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Welding/Metalworking... Talk & Q&A Get your torch, braze, hammer, tig or mig on here!

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Old 06-07-2017, 10:54 PM
hillbillyrat hillbillyrat is offline
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Join Date: May 2017
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Default Two questions

I've never welded or done metal work in my life. I move a lot and don't have friends and certainly no hot rodding friends that I could learn from.

So, my first question is what type of welding should I learn? I want to be able to chop, channel, and do frame and suspension fabrication/modification. Is there a type of welding that has a steeper learning curve or is there a type that is easier to produce strong ugly welds easier? I figured mig was my best option but I really am completely ignorant in this area and want to be safe.

My second question is, is it possible to self teach welding using online resources, books and/or videos? I don't know if there is any classes available where I'm moving.
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:41 PM
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Default welding info

Mig is easiest to learn Tig is the hardest
a few years ago I was living in California and took a night class at the college to brush up on Tig welding. they has us start doing Oxy acety welding to learn torch and rod controll Oxy acety is more forgiving
I started welding in the 50's and everyting was ac stick with 6011 rod, they sell 6013 small rod kind of works for body work but lots of spatter. for body work a mig wire feed with argon- co2 mix works best . I bought a used lincoln ac stick welder off craigs list for $ 75 220 V a couple years aco. Most of my frame work was done with ac stick. I now have a lincoln sp 200 wire feed and lincoln sq wave 255 tig with a water cooled torch and foot pedal for amp control. that will stick weld.
for welding info go to ...welding tips and tricks ....


jody used to be a welding instructor and does a free youtube each week.
I have a friend that watched all the tig welding videos then paid $ 300 and passed the tig welding certification test.

A 220 v mig with a argon co2 bottle would be the best welder to start . mig welds are hard to tell what you have for penetration by just a visual inspection.
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Old 06-08-2017, 06:09 AM
kenny c kenny c is offline
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I'm self taught. I started when I was in high school and am now 53 and still learning. I have a friend that is a certified welder that has taught me alot. If I was starting at this age I would go to take a class. Mig is your best bet. Welding takes practice. and patience.
Tetanus Tornado 49 F6
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Old 06-08-2017, 07:52 AM
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smallfoot smallfoot is offline
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Much like anything else, proper training is probably the best way to start, but many people are self taught. The absolute best way to retain anything though is on the job training. I learned by diving into it, making mistakes then figuring out how to do it better any way I could. Books, articles, practice..etc. Being taught the basics by someone already adept at welding will hurry up the process.
I can weld where things stay together just fine. My own thoughts are that my welding is not as pretty as some, but that's because of my age and the eyesight is getting worse...
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Old 06-08-2017, 08:39 AM
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Old Iron Old Iron is offline
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I'm self taught.
I started with an Arc welder when I was 17 I'm now 66
I certified for Arc, Mig and Tig on stainless and mild steel when I turned 21.
The age of videos has helped a ton of people learn welding.
By far the Mig is the easiest to learn. Since you move a lot, buy a smaller unit that will run on either 110v or 220v and like what's already been said 75/25 Co2 Argon mixed gas. Bottle size 80 to 125 cubic foot for portability.
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Old 06-08-2017, 08:54 AM
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Torchie Torchie is offline
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My 2 cents.
I agree with most of the thoughts that were posted.
When I learned to weld it was also Torch or stick. For body work we did Torch(Welding or brazing) and for heavy stuff it was stick.
Now that there is newer tech it is easier then ever for the home based builder to do great welding. I do all my welding with a 220 Mig setup. Co2/Argon mix. I would like to try TIG but don't have the resources for a machine and I still have a small gas set up for little jobs and to keep my hand in it.
For Body work I use easy grind wire and with the the 220 it gives me the ability to go heavier If I need to.
As has been stated you can get most of the basics from tutorials on U-tube. The rest is like everything else in life. Practice,practice ,practice. You will develope your own technique and find out what works for you and doesn't.
Good luck and have fun. There is something very satisfying in being able to join together pieces of steel.
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Old 06-08-2017, 08:58 AM
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Blue Eyed Devil Blue Eyed Devil is offline
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Welding classes are taught at most local vocational schools. Start with some basic GMAW classes and go from there. Some folks have a knack for it, some don't. Either way it's a long process that involves a LOT of practice and instruction. So no, you cannot learn proper technique and practice online or from books only. No amount of reading or video watching can give you the real life interaction required to learn the behaviors of metals. Take a class.

Also, don't set your sights so high right off the bat - It's a surefire recipe for frustration and burnout. Everyone is green once, but again it takes a lot of practice and experience to do this stuff. Suspension/steering/etc. is NOT sheetmetal work. No one starts off building a chassis with zero experience. It's just not feasible and more importantly it's not safe. Think about it, would you want your family sharing the road with someone who read a book and watched a couple videos, then decided to build a few thousand pounds of death machine?
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Old 06-08-2017, 11:43 AM
hillbillyrat hillbillyrat is offline
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Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 13

So, my understanding of the collective advise of everyone is this:
1. Buy a mig welder.
2. Learn consuming whatever resources I can (online, books, videos, and classes if available).
3. For my first project chopping and channeling the truck cab or car body is something I shouldn't be afraid to start on. Welding on my first project on suspension and frame should be farmed out so either buy a frame or pay an experienced welder to weld one for me.

Is a 110v mig the right choice for chopping, channeling, and other body work? Since I move alot, I rent. I'm not sure I will have access to a 220v outlet.
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Old 06-08-2017, 03:21 PM
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Sam_Fear Sam_Fear is offline
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110v Will do what you want for body work. Some will say they can do frame work with it too, but I wouldn't trust it. Heavy stuff needs 220v.

What I did on my frame was to cut everything, tack it in place, then paid a guy to come do the welding - with my machine. At the time I didn't trust my welding skills enough to make it safe myself.

Stay with a name brand welder - Miller, Lincoln, Hobart? Don't by a crap box from Harbor Freight and expect your welds are going to ever be more than crap. Same with their wire and other consumables - it'll work, but will constantly cause you un-neede headaches.

Miller's 211 Welder is 110v/220v convertable. I have one, great machine (wish I got to use it more lately) I usually run it on 110v for convenience, but when I need to weld heavy, I up it to 220v.

Clothes dryers run on 220v. It's possible to make an adapter to run a 220v welder on that.
Not so current build - '29 A Rats-N-Rice. Drivers! - '48 Olds '63 F100. Pile of parts - '30 Tudor.
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Old 06-08-2017, 09:21 PM
kenny c kenny c is offline
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I agree with sam on most things. Some of the newer name brand 110 migs will do more than the old ones. If the specs on it says it will weld up 3/8 inch you can do frame work. before you get into structural welding on frames you need to be sure you are good enough. while learning and practicing you can cut through your welds with a cut off wheel to check penitration and for pourosity. Also dirty material makes for poor welds. always grind away all rust and paint.
Tetanus Tornado 49 F6
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