Beginner Welder
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    PJR832's Avatar
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    Beginner Welder

    What would be a good small welder for someone who is just starting out? I don't want to go all in and then find out I just don't have the the knack but I also don't want to buy a pile of junk and get frustrated because of poor equipment.
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    Don't buy a welder, go take a class. You'll get started on the right foot, get to try a lot of different processes and use different machines. You'll figure out what you like and what you don't and if you decide welding isn't for you you're not stuck with a welder and the education always looks good on a resume.
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    You didn't say what type of welding you are interested in. I mean, are you wanting to do fabrication or wanting to do repairs around the homestead? Most welders will require a 50A 220V outlet? Do you have one of those available? If not, is it something you can easily add?

    Next, watch Craigslist and pick up a cheap Lincoln Tombstone welder. They can usually be had for $150-$175. I found a mint condition 225AC-DC for $175. You can learn a lot by stick welding. Watch as many YouTube videos as you have time. Stick welding is cheap and very capable.

    This is what I did and I'm very satisfied. I can do most repairs and have even fabricated some stuff.

    The nice thing about the Lincoln Tombstone welders is you can usually resell them for exactly what you paid for them.
    Last edited by jgayman; 10-09-2017 at 03:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    You didn't say what type of welding you are interested in. I mean, are you wanting to do fabrication or wanting to do repairs around the homestead? Most welders will require a 50A 220V outlet? Do you have one of those available? If not, is it something you can easily add?

    Next, watch Craigslist and pick up a cheap Lincoln Tombstone welder. They can usually be had for $150-$175. I found a mint condition 225AC-DC for $175. You can learn a lot by stick welding. Watch as many YouTube videos as you have time. Stick welding is cheap and very capable.

    This is what I did and I'm very satisfied. I can do most repairs and have even fabricated some stuff.

    The nice thing about the Lincoln Tombstone welders is you can usually sell them for exactly what you paid for them.
    Thanks, yes, I forgot to mention that. Just light fabrication and things like that for now. Really just want to learn and play, just something I've been interested in for quite awhile.
    Pat
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJR832 View Post
    Thanks, yes, I forgot to mention that. Just light fabrication and things like that for now. Really just want to learn and play, just something I've been interested in for quite awhile.
    Way back when I was able I wanted to teach myself also. But having an old wood plank floor in the barn and shop kind of put the stops to the idea.

    Good luck - I have always had this insatiable need to learn.
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    You've already gotten great advice.
    As far as having the knack- Anybody can produce strong welds, if they practice. That is the key, not natural ability. Weld, weld, and weld more. The more rod (or wire) that you run, the more that you'll get it. Taking a class is great, in many respects, but even that won't take the place of practice at home. Buy what you can afford- a good welder is money well spent, and you can get your money back out of it- and don't worry about whether you have the ability or not. You will, if you weld, weld, and weld some more.
    One more thing- I hear it all the time- "I want to get the stacked dime look". Don't get caught up in that. There are lots of nice, clean, straight welds run, that are weak. Focus on the fundamentals and good penetration, and don't worry so much about a pretty weld. That will come, with practice. A beautiful bead that is stronger than the field around it. The beauty is optional, the strength isn't.
    Last edited by hodge; 10-09-2017 at 03:41 PM.
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    I’ve seriously considered taking an welding class at the local community college.

    They teach all types in the intro class. Going to have to look into it more.


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    I took an adult class at the local JR college years ago and learned the basics. I still have and use the electric Buzz Box stick welder when I need to weld something. One thing I learned is keep you rods dry. I bought 50lbs box of rod because it was a lot cheaper that way. I used about 3lbs and the rest absorbed so much moisture I had to throw them away. My welder is so old it was from Monkey Wards and it still welds fine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    Way back when I was able I wanted to teach myself also. But having an old wood plank floor in the barn and shop kind of put the stops to the idea.

    Good luck - I have always had this insatiable need to learn.
    Same here. I do all of my welding outside. I use only flex core wire in my little MIG unit that way I don't have to use shielding gas outside.

    Welding outside is not a problem really... just have to limit yourself to when it is not raining. :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifterbike View Post
    One thing I learned is keep you rods dry. I bought 50lbs box of rod because it was a lot cheaper that way. I used about 3lbs and the rest absorbed so much moisture I had to throw them away. My welder is so old it was from Monkey Wards and it still welds fine.
    What was the alloy, 7018? I've never had a problem with 6013 which is my go-to rod of choice. I've had an open box in our dirt basement for many years and they still run fine. 7018 though, you do need to keep dry if possible.
    2012 2720 -- 200CX Loader -- 54" Quick Attach Snow Blower -- Frontier LR5060 Rake -- Land Pride RB1660 Blade (Hydraulic Angle) -- Artillian 42" Forks -- Ken's Bolt on Grab Hooks -- Fit Rite Hydraulic top-link -- 2013 X500 for mowing duties

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