I want to get into welding - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-20-2012, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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1997 ZJ 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Hopatcong
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I want to get into welding

Hey guys, I have a 97 zj and get jealous of other people welding stuff up for their jeeps.

So now I am employed again, I really would like to buy a cheap welder that i can learn on and make random stuff for my jeep. I have a couple questions.

I believe I want mig, thoughts on this being my first?

How does everyone cut their metal pieces down to size? I was thinking a air cut off wheel. Will a cheapo one work?

What amp can i get by with just making like a roof rack, maybe a tube bumper (when i get really good). Bull bars, maybe rear tail light gaurds(again, when i get good with it).

I dont want to spend over 300 bucks for a welder as im only 16 and once i get my license ill have new bills(insurance for my jeep will be paid by me, with the addition of collision etc).. so im trying not to put all my money into something I wont use every day.

So would anyone recommend harbor freight welders? home depots, lowes. Im no where near a harbor freight but if the price is right im sure i can travel alil ways.

Thanks all! looking forward to sharing artwork!!

1997 Limited 5.2L - SOLD
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-20-2012, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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1997 ZJ 
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will this work for what i need?

only have the 120 volt outlet in my garage

1997 Limited 5.2L - SOLD
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-20-2012, 06:23 PM
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1999 TJ Wrangler 
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Check craigslist. I just picked up a Lincoln 180T. Never plugged into a wall, for 450. A smaller 220V machine, like the one I have seems to run well on a dryer socket, due to them drawing so little.

'99 SE: The "It could be worse..." jeep

Originally Posted by 97flexy View Post
...I say don't lift but CUT. :)

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post #4 of 10 Old 01-20-2012, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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1997 ZJ 
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I think one sunday ill just mess around with the shops welder. its a mig ran on gas.. i watched a 26 minute video on spot welding and setting everything up and all the safety precautions and it seems really easy. i dont have anything i need to weld yet so i will just bring two pieces of melded and go at it lol

1997 Limited 5.2L - SOLD
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-21-2012, 08:50 PM
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Just a heads up, if you should buy a "new" Lincoln MIG, they now will be making their own consumables and Tweco parts will no longer fit their guns. The new tips, nozzles & defusers will be a little more pricey now & no after market are available.
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-25-2012, 10:21 PM
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220 mig is the most versatile machine. I'd get a 220 stick welder before getting a 110 mig though. It's harder, but you'll learn more and will be able to weld heavier stuff (but not really light stuff like roof racks). A lincoln buzzbox if you are patient and committed and really want to be able to burn things in... otherwise a cheapo mig.

As far as cut off wheels, do not get a cheap electric one. Even the name brand electrics you have to be more careful with than air powered grinders/cutters. Air is more durable and you can beat on even the cheap air tools without worrying too much... but electric is more convenient and sometimes quicker (not to mention you need a fairly large compressor to run grinders reliably). Air is better for cutting long sections for this reason... like if you plan to cut thick plate metal with a cut off wheel!

And be careful with cut off wheels... they bite back! (as in, your finger is gone kind of bite) Always use thick gloves, a guard, and a side handle on the grinder.


"Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies." -Nietzsche
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-26-2012, 01:16 PM
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I would said go MIG. I heard that mig is good all around and that flux core mig is better only because there is no gas to worry about and is cheaper because of there being no gas. I have a HF Flux core welder $89 and tools $50 and the last month has been Awesome. Got it for Christmas and have been Practicing, Practicing, Practicing. I have been practicing with different thickness and think that I could build a roof rack no problem. But the bumpers, I just wouldn't want to do in case of any accident, because of the load or force they could see v.s. a roof rack but maybe in a few months. Air or electric cut off wheel/grinder. Air if you can, electric because you can bring it any where. I bought an HF electric Cut off wheel/grinder for $15 well worth it.

I am building a small table out of angle iron with a wood top for my son to play on while I'm in the garage, his birthday is coming up and he will have that and some toy tools. I will try to post a picture when I'm done.

Any more questions ask away.
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-26-2012, 03:03 PM
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years back i took an intro mig welding class at a local trade school. they ran them in the evening. it was 5 weeks i think, one night a week. it wasnt too expensive either. you got to use their equipment and metal, even helmet and gloves. i found it a good way to get some hands on and in person instructions can be very helpful. the class had a mix of people from a high school kid to a 60 something year old retired man who wanted to learn some new skills for fun.

as a bonus, i was able to pick up a used auto darkening helmet and a welder through someone the instructor knew. the instructor also hooked me up for free with good scrap that i used to make a cart and welding table.

when i was done with the class its not like i was a pro and many of my welds were kind of ugly, but i had some knowledge and trusted that my welds could hold.

1997 ZJ
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-26-2012, 07:00 PM
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
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That what I am doing right now, taking it at the local vo-tech. The class was $250 and my work is even paying for it even though I am a supervisor, and not even in the weld department.
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-31-2012, 01:21 PM
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Thanks for all the posts, I had the same question... I just sold my 220 arc and want to get into mig...
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