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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am thinking about buying a welder. I have some mechanical ability and building skills (with wood mostly) but would be starting from basically nothing with welding.

I want to learn welding to fabricate - jeep-motorcycle- whatever...
What suggestions can you all make-
Type of welder?
Other items needed?
Whatever you can offer.

Thanks!!
 

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Gas MIG Welders do a decent job. I welded on my rocker panels with a gas MIG welder and it did an excellent job. Going to need to use it again soon!

Make sure you get a good welding mask. A good mask can greatly improve your welding capabilities. Can't weld what you can't see ;)

Heavy leather gloves are a necessity for me!

Also a wire brush or something along those lines to clean the weld after you complete it.
 

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I had the same question a few years back and ended up taking a welding class offered locally by my school district as an adult continuing education class. Took the class, loved it, and ran out and bought a 110v MIG welder from Home Depot.

6 months later I had outgrown it and jumped to a Millermatic 251 220v beast.

Later on, I heard from several people that you should look to see what welder fits you best right now and then buy one a step ahead of that so you don't land in a similar boat.

In any case, if you are looking to do fabrication I would say you could likely do a 110v welder if you just wanna do bumpers and rock sliders. Anything more (suspension, roll cages, etc) and I'd say a 220v one due to the better penetration, etc.

Good luck!
 

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A class would be good. Especially if you don't have a buddy who will let you play with his welder.
x2

We have the Millermatic 140, works great for fabrication. We've used it for welding exhuasts, building bumpers, repairing the frame on my jeep.

If you have a local steel yard they might have a cheap section that you can pick over to get some scraps to practice with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks. I found a display Hobart 140 a few days ago for a good price. Now I am looking for a good price on a good helmet. I have to look into some classes.
 

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I do a lot of welding. If you plan on getting into fabrication, buy a 220 welder. Get a variety of clamps( like c-clamps). And a good quality chop saw, and grinder. A autodark hood is mandatory in my book. It will cost some coin to get started, but you will make it all back and then some, even helping buds out at discounted prices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I do have 220 in my garage but why 220 -longer cycle? Why no fabrication with the Hobart 140? Thanks for the help!
 

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practice on junk parts as well...

The most common mistake I've seen is when people don't take time to clean and/or grind the spots they plan to weld. Why won't my stick stay burning? Why to much slag? Why won't it penetrate? It keeps stopping? Its spitting at me! all sorts of problems based on paint and/or chemicals being on the metal that your trying to weld.

Pick a line, mark it, grind it down to bare metal on both contact points, spot weld it in place to help hold it, then lay your weld between the spots.
 

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Take a Class

Sign on with your local vo-tech school and take a class or two...A lot will depend on "what" you want to weld like sheet metal, fenders...or bumper guards and heavier stuff. I have a set of gas bottles, a wire machine and a Lincoln stick and use them all.
 

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I have been a CERTIFIED welder for 9 years. This is MY opinion, others may have different thoughts but this is the best advise I can give you.
Miller, Lincoln and Esab are the only brands that I mess with.
Each has their ups and downs, but all are good
MIG-(Metal-Inert-Gas) Will be the easiest to learn, but you must buy a "spool gun" to weld aluminum the spool gun will run you a cool grand
TIG- (Tungston-Inert-Gas) Is much harder to master but can produce a much cleaner
weld and in order to weld aluminum you just change your gas and flip a switch and go with it
Stick is really only good for heavy duty or out door work
NEVER buy a 110v welder! Even a "good" one can only patch mufflers and tack body panels
If buying used lookout for 3 phase welders, they are great but 99% of the time only industrial parks have access to 3phase power
Even a one week course can be invaluable , if you don't know anybody that welds teaching yourself can be very frustrating
 

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practice on junk parts as well...

The most common mistake I've seen is when people don't take time to clean and/or grind the spots they plan to weld. Why won't my stick stay burning? Why to much slag? Why won't it penetrate? It keeps stopping? Its spitting at me! all sorts of problems based on paint and/or chemicals being on the metal that your trying to weld.

Pick a line, mark it, grind it down to bare metal on both contact points, spot weld it in place to help hold it, then lay your weld between the spots.
Welding is like surgery, a very clean environment is a must
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry for so many questions. My goal is to learn and take a couple of classes. I want to get to the point of building tube fenders, sliders, and maybe bumpers for my jeep. I would also like to maybe integrate it into another hobby of building furniture. I bought the hobart 140 for $400 with the gas hook ups. I get the sense that this is not a good buy. I only have $409 to spend right now and can't seem to find anything used on CL. I don't want to outgrow the welder in a few months. So should I return the one I got ?? Where is a good place to find a used one? What can I expect for $400 or less. Thanks again
 

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The price you paid is good for what you got. That being said, with the work you expect to do if returning the welder is a option then I would. Hobart claims that it will weld up to 1/4 in......but it wouldn't get the kind of penetration that you will need. Not to mention the kind of stress you will put on it running at max amperage. If you don't need a welder right NOW then I would save up For a Hobart Handler 210. you can get a new one for around $800 and they weld up to 3/8" .........the perfect welder for you IMHO
 
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