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  #1  
Old 04-20-2017, 01:14 PM
topher5150 topher5150 is offline
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Default sell me on a welder

So I picked up a 47 Ford coupe awhile back for a hotrod project. I will be needing to do a wide variety of repairs from frame repairs, and sheet metal. The guy I work with has been telling me how great flux core welders are.
What would you guys suggest for a first time welder, and on a budget.
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:00 PM
cliffrod cliffrod is offline
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Get a good oxy-acetylene rig and learn how to use it properly. A gas welding & cutting rig is a must have for a shop. It will weld, braze, heat to bend/anneal/heat treat and cut. It is also completely portable, unlike most electric welders. It's the most versatile equipment for your money.

Buy bottles to exchange outright (40-75cf, check with your supplier) if you weld infrequently or lease larger bottles to suit your needs.

Buy a good torch with quality tips that suits your needs. A Gas Saver and pezio bump ground torch lighter are a big help. Kent White sells a great small Meco Midget torch and accessories that are on my list of must-haves for sheet metal welding gear to go with my favorite old torch I have here.

I have a TIG/Stick welder but it hardly gets used compared to my gas welding rig. In fact, my TIG is in the shop right now when I really need it to be ready to work. My gas welding gear never has such issues...

Once you learn to gas weld, other types of welding are simple. Whether or not you're on a budget, it's the best place to start imho.

Edit- thought about my post and figured I should have stated that I bought my gas welding equipment approx 20 yrs ago with no welding experience and zero hands-on instruction. Always wanted to weld but never had, so just started. the right books were a big help - The Oxy-Acetylene Handbook by Linde Air Products (my long standing, hands-down favorite) and the forum & Kent White recently recommended Aircraft Welding by L.S. Elzea.
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Last edited by cliffrod; 04-20-2017 at 09:42 PM. Reason: Additional info- see edit
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  #3  
Old 04-20-2017, 04:57 PM
Gareth Davies Gareth Davies is offline
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As above. Far better ways to join thin sheet than MIG unless you like using grinders to plough all that excess weld off

MIG is okay for heavier sections and speed but it will never be an adequate substitute for gas or TIG on thin section.
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:42 PM
outsider347 outsider347 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffrod View Post
Get a good oxy-acetylene rig and learn how to use it properly. A gas welding & cutting rig is a must have for a shop. It will weld, braze, heat to bend/anneal/heat treat and cut. It is also completely portable, unlike most electric welders. It's the most versatile equipment for your money.

Buy bottles to exchange outright (40-75cf, check with your supplier) if you weld infrequently or lease larger bottles to suit your needs.

Buy a good torch with quality tips that suits your needs. A Gas Saver and pezio bump ground torch lighter are a big help. Kent White sells a great small Meco Midget torch and accessories that are on my list of must-haves for sheet metal welding gear to go with my favorite old torch I have here.

I have a TIG/Stick welder but it hardly gets used compared to my gas welding rig. In fact, my TIG is in the shop right now when I really need it to be ready to work. My gas welding gear never has such issues...

Once you learn to gas weld, other types of welding are simple. Whether or not you're on a budget, it's the best place to start imho.
X2 on the O/A rig. Had mine for 50 yrs.
used it more in the last 5 yrs.....since I have been a forum member here. Just say'n
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  #5  
Old 04-20-2017, 11:28 PM
BTromblay BTromblay is offline
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Hi,

O/A set up would be great, but if you decide to go electric, go as big as possible. For a Mig or Tig welder I recommend 300 amp machine with shielded gas, instead of Flux core. You can always turn it down, but current is needed for thicker material or heat disapating aluminum.

B
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  #6  
Old 04-21-2017, 09:23 AM
rustreapers rustreapers is offline
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Default Low budget first timer!!

“First time welder on a budget” are the key words and your advice should be geared to these criteria. DO NOT buy Harbor Freight. Miller and Hobart make a variety of low budget 120v gas shielded welders. Miller has a Millermatic 125 (hobby) welder starting at @ $600.00. Extra costs would be a bottler of gas, gloves, jacket, and a helmet. My Harbor Freight helmet has been adequate. An additional hidden cost would be a cart to hold the bottle and welder.
Do your homework of course and pay attention to the term duty cycle. As I understand it this is a rating of maximum power output (thickest metal being welded) to the maximum time this unite can handle before shutting down to cool off. The 125 unit has a duty cycle of 20% meaning you can weld 3/16” thick steel for 2 minutes at a time. If you stitch weld you can extend the welding time. For 18 ga you would stitch weld any way and most units don’t shut down at this lower power setting.

Good luck and lets us know how you make out!!
Rustreaper.
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  #7  
Old 04-21-2017, 10:59 AM
billfunk29 billfunk29 is offline
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Default Welder

This opinion is from a hobby perspective. Much different for a business.

I bought my OA rig over 40 years ago. First major tool I bought and it will be the last one I sell. Over the years, I have done just about all the types of welding and brazing available. Can't beat OA for versatility.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:15 AM
cliffrod cliffrod is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustreapers View Post
“First time welder on a budget” are the key words and your advice should be geared to these criteria. DO NOT buy Harbor Freight. Miller and Hobart make a variety of low budget 120v gas shielded welders. Miller has a Millermatic 125 (hobby) welder starting at @ $600.00. Extra costs would be a bottler of gas, gloves, jacket, and a helmet. My Harbor Freight helmet has been adequate. An additional hidden cost would be a cart to hold the bottle and welder.
Do your homework of course and pay attention to the term duty cycle. As I understand it this is a rating of maximum power output (thickest metal being welded) to the maximum time this unite can handle before shutting down to cool off. The 125 unit has a duty cycle of 20% meaning you can weld 3/16” thick steel for 2 minutes at a time. If you stitch weld you can extend the welding time. For 18 ga you would stitch weld any way and most units don’t shut down at this lower power setting.

Good luck and lets us know how you make out!!
Rustreaper.
I think you'll find you can spend around $600 and have a full gas welding set-up- entry level torch kit is around $200 (some with hoses & regulators) and two 40 cf tanks are approx $200/each new. Shop around. Tractor Supply recently had a closeout on a complete gas rig with Victor torch kit, 75 cf tanks, hoses, regulators, cart, helmet, etc for $675 marked down from $799.

Buying used torches (dirt cheap-up) and 40 cf tanks (typically around $100 each) will save more money. You may need new hoses but still a way to save money. Seems like there are regularly full gas welding rigs available for $400-less on c/l that will do a lot more than a simple MIG. Just don't waste money on buying leased tanks or tanks too large to exchange outright without inspection.

Another shameless plug- Kent White's TM2000 welding lens (approx $200?) seems expensive but is all I use for gas welding steel, alloy, etc. It removes all color from the process and greatly helped me be a better welder. All you need to do is watch for the metal to go from dark (cold) to bright (hot) to shiny (melting) to ripple (molten puddle) and proceed to weld before it bubbles (effervescing/boiling or overheated) and/or drops through. It works the same & just as well for alloy, the purpose for which I bought mine. When I tried it while welding steel, it was a true game changer for me. Once you use one, you'll understand.

one last point- Until I run out of argon, my TIG is rated at 40% duty cycle. Until I run out of gas, my ox-acetylene torches are 100% duty cycle... very cool.

As always, jmho
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  #9  
Old 04-22-2017, 09:23 AM
rustreapers rustreapers is offline
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Default Motivation, talent, time, experience and yes money.

Bill Funk,
My opinion is not based on a hobby perspective having 25 + years in auto restoration. It is from a get started view. What starter has $2000.00 to put into a welder and what start up shop has access to 40 amp 208v single phase let alone 3 phase. If you can't wire your electrical yourself there goes some $800.00+ for a sub-panel providing your house has a 200/150 amp main brake box. There is no doubt that O/A welding is the way to go and you are half way there with a cutting torch, bottles and a cart. Consider the learning curve for O/A welding vs plug in and go for mig welding. No one starts out as a professional with professional funds. It is a evolving process based on motivation, talent, time, experience and yes money.
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Old 04-22-2017, 07:17 PM
JimRussell JimRussell is offline
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Hi John,

Quote:
plug in and go for mig welding.
If it only were that simple! I sure have seen a lot of inadequate mig welds. Why? Well, there just isn't a "plug in and go" welder that won't require some learning curve. I'm in the camp of O/A for a home shop on a budget.
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