I'm getting the itch to do mods to my JK 08 Unl Rubi and was wondering how much your entire welding setup cost you and how long it took you to learn to run a decent bead? I'm trying to save some money on the bumpers / skids by fabricating my own, but don't have any experience with welding. Any help / info you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Where do you order your metal from? I'd really like to take the mods and maintenance of my jeep into my own hands.
for the Hobart Handler 187 like I have. It doesn't look like there are any on there right now but they sell "A-grade" Factory reconditioned welders, basically welders that had the box opened and were sent back to be inspected by Hobart/Miller. Mine looked brand new, the only thing was it came with a brand new Miller M10 Mig gun instead of the Hobart. Miller produces Hobart welders and most all parts are interchangeable. I believe I spent $579 on the welder. I wanna say Tractor Supply has the best "brand new" price of $649 if you can't find it somewhere for a better deal.
I went to my local welding supplier and picked up a 60 cuft bottle of C25/Argon on sale for $115 with the first fill free. They were on sale so I suggest you check with a supplier local to you and see what they can do there. Each additional fill cost me $28. To run gas you need a roll of solid MIG wire so I picked up a 10lb spool of .35 from tractor supply for $30 and some .35 contact tips ($5)
Thats what you need for the welder, gas and wire. You still have to get a hood, jacket, and gloves (i spent about $100). As well as nozzle jell and a wire brush if you don't have one. I bought the $49 hood from Northern Tool and it has worked well but I may upgrade soon now that I'm getting the hang of it to get a little more clearer view at the weld pool. The cheapo hood from Northern is a good auto darkening hood for a beginner but if you have the money I'd suggest a little nicer hood to be able to see a little more clearly as the Northern tool hood has a small viewing area and is a little cloudy at times when running a bead IMO.
So total I spent $579+115+35+100= $829
Also, if you don't already have one I'd highly suggest a cheap angle grinder with a wire wheel for cleaning your work and welds , grinding and cutting discs, and a flap disc for finishing edges. I'm thinking about buying a second one so I don't have to change discs all the time while I'm working.
As far as the learning process. My local welding shop in town let me have a bunch of scrap pieces from their bin and I just started laying beads. They were okay at first but I got a lot better after asking for help here in the Fab section. This is my learning thread
Practice, practice, practice is really all I can say. After your told all the tricks and watch as many online videos as you can there really isn't much more to do but practice with your own welds. I picked it up pretty quick once I got the basic idea understood