Originally Posted by Dusty Rhodes
The BEST way to learn is a local trade school or community college. They often offer brief, hobbyist courses. While it is possible to learn on your own or via someone who knows how to weld, nothing compares to a certified teacher in a learning environment.
I learned that way and we started out with oxy/fuel (oxygen accetelyne) because you need to be able to "see" the puddle of molten metal and understand what to do with it.
"Pretty" welds are not always strong welds. And stout, sturdy welds are not always pretty. They can be pretty but they may not have the "stack of dimes" look.
There are DVDs and utube type clips that will help but a course is the best way, without a doubt.
See my post on this forum about first time MIG machines.
A community college is ok you will learn a lot, with that being said your best bet is to find someone who is a good welder that can show you whats what and is willing to hold your hand for a while. (literally if necessary)
I have a degree in welding and 3 certs. BFD in the real fab world. It means jack. The only way to learn is to do.
Ive never worked in a shop that had perfect circumstances like the school. Many times the welders dont run quite right etc.
Ive learned way more welding since out of school.
Now welding theory is another story.
Flux Cored machines that dont run Dual Shield are garbage IMO. I wouldnt run one on ANY critical structural weld.
This is just MY .02 take it for what its worth.