welding primer

Here is a generic building plan for a teardrop designed by the members of T&TTT.

welding primer

Postby john warren » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:04 am

i often see questioins about welding and types of welders to buy. so here is my expert oppinion.
just remember what an expert is, by breaking down the word.
an ex,,,,,is a has been
and a spert,,, is a drip under preasure.

basic welding machine types are
arc welder, uses ac or dc current to cause an arc that melts the parent metal and the filler rod to join the work. the filler rod,,,or welding rod, is coated with a material (flux) which burns and forms a gas bubble around the weld to protect the molten metal from the atmosphere. to weld you scratch the rod on the serfuce of the metal, then as the arc starts you adjust the gap to maintain a smooth stable arc. with the rod at the proper angle of lead .

flux core (with a flux core......go figure)is a wire feed welder with a gun that automaticly feeds the filler metal into the weld for you. also known as a innershield welder. to weld you simply aim the wire at the seam, squeeze the trigger and draw the gun along like a giant pencil on the seam. speed will become appairent.

mig welder, same machine as the flux core welder, but with solid wire.
instead of flux it uses a shielding gas such as argon, or argon/co2 mix, or pure co2 to protect the weld puddle. this requires a tank of gas, and a regulator to be added to the machine. to weld with this set up you place the wire at the seam, pull the trigger, then push the gun along the seam.

these are most likely the machines you will choose from in a home shop.

an arc welder, once mastered, specialy in a unit with both ac/dc current ability is the most versital. allowing welds on steel, cast iron, aluminium, or almost any metal you run acrossed.
the down side,,,, some skill is required and lots of practice to master it.
if i could have only one machine this is what i would go with. understanding of course i have about 20 years of practice with them.

the majority of you will want something easier to master and thats what the wire feed welders excell at. we old guys swear we could teach a monkey to weld with one,,,,lol.

between the two choices,(really the same machine) the cheapest and easiest is the fluxcore. at least to purchase. BUT, flux core wire is expensive.
that being said. it does a good job and if your not going to do a lot of welding its a good choice. say building one trailer per year or a few repairs. in addition, if you find you use it alot you can always add the tank and regulator as need or finances allow.

ok,,, how much power do you need?
depends on what your working on. most trailer parts are between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. the box the welder comes in will tell you how thick it will weld in one pass.
by making multiple passes you can far exceed this. but that takes some learning to do properly. so try for one pass. as with most things we guys like,,,,, more power is always better,lol. usually the cheapest machine at home depot does 1/8, the next machine up will do 1/4 or so. i'd go with the second.

the only other welder that you will come up against would be a tig welder, also known as heliarc. this is an electric torch held in one hand, while the filler metal is added into the weld with the other hand. the weld is shielded with an inert gas like the mig welder. this is the prefered welder for aluminium and stainless steel, and for precision weldments.

i hope this stuff helped someone, if so,,,,my mission is accomplished. :thumbsup:
john warren
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Postby Steve_Cox » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:30 am

Hello John Warren,

Always room for another ex-spurt on the forum. :rofl:

I would guess you have been reading the posts here a while, nice to have you join in. If you have any questions, be sure to ask. Most of all, have fun. :thumbsup:
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Postby robs5230 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:21 pm

hi , i'm also a welder by trade and good info given above .
however it is wise to bear in mind that if you are to weld outside you will be better with a no gas mig or an arc welder. in any sort of breeze / wind the gas shield on a mig with gas will be blown away by the wind leaving porous and very weak welds with no structural integrity.
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Re: welding primer

Postby PirateJohn » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:43 am

Out here in the oil patch we have a number of welders (usually pipeline welders) with welders that run off of a generator.

My RV generator is on the order of 6kw. The previous one was around 12.5kw but it was a thirsty old monster.

I have just taken delivery of a Class 5 diesel truck. I would like to find a generator/welder combination for backup and occasional welding that, ideally, doesn't require another fuel.

Any suggestions for a unit that is in this ballpark that won't cost an arm and a leg?
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Re: welding primer

Postby Shadow Catcher » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:17 pm

As a weld inspector from the space shuttle to oil refineries and have seen some of the absolutely most awful welds in areas you do NOT want to see them i.e. repairs on carnival rides (the requirement is that they be welded with the same procedure as the manufacturer). My advice is that if you do not have a very good idea how to weld, take it to a certified welder who does. I do not do my own welds I know better! :x
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Re: welding primer

Postby ctstaas » Thu May 29, 2014 11:34 am

Hi everyone,
Like many others on this forum I too have extensive experience with certified welding and I would like to add a few thoughts.
The difference between a journeyman and an apprentice is the journeyman can fix his mistakes before the boss finds out. Even the best screw up, so don't take it so badly. Some things will take two or three attempts to attain perfection. Not everything needs to be that good. Choose wisely Grasshopper.
I use a Lincoln 110V wire feed welder. I typically weld with 0.030" flux cored wire. The finer the diameter the higher the price for flux cored wires. When I need to have a perfect weld the first time I always run cover gas with my flux cored wire. When I use cover gas I use 75% CO2/ 25% Argon mix. Using a good cover gas will dramatically improve your w2eld quality and is reasonably priced.
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Re: welding primer

Postby ctstaas » Thu May 29, 2014 11:59 am

Hi Everyone,
Like many others in the forum, I too have extensive experience in certified welding and would like to add some thoughts.
The difference between a journeyman and an apprentice is the journeyman can fix their mistakes before the boss finds out. Even the best screw up, so don't kick yourself too hard when it's your turn. Perfection often takes two or three attempts. Most things don't need to be that good. Choose wisely Grasshopper.
I do most of my welding with a Lincoln 110V wire feed. I usually run 0.030" flux cored wire. The finer the wire the higher the price. When I need a weld to be perfect the first time I always use cover gas. When I use cover gas I always use 75% CO2/ 25% Argon mix. IMHE a good cover gas will improve your weld quality dramatically and is reasonably priced.
I agree with Shadow catcher, get someone else to do it.
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Re: welding primer

Postby chriskoebb » Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:58 am

Thanks to everyone that contributed to this post :applause: very informative!
"If you don't make mistakes your not doing anything"

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