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Thread: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a Novice

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    Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a Novice

    Update: I have not seen the hinges in months and just looked and measured them. They are actually 3/8" plates, not 1/4". That may change the welders mentioned below.


    New to welding, apologies in advance for any noob questions or comments.

    Installing a Driveway Gate and would like to weld the gate hinges to the gate post. The hinges are already welded to 3/8" plates. The Gate Post is a 4x4 x .120 thick (something slightly less then 1/8" is my guess. Typical chinese import steel dimensions). I have never welded but want to learn. After some research I think it makes sense to decide what is the best approach for a novice to weld the 1/8" gate post to the 3/8" hinges without burning through the 1/8". It seems that this should be a concern for a novice. Burning through the 4x4 Gate Post would be both frustrating and costly.

    Would an inexpensive wire feed such as a HF Titanium 125 work? It states that the max thickness is 3/16" although some say 1/4" is not a problem. To be honest, I prefer not to spend $200+ for a welder.

    Or, would a stick welder with ~150+ amps be better suited? I can wire up a 220v circuit if necessary to achieve good results. Again, my fear is burning through the 1/8" steel and from what I read, stick welding takes more finesse. However, it seems that the price per amperage out is less with a stick. More power for the buck so to speak.

    One stick welder possibility is the Yeswelder Arc 165 Amp. (Probably the Yeswelder Arc 205 Amp is beter for 3/8"? ) Its both 110 and 220 and states it can weld 1/4". But again, not sure if using a stick welder would create burn through issues for a novice. Would making a few passes with a thinner stick, not sure which one, alleviate that possibility?

    Also, I have a few other projects that use various metal thicknesses from .090 to 1/4". Installing, welding, the driveway gate is the most important though.

    Suggestions on welders and whether to buy a wire feed or stick are welcome. Please keep in mind that price is an issue and Im a beginner


    Thank you!
    Last edited by JJN; 04-06-2021 at 02:03 PM.

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    For a consumer that just wants to stick metal together once and a while, a wire feed often can be easier to learn "good nuff" for the task at hand.

    If you want to weld seriously, a stick welder is a great way to start - some would even say the best way.
    6013 (or 7014) and 6011 are forgiving rods to burn.

    It all really depends if you want to practice and get good, or just stick stuff together on occasion.

    Keep in mind, equally terrible welds can be made with either process
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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    The hinges you want are shaped like a large "J" on its side. The longer end goes thru your 4 x 4 tube and is threaded. This allows you to adjust the gate up and down. The Gate side has a type of receiver hook that would require welding. However I am not sure, there might be bolt on ones avail as well. Check out some of the popular gate supplier sites.
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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Well yer caught in a predicament since your thinner material projects will really require a Mig welder-

    You could PU up a small 120v Inverter stick machine and practice like crazy before attempting the Driveway Gate hinges.

    No easy answer or cheap solution that covers all yer needs.
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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    JJN - please give complete details on your gate project. Your welder requirements may be widely different depending on what you are trying to do. A single gate or two gates, the total driveway width, gate material and design, etc. would be minimum info. Gate posts may need to be much longer and thicker gauge if you are swinging a heavy gate.

    In any case, I strongly suggest you buy some scrap material and spend substantial hood time before starting on your gate. It is so easy to burn through 11 gauge or to lack sufficient penetration. Only practice and examination allows you to know the difference.

    There is a lot of information and guys here to help you get started but trying to go cheap may be more costly in the long run.
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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    1/8" 6011 runs good at 85 to 95 amps. 1/8" 7018 runs good at 110 to 130 amps. Those ranges will get me by on 90% of the metal thicknesses I work with. A 150A welder should work, but consider the duty cycle - 30% duty cycle @ 125A means 3 minutes of welding & 7 minutes of standby.

    MIG welding would work also, but laying in a weld with proper penetration will be the trick.

    However - stick or MIG is not a plug & play deal - it will take some practice & learning before you can stick the gate on the post & expect it to hold. Hope your toe isn't under it when it breaks!

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Thank you everyone for your responses!! I have been wanting to buy a welder for many years and at different times have needed one. Rather then buy one I would go to a muffler shop with whatever is broken and they would weld it for me. I live on 5 acres, have a tractor, cut and split my own wood, work on all my vehicles... and things break sometimes. And of course its never my fault

    The current known projects are the gate and a used trailer I recently bought that needs a little tlc.


    Quote Originally Posted by MinnesotaDave View Post
    For a consumer that just wants to stick metal together once and a while, a wire feed often can be easier to learn "good nuff" for the task at hand.

    If you want to weld seriously, a stick welder is a great way to start - some would even say the best way.
    6013 (or 7014) and 6011 are forgiving rods to burn.

    It all really depends if you want to practice and get good, or just stick stuff together on occasion.

    Keep in mind, equally terrible welds can be made with either process

    I dont mind practicing but have many other things to do so this is not a career. But would like to learn to make decent, acceptable, welds that will hold.



    Quote Originally Posted by TJS View Post
    The hinges you want are shaped like a large "J" on its side. The longer end goes thru your 4 x 4 tube and is threaded. This allows you to adjust the gate up and down. The Gate side has a type of receiver hook that would require welding. However I am not sure, there might be bolt on ones avail as well. Check out some of the popular gate supplier sites.
    Yes, familiar with the various gate hinges. I want to make "Uphill Hinge"s which does complicate things a bit. The driveway is sloped which requires an Uphill Hinge to compensate or install the gate 12" off the ground. The post side of the hinge will be welded. The gate side of the hinge, J bolt, will be bolted through the gate frame. With a welder, making the uphill hinge is not too complicated. If, the welder has some skills


    Quote Originally Posted by wb4rt View Post
    JJN - please give complete details on your gate project. Your welder requirements may be widely different depending on what you are trying to do. A single gate or two gates, the total driveway width, gate material and design, etc. would be minimum info. Gate posts may need to be much longer and thicker gauge if you are swinging a heavy gate.

    In any case, I strongly suggest you buy some scrap material and spend substantial hood time before starting on your gate. It is so easy to burn through 11 gauge or to lack sufficient penetration. Only practice and examination allows you to know the difference.

    There is a lot of information and guys here to help you get started but trying to go cheap may be more costly in the long run.

    The gate is actually the good news. It is a single 12 ft long gate made of aluminum and weighs ~110 lbs. The hinges do require structural integrity to the gate post but they will not be supporting a 500+lb 16 ft long steel gate. The hinges are made for that though. Hence, 3/8" hinge plates welded to the hinge.


    Quote Originally Posted by cwby View Post
    1/8" 6011 runs good at 85 to 95 amps. 1/8" 7018 runs good at 110 to 130 amps. Those ranges will get me by on 90% of the metal thicknesses I work with. A 150A welder should work, but consider the duty cycle - 30% duty cycle @ 125A means 3 minutes of welding & 7 minutes of standby.

    MIG welding would work also, but laying in a weld with proper penetration will be the trick.

    However - stick or MIG is not a plug & play deal - it will take some practice & learning before you can stick the gate on the post & expect it to hold. Hope your toe isn't under it when it breaks!

    A welder from another site said basically what you did. 150A stick welder would work and mentioned similar amp settings. He did not mention wearing steel toed boots though


    "You can weld it with 7018 1/6" or 3/32" diameter rod. Set the welder to 60 to 85 amp"




    One thing I cant quite understand is the thickness of metal and penetration and how that works with two very different thickness of metal.

    In my simple mind it seems the thicker the metal, the more amperage required for good penetration. Part of this confusion comes from specs stated with welders. For instance, a 140 amp wire feed sates it can weld up to 1/4". Yet, the amp settings that have been mentioned to weld the 11 gauge to 3/8" hinge plates is far less then that. And, the minimum size welder required seems to be ~150 amps. Far less then the 60-90 amps mentioned. Maybe some "overhead" current availability is required for the welder to perform.

    Also, it seems that stick welders with Arc Force, Dig and/or Hit Start is the way to go?
    Last edited by JJN; 04-07-2021 at 10:54 AM.

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    If you're patient and willing to put in some time learning, I would recommend a cheap used stick welder from CL or wherever. It sounds like you could use it, what with your other stuff going on around the homestead.

    The trick to welding thick metal to thin metal is to melt the thick metal first, right at the edge where they lap or touch, then "wash" the molten puddle over to melt into the thinner stuff. (Normally in a lap joint with equal thickness material on both pieces, you would melt the bottom piece, then wash it over to the top piece but with different thicknesses, it's different.)

    If you burn through the gate post, you can fill the hole with 6010 or 6011 ... might as well learn now, because it's a skill you're going to need! Also using an angle grinder...you'll need that skill, too!

    I can do 1/8" steel with 1/8" 6010 but a beginner might not be able to. In a pinch, you can get specialty 1/16" diameter electrodes, which you should be able to handle without too much practice.

    Good luck, welcome to the forum and let us know how you make out.
    Last edited by Kelvin; 04-07-2021 at 12:15 PM.

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    1/8" is thin metal? That's news to me. Just concentrate on the heavier stock. Despite what the critics may say I would run 3/32" 7018 verticle down( assuming it's vertical) for a first pass , then run a second pass uphill. 1/8" 6011 would also be a good choice.

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    1/8" is thin metal? That's news to me. Just concentrate on the heavier stock. Despite what the critics may say I would run 3/32" 7018 verticle down( assuming it's vertical) for a first pass , then run a second pass uphill. 1/8" 6011 would also be a good choice.

    You brought up an important point, especially since Im a beginner. I will make and weld the Gate Hinges to the Post in the garage, horizontal with hinges resting on the 4x4, prior to the post being set. The gate location is a couple hundred feet from a power source. Unless, I splice into the 220v well pump thats about 75 ft away from the gate location. Its doable but prefer not to for several reasons.

    Regarding your comment about "1/8" is thin metal?". Are you suggesting that no special technique is required. No need to start/favor the weld on the thicker 3/8" material and wash the weld to the thinner 11 gauge. Just weld as if the two materials are the same thickness.

    Would the second pass favor the 3/8" side or the 11 gauge. Or on top of first pass. Assuming the first pass should be in the pocket/corner/middle of the two metals.
    Last edited by JJN; 04-07-2021 at 05:20 PM.

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Quote Originally Posted by JJN View Post
    You brought up an important point, especially since Im a beginner. I will make and weld the Gate Hinges to the Post in the garage, horizontal with hinges resting on the 4x4, prior to the post being set. The gate location is a couple hundred feet from a power source. Unless, I splice into the 220v well pump thats about 75 ft away from the gate location. Its doable but prefer not to for several reasons.

    Regarding your comment about "1/8" is thin metal?". Are you suggesting that no special technique is required. No need to start/favor the weld on the thicker 3/8" material and wash the weld to the thinner 11 gauge. Just weld as if the two materials are the same thickness.

    Would the second pass favor the 3/8" side or the 11 gauge. Or on top of first pass. Assuming the first pass should be in the pocket/corner/middle of the two metals.
    I wouldn't call 1/8" thin, it's just thinner than your other material. You will be doing a lap weld , so it's not really that difficult. You also should have quite a bit of surface to weld as well. I wouldn't do any welds longer than about 5". If it's what I'm picturing, it's probably a 3-4' plate your attaching to the square tube post. Put a series of 4-5" stitch welds with about a 6" space between.

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Without seeing the joint config it is hard to advise.

    As far as penetration - amp settings help determine how much a given rod will penetrate within its range. Thinner sections will use the low end of the range. Thicker sections will use the higher end of the range. Thick sections welded with say 1/8" 7018 will compensate the penetration range of the rod by beveling, grooving, or other wise configure the joint & using multi-pass welds. A 1/2" base metal, but joint, beveled will take 3-5 passes to complete with 1/8" electrode. Put in a root with a small rod, then fill & cap with a larger rod/higher amps maybe can do it in 3 passes.

    You don't really weld 1/4" with this many amps & 1/2" with twice that many amps.

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    I wouldn't call 1/8" thin, it's just thinner than your other material. You will be doing a lap weld , so it's not really that difficult. You also should have quite a bit of surface to weld as well. I wouldn't do any welds longer than about 5". If it's what I'm picturing, it's probably a 3-4' plate your attaching to the square tube post. Put a series of 4-5" stitch welds with about a 6" space between.

    Much appreciated. Feeling ok about this project. Im sure once the rod is in hand and the first strike is hit, things will change and the confidence level will be checked.

    Their are two hinges, upper and lower. Hinge plate mounts are 6" long and 1 inch wide. 6"x1"x 3/8".

    Similar to this hinge but with a longer mounting plate. The hinge does not look very strong but they are rated at 500 lbs a pair and used often for lighter, non-custom, gates. My aluminum gate weighs 110 lbs.





    This seems like a good approach?


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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Quote Originally Posted by JJN View Post
    Much appreciated. Feeling ok about this project. Im sure once the rod is in hand and the first strike is hit, things will change and the confidence level will be checked.

    Their are two hinges, upper and lower. Hinge plate mounts are 6" long and 1 inch wide. 6"x1"x 3/8".

    Similar to this hinge but with a longer mounting plate. The hinge does not look very strong but they are rated at 500 lbs a pair and used often for lighter, non-custom, gates. My aluminum gate weighs 110 lbs.





    This seems like a good approach?

    You got it. In reality a proper 1" long weld on each side would hold that. Those type of gate hinges are made to hold up to livestock abuse , I wouldn't be worried in the least.

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Clean the coating off or purchase bare hinges. Other than expense, not sure why the powdercoat weld-on hinges.

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Quote Originally Posted by JJN View Post
    This seems like a good approach?

    In a lap joint like that -- especially with thinner material -- normally, you need to focus more of your heat (like 2/3 of the heat) on the bottom piece, rather than centered in the "corner" created by the intersection of the two plates. Think about where your heat is going. On the top piece, you're only melting an edge -- so the heat has only one direction to escape. But on the bottom piece, you're creating a puddle in the "middle of the plate," so to speak -- so on the bottom piece, the heat has two avenues of escape (twice as many ways to escape as on the top piece). It's much easier to melt an edge than it is to start a puddle in the middle of a plate. So you need to create the puddle on the bottom piece, then work it over to melt the edge of the top piece, if that makes any sense. If you try to jam the rod right into the "corner" formed by the two plates, normally the edge will melt back on the top piece before the bottom piece starts to melt. And you'll keep chasing it, especially on thinner material.
    Last edited by Kelvin; 04-09-2021 at 07:40 AM.

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    You got it. In reality a proper 1" long weld on each side would hold that. Those type of gate hinges are made to hold up to livestock abuse , I wouldn't be worried in the least.

    That is very good to know! Two neighbors have professionally installed 12 ft steel gates supported by welded hinges with mounting plates that are only about a 2 inches long. I want to shorten my hinge plates from 6 inches to 4 inches. At each end of the hinge plate is a 3/8" bolt hole as these hinges could be bolted on.


    Quote Originally Posted by tapwelder View Post
    Clean the coating off or purchase bare hinges. Other than expense, not sure why the powdercoat weld-on hinges.
    Yes, remove PC on hinges and 4 x 4 post.

    I bought the hinges late last fall and was originally going to bolt the hinge plates to the 4 x 4. The plates have 3/8" holes for that. After thinking about it more through the winter and recently purchasing a used trailer that needs a little tlc, I decided that this is a good time to learn to weld. Regarding the hinges, keep in mind that the gate is made of aluminum and those J bolt hinges can be bolted to the alu gate frame rails. These are the hinges the gate manufacture sells and uses for installations. Having to weld steel hinges to the alu gate would create a lot of challenges. If the gate was steel, then their are many hinge choices.

    Also, and I realize this thread is getting long, earlier I mentioned making Uphill Swing Hinges due to the slope of the driveway. Having a welder to make them rather then trying to bolt things together will make it much easier.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    In a lap joint like that -- especially with thinner material -- normally, you need to focus more of your heat (like 2/3 of the heat) on the bottom piece, rather than centered in the "corner" created by the intersection of the two plates. Think about where your heat is going. On the top piece, you're only melting an edge -- so the heat has only one direction to escape. But on the bottom piece, you're creating a puddle in the "middle of the plate," so to speak -- so on the bottom piece, the heat has two avenues of escape (twice as many ways to escape as on the top piece). It's much easier to melt an edge than it is to start a puddle in the middle of a plate. So you need to create the puddle on the bottom piece, then work it over to melt the edge of the top piece, if that makes any sense. If you try to jam the rod right into the "corner" formed by the two plates, normally the edge will melt back on the top piece before the bottom piece starts to melt. And you'll keep chasing it, especially on thinner material.
    Apologies, not sure what you are describing. On the first pass, should the weld favor the thinner bottom material or thick hinge material? A or B? Then should the second pass favor the top of the first pass weld or bottom of first pass weld?

    Also, given MJD's comments, not sure a second pass will be necessary but I am here to learn and its best to be prepared.
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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Quote Originally Posted by JJN View Post
    Apologies, not sure what you are describing. On the first pass, should the weld favor the thinner bottom material or thick hinge material?
    Sorry, I was looking at the picture that I quoted (in which both pieces are the same thickness) and had forgotten your project's specifics. Yes, you should put more of the heat onto the thicker piece. Again, always think about a) how much "thermal mass" you're melting and b) how many ways there are for the heat to escape into surrounding material.

    So put your stick closer to the position shown in "A" ... but angle it more as in "B" -- pointing it more toward the heavier piece. Think of the heat as shooting straight out the end of the electrode, as if you were pointing a laser...

    You probably should practice on some scrap first...

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    Sorry, I was looking at the picture that I quoted (in which both pieces are the same thickness) and had forgotten your project's specifics. Yes, you should put more of the heat onto the thicker piece. Again, always think about a) how much "thermal mass" you're melting and b) how many ways there are for the heat to escape into surrounding material.

    So put your stick closer to the position shown in "A" ... but angle it more as in "B" -- pointing it more toward the heavier piece. Think of the heat as shooting straight out the end of the electrode, as if you were pointing a laser...

    You probably should practice on some scrap first...

    That makes sense. I have been watching stick welding youtube vids. They say to direct the arc into the joint - stick pointing at a 45 degree angle. They mentioned if a different angle is used it could cause a reduction in material thickness. Welding with using angle B in the pic, could that be a potential issue?

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    A Miller Thunderbolt or Lincoln Tombstone AC/DC stick welder are great machines for the money. There are always around Craiglist or Facebook Marketplace by me. Most AC ones average $150 while the AC/DC closer to $300.00. Both are 220 volt .
    If your doing repairs on dirty, rusted, weathered metal, stick is definitely better. A stick rod will fit just about anywhere. A mig gun can be challenging at times because of it's size.
    Welding thick to thin with stick will take some practice. You watch the puddle and just let the puddle flow into the thin material. The rod is focused on the thicker and the puddle burns into the thin.
    Buy a quality machine and it will last a long time. Miller ,Lincoln, and Hobart have been around forever. If you are thinking on imports, Harbor Freight would be my choice. Buy instore and get extended warranty. IF you have issues, just return to store. There are many posts about online shipping returns of defective machines.

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Hey JJN - I'm late to the party in the thread here but reread BD1's post ^

    Quote Originally Posted by BD1 View Post
    A Miller Thunderbolt or Lincoln Tombstone AC/DC stick welder are great machines for the money. There are always around Craiglist or Facebook Marketplace by me. Most AC ones average $150 while the AC/DC closer to $300.00. Both are 220 volt .
    If your doing repairs on dirty, rusted, weathered metal, stick is definitely better. A stick rod will fit just about anywhere. A mig gun can be challenging at times because of it's size.
    Welding thick to thin with stick will take some practice. You watch the puddle and just let the puddle flow into the thin material. The rod is focused on the thicker and the puddle burns into the thin.
    Buy a quality machine and it will last a long time. Miller ,Lincoln, and Hobart have been around forever. If you are thinking on imports, Harbor Freight would be my choice. Buy instore and get extended warranty. IF you have issues, just return to store. There are many posts about online shipping returns of defective machines.
    I didn't read through every thread here, but I am a firm believer in a tombstone machine. The reason is they are very robust. If the world blew up the only two things left would be cockroaches and transformer stick welders.

    I am not as proficient of a welder as a lot of people on this forum, perhaps by a long shot, but I did learn how to weld from my dad in the mid-90's. We used a small flux core machine (I still have it, burned up on me which is why I went looking at welders in recent years). Dad got the small flux core machine for the same reason you hear about - they are easy to work with and learn on. For the kinds of things we used it for - lawnmower deck repairs mostly, other yard equipment, light repairs, etc - it worked. As I got older and got more in to fabrication I really started making use of the machine - but it being very limited it was hard to size projects to what the machine could do. That isn't the way to work. It should be the opposite. You should have the equipment to handle the projects you intend to weld.

    I looked hard at the inverter machines. Yes, you hear a lot of negatives about Everlast but they were on the top of my list because of their features and price point. I personally wouldn't buy a welder from HF, I understand the benefit of having an actual local store to complain to, but there are just some things from HF that I can't bring myself to buy and welders right now are one of those. I took a project over to a friends farm to weld because he has better equipment. We used a Lincoln AC225, older one. I had 3/8" and 1/2" plate I was welding to 1/4" wall square tube. We had more than enough weld power on the tombstone. That made an impression on me.

    What also made an impression on me is, once I started researching the machines, the quality of the real old stuff came through. If you look at the weight of a Round Top (Lincoln Idealarc 250, from about the early 80s and earlier back to the 50's or 60's) vs a modern AC 225 the Round Top is around 350-400lbs and an AC 225 is around 100lbs. BIG difference. Where is the weight? In the Idealarc it is in the transformer, reactor, and choke - all solid copper-wound. Welders aren't built like that these days. Well, if you want to buy a brand new shiny Idealarc 250 (and yes they are still made today - square bodies, round tops stopped in the 80's I think) you can - for about $4-5,000. If you look at the AC 225's of today and compare them to the old round tops, for example - they don't hold a candle to the old stuff. They just aren't robust. Not only that but you loose the infinitely adjustable current on the AC 225 - it has set positions/amperages. This makes it impossible to dial in precise amperage. On smaller stuff I find this important. I like running small (5/64") 7014 rod and when you get down there small adjustments in current make a big difference. That means the difference between not wetting in to the metal with too light of amperage and blowing through it with too much current - it is a fine balance. If all you are welding is thicker stuff the difference might not be as noticeable.

    So my humble opinion is right on the same track as BD1 - find you an old tombstone. Get one that does both AC and DC, not just AC, and has infinitely adjustable current, not a selector switch. They can be found surprisingly cheap. I think I paid about $150 for mine - round top with wheel cart and all leads including the power cord. The fan didn't work, but taking it apart I was able to free the bearings with some fluid film (lube dried up in the bearings was all - fluid film penetrated in and freed them right up). If I didn't care about the way it looked and just wanted it to weld I could have stopped there but I decided to fully restore it. Now it looks as good as it works.
    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/threads/7...87#post8764387

    If you get a tombstone that is reliable, even if you think it is a pain in the rear end to move it around, keep in mind you will always have something to weld with. If you go with an inverter down the road so you can move it around easier and it kicks the bucket you can fall back on the tombstone and keep going. If you only get an inverter machine and it goes down with no back up you're SOL. What does that down time mean? In a bit of an extreme example - if you are a farmer and have a narrow planting window with storms in the forecast that has a planter that breaks with 150 acres left you better have a way to get the planter back in the field. Without a replacement part right there to put on you have to repair it, bandaid repair if nothing else, so that planter can go - now. If your one and only welder is fried what do you do? I would rather be in a scenario where I have a fall-back position at the ready myself. Even if it means some heavy moving that is still able to be done, and much faster, than waiting for replacement parts for a welder or having a welder off somewhere for repair. What ever the example - broken boat trailer, loader frame on your tractor, home made wind turbine or tower, driveway gate, what ever.

    If you can set the welder up in a garage and weld in there, without needing to take the welder out in the field, I say start with a tombstone and learn on that then upgrade to an inverter later.
    Last edited by FlyFishn; 04-10-2021 at 09:45 AM.

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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Quote Originally Posted by JJN View Post
    One thing I cant quite understand is the thickness of metal and penetration and how that works with two very different thickness of metal.

    In my simple mind it seems the thicker the metal, the more amperage required for good penetration. Part of this confusion comes from specs stated with welders. For instance, a 140 amp wire feed sates it can weld up to 1/4". Yet, the amp settings that have been mentioned to weld the 11 gauge to 3/8" hinge plates is far less then that. And, the minimum size welder required seems to be ~150 amps. Far less then the 60-90 amps mentioned. Maybe some "overhead" current availability is required for the welder to perform.

    Also, it seems that stick welders with Arc Force, Dig and/or Hit Start is the way to go?
    Wire feed is a different process than stick, to put it simply.

    To start, you should flat-out not believe the specs of any bottom-barrel wire feed welder less than about $300 brand new, but I admit that is gross over-generalization, but I still feel it holds true, LOL. 99%, it is either a flat out lie, or it is being rated on a 120V 30A breaker, and not a typical 20A breaker of most modern US homes.

    2nd. A lot of cheap wire feed welders rate the "thickness capability" on BOTH a 30A breaker AND using gas-less flux-cored wire(E71T-GS or E71T-11). Gas-less flux cored wire has one distinct advantage over solid-wire mig. The reaction of the some flux constituents, the arc, and the atmosphere creates an exothermic reaction that in effect you get more heat than what is produced just solely from the electric arc. So, same-wire-diameter vs same-wire-diameter, at the same WFS, FCAW-S will produce more energy and thus heat at the weld pool than GMAW. IOW it just burns hotter, like if you had more amps (Source: Journal of Materials Research & Technology, August 2020)

    That exothermic reaction I was talking about with FCAW-S, is also related to why stick welding can produce the best-bang-for-the-amp even compared to wirefeed. 6011 and 6010 and other celluose based rods produce large amounts of diffusable hydrogen (which is not a good thing for a crack-sensitive metal), but at the same time the dissociation of the H₂ molecule under a high-voltage electric arc helps produce a deep penetrating "punchy" arc. Dissociated mono-atomic Hydrogen later recombines at the base metal which is the source of the resultant exothermic energy release that makes that digging, forceful arc that scoops out metal. So same thing, it's just a hotter burning process for cellulosic electrodes, mostly, but the same applies with other electrodes even if the H₂ reaction is not what produces it, there are other exothermic reactions that could be taking place from the flux constituents, just like with FCAW-S. (Sources: TWI-Global Article,
    Lateral Welding Article)

    That being said, stick electrode amperage range are rated by diameter, approx 1amp per 0.001" of rod diameter. Where as in wirefeed, there is a wider range because the length of the current carrying electrode is much shorter than a stick welding rod, it can handle more current the "1amp per .001" ball-park of stick electrodes, without suffering from the resistive heating losses that the stick electrode would suffer from.

    Arc Force/Dig generally refers to the same thing; when the machine detects a dropping voltage due to getting too close to the base metal, it increases the amps to try to prevent the rod from sticking. Hot-start is an increase in amps during the arc initiation to help it start to melt off quickly and easily. Typically about 10% if you are already near the top of the operating range of the rod electrode, or maybe closer to 25-30% if you are in the lower range. Just my preference of course. If your OCV is less than 60V, you may need a tad more to help compensate.
    Last edited by Oscar; 04-10-2021 at 03:26 PM.
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    Re: Welding 1/8" to 1/4" Steel - Driveway Gate Hinges and misc... Beware, OP is a No

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    ...That exothermic reaction I was talking about with FCAW-S, is also related to why stick welding can produce the best-bang-for-the-amp even compared to wirefeed. 6011 and 6010 and other celluose based rods produce large amounts of diffusable hydrogen (which is not a good thing for a crack-sensitive metal), but at the same time the dissociation of the H₂ molecule under a high-voltage electric arc helps produce a deep penetrating "punchy" arc. Dissociated mono-atomic Hydrogen later recombines at the base metal which is the source of the resultant exothermic energy release that makes that digging, forceful arc that scoops out metal. So same thing, it's just a hotter burning process for cellulosic electrodes, mostly, but the same applies with other electrodes even if the H₂ reaction is not what produces it...
    Interesting info...I don't think I ever knew about that.

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