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Unread 09-16-2008, 09:48 AM   #1
C2U5H
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Teach Myself To Weld

Hey guys,

I think for Christmas this year I'm going to buy myself a welder but I'm not sure what kind I should get.

I've never welded before, but I've taught myself to do a lot of more difficult things. I'm just going to read a lot about it and just keep practicing. Plus I have a friend who's a professional fabricator and he said he'd help me out with technique and troubleshooting.

All I really want to do is make some bumpers and control arms for myself.

What would be the right type of welder to get this done?

Thanks guys, I know I sound like a complete idiot and have no idea what I'm talking about ... exactly why I'm turning to you.

Thanks!

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Unread 09-16-2008, 10:15 AM   #2
PBR
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a 220v mig would be top notch for everything. But expensive. A stick welder is cheap but again hard because obviously you will be tacking things. and a 110v welder just might not have the heat input you need to build control arms.

I have both a 110v mig and a stick welder at home. So i do all my tacking with my mig then finish with my stick.

But I have a buddy with a fab shop so now all I do is whenever I have time on the weekends I go over there and build whatever I want for FREE!!!!
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Unread 09-16-2008, 11:35 AM   #3
Bigbob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepinTJ99 View Post
Hey guys,

I think for Christmas this year I'm going to buy myself a welder but I'm not sure what kind I should get.

I've never welded before, but I've taught myself to do a lot of more difficult things. Thanks!
Well, it may be up how good of a boy you have been. does Santa Claus have a spending budget?

I taught myself to stick weld back in the mid-60's. I went to welding school in the early 70's, didn't learn much I did not already figure out on my own. I sorta self taught myself to do "hobby" 110 volt Mig about 5 years ago, but I find it worthless compared to stick with the exception of sheet metal.

My advise is this. If you have the money (or Santa does) get a good 220 volt Mig like the Hobart or Miller, or Lincoln in a 180 amp range. These will do what you want very nicely. For the welder an equiptment to go with it you will be looking at about $1,000.00 +. If Santa had a bad year then a 220 volt AC DC stick would work very well for everything except thin sheet material. The cost there is about $400.00 + less than the Mig.

The Mig will give you better looking welds, but both will be equally strong.

I advise you stay away from any of the 110 volt stuff.
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Unread 09-16-2008, 12:22 PM   #4
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I have a no name brand 110v wire feed welder - lincoln a stick welder and recently bought a lincoln 180c mig welder (220v) I could hardly believe how easy it was to weld with the new lincoln 180 mig compared to the other two. My welds even look pretty good - actually better than pretty good and that was with flux core wire. With the other 2 welders I had a much harder time (im not really welding that often) Another thing that really helped me was a auto darkening helmet......................I dont see how I ever got by without one. ( I always had a major problem seeing where i needed to start and flipping helmet down)


Edit - I paid about 800 for mine with a cart online.
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Unread 09-16-2008, 01:49 PM   #5
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I have a hobart 140. I have built my entire suspension, cage, and many other things with it. All the mounts are 1/4" and all the arms are 1/4" wall on my longarms. It had plenty of heat to burn in the welds. You have to use flux-core not the mig wire and gas to get the penetration but i haven't had a problem with my welds.
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Unread 09-16-2008, 01:57 PM   #6
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Harbor Freight has some good equipment. Won't break the bank either.

Clickety, clickety for "MIG welding" on Harbor Freight

Don't skimp on the safety items though. Good leathers and good shielding...

I learned on the MIG first, then stick... haven't done TIG yet. Don't really have a need for it right now though. The biggest thing to help me was learning to lock my arm instead of letting my elbow fly all over the place. Keeps everything (the welds in particular) uniform and consistent. YMMV though. Hopefully, you are better at it than I am. I learned just as much about grinding when I started as I did about welding

Good luck... hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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Unread 09-16-2008, 03:11 PM   #7
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sorry but im gonna have to disagree with the harbour freights suggestion... for anything else like maybe a light setup or some micro fiber cloths than ya for HF but when its heavy duty stuff like welding get the better stuff like a lincoln... my two cents
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Unread 09-16-2008, 06:37 PM   #8
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THe Hobart Handler 187 is $599 right now at Tractor Supply. It is probably all you'll ever need for fab work on a jeep. I know I like mine, and compared to my old 110V mig, it's a night and day difference. Pick one up, practice practice, practice, read, read, read and get yourself over to a welding forum on either Miller's or Hobart's site. There's a ton of knowledge floating around there.
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Unread 09-16-2008, 08:10 PM   #9
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I'd take a Miller over a Lincoln any day, there just built better, the quality is there! The Miller 180 Auto Set is the way to go, set your wire diameter and thickness of metal and the machine will set your wire speed automatically. My local Airgas has them on sale now and will probably have them on for Christmas too.
As for the Harbor Freight welders, you will not be happy, the're best used for boat anchors. Do yourself a favor, this will be an investment for at least 10 years, my Miller 175 is now 8 years old and has only had consumables replaced, never a problem.
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Unread 09-16-2008, 08:23 PM   #10
willness33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my-jeep-earl View Post
I'd take a Miller over a Lincoln any day, there just built better, the quality is there! The Miller 180 Auto Set is the way to go, set your wire diameter and thickness of metal and the machine will set your wire speed automatically. My local Airgas has them on sale now and will probably have them on for Christmas too.
As for the Harbor Freight welders, you will not be happy, the're best used for boat anchors. Do yourself a favor, this will be an investment for at least 10 years, my Miller 175 is now 8 years old and has only had consumables replaced, never a problem.
Meh, I hear ya, but you really can't go wrong with any of the big three. The autoset IMO has too many bells and whistles that you really don't need. Learn to set up the machine and there's very little work or time involved. Besides, cost is a big factor for many of us and what's wrong with saving a few bucks, short of buying a chinese HF or Northern Tool branded POS?
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Unread 09-17-2008, 04:54 PM   #11
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I have the Linkin PowerMig 180C. For the last 1.5 yrs I was a flux core guy only. Then 2 weeks ago I got a 60cf bottle of 75/25.

Man what a difference! There is no comparison in the weld quality, particularly on the thinner stuff we're all using on our Heeps. Looks better and is easier to control. Way less grinding for me.

My suggestion is this: get a 220v machine. Then Get a bottle of gas. Trust me. Keep a spool of fluxcore in your toolbox for fixing the bulldozer outside in the rain and wind.
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Unread 09-17-2008, 05:05 PM   #12
Bigbob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willness33 View Post
THe Hobart Handler 187 is $599 right now at Tractor Supply.
Wow, that is a great price. When I got my AC DC stick Hobart art TSC the 187 was about $660.00 or there-a-bouts. Geeeeze, do I have room for 3 welders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dickensheets View Post
I have the Linkin PowerMig 180C.
Man what a difference!
How does that compare with the Lincoln 180 or the Hobart 187!

Sorry, could not resist.
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Unread 09-17-2008, 08:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willness33 View Post
THe Hobart Handler 187 is $599 right now at Tractor Supply. It is probably all you'll ever need for fab work on a jeep. I know I like mine, and compared to my old 110V mig, it's a night and day difference. Pick one up, practice practice, practice, read, read, read and get yourself over to a welding forum on either Miller's or Hobart's site. There's a ton of knowledge floating around there.
IT IS!!? I payed $650 not including a bottle! but yes I agree, it has the most heat settings, and with the right fineness and the thinner wire (.024) you can weld really thin stuff, and with the really thick wire (.035 solid or .045 flux stuff) you can weld REALLY thick stuff!! I bought the 187 right off because of this.

heres a pic of my welder:



Oh and learning how to weld comes with practice, that's how I learned. this past summer I went to a class to get my welding certification (I just thought it would be another nice PLUS on the resume) the funny thing was that the instructor saw my welds on the first day and said "man you already know how to weld," then he says jokingly, "you should teach the class!" I have been welding since I was 14, so I got a lot of practice.

Practice makes perfect!
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Unread 09-17-2008, 08:34 PM   #14
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Just buy a good welder and play with it. I watched a few MIG/FCAW videos on youtube to get a general idea and go from there.

I just got a Hobart Handler 140(220v is not an option for me yet, when I get a house I'm stepping up for sure) and have been fiddling with it.

Practice!
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Unread 09-19-2008, 10:35 PM   #15
C2U5H
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thanks for all the opinions guys. i really like the sound of the hh 140.

i've looked around for cert classes around me but you have to be employeed by a contractor/construction company to get in. w/e.

so just as a general idea...
hh 140 ~ $600
wire ~ $70
tank & gas ~ ??? (is shielding gas ALWAYS required for MIG? i can never remember)
quality helmet, gloves, and welding clothes ~ ???

what am i lookin at here for a total price (just off the top of your head)
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