View Full Version : Info needed on welding
05-31-2012, 11:04 AM
I am pretty clueless on welding. i want to buy one and learn. i know they have tig, mig, arc, and gas welders. i just want one for some basic welding when something steel breaks. my only experience is using an arc air cutting torch when we were drilling at the firehouse. it will have to plug intoo a standard 120V outlet. also since i am talking about welding, i have one more question. i have a fire hydrant hooked up to my deck around my pool. it was welded to a sheet of steel and then a 2" pipe was welded to the plate so i could connect it to the pump. that was close to 10 yrs ago. i am redoing the decking and the plate which was about 1/4" thick has rusted to 1/8" now. i would like it welded to a piece of diamond plate. i know they make it in aluminum, steel and stainless steel. which ones of those can be welded to the hydrant. (i think it is just some plain steel. i know it is heavy as hell, 2' tall and around 300 lbs) i would like the most corrosion proof metal. this will see lots of water and chlorine. thx!
edit: i dont plan on welding the hydrant myself, i will get an expert to do it.
video of it in action
05-31-2012, 02:28 PM
Since it has to plug into 120, your options are limited. I would get one with gas to help keep.your welds clean.
I've got one of each you listed :)
First I started with an arc/stick setup from Northern Tool (130A Clarke) that ran off of 110v. All that came out of that was frustration and a lot of learning experiences. I then bought a 220v Clarke MIG (180A) and set it up for gas shielded (using C25 currently, I could switch to tri-mix if I needed to weld stainless). It's welded everything from 18ga sheet to 1/4" in a single pass for me.
This was a night and day difference between the stick and MIG systems. I'm glad I started with stick, because later we had to take an introductory manufacturing techniques class in college and I was able to smoke the welding section of it (all stick and robotic MIG).
Then I got a great deal on a Thermal Arc stick/DC TIG package (will run 110 or 220v equally well, and it's very small due to an inverter) and picked up TIG immediately. There is a learning curve but easy if you have steady hands. It's a very slow, controlled, methodical way to go. I love relaxing and running a TIG bead. With this set, I'm able to weld everything but aluminum (it prefers AC for its cleaning abilities to get rid of the surface oxides).
Most recently (March) I got my first oxy-acetylene torch kit and have taken to that quickly as well. Used it to cut up some 1/4" 3x6 angle this weekend like butter. The welding process with the torch is very similar to TIG, heat up the joint and apply filler metal. Only difference is where the heat comes from.
You can definitely weld the hydrant to plate with some practice. It's best to join like metals, so if the hydrant is cast steel then grab another piece of plain steel and go at it. I believe you could weld it to stainless but if it's lasted this long without, I'd just go for the plain and save some cash. If you want stainless, pick a filler metal that's stainless as well.
How much are you looking to spend on a small setup?
05-31-2012, 06:32 PM
How much are you looking to spend on a small setup?
I've usually started by looking at a site like Northern's as they have a decent selection. Once I get a feel I might look around for a better price.
Here are two slightly out of your price range, but very versatile.
The duty cycle looks to be about the same on both, and you do get a gas regulator, hose and spool of solid wire with the second. Both use Tweco-style guns, replacement parts are WIDELY available for this style. You'll have to pony up another $150-250 for a bottle of shielding gas (I paid $225 for one about 30 inches high from Northern, but you might be able to get a smaller bottle at a cheaper price from a welding supply). There are pros and cons to using shielding gas or flux-cored wire. I've used both, and have the gas setup with the option to throw a spool of flux-cored wire in the feeder if I run out of gas or conditions don't permit. Both weld about the same, and you can use an anti-spatter spray on the base metal to prevent most of the spatter from sticking.
Gas pros - cleaner welds, less spatter, less time spent on cleanup
Gas cons - expensive to start, when using outside you've got to watch wind conditions so your shield doesn't leave your molten weld pool uncovered
Once you're done with the weld, you're finished. You can then let it cool, wipe it down and paint or continue with your project. This is a great time-saver and the process lends itself to a good-looking finished product. Note that the welds should look the same with either setup if you're welding at the correct settings.
Flux-core pros - simple, cheaper, use indoors or outdoors without worrying about weather conditions
Flux-core cons - slightly more spatter, need to clean slag off of finished weld before finishing or making another pass
Since you'll probably already have a grinder or wire brush out to prepare your base metals for welding, it shouldn't be too much more effort to brush slag and spatter off of the finished weld. If you've got your settings correct and make a decent weld, the slag will remove easily or even fall off as the weld cools. This depends on what kind of filler metal/wire you're using.
With the welders above, both say they can weld thin-gauge sheet up to 3/16 in one pass with proper prep. You can weld thicker metals by making multiple passes, and this is common practice too.
05-31-2012, 07:53 PM
thanks for all the info!!:)
Glad to help! If you run into any trouble or have more questions throw em up here!
06-01-2012, 04:15 AM
Clip is getting you sorted pretty well there Tony. Remember these two things as well if you want to weld good.
You must be able to see. A good helmet & lenses are paramount.
Get comfortable. A comfortable position makes for a steady hand, support that hand.
O's correct. A good helmet makes a great difference in welding. I'm using a cheap auto-darkening mask that came with my 220v MIG, but was thinking about upgrading to this:
They went on sale at the beginning of May from $175 to $99, looks like they've got the same specs as the Miller Elite but for 25% of the price. I'm positive these won't be the same quality as the Millers, but for homeowner use they should be pretty badass.
06-01-2012, 07:24 AM
Just picked up a nice Miller Performance, the Jackson that I wanted was out of stock. A nice lid makes a ton of difference, but they don't come cheap.
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