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Beginning welding questions

 
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mpilot



Joined: 19 Jan 2010
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19 10 2:00 pm    Post subject: Beginning welding questions Reply with quote

Hi guys. I have been lurking for a few weeks now and am about ready to start my cooker project, but I have a hurdle to get over first. I have been wanting to learn to weld for a while and I think this might be a good chance to learn this valuable skill. My grandfather was a welder in the Air Force a long time ago and can make beautiful and very strong welds and weld just about anything, but there is a problem....I just moved back to my hometown and he will not be able to teach me for the foreseeable future due to the fact he blew out a retina in one eye and has a cataract in the other. Trying to teach to weld with little vision is not a venture either one of us want to undertake at this time. He has MIG/TIG/and Arc setups but I would also like to buy my own wirefeed mig welder ASAP as well. To summarize I have a few questions:

1. What is the best way to learn how to weld? Should I just go to his shop and get some scrap metal and do it by trial and error until I figure it out, or should I try and take a class on it?

2. Is MIG welding the best for cookers because of the versatility of this and some of the thin metals, or is Arc just as good for this application?

3. What kind of learning curve should I expect. I have done a good bit of electronics soldering as well as some coper soldering for home improvement/irrigation installations (have to tie to some old water meters unfortunately)

Thanks in advance and I look forward to any guidance you can give me!
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19 10 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the ring mpilot, looking forward to seeing some pics of your cooks. Smile And following your cooker build. Smile
#1-What is the best way to learn?
If at all possible a class is best, you will be taught so much more than just sticking two pieces of metal together.

#2- Is Mig better for cookers? That is a loaded question, I stick weld and that is all I do. I believe there is a place in every shop for wire feeds and stick machines, both turn out beautiful welds in my opinion.

#3- Mig is a lot easier to learn as far as processes go.

I hope this helps and if you have any more questions feel free to ask. Smile
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19 10 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience is the exact opposite of K.A.Ms

I got started with MIG/TIG and can stick weld but not nearly as nice as what he does.

The learning curve with a good MIG set up isn't IMHO as steep as other methods and produces good results for most novices.

Look for an on-line short course in techniques (there should be plenty of do-it-yourself youtube etc. type stuff available).

It will make the experience a lot better if you have some basics in mind before getting started.

Great story about your granddad- even if he isn't available to strike the arc I bet he can give you a lot of helpful tips.

Good luck with your project.
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mpilot



Joined: 19 Jan 2010
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19 10 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does help very much. I have read through your cook for your daughters boss as well as your current and the new one has been my motivation to build a cooker. I currently have a large gas grill that I can slow cook ribs and such on and it is fairly effective and I have even done some water cooking and tray smoking and gotten decent results but I want to dive right in. My grandfather has talked me through the basics I guess you should say and can help me if it isn't something he has to use his eyes very much for. Don't get me wrong he isn't blind...lol...but he can't see small details. Also my neighbor is a family friend who was a logger so he can weld as well and said he would answer questions but I don't want him to teach me all the way because his welds are ugly. haha. He makes "gorilla" welds as my grandfather calls them b/c they are very strong but not much on the eyes. I also got a call this morning on a craigslist add I had posted so I have a guy that may trade me a stick and a mig welder for some old equipment I had laying around, so that would be a great start on a shop Smile Thanks again for the response and if I can get in a class that starts soon if there are still spots open.
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20 10 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mpilot, Your Granfather sounds a lot like mine Very Happy He was and will always be my Hero. He taught me so much growing up. He was a Ship fitter and Machinist. You might consider getting your Grand father an auto hood and put a cheater lens in there. I use a 1.50 in my hood and it brings my weld puddle back to where I was when I had perfect sight in my 20's Smile
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mpilot



Joined: 19 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20 10 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He already has one of those but until he gets cataract surgery in the coming weeks it doesn't help but I talked to him a few minutes today when I stopped by his shop. When he gets fixed at least he will have a good eye again. Well he can see out of the other but mostly just hazy shapes. I am not a doctor but apparantly when your retina detaches from your eyeball you are lucky to even see what he does out of it.

He said he will walk me through setting up my work area, machine, metal etc but I will have to teach myself the actual welding part through trial and error. Also I traded some old equipment I had around for a small arc welder and mig setup with the gauges and all Smile. Pretty productive day today. Just gotta go pick them up tomorrow so I can start playing. I watched some online vids about welding too. Thanks again for the tips/advice.
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Smokin Mike
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Joined: 02 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20 10 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mpilot wrote:
I also got a call this morning on a craigslist add I had posted so I have a guy that may trade me a stick and a mig welder for some old equipment I had laying around, so that would be a great start on a shop Smile


Be sure to post up the make and model number of what you're looking at. There's some machines that just won't do the job on the heavier gauge stuff you'll be working on.
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az mike
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20 10 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just weld, and weld and weld. The experience is what you need. Make sure you have a good hood. If you are aged in the optical area get a magnified lens. If you can't see what you are doing you will be frustrated. My son Patrick took my hood away, he was afraid someone would think HE did the welds that were mine!!
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mpilot



Joined: 19 Jan 2010
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21 10 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay so got the welder today Smile It even came with some electrodes to start with. A few questions first though before I start tinkering tomorrow.

1. I am going to get welding gloves tomorrow...what is the difference in those and in reqular thick leather gloves? I have a pair of good gloves coming from a friend through the fire department, so I just need a pair to get me through the next week or so.

2. What is the difference between the goggles for welding and the full helmet? Also I am looking at just a basic Hobart flip helmet to get me started before I invest a bunch in it. Also where is the best place for an inexpensive helmet? I am thinking of going to Northern and Harbor Freight tomorrow to price and pick up a cheap brush/hammer set too.

3. What kind of electrodes should I look for when I buy some? I will be welding on regular steel mostly and most of it will be around 1/8" thick.

THanks again for all your help!
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Cranky Buzzard
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21 10 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another good thing to do to get your feet wet and build some confidence is to go to the scrap yard and buy a couple of 5-gallon buckets full of small scrap metal of different sizes, shapes, thickness etc...

Take those and start welding them up. This will get you practice on filling gaps, butt welds, filets, etc... It will also help you determine amp settings and get some experience welding not perfectly clean steel.

After you weld a couple of chunks together and think you have a good solid weld, give it a test.

Place the welded piece of metal over a couple of pieces of pipe or angle with the weld in the center. Then knock the crap out of the weld with a BIG hammer (BFH). If it holds you know you are getting good penetration and a good weld.

Dad did this to me and our Ag teacher did as well.

Charlie
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az mike
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21 10 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cranky B, That would have been my first recomendation to get started welding-- take AG Shop! Both my sons and one daughter all figured it out there.
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Wreckless
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21 10 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goggles are for Oxy-Gas welding. Arc welding has ultraviolet rays and much brighter than gas so you will need a hood and the appropriate lens. Since this will be your first hood, go with an auto darkening right from the get go. I don't own one ( wish I did) and do not know if they auto comes with a flip up lense or not. I like the flip up lense with a clear protective shield for chipping slag without having to go to my goggles.
As for gloves, many use the guantlet gloves but I use regular all leather gloves as I can't feel a darn thing with the guantlet type. and Northern has a good deal on an auto shield ( $50?) last I looked. As far as rods go..I use 6011 and 7018 AC ( I have no choice on the AC cause I skimped on my machine) but KAM and others will be bye shortly for advice on that soon I am sure and better informed. I just wanted to add my $.02 worth before you had a chance to go spend $$ on goggles.
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