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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guess this is good a place as any to post up.

Picked up my little welder with flux core to start burning. Only put down ten 4" beads last night since I spent all day setting it up, clearing the garage, etc. No welding table yet, but a 3 foot 3/16" steel extension off my work bench worked fine. About 4 feet from an open window. Lots of fumes after the first 5 beads. I put up my window fan pulling the air out before my last few, still very smokey. Garage is 20x18x9.5.

Warm weather is coming, so of course I can just leave the door wide open. I'd still prefer something to get the fumes out from under my face as much as possible. From my googling the past couple hours looks like 400cfm is a good number. That leaves me with about a 9" fan that I could have blowing the fumes away, or I could track down a squirrel cage/blower and use some laundry ducting to pull the fumes away.

Any and all opinions welcome, aside from get a better welder/gas. I'm a full time student and work when I can. This is what I'm going to work with.
 

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Carolinabound

Which welder did you pick up? Been toying with the idea myself but don't know enough about them yet to make a choice. Hoping to find one that is easy to learn. :)

Thanks!
 

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Unless the metal is oiled, I've never had an issue with smoke. I used gas shielded mig.
You use mig so smoke will be less of an issue even on non oiled metal. Flux core is really nasty in the smoke and spatter emitted. And as you describe , if the smoke is filling the garage, then u definitely need more ventilation. I think a Blower with some ducting would work the best, due to the ability to place it as close to the fume source( welding arc) as practical.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Carolinabound

Which welder did you pick up? Been toying with the idea myself but don't know enough about them yet to make a choice. Hoping to find one that is easy to learn. :)

Thanks!
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but people saying I made the wrong choice won't change anything" - That's how it goes, right?

With that out of the way, I went with the 90 amp flux core welder from Harbor Freight. I only will need to weld 1/8" in my plans. If I ever do need to go for more, we have a 140 amp one at work.

I've been waiting 2 years for the stars to align and have the disposable income to pick up a welding set up, and here it was. Highly recommended from what I read was to get a better ground clamp (one that came with it is absolute trash), good wire(machine is AC, HF gives you DC wire :confused:) , contact tips, and a flux core nozzle.

Picked up the brass 400 amp ground clamp also from harbor freight for $15. Overkill, but rather have the ability for more current than not enough. Lincoln .030" wire was $12 for a 2lb spool. Lincoln contact tips and nozzle was $13. I also got a 10 gauge extension cord from HF ($35) so I could have some mobility, instead of being forced to hug my wall. Also allows me to have a grinder always within reach. Despite the good reviews, I could not cheap out on a helmet. Went with a Kobalt auto darkening ($70). Lincoln with a Kobalt badge as far as I know.

Looks like I'm rambling. PM me if you want to know anything else. Far from an expert, but I did my homework.

Quick edit: Almost forgot. The newest machine is COLD TIP vs the old ones which were hot. Meaning it won't arc unless you pull the trigger. Tested it a hundred times with my hood on to make sure lol.
Flux core is really nasty in the smoke and spatter emitted. And as you describe , if the smoke is filling the garage, then u definitely need more ventilation. I think a Blower with some ducting would work the best, due to the ability to place it as close to the fume source( welding arc) as practical.
Yea, didn't have any air movement looking back at it. Thanks for the input.
 

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Carolinabound

Which welder did you pick up? Been toying with the idea myself but don't know enough about them yet to make a choice. Hoping to find one that is easy to learn. :)

Thanks!
I am also looking into this. I have found you can pickup a cheap arc (stick) welder like a 225A Lincoln Buzz Box off on craigslist for $100-150 to play/practice with. Once you get some welding rod and safety equipment you are only going to have about $250 into it. I am considering this route.

From research: Stick can be easier to learn because the quality of the weld can be judged on how the actual weld bead looks. With MIG/flux-core you can have a nice looking weld bead but poor overall weld - however it is really easy to learn as well. TIG is fancier and best for fancy alloys and such.

To this OP: A good attic exhaust fan should solve your problem. Home depot sells them for $60 for a ~1000cfm fan. I setup a squirrel cage fan based vent system for a soldering station and it does not generate then same negative pressure a attic ventilation fan would. Have fun with your welder!
 

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I am also looking into this. I have found you can pickup a cheap arc (stick) welder like a 225A Lincoln Buzz Box off on craigslist for $100-150 to play/practice with. Once you get some welding rod and safety equipment you are only going to have about $250 into it. I am considering this route.

From research: Stick can be easier to learn because the quality of the weld can be judged on how the actual weld bead looks. With MIG/flux-core you can have a nice looking weld bead but poor overall weld - however it is really easy to learn as well. TIG is fancier and best for fancy alloys and such.
Being experienced in stick, mig/flux core, and tig, the cheapest route for your everyday "garage mechanic" would be flux core. Wire feed is actually the easiest to learn, due to the easier operation of just pulling a trigger and watching the puddle. Stick is also great, however is usually a bit harder to learn, and not as nice on thinner gauge metals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am also looking into this. I have found you can pickup a cheap arc (stick) welder like a 225A Lincoln Buzz Box off on craigslist for $100-150 to play/practice with. Once you get some welding rod and safety equipment you are only going to have about $250 into it. I am considering this route.
This was my original plan, until I factored in the cost of a 220v outlet. Drove it out of range for me. Just FWIW


From research: Stick can be easier to learn because the quality of the weld can be judged on how the actual weld bead looks. - however it is really easy to learn as well.
Flux core = stick welding with a spool. Well, aside from the huge variety of electrodes. Then again I haven't looked.


To this OP: A good attic exhaust fan should solve your problem. Home depot sells them for $60 for a ~1000cfm fan. I setup a squirrel cage fan based vent system for a soldering station and it does not generate then same negative pressure a attic ventilation fan would. Have fun with your welder!
Thanks you thank you. Considered an attic/bathroom fan, but that's more cost and time with wiring and mounting. Also have to read into it a bit more.
 

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Being experienced in stick, mig/flux core, and tig, the cheapest route for your everyday "garage mechanic" would be flux core. Wire feed is actually the easiest to learn, due to the easier operation of just pulling a trigger and watching the puddle. Stick is also great, however is usually a bit harder to learn, and not as nice on thinner gauge metals.
That does make sense, and i just reread the OPs part about 1/8in. I appreciate the insight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quick update. My beads look much better so far after another 5. Didn't check penetration since I'm just working on a single plate till I get sick of it and can't fill it up/tell what I'm doing anymore.

Little windy today and have the window fan blowing towards me. Much better. I'll have to force myself to sit back a bit instead of right over the weld. Still, the plume is a bit erratic and I keep switching form facing to the door and away. Prefer to stay away so I don't flash my neighbor across the street. Looks like I'll rig up one of those at source systems this weekend.
 

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Ventilation is good but make sure you don't have too much air moving across your weld as you want a flux cloud around your arc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ventilation is good but make sure you don't have too much air moving across your weld as you want a flux cloud around your arc.
Gotcha. Best way to tell if I am blowing it away?

Laying down some decent looking beads now on the 10 gauge I had lying around. Butt welded a pair and haven't cracked it with my channel locks. Don't have full penetration, either. I'll have to test it at work with a vice and dead blow...or cut it lol. I'll at least cut off another chunk and crank up the wire speed/slow down to try again.
 

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Do u have any welding experience?
I don't have any welding experience so I am looking for the easiest welder that won't be to bad on the wallet. I don't have 220v in my garage so I am going to stick with a 110v welder. I will be doing some stuff to my jeep but also working on a 66 mustang doing some sheet metal. Right now I am looking at the Lincoln Handy Mig or the 140 Weld Pak or maybe a Miller?

Appreciate all the info so far! Keep the thoughts coming I am probably going to pull the trigger next weekend unless I can find a good used one sooner!
 

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I don't have any welding experience so I am looking for the easiest welder that won't be to bad on the wallet. I don't have 220v in my garage so I am going to stick with a 110v welder. I will be doing some stuff to my jeep but also working on a 66 mustang doing some sheet metal. Right now I am looking at the Lincoln Handy Mig or the 140 Weld Pak or maybe a Miller?
Hmm well if you are doing welding in the garage and not outside, I will say that mig is the way to go. The use of the gas is just so much nicer than flux core . I would recommend the Lincoln 140 weldpak. Gives you the option to use a bit higher amperage. My preference actually lies on Miller, however for the everyday person, they are a Bit harder to use ( more options for manual controlls) and run a bit pricey. Just another thing to keep in mind is to use the correct wire for your application. Just like SMAW (stick) welding, mig/flux core have a variety of different wire, depending on the weld strength, different materials, and etc.
 

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Ventilation is good but make sure you don't have too much air moving across your weld as you want a flux cloud around your arc.
That doesn't really matter with flux core. That's more mig or tig when you want the gas to cover the weld for a few seconds during/after the termination of the weld. Flux core uses the flux to cover the weld. That's why you aren't supposed to mig or tig outside with anything more than 5-10mph winds. Flux core and stick can be used in windy conditions.
 

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Welder here. Flux core is good for your cheap, once a year repairs. If you ever plan to do any serious fabrication I'd say to go with MIG with a shielding gas.

MIG is by far the easiest IMO and can be used on the thinnest metals.
 

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Welder here. Flux core is good for your cheap, once a year repairs. If you ever plan to do any serious fabrication I'd say to go with MIG with a shielding gas.

MIG is by far the easiest IMO and can be used on the thinnest metals.
X2 exactly, plus mig is so much cleaner! Flux core is really dirty and actually produces more smoke then stick!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
X2 exactly, plus mig is so much cleaner! Flux core is really dirty and actually produces more smoke then stick!
If I could've gone with a true mig, I would've. Fact is I got my entire set up for the same cost of a lincoln, miller, or hobart 110 or 220 Mig alone. Just need something to get good at sticking metal together. If the need arises we do have a 140 snap on at work, but again I'm a perfectionist and will want to be laying down perfect beads before I put together those tube fenders.
 

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If I could've gone with a true mig, I would've. Fact is I got my entire set up for the same cost of a lincoln, miller, or hobart 110 or 220 Mig alone. Just need something to get good at sticking metal together. If the need arises we do have a 140 snap on at work, but again I'm a perfectionist and will want to be laying down perfect beads before I put together those tube fenders.
Good to hear. Welding is an art that takes Craftsman to perform. The old saying practice makes perfect definitely applies to welding! So definetly try to get the most seat time you can to really get good at it. Then again, a downside to teaching yourself is that if there is something wrong with your weld, you may not see it, or u may not know what to do to correct it. (Travel speed, too hot, too cold, arc length or in this case stick out, and etc.)
 
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