube links.

    The following might be out of the intended scope of the newbie thread but here are some other things that I have searched weldingweb for:

    3) Recommended online sites for buying welding equipment, like cyberweld.com and weldfabulous.com. Possibly include welding-related sites, like where to buy steel. (As an example, it took me a while to find a decent site that sells fire bricks.)

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    So can we also get the pros to chime in for the most common questions on welds:

    1. Material
    2. What a good weld will look like
    3. How the good weld is obtained.

    Be it TIG, MIG, Stick, whatever; I think most questions could be answered by having this. I've had issues with stainless where it looks like the weld is "burnt" by some kind of oxide build up, but if I run a wire brush over it, the crap comes off and the weld looks pretty underneath (but I lose the rainbow effect). When I did searches for "stainless tig" and such, I get a lot of results! And those results are people bitching "use the search feature!" Recursive searching doesn't do much. If you could just link to this thread with "go here for this" I think it would save you guys a ton of effort. A novice can look at the 3 step item for say Aluminum, ask them-self "does my weld look like this?" and if not, look at what is different between their setup and the pros. Yes hood time is king, but only perfect practice makes perfect.

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    Quote Originally Posted by FormulaXFD View Post
    So can we also get the pros to chime in for the most common questions on welds:

    1. Material
    2. What a good weld will look like
    3. How the good weld is obtained.

    Be it TIG, MIG, Stick, whatever; I think most questions could be answered by having this. I've had issues with stainless where it looks like the weld is "burnt" by some kind of oxide build up, but if I run a wire brush over it, the crap comes off and the weld looks pretty underneath (but I lose the rainbow effect). When I did searches for "stainless tig" and such, I get a lot of results! And those results are people bitching "use the search feature!" Recursive searching doesn't do much. If you could just link to this thread with "go here for this" I think it would save you guys a ton of effort. A novice can look at the 3 step item for say Aluminum, ask them-self "does my weld look like this?" and if not, look at what is different between their setup and the pros. Yes hood time is king, but only perfect practice makes perfect.
    We do answer questions, but let's be fair about this: Newbies will ask 27,386 questions, without posting the basics: Welder used. Material welded. Filler material. Welder settings. Pictures of welds, whether good, bad, or bird-poop welds. No one here can answer a question about how to make a weld better if there is nothing to judge by. And believe me, we have had new weldors who grab a 6011 rod and go to town, and it looks amazing. And then another guy will have a totally devastating weld done wrong 3 ways. One of them is looking at his weld and saying "It looks purdy good." And the other says "How do I improve my welds?" Well..... if there is no picture, I can't really help you. If there are no specs for me to understand, I have a hard time helping you.
    This all goes BOTH ways. If a newbie wants info, and help.... post up pics and specs. YOU GET BACK WHAT YOU PUT IN. Telling me "I have a new tig welder and it won't weld aluminum. Please help...." I have heard this 112 times. And NO PICS in 80% of those times. No specs in those 80% of the time.

    Worse still, the guy did not even TRY to look up any info to help narrow his search. That's due diligence. Ya gotta do your part, too. There is a very good reason they say 'Search button is your friend....'
    And then, after so much work...... you have it in your hand, and you look over to your side...... and the runner has run off. Leaving you holding the prize, wondering when the runner will return.

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    That was kind of why I was thinking in making that 3 part list.

    Some guy posts, "Derp derp my HF toy isn't weldin' mah all-you-minum." Rather than just say, "uhg search for it," it could be abbreviated by simply saying. "Look here here: http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php...615#post419615 "

    The most ironic event I've had in the 'search' route, is finding a page on here that is some guy yelling at a new-bewb to search it. When a "search it" thread comes out at the top of a search, the recursiveness becomes a burden.

    I could just be greedy, but having a benchmark to gauge myself against with some pictures would go a long way over simply doing the post of the day for whatever metal I'm trying.

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    Quote Originally Posted by FormulaXFD View Post
    That was kind of why I was thinking in making that 3 part list.

    Some guy posts, "Derp derp my HF toy isn't weldin' mah all-you-minum." Rather than just say, "uhg search for it," it could be abbreviated by simply saying. "Look here here: http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php...615#post419615 "

    The most ironic event I've had in the 'search' route, is finding a page on here that is some guy yelling at a new-bewb to search it. When a "search it" thread comes out at the top of a search, the recursiveness becomes a burden.

    I could just be greedy, but having a benchmark to gauge myself against with some pictures would go a long way over simply doing the post of the day for whatever metal I'm trying.
    1. When searching, it goes a long way to narrowing the search. If you are interested in a 110V tig welder, search it; you'll find it. If you want to know the virtues and shortfalls of 4043 vs. 5356 filler..... search it, you will find some answers pretty quick if you are willing to read up on a few posts.
    2. Greedy??? My point is, if you want welding pictures, then search them out. Try looking up "Tig weld pictures." You will see so many, you won't know what to do. If you want information to YOUR situation, it's up to YOU to post up the necessary info to give us a chance to understand what you are doing, vs. what you are trying to do. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have seen a guy show a weld done on a positioner, or done by machine and say 'That's how they want their welds to look.' I have seen a lot of guys show an aluminum weld and say "How can I get my welds to look like this???" And they are trying to weld steel....LOL.....
    And then, after so much work...... you have it in your hand, and you look over to your side...... and the runner has run off. Leaving you holding the prize, wondering when the runner will return.

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    A few more decent threads since I was searching for something else and came across them.


    Some general thoughts on tig mosly
    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=36537

    One on what processes work well for what applications.
    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=42160
    .



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    I think you just answered my question- i hope

    I THINK I'm gonna start with gas instead of MIG. All the stuf I've read says start with gas. Even the evening votech class description says begining welding 'gas'. Still cant figure out if HARRIS and VICTOR are manufacturers or styles. Not sure if I wanna buy used or new. I


    Quote Originally Posted by DSW View Post
    I thought this was a good idea, so I figured I'd kick it off with some links to a few threads I could dredge up of people asking about recommendations for a 1st welder. Most of mine deal with mig, if anyone can remember a few good ones on tig, stick or O/A add them as well.

    Maybe we can get someone to write up a quick synopsis of processes and the pros and cons of each.


    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=43726

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=43744

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=43569

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=39087

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=37573

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=37226

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=31894


    Maybe we can cut down on the repetitive "I'm new and need a welder..." questions. Yeah like thats going to happen!

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    That was a somewhat twisty road but a great bunch of information! I learned a lot of what I do and don't need, the capacities and capabilities of machines and processes and I've also got to say, this is a great forum. I belong to a couple shooting sports forums and another about technology related topics and this one is well run, well maintained and well 'spoken'! Thanks, again.

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    Might I suggest adding this link. I'm a newbie and found it helpful.

    High Pressure Steel Cylinders - Sizes, capacities and weights.

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    Am a newbie here and hope all the links you have placed here will helps me a lot.

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    Hey all,

    I just got this book and im gonna start buying peice by piece of all the stuff i need.
    If anyone can point me in the right direction i would be very thankful!

    For me i want to weld simple stuff small amount of steel Example would be a finger guard on a knife or minor repairs on a trailer and then go from there. Do some welding machines weld only certain metals? and at a certain temp? Also if one welding something and it left a bead and you grinded it down would it compormise the weld?

    sorry im trying to make it understandable best as i can.

    Thanks again!
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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    Thank God you brought it up, for sure am gaining alot from the postings, the things I never knew Now I will put them in practice.

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    I'm new to this sight and to welding. What does MIG mean and what does TIG mean?
    Thank You
    Wayne
    Georgia

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    I have a smll wire welder (90ampFlux Wire Welder). I can't seem to get the wire to feed. I have a new spool of .030 and a new tip. I have changed the feed wheel but nothing seems to help. Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong or what I'm not doing?
    Thank You
    Wayne
    Georgia

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    Re: Welder advice for newbies

    Quote Originally Posted by WaynesWorld View Post
    I'm new to this sight and to welding. What does MIG mean and what does TIG mean?
    TIG Welding
    n. tungsten-electrode inert gas welding: a method of welding in which the arc is maintained by a tungsten electrode and shielded from the access of air by an inert gas

    MIG Welding
    n. metal inert gas welding: a method of welding in which the filler metal wire supplies the electric current to maintain the arc, which is shielded from the access of air by an inert gas, usually argon

    Good enough from google to get the point out. Google is your friend
    Semper Fi
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