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Thread: Almost new to welding

  1. #1
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    Almost new to welding

    Hey folks!

    I did some basic MIG welding 25 years ago on jobs between semesters. Recently I had the need for some aluminum fabrication for my camper conversion and other projects and finally decided to get into proper TIG welding.

    Since I can't stand cheap / China tools I bought a Fronius 230i. Matching Bluetooth helmet and pedal are on their way.

    I also ordered a nice Langmuir welding table. Will be picking up a 100% argon cylinder tomorrow.

    For starters I'll have to learn, and once I got the basics down, I'd like to fabricate some basic mounts from your average aluminum angles etc to be found at Home Depot.

    I did a bunch of reading and watched a good number of videos on YouTube, but what I'm struggling with are the filler rods.

    I'd like to buy a set of QUALITY rods that will cover 1/8th and 1/4th aluminum pieces and angles.

    1.) What is a good online shop to go to?

    2.) What would be a good assortment to start with?


    Arrived today. I'm stoked!


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  2. #2
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    Re: Almost new to welding

    New to tig myself, so can’t give much but wanted to provide a bit of input that I’ve picked up. I’m with you on buying quality parts, and a quick google search on aluminum filler wire. Personally I use McMaster Carr for all parts I want in bulk, they are always high quality and ship quickly + they show every detail and spec of the part you buy. Here is a picture below (hopefully it shows up) of recommended aluminum filler diameter, as for the “type” I only know the ones for mild steel, so you’ll need someone in here with a bit more experience to step in. Happy Welding.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Have you established a relationship with your LWS yet? Where did you pick up your Fronius?
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
    MillerDynasty700DX,Dynasty350DX4ea,Dynasty200DX,Li ncolnSW200-2ea.,MillerMatic350P,MillerMatic200w/spoolgun,MKCobraMig260,Lincoln SP-170T,PlasmaCam/Hypertherm1250,HFProTig2ea,MigMax1ea.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Quote Originally Posted by GoK4rtFanatic View Post
    New to tig myself, so canít give much but wanted to provide a bit of input that Iíve picked up. Iím with you on buying quality parts, and a quick google search on aluminum filler wire. Personally I use McMaster Carr for all parts I want in bulk, they are always high quality and ship quickly + they show every detail and spec of the part you buy. Here is a picture below (hopefully it shows up) of recommended aluminum filler diameter, as for the ďtypeĒ I only know the ones for mild steel, so youíll need someone in here with a bit more experience to step in. Happy Welding.

    Awesome table, thank you so much! I googled for this last night and found some data sheets, but they had been way over the top for me. I can work with yours.

    Also good call on McMaster Carr, they have a much better selection compared Home Depot and provide all the specs. I used them for my C channel roof rack on my campervan conversion. Orders arrived within 2 days.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    Have you established a relationship with your LWS yet? Where did you pick up your Fronius?
    Almost sounds like the hassle you have to go through when buying a Rolex, by establishing a relationship with your authorized dealer. lol

    I will call around this morning for that argon bottle and see how that goes with local stores. In almost all cases I don't find what I want locally, especially quality tools and hardware, and have to order online. Same with my 230i. Fronius has an online demo shop where they sell returns and demo units, often for a 30 plus % discount. They may show some slight wear but come with full warranty and support. I asked for the 230i a month ago and they said that they will get in a demo unit but it may take a couple weeks. I almost gave up and then the email popped up saying that they have one demo in stock, so I acted fast.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Quote Originally Posted by crockett View Post
    Almost sounds like the hassle you have to go through when buying a Rolex, by establishing a relationship with your authorized dealer. lol

    I will call around this morning for that argon bottle and see how that goes with local stores. In almost all cases I don't find what I want locally, especially quality tools and hardware, and have to order online. Same with my 230i. Fronius has an online demo shop where they sell returns and demo units, often for a 30 plus % discount. They may show some slight wear but come with full warranty and support. I asked for the 230i a month ago and they said that they will get in a demo unit but it may take a couple weeks. I almost gave up and then the email popped up saying that they have one demo in stock, so I acted fast.
    Did you get the watercooler ?


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    Re: Almost new to welding

    No. I won't be doing any long lasting work or large work pieces.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Nice setup. Since you are doing aluminum, you will probably want a cooler sooner than later.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    [QUOTE=crockett;8831481]H

    I did a bunch of reading and watched a good number of videos on YouTube, but what I'm struggling with are the filler rods.

    I'd like to buy a set of QUALITY rods that will cover 1/8th and 1/4th aluminum pieces and angles.

    1.) What is a good online shop to go to?

    2.) What would be a good assortment to start with?


    i'm pretty basic w/ alum, 4043 and 5356 does everything i ever needed. like said about cooler, i dont think u'll be doing much over 150-180 amps w/o cooler. also, w/ car/welder and all, the package is incomplete unless u have the miami vice .45 , huh? i got the holster, but no gun
    Last edited by 123weld; 10-21-2021 at 12:16 AM.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Quote Originally Posted by shovelon View Post
    Have you established a relationship with your LWS yet? Where did you pick up your Fronius?
    Well, I called around, found one shop that claimed to have new cylinders, I made the 30 mile trip (one way), and that ****bag lied to me. All cylinders rusted and painted over countless times. His selection on rods was a joke too, several sizes sold out. Then he overcharged me on some gloves. Going price online with shipping is 20 bucks, he charged 30.

    And just like that, I'm done again with local shopping. I literally can't stand dealing with sales people, so I'll be ordering EVERYTHING online, and find another place for recharges only. Relationship with a local store my ***.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    There really isn't such a thing as a new cylinder. When you "own" a cylinder in these parts..........you "own title". Which means you can sell the cylinder to anyone, or have it filled at other than the LWS you bought it from. "Owner" cylinders are distinguished from lease cylinders mostly by size in a lot of cases. Owner cylinders are usually smaller than lease cylinders around here. That may be different in other parts of the country.

    "Filled" is a term of art. In most cases it's an exchange, not a fill per se. You simply swap out your empty. How it looks (rust, crappy paint) doesn't matter. You just get one out of the row of "fulls".

    I own 3 O2 bottles, an Acetylene bottle, and two Chemtane tanks. The only ones that get a true, while you wait, refill are the two Chemtane tanks that hold Propane.

    Anyways.........sounds like you're getting geared up for some fun Hope you get it all squared away.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Quote Originally Posted by crockett View Post
    Well, I called around, found one shop that claimed to have new cylinders, I made the 30 mile trip (one way), and that ****bag lied to me. All cylinders rusted and painted over countless times. His selection on rods was a joke too, several sizes sold out. Then he overcharged me on some gloves. Going price online with shipping is 20 bucks, he charged 30.

    And just like that, I'm done again with local shopping. I literally can't stand dealing with sales people, so I'll be ordering EVERYTHING online, and find another place for recharges only. Relationship with a local store my ***.
    Attitude like that will get you no where. First... you're buying an exchange cylinder... not a new car, rusty scrapes, flaky paint are common on them. When it runs out, you take it back and get another one. You have title to a cylinder but not any particular one. Odds are they exchange without any hassle. Recharges of your "pet" cylinder are something of a pipe dream anymore, most suppliers have their cylinders filled 100-200 miles away at a central facility, meaning 2 weeks turnaround... If they will fill YOURS.
    Can't comment on the gloves but my commercial account gets me 30% off on stuff like that so a box of stick gloves (good ones) is about $9 a pair. And I'm sure they would order any particular rod you asked for. But hey... order it all online and see how that goes.
    And yeah, for several years I did thousands in business with my guys every month. 6010 by the pallet, oh, need a new engine drive machine? sign the paper and drive off with it in the back of the truck. That is called cultivating a relationship.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Quote Originally Posted by 12V71 View Post
    Attitude like that will get you no where. First... you're buying an exchange cylinder... not a new car, rusty scrapes, flaky paint are common on them. When it runs out, you take it back and get another one. You have title to a cylinder but not any particular one. Odds are they exchange without any hassle. Recharges of your "pet" cylinder are something of a pipe dream anymore, most suppliers have their cylinders filled 100-200 miles away at a central facility, meaning 2 weeks turnaround... If they will fill YOURS.
    Can't comment on the gloves but my commercial account gets me 30% off on stuff like that so a box of stick gloves (good ones) is about $9 a pair. And I'm sure they would order any particular rod you asked for. But hey... order it all online and see how that goes.
    And yeah, for several years I did thousands in business with my guys every month. 6010 by the pallet, oh, need a new engine drive machine? sign the paper and drive off with it in the back of the truck. That is called cultivating a relationship.
    That's how I got my engine drive.

    We had a record breaking ice storm, and the power was out for about 2 weeks IIRC.

    I knew it was gonna be bad, and I was taking care of my parents at the time. I hotfooted it to the LWS, and tried to buy the engine drive. They were all sold out.

    I get a call later in the day...........................They had been sending a truck to OKC to pick up more welders, and one buyer backed out before the truck got back. Did I want the welder? You betcha!! Paid the same price it was before the storm, didn't get gouged. That's what a business relationship boils down to. I've been crossing their doorstep for over 20yrs. One hand washes the other.

    Ran that thing for all the daylight hours, on into about 8:00 in the evening for the entire duration of the power outage. Had to drive to another county go get gas for it because the filling stations didn't have power either. It was one Hell of a time. Gas was running around $4 at the time, maybe a bit less. They had to have heat, and there wasn't a question as to what had to be done. I didn't want them over there running the gas range for heat. Ran drops to the furnaces in both houses, and rode it out. Another reason I'd never have a home running on electric heat. Propane can save your life.

  17. #14
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    Re: Almost new to welding

    I'm getting my popcorn.

    Bloke that has 3k plus to drop on a fronius machine with no TIG experience and get the ****'s about old gas cylinders that's and doesn't seem to get the value of having a local bloke that might be slightly more expensive than online but has the **** he needs when he needs it.

    I bet there's a good deal going on a Fronius magicwave 230i very soon.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Hi Crockett,

    I like how you started out with a top quality machine. I like that approach a lot more than "what's the cheapest machine that will let me do x"

    However,

    A relationship with LWS is very important if you plan to do any sort of quantity of welding. I have a relationship with 3 local shops and a few more besides, for speciality stuff.

    You don't need to trust all their advice, but usually they have something useful to bring to the table. Whether it be advice, fault finding, material selections, whatever.
    Bricks+mortar shops will often charge more than online prices, with good reason - they have higher overheads!

    As said above, you won't often find a superb clean shiny gas tank, they aren't things of beauty, they're reusable containers for a consumable.

    If you can learn to TIG weld alloy to a good standard without any personal interaction with anyone other than the internet, then i take my hat off to you. It's very rare anyone can do this, and usually their standard of "good" is not the same as a professional standard.
    Someone to help you along is invaluable.
    Murphy's Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.

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  21. #16
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    Re: Almost new to welding

    To the OP, just order a new cylinder from Amazon or Ebay. Then get some letter stamps and hammer your name along the sides.
    You can always order refill gas from the same places. It will come in a box that fits your size cylinder.

    Everything above is sarcasm.

    Yes, you can buy a new and shiny cylinder online. There are generally two ways to refill it.
    Go to a local welding shop and swap for whatever rusty cylinder they have on hand.
    Or the same place may be able to fill your clean cylinder. Some can fill on-site. Some have to send the cylinder to another location so you have to wait.


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  23. #17
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    Almost new to welding

    Quote Originally Posted by crockett View Post
    Almost sounds like the hassle you have to go through when buying a Rolex, by establishing a relationship with your authorized dealer. lol
    .
    Yes. My "authorized" Rolex dealer is such a ******bag.


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  25. #18
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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Last time I went to the Rolex dealer, to appraise a rolex. He told me it was fake. What an jerk, uh...I will never go there again. So what if it was free, given to me by a former student returning from a tour in Afghanistan He had picked several watches for cheap... I mean " too good to be true"

  26. #19
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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    There really isn't such a thing as a new cylinder. When you "own" a cylinder in these parts..........you "own title". Which means you can sell the cylinder to anyone, or have it filled at other than the LWS you bought it from. "Owner" cylinders are distinguished from lease cylinders mostly by size in a lot of cases. Owner cylinders are usually smaller than lease cylinders around here. That may be different in other parts of the country.

    "Filled" is a term of art. In most cases it's an exchange, not a fill per se. You simply swap out your empty. How it looks (rust, crappy paint) doesn't matter. You just get one out of the row of "fulls".

    I own 3 O2 bottles, an Acetylene bottle, and two Chemtane tanks. The only ones that get a true, while you wait, refill are the two Chemtane tanks that hold Propane.

    Anyways.........sounds like you're getting geared up for some fun Hope you get it all squared away.
    Quote Originally Posted by 12V71 View Post
    Attitude like that will get you no where. First... you're buying an exchange cylinder... not a new car, rusty scrapes, flaky paint are common on them. When it runs out, you take it back and get another one. You have title to a cylinder but not any particular one. Odds are they exchange without any hassle. Recharges of your "pet" cylinder are something of a pipe dream anymore, most suppliers have their cylinders filled 100-200 miles away at a central facility, meaning 2 weeks turnaround... If they will fill YOURS.
    Can't comment on the gloves but my commercial account gets me 30% off on stuff like that so a box of stick gloves (good ones) is about $9 a pair. And I'm sure they would order any particular rod you asked for. But hey... order it all online and see how that goes.
    And yeah, for several years I did thousands in business with my guys every month. 6010 by the pallet, oh, need a new engine drive machine? sign the paper and drive off with it in the back of the truck. That is called cultivating a relationship.


    That's nonsense. You can buy brand new cylinders, filled, even at Amazon.

    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=argon+cyl...f=nb_sb_noss_1

    If you don't care how your gear looks, good for you. I do. These are some of my C02 tanks... I get them refilled without a single scratch every time.



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    I had 2 questions, not counting one guy I only gest asked questions and input that doesn't help me.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Quote Originally Posted by Munkul View Post
    If you can learn to TIG weld alloy to a good standard without any personal interaction with anyone other than the internet, then i take my hat off to you. It's very rare anyone can do this, and usually their standard of "good" is not the same as a professional standard.
    Someone to help you along is invaluable.
    That's exactly how I have mastered several skills. This sales guy from yesterday was entirely useless and lied to me. You only get to do that once with me, and you will be ignored ever since. I gave it a shot and I'm done. Going to order aluminum, gear and consumables at places like McMaster-Carr, Baker Gas, Grainger etc. I got my welder with a huge discount of 30%, Baker gas gave me quotes below retail / MAP as well.

    I don't mind paying the overhead, if it goes together with honesty, quality products, proper selection. That's almost impossible to find these days, because too many customers generate demand for cheap crap, shop owners are always inclined to sell what they have in stock or what is sitting on the shelves unsold for too long etc. None of the local shops carry Fronius for example.

    So yeah, but I'm not here to justify what I buy and where I buy it. I had 2 questions, looks like I'll figure it out myself.
    Last edited by crockett; 10-21-2021 at 01:34 PM.

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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Quote Originally Posted by tapwelder View Post
    Last time I went to the Rolex dealer, to appraise a rolex. He told me it was fake. What an jerk, uh...I will never go there again. So what if it was free, given to me by a former student returning from a tour in Afghanistan He had picked several watches for cheap... I mean " too good to be true"

    I'm on the waiting list for the "new" steel Pepsi, for 3 years now. I don't think it will happen, because I refuse to buy a bunch of crap at my AD just to move up on the VIP list. Rolex long had an opportunity to increase production but they rather like the shortage in an attempt to bolster the "luxury" brand image. Not my style and I may end up just buying more watches from SINN, IWC, ORIS, etc.

  29. #22
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    Re: Almost new to welding

    4943 filler melts at a few degrees lower than aluminum material. It's easier to get it to wet out (good fusion) I think Hobart Maxall is the only producer. It's stronger than 4043, I believe otherwise interchangeable.

    5356 is used for other than 5000 & 6000 series aluminum.

    I bought equal volume of 1/16, 3/32, & 1/8. I've used mostly 3/32.

    Tungsten, I'll use about any variety. Some prefer Lanthanated, others T3, I have more thoriated cause it is cheap. Again, you'll use 3/32 more than the other sizes.

    I like a gas lens, a screen diffuser much like a faucet aerator, reduces shielding gas turbulence.
    Last edited by Willie B; 10-21-2021 at 01:46 PM.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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  31. #23
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    Re: Almost new to welding

    That is cool. I know nothing about Rolex, other than i had a fake one until my child named "wasnt me" used it as a hammer.

    I agree with those saying, Cultivate a relationship with your lws. Every welder I ever bought locally has been competitively priced. Yesterday, I called a steel supplier, i have minimal dealing with, searching for steel with a certain profile. They quoted me 75 bucks for the same stuff my regular vendor has. Called my regular vendor today and they quoted me $40 bucks.

    So, no need to hit reset every time you go to a vendor. Cultivate a relationship and they will help you out.

    Good luck

  32. #24
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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Quote Originally Posted by crockett View Post
    That's exactly how I have mastered several skills. This sales guy from yesterday was entirely useless and lied to me. You only get to do that once with me, and you will be ignored ever since. I gave it a shot and I'm done. Going to order aluminum, gear and consumables at places like McMaster-Carr, Baker Gas, Grainger etc. I got my welder with a huge discount of 30%, Baker gas gave me quotes below retail / MAP as well.

    I don't mind paying the overhead, if it goes together with honesty, quality products, proper selection. That's almost impossible to find these days, because too many customers generate demand for cheap crap, shop owners are always inclined to sell what they have in stock or what is sitting on the shelves unsold for too long etc. None of the local shops carry Fronius for example.

    So yeah, but I'm not here to justify what I buy and where I buy it. I had 2 questions, looks like I'll figure it out myself.
    Mate you have such a rotten attitude I can smell the rot seeping through.

    If you can "Master" welding all on your lonesome (which it sounds like you'll no no choice but to with your **** attitude) then we need to start a petition to get Tony stark out of the ironman suite and Crockett into it.

    The LWS didn't lie to you, they have new gas in bottles, the bottle is the packaging for the commodity your buying not the commodity itself, you having warped expectations of what your getting because you don't know a thing about welding is a you problem, and by the looks of it will remain a you problem..

    Why don't you show us your watch collection?.

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  34. #25
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    Re: Almost new to welding

    Quote Originally Posted by crockett View Post
    I got my welder with a huge discount of 30%,



    I don't mind paying the overhead, if it goes together with honesty, quality products, proper selection. That's almost impossible to find these days, because too many customers generate demand for cheap crap, shop owners are always inclined to sell what they have in stock or what is sitting on the shelves unsold for too long etc. .

    It would appear that you are contradicting yourself.

    Would it not be safe to assume the Fronius was heavily discounted because it was sitting around too long ??


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