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Old 10-23-2010, 11:53 PM   #1
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Beginning to Weld

I'm trying to get into welding so I can start fabricating more parts for my Jeep. I've been researching for a little while and have come to find that MIG welding is really what I should be getting into. I just don't know exactly where to start.

I've tried to find anyone around me who has some experience in welding, but have come up empty so I'm looking to be trekking this on my own. Obviously I understand the risks associated with welding and plan to not only take every necessary safety precaution, but learn as much as possible before getting behind the welder.

Are there any books, sites, or videos you guys would recommend? And what about a decent entry-level welder to pick up? I'm trying to absorb all references possible.

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Old 10-24-2010, 12:30 AM   #2
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Idk of any welding things for begginers but i have an argon welder and well.. Its REALLY good

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Old 10-24-2010, 12:53 AM   #3
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I would check your nearest community college they often offer summer courses for intros to all welding. Thats a good way to start off for sure and you have an experienced teacher to bounce questions and techniques off of.
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Old 10-24-2010, 01:06 AM   #4
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I would check your nearest community college they often offer summer courses for intros to all welding. Thats a good way to start off for sure and you have an experienced teacher to bounce questions and techniques off of.
Thats a better idea than how i learned
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:28 AM   #5
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Welder

As a welder for some 15 years now in the fire service, I learned at a 4 year vocational school. MIG welding requiring a spool fed wire and inert shielding gas is preferably done indoors so the wind does not blow away the gas, stick welding a flux covered wire can be done outdoors and produce some of the same quality visual effects if done with the trained hands and proper setup. Stick welding is not as fast and or comparable to fabricating with MIG. The key to any good weld is proper machine set up , angle of electrode and joint preperation. All surfaces should be clean and free from paint , grease etc.
Good luck in your trask in learning the ability of joining metals .
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:52 AM   #6
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I learned with a O/A torch. Its a useful tool because you can also cut with it. Its tricky for fab work because you need two hands. Then i got a millermatic 180 mig. I burned a roll or wire while learning. I met some old guy on a welding forum that had been welding for 40 yrs and he offered to give me some pointers. That helped a lot. Then I got an AC/DC HF watercooled tig (old school dialarc 250 that weighs 500lbs). It takes a bit of practice before you know how the arc should look and sound. Get some scrap metal, weld it together, test the joint, then do it again.
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:27 PM   #7
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I would check your nearest community college they often offer summer courses for intros to all welding.
I've tried, all the ones around me aren't offering anything that isn't part of the larger welding certification program. The only one by me is Pennco Tech, which is a scam.
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:44 PM   #8
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Mig welding is real easy. If u can get a welder go by a metal shop and ask for some scraps. And just practice different angels. But as stated before it's best if done inside( a shop that is) cus wind is a migs biggest enemy. And if u have a question we are all here to help. Good luck
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Old 10-24-2010, 01:01 PM   #9
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Just learning and wanting to fab jeep mods? Use a mig with flux core wire. Wind is no problem with that.
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:33 PM   #10
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I'll be welding inside, I have a large garage and basement to do so, so winds not too big an issue. Thanks for the scrap metal tips, that's definitely what I'm going to start with. Are there any MIG welders you'd recommend to start with, something that's relatively inexpensively but going to serve me well for personal use down the line? My dad welded so I still have his safety gear to use.

I also found a four week course by my house starting next week. All MIG welding beginner classes. I just have one schedule conflict that needs to be addressed and then I'm good to go.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:04 AM   #11
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I do all my mig flux core welding indoors, but findbit helpful to have a fan on to circulate the air. The smoke tends to give me a headache after a while.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:24 AM   #12
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Make sure the welder you get is 220 volts and not 110. They are too weak for good heavy duty welding. I have always used the good old fashioned stick Lincoln welder but I would love the new and easier mig welders. Practice makes perfect, or at least helps.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:29 AM   #13
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You should be able to pick up a 200a or so used 220v machine on craigslist from 500-800. My personal choice is Miller, but everyone is different
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:30 PM   #14
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You can do basic simple welding on a $100-$200 no-gas wire feed welder from lowes or home despot, and you'll save money in wire and gas. Get good with a cheapie and then when you switch to a "real" one it's like going from a chevette to a corvette

It's harder to weld something up solid with a **** welder... learn it the hard way and then move up...
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:45 PM   #15
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Yeah that's what I did too and I wouldn't wish it on anyone....

Buy a good used one now and you won't have to move at all
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:28 PM   #16
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Yeah that's what I did too and I wouldn't wish it on anyone....

Buy a good used one now and you won't have to move at all


I feel ya, but using lowe's flux core on scrap is cheap and easy to get

I don't have room for a good rig, and everything I own gets packed up and shipped once a year or so, so I'm trying to keep things as cheap and portable as I can. any welder that would require wheels would put a serious dent in my weight allowance and probably wouldn't stand up to getting crated around so often...

can't do anything suspension or cage wise with it, but it keeps me from getting rusty, and it's enough for steel wire and little projects here and there

I burn up a good $40 in sticks on my dad's lincoln every time I visit though... sometimes just screwing around with scrap because it's fun
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:05 PM   #17
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I hear ya....but if he doesn't get moved around he's better off with a good machine
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:21 PM   #18
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Yea it would stay in my garage. What about one of the harbor freight units? I know you get what you pay for, but @ $199.99 for 120amp welder @ 230volts, it might be the way I might be looking to go.

I can always upgrade a few years down the line when I get better and know which way I'm looking to go with welding.
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:20 PM   #19
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Don't buy the harbor freight piece. Waste of money. Go buy the welders handbook at home depot by Richard finch. I started with it about five years ago and am a certified welding inspector now and certified in all processes. Remember, there is no replacement for experience.
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:09 PM   #20
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Alright so spec-wise what should I be looking for?
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:32 AM   #21
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Miller makes a DVI machine that sells for around $1200 brand new. It will run off of 110 or 220 by changing the plug ends that just twist off and on. Sometimes people are mistaken that you need a bigger welder to do lots of work. Run ..23 hard wire with 75 argon and 25 co2 mix blend gas. Joint prep is a key element to all weldments. If you weld much thicker than 5/16 material weld the joint on both sides as often as possible or bevel the joint and partial or fully penetrate the entire joint. Always weld clean metal. Hope this helps.

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