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View Full Version : Welder, now what?



rjchu
12-31-2014, 04:51 AM
Wife got me one of these for Christmas http://t.harborfreight.com/90-amp-ac-120-volt-flux-cored-welder-61849.html

From what I can tell, the preferred material to craft wire frames and such from is 1/8" round rod/wire. Where can this be sourced at a reasonable price, what material should I be looking for since this apparently isn't suitable for stainless steel, and lastly what paint or other coating do you guys use to weatherproof your creations?

Thanks,

-joni-

imbluenote
12-31-2014, 08:29 AM
Comments from a complete newbie/amature welder

i have a similar one from sears.

I made a few snowflakes and have other projects i haven't gotten around to yet. I used 1/4" rod. I would look for a metal supply company, the box stores prices are high for any quantity of rod. I was also going to try 3/8" rebar to see how well that would weld with one of these. As far as coating, i did several layers of spray paint, i haven't noticed any real problems yet, but i do have a spot or two at the welds i usually give a shot of paint every year, i think i used cheap paint on the flakes though, a quality brand would probably hold up better.

If you don't already have one i would get an angle grinder (HF as well) the flux core splatters alot when welding so you'll want to clean that up. You may want it to clean up the welds too if you have a problem at a weld.

Also check your walmart for extra welding wire. For some reason the one by me has it and at the best price i have found, but i have only found it in that one wal-mart. I am sure there are others that have it though.

deonb
12-31-2014, 12:16 PM
Cool!

Exact same situation, but with one of these:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lincoln-Electric-AC225S-Arc-Welder-K1170/100041326

I see this is actually fairly high-end for an AC-only welder. I plan to use it to make stands and frames, structural support for props, maybe some limited metal furniture. I don't particularly like working on cars, though I'll probably do some sort of railing system on my truck bed.

Am I going to be satisfied with an AC welder, or should I exchange for AC/DC? Or even AC/DC/TIG?

scootchu
12-31-2014, 12:23 PM
I have a Lincoln Mig and used 1/4" rod. Soft enough to bend easily and thick enough to weld and stand up straight. The welder you have will be fine, just have to clean the welds afterwards. I went with flat black spray can paint and after three seasons they hold up well.

Hockeyhunter1956
12-31-2014, 06:27 PM
This was my first year building wire frames for decorations. I used a local steel supply business to purchase my 1/4" cold roll. That has worked out to be good material for me to bend and cut into the shapes I designed. I made about 20 life size nativity and Alaska animals. Since I had access to a paint shop at work, I had the frames sandblasted, heavy duty coating industrial coatings for the primer and finish coat applied. I'm expecting that these frames will outlast me. before they begin to rust.

I only wanted to build and wire these frames once.

At a minimum I would be careful with making sure everything gets a good coat of primer and a couple of coats of a quality spray paint for finish.

IaRoadKill
12-31-2014, 06:52 PM
And don't forget to remove any weld splatter/sharp spots on your creation. Anything that could hook and cut a wire.
Just saying…

derekbackus
12-31-2014, 06:55 PM
Am I going to be satisfied with an AC welder, or should I exchange for AC/DC? Or even AC/DC/TIG?

I would recommend returning it. Get the best welder you can afford. I'd suggest a MIG welder. MIG welders for feed wire through the wand and are fairly easy to learn how to use.

The welder you have is called a "stick" welder and is typically use for heavier gauge metals.

Dan@
01-01-2015, 12:11 AM
I would return. Get a MIG welder that uses gas (75/25) as the shielding. The flux core just makes a bigger mess and requires more cleanup.

11Bravo
01-01-2015, 12:46 AM
If you can budget one, a gas MIG welder is the way to go when welding wire frames and sheet metal. Very easy to weld with over a stick welder. Plus a stick welder may not be able to get low enough in amperage without blowing thru the metal.

I have a Miller 135 gas welder. It is 120volt and can do 3/16" metal easy. It will do up to 1/4" metal if you don't bog it down. Just do short welds at a time on 1/4" flat bar and angle iron. It will do 1/4" rod with no problem since you don't have to make long welds.

deonb
01-01-2015, 01:52 AM
I would recommend returning it. Get the best welder you can afford. I'd suggest a MIG welder. MIG welders for feed wire through the wand and are fairly easy to learn how to use.

The welder you have is called a "stick" welder and is typically use for heavier gauge metals.

Ok, thanks. This helps a lot. How about TIG? At what point is TIG more appropriate than MIG or ARC?

Dan@
01-01-2015, 03:38 AM
TIG welding, takes a lot more skill to learn and perform properly. For wireframes, the MIG welder is the way to go. Easy for beginners to use and learn.

derekbackus
01-01-2015, 10:56 AM
Ok, thanks. This helps a lot. How about TIG? At what point is TIG more appropriate than MIG or ARC?

We have both at the shop. I taught myself how to Tig and am fairly good at it. A TIG welder gives you a lot more control. If you know how to braze Tig welding is fairly easy to pick-up but is way overkill for most home applications. A big issue is you have to jig everything. You need both hands to Tig weld because you feed the wire from one hand while you use the other to create the puddle. With a MIG, the wire is in the wand so you can use the other to hold two pieces of metal where you want, pull the trigger and they stick. It also takes twice the money to get a good Tig welder. You use AC to weld aluminum and DC to weld steel/stainless.

Wayne J
01-01-2015, 01:15 PM
The last TIG welder I priced for my personal use was $2300+ with all the needed consumables and accessories. So, that is a bit high for the casual user. And they all use 220V input. Some are 440V.

JCook
01-02-2015, 03:01 PM
Eastwood company makes a pretty nice ac/dc Tig welder that welds steel, stainless and Aluminum runs on 110vac comes with foot pedal $699 on sale. For wire frames, a mig is probably the best bet Eastwood makes those too


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rstehle
01-02-2015, 03:42 PM
Eastwood company makes a pretty nice ac/dc Tig welder that welds steel, stainless and Aluminum runs on 110vac comes with foot pedal $699 on sale. For wire frames, a mig is probably the best bet Eastwood makes those too


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I have the Eastwood 135 Amp Mig Welder and I really like it. Runs on 120v which makes it very portable, unlike a 220v unit.

K-State Fan
01-02-2015, 06:11 PM
Unless you are making your frames out of stainless steel or aluminum a tig welder would be overkill. Powder painted aliminum frames would be very nice though.

mikentn
01-02-2015, 07:04 PM
Santa brought me one of these this year to use with the welder he brought me a couple years back (helps that Santa had a 25% off coupon):

http://www.harborfreight.com/adjustable-steel-welding-table-61369.html

Now I can stop scorching the top of my venerable B & D Workmate.

ags0000
01-03-2015, 11:45 AM
I'd like to improve my current "skeleton" construction for my megatree. I have 1/2" EMT (electrical metallic tubing) which I believe is galvanized mild steel. What type of welder would be needed to tack wire (1/8") onto this? I believe there's an issue with toxic fumes when welding anything galvanized - can this be avoided simply by welding with adequate ventilation (e.g. outside) or is it still a hazard?

JCook
01-03-2015, 11:51 AM
Use a wire feed mig welder. In order to get a good weld, you will need to remove the galvanizing first. I use the blue flap disc on my grinder for this. Wear a mask. The amount of fumes from a "tack" is minimal, you can probably just weld without grinding since the galv on emt is very thin.


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Wayne J
01-03-2015, 01:05 PM
Use a wire feed mig welder. In order to get a good weld, you will need to remove the galvanizing first. I use the blue flap disc on my grinder for this. Wear a mask. The amount of fumes from a "tack" is minimal, you can probably just weld without grinding since the galv on emt is very thin.


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Galvanized material IS BAD STUFF to weld on. It is very toxic!! Make sure you have good ventilation and certainly do not breathe ANY of the fumes if at all possible!!!
Sorry if I seem critical about this but it is just that bad.

thg
01-03-2015, 01:18 PM
Galvanized material IS BAD STUFF to weld on. It is very toxic!! Make sure you have good ventilation and certainly do breathe ANY of the fumes if at all possible!!!
Sorry if I seem critical about this but it is just that bad.

James I think you forgot the NOT in your statement

Thomas

DIY Guy
01-03-2015, 01:19 PM
Always use ventilation when welding.. period. They are starting to correlate welding with Parkinson's disease.

I had a neighbor who owned a welding shop. He was a brilliant guy (a lot like the people here). He liked to build and tinker (steam engines, old motors, even designed his own solar collection system). Gradually he succumbed to Parkinsons.. it was one of the saddest things I have seen. Such a brilliant guy but when I went over to see him he couldn't get the thoughts in his head to come out of his mouth. The frustration in his eyes was heartbreaking.

So, please, regardless of what you are welding. Do it outside or with plenty of ventilation.

Tim

Wayne J
01-03-2015, 02:06 PM
James I think you forgot the NOT in your statement

Thomas

Thanks, I will learn not to post until I finish my first coffee. :lol:

Wayne

11Bravo
01-03-2015, 10:43 PM
When I weld with the gas mig, if the metal is rusty or galvanized coated I grind off the spot to bar metal that needs to be welded.

arw01
01-04-2015, 01:21 PM
To pile into the thread which mig with gas welder to buy for wire frames, mega tree frames, rebar etc?

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11Bravo
01-06-2015, 03:10 AM
To pile into the thread which mig with gas welder to buy for wire frames, mega tree frames, rebar etc?

Sent from my Sony Tablet S using Tapatalk

Do you mean which Brand?

arw01
01-06-2015, 03:17 AM
Model would be better, brand can vary from item to item. I've read a few threads on welders on the forums and there doesn't seem to be a "safe" bet like buying a Weller professional soldering iron station is on welders.

mikentn
01-07-2015, 09:42 PM
Just a heads up - HF has their welding table on sale for $59.99 with coupon 74031622. Coupon valid thru 01/18/15.

http://www.harborfreight.com/Adjustable-Steel-Welding-Table-61369.html?ccdenc=eyJjb2RlIjoiNzQwMzE2MjIiLCJza3Ui OiI2MTM2OSIsImlzIjoiNTkuOTkiLCJwcm9kdWN0X2lk%0D%0A IjoiMTAzMzkifQ%3D%3D%0D%0A&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=0215a&utm_source=1011&cid=mEmail_s1011_c0215a

kk4pvz
01-07-2015, 10:38 PM
i perfer mig to tig unless im doing stanless steel or alum. then i would use a tig.. mig is great for what you want to do. i have a 195amp mig i got from tractor supply along with the gas for it. around 300 dollars.
li can weld most anything i want to.. by changing gas and wire can also weld alum.