Any welders onboard?

Hammers to Chainsaws

Any welders onboard?

Postby Rich » 25 Sep 2012 19:29

I've been wanting a welder for some time. However, every time a welding job comes up, it quickly becomes more economical to hire someone, particularly when I have a friend with a welder. At present, I have no such friends and I need some welding done again.

Now I'm looking at several small jobs, all structural, most on 1/8 to 1/2 inch steel, so I don't care about looks. I'm thinking of getting a 240v lincoln AC stick welder. At $300 it should do everything I need but economically. Any different opinions? I already have an expensive welding book and helmet and jacket and gloves from years ago when I had a friend doing the welding that I fitted up on a 4x4 truck.
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Re: Any welders onboard?

Postby Littlestepper » 25 Sep 2012 23:13

With a stick welder you're going to run into a bunch of opinions. The one you're looking at will do whatever you want. It's all about the stick you use and your touch, and a stick welder is a lot of touch.

I'm not so much a welder as I can stick stuff together. Welding in itself is an art, that as far as I'm concerned, you can either do elegantly or not. And I can not :).

Before we went to a MIG, I think we started using a 7018. Seemed to be a pretty good job, and with a smaller diameter rod you could do some finer work. Hard to strike and you need clean metal. Has to be stored in a sealed dry container.

Not that it's good work but if you can zoom in you can see that's it's on fairly fine metal and this was done using 7018.

Image

I want to say before that we were using a 60 series, maybe a 6010 but I can't remember for sure. You could weld rust to rust with it and easy to strike but sloppy to use. We stored this in open containers and it would always seem to work.


Again I'm no professional and personally I'm currently in love with the MIG. Using the same wire I can turn her down and weld 16 gauge galvanized or crank her up and melt 1/2" together. But we used a stick on the farm forever. It works. My vote, for $300 get it and start playing around with it. Go to a welding shop and ask what they suggest for an all around use rod, they'll hem and haw a bit (because everything's got it's uses), but get 5 lbs. of a couple of the types they suggest and play with it and see what works for ya.

The work on the frame of the chicken coop was done with the MIG. As you can see it's pretty rusty stuff, and since it was gas pipe it was coated with some protectant as well. Now knock on wood a wheel hasn't fallen off yet, and it fell off a tractor on it's maiden voyage, from about 6' high, so the welds seem to be holding :D .
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Re: Any welders onboard?

Postby Rich » 26 Sep 2012 12:08

Excellent feedback! I really liked the MIG the few times I've worked alongside one. What worries me about MIG is the problems with rusty wire and the costs for gas and parts. Far prettier welds, though. My friend doing that welding had only a few hours of experience and yet everything looked great to my eyes.

Will let you know how my first projects go!
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Re: Any welders onboard?

Postby Rich » 07 Dec 2012 06:24

I got to do some welding at work as training for a new job I'm supervising. Only about 6 hours worth but I got to DC stick weld in horizontal and vertical positions, arc-blast in horizontal (type of high output MIG), cut with ox-acetylene, and watch carbon arcing. Also learned about crayons and interpass temperatures and preheat.

Definitely think I now want a DC stick welder. My welds weren't pretty but they seemed more than adequate structurally. I'm already asking if they can let me try some TIG welding next.
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Re: Any welders onboard?

Postby Rich » 25 Dec 2012 17:14

DC welding is better for me (to quote millerwelds.com):
DC welding offers advantages over AC for most Stick applications, including: easier starts; fewer arc outages and sticking; less spatter/better looking welds; easier vertical up and overhead welding; easier to learn "how to weld" and a smoother arc. DC reverse polarity (electrode positive) provides about 10 percent more penetration at a given amperage than AC, while DC straight polarity (electrode negative) welds thinner metals better.
At work I asked about using AC to stick weld and they looked at me like I was crazy. Turns out they only use DC except for doing TIG on aluminum.

Now I'm trying to decide between transformer and inverter. Inverter will be more efficient, using less juice, lighterweight (huge for me as I'll have to lug it around to get many of the jobs done), less resistant to humidity/temperature due to more electronics, less reliability history (so a long warranty is more important), more tolerant of low voltage due to electricity setup on a farm (500' lines is pretty common to most of my buildings).

Currently looking at the Everlast Powerarc 200 and they have a 20% sale for a few more days due to the holidays.
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Re: Any welders onboard?

Postby Ekiwinox » 27 Dec 2012 00:55

I have absolutely no qualifications to answer your post. But lets not let that stop my enthusiasm to be of some help. Is there a school nearby that teaches these things? If you need some work done that is not with in your limits maybe put notices up at the grocery store or at a place nearby a place that does this type of work. Or simply set yourself down at a bar with a good beer near letting out time for a company that has this type of skilled and certified worker. Chat. Use your networking skills.
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Re: Any welders onboard?

Postby Rich » 27 Dec 2012 01:06

At my job I have a couple of people who helped me learn basic horizontal and vertical (on the 45 degree) welding. I believe that I can orient all of my work in those two positions so it should be fairly simple.

I do have a few structural jobs to do, not highway-structural but rather for lifting around the farm. Will have to do it and test it before really trusting it. None of it will endanger my life if the loads fall. I'm already trying to figure out to build a lifting rig without welding chain.

I wish I had taken a course many years ago but now there is no time. I think I will be okay. When I get stuck I'll go back to the guy who helped me at my job. He offered to spend some more time with me. I also have a couple of process guides that walk me through the settings/wire thicknesses.

If I was doing anything more than mild steel I would be worried.

The last time I did highway-structural (shock mounts, bumper hangers, etc) I was working with a friend doing MIG welding while I set up and cleaned up the work. He was self-taught and the stuff held up very well.
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Re: Any welders onboard?

Postby Rich » 14 Jan 2013 19:57

Littlestepper wrote:Before we went to a MIG, I think we started using a 7018. Seemed to be a pretty good job, and with a smaller diameter rod you could do some finer work. Hard to strike and you need clean metal. Has to be stored in a sealed dry container.

Not that it's good work but if you can zoom in you can see that's it's on fairly fine metal and this was done using 7018.

Again I'm no professional and personally I'm currently in love with the MIG. Using the same wire I can turn her down and weld 16 gauge galvanized or crank her up and melt 1/2" together. But we used a stick on the farm forever. It works. My vote, for $300 get it and start playing around with it. Go to a welding shop and ask what they suggest for an all around use rod, they'll hem and haw a bit (because everything's got it's uses), but get 5 lbs. of a couple of the types they suggest and play with it and see what works for ya.


Been asking around a lot at my job and everyone uses 7018 here for DC stick welding on mild steel, from the thin 1/8" on up. So I have bought several different sizes of filler rod in 7018 and should be ready to weld here shortly after I finish a few other projects.
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Re: Any welders onboard?

Postby Rich » 02 May 2013 06:43

Been doing some welding. Had to re-wire my shed but now I have a working plug.

One question: If I'm using 7018 do I need to bake the rods? Currently I'm trying to keep them in low moisture environments (my house) and in a somewhat air-tight container. Should I do anything else?
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Re: Any welders onboard?

Postby Littlestepper » 02 May 2013 10:49

We don't do anything special. The way I understand it on those rods, once the seal is broken on them, they're on their way to going bad. Short of vacuum sealing them with some desiccant packets. I used to buy the 5 lbs. packs of those and when I would open one they went in a PVC tube I made from 2" PVC, a cap, and one of those quick on/off pressure test caps. I haven't used any in quite a while now to tell you if they still work or not. I know those rods are supposed to be pretty sensitive that way.
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