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2001 John Deere 4700, JD 460 Loader, JD 48 Backhoe, 60" EA Wicked Grapple, Woods 96" Back Blade
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Discussion Starter #1
I want to learn how to weld. ( mostly, if something breaks on my tractor). What type of welding equipment do I need to purchase?

Thanks

Al
 

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I took a welding class at a local community college a few years ago. I'd suggest doing something similar to that and then figure out what you need from there.
 

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I took a welding class at a local community college a few years ago. I'd suggest doing something similar to that and then figure out what you need from there.
^^^^
This, exactly this.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I took a welding class at a local community college a few years ago. I'd suggest doing something similar to that and then figure out what you need from there.
Sounds good.
 

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I taught myself recently (last couple years) the cheapest way to get into it is a stick welder. I bought a Lincoln a/c only machine from lowes brand new for like $300. It’s ridiculously heavy and most guys are not a fan of a/c only but I have burned a lot of rods with it until I finally started running clean beads. 6013 seems easiest to strike an arc and run cleanly. I bought 10lb of 6013/7018/6011 in 1/8 and 3/16 and just practiced with them. YouTube is a phenomenal source of information. After about a year I stepped up and bought a nice Hobart 210 amp mig machine. Gas and all I have probably $1500 in it. The learning curve was much shorter on it after learning to stick weld. I still use my stick welder some but like the results of the mig the best. If I had to do it again I’d probably buy an a/c d/c inverter stick machine to start with. Good luck. Welding can be addictive. If you enjoy it you’ll find plenty of things that need to be welded together. I’d say stay away from the cheap flux core only machines. Or any 120v machine. Even if you have to run a new breaker it’s worth it for better results. Most people are unhappy with the results flux core or 120v machines produce and you outgrow them quickly. Atleast the stick welder will be relevant and useful forever. When you have stick down a 240v mig machine with gas and solid wire is the way to go. IMO
 

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Jump straight to MIG and don't buy a cheap machine. As @Wvdeere said, the Hobart 210 MVP is good entry level machine that won't break the bank.

Get some scrap and start burning.

I worked all day today in the garage. Finished the base for a water plasma table. Cut some steel that is going to become dragonflies and made a 1/4" piece of square tubing that had to have and ID of 2 & 1/8th inch to hold the leaves on an 8' fiberglass apple in the back yard that just got repainted. Will have to get some pics of it after being freshened up.

Here it was 2.5 years ago when installed.

 

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I have a neighbor that's a pro welder, so when I wanted to learn 5 or 6 years ago, he told me to go straight to a MIG setup. He recommended a Miller 211, but I didn't want to spend that much so I bought the Vulcan MigMax 215 from Harbor Freight. It's been a great tool and I've since done tons of welding with it. 120/240v, optional spool gun for aluminum welding, and flux core mode. He says it works as smoothly as the Miller.
 

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Add to taking a welding class. Search "weldmonger" on YT. Jody Collier does excellent tutorials on different welding styles and types. Watching them before your class will help you understand terminology and techniques. I prefer tig but mig does well and is maybe more forgiving. I purchased an Everlast tig welder for home use. Have fun!
 

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Jump straight to MIG and don't buy a cheap machine. As @Wvdeere said, the Hobart 210 MVP is good entry level machine that won't break the bank.

Get some scrap and start burning.

I worked all day today in the garage. Finished the base for a water plasma table. Cut some steel that is going to become dragonflies and made a 1/4" piece of square tubing that had to have and ID of 2 & 1/8th inch to hold the leaves on an 8' fiberglass apple in the back yard that just got repainted. Will have to get some pics of it after being freshened up.

Here it was 2.5 years ago when installed.

View attachment 847058 View attachment 847059 View attachment 847060

This.

I bought Miller 211 with Autoset and just started welding on old junk metal.

Be amazed how quickly you pick it up with a good MIG.


I also took a class through work, learned alot, but I was ahead of the curve.
 

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Lots of goof information here! I like the weld.com youtube channel and "Mr. Tig" 's style of teaching. I started with flux core on a 120v Eastwood welder and it created a person who has really started to enjoy it. A year later I have a multi process Eastwood 200MPi, (220v) and a dedicated AC/DC Primeweld TIG machine (225X, also 220v). MIG is pretty easy to pick up, TIG is challenging and so rewarding when you make a pretty weld and the "pop" when the TIG arc ignites is addicting! Flux works, but using shielding gas is night and day improvement (but gas is expensive for the first tank.) Get some metal, make it disappear, then figure out why it's gone.

Take a class if one is available, having someone under the hood next to you will be very helpful to fix what you're doing wrong.

Have fun learning to see the puddle and manipulating it to accomplish what you're trying to do.
 

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I see some saying go straight to MiG, some saying stick first. Choice of type is dependent on a few factors.
1) Where will you be doing the most welding? Indoors or outside?
2) What do you want to weld most? Thinner material or heavy stock? Steel? Aluminum? Stainless?
3) Is this going to be for profit, or just fixing your own broken stuff?

In-shop welding: 90% can be done successfully with a DECENT MiG welder. 220V machine capable of running 035/045 solid wire, gas shielded. (Straight CO² IS FOR BEER, NOT WELDING) Mixed gas welding will make all the difference in your welds. The best all around mild steel mix is 75/25 Argon/CO², but there are others. Straight ARGON is for Aluminum, while Stainless can use other Argon mixes, or straight Argon.
The little 110v Flux core gasless MiG welders do not fall under DECENT EQUIPMENT, in my book.

Outdoor welding can be done with a MiG, but it requires more shielding gas, wind blocks, and all manner of not so fun work. I do use a MiG outdoors on occasion, but I will almost always go to the stick welder. I have a Miller Bobcat 250 engine driven welder/generator that will burn ⅛" 7108 all day long, every day of the week. (My preferred rod on most "junk" is actually 6010, or "sucker rod". Doesn't make the prettiest welds, but you can run it in any position, through rusty metal, even a little water.)
Now I know there are some who'd argue points I've made. Don't care. I've been a certified welder nearly 30 years. If you want advice, I'm giving it freely.
Rule #1 DON'T BUY THE CHEAPEST EQUIPMENT.
Rule #2 DON'T BUY THE CHEAPEST MATERIALS.
Rule #3 PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE.
 

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When I went to welding school many years ago they start you out on gas...then stick.
Reason is to learn puddle control.... flat vertical and horizontal.
Next stage was mig and last tig or heliarc.
Anyway farm welding outside dirty rusty minimal prep stick welding is great...6010/6011 rod..all positions.
Now for mig c25 gas mix is is so much better/easier than flux core wire...no clean up of slag...just clean welds once you learn it.
Metal must be prepped and clean of mill scale and rust. Good clean grounding required too.
Outside mig is fine with no breeze.
I use stick for multiple pass heavy equipment repairs and misc outside repairs. I love stick welding and manipulating rod.
I use a ac/dc miller and a inverter miller multi- purpose machine.
Tig is most advanced...get into that after learning the first two.
One note...a oxy acetylene setup is kinda a must too if doing much serious welding and cutting plate.
Brazing, silver soldering...on and on...it's a real kick being able to do so much with metal.
 
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I took a few pics this morning of the 2 & 1/8th" square tubing that had to be fabbed.

In order to paint the leaves they had to be removed. The square tubing with a set screw could not be removed, (1st pic). Tried beating, penetrating oil and a torch but could not get it to budge. So the leaves were cut off. Thus a new piece of square tubing had to be made. Used two inch 1/4" angle iron and made an 1/8" gape to have an ID of 2.125".

Once you can weld anything is possible. Since this was originally done on the corners, (not my choice) I supported it more and it is really STRONG now. Then the angle of the leaves and how much the leaves needed to be tipped had to be taken into account. I screwed up on the first leaf and had it tipped the wrong way, so the piece was flipped 180 degrees and the other was done.

One of my buddies says, "It aint dickered till you run out of wire and gas".
 

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one thing I learned when I went into aircraft 40+ years ago, there is welding and there is sticking 2 things together.
80% of welds are sticking things together.
I used to be good but have been out of it so long I won't give advice. Here at home now I have a 120v flux core and nothing I have "welded" with it has ever failed.
I installed my skid steer bucket teeth and none have broken off so I guess I did OK.
 

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When I went to welding school many years ago they start you out on gas...then stick.
Reason is to learn puddle control.... flat vertical and horizontal.
Next stage was mig and last tig or heliarc.
Anyway farm welding outside dirty rusty minimal prep stick welding is great...6010/6011 rod..all positions.
Now for mig c25 gas mix is is so much better/easier than flux core wire...no clean up of slag...just clean welds once you learn it.
Metal must be prepped and clean of mill scale and rust. Good clean grounding required too.
Outside mig is fine with no breeze.
I use stick for multiple pass heavy equipment repairs and misc outside repairs. I love stick welding and manipulating rod.
I use a ac/dc miller and a inverter miller multi- purpose machine.
Tig is most advanced...get into that after learning the first two.
One note...a oxy acetylene setup is kinda a must too if doing much serious welding and cutting plate.
Brazing, silver soldering...on and on...it's a real kick being able to do so much with metal.
Traditional "Welding Schools" have turned into glorified daycare. I went to Tulsa in the early 90's. It was getting bad back then. They called me in 2000-2001 wanting me to come back and be an instructor. When I went to talk with them, they'd changed everything. It was no longer about teaching the basics of Welding. They wanted to "Teach the fundamentals of life". I smiled and said no thanks. Fundamentals of life are something you should learn in grade school... Everything has to be dumbed down now. No one is willing to tell someone they should consider a job at McDonald's flipping burgers instead of their chosen path. Now It's all about taking someone's money and making them think they're the greatest ever. Not interested in that.
 

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For me, I bought a Lincoln weldpac 100 20 years ago. It's a 120v flux core machine. I've fixed and built a lot of things with it. I too had no welding experience but was told wire feed was a good starting point. About 4 years ago I upgraded to the Hobart mvp210, wow what a difference (set up for gas and 240v).
I'm no expert, never took a class, but have watched a ton of YouTube videos. There's a lot of info there and have learned much, both from videos and just doing it. No matter which type of welder you start with you may be limited by your electrical system. Do you have 240v available? If not can you have it installed. If 120v is your only option it should be a 20 amp circuit.
As others have said, find as much scrap steel as you can and start burning.
MHO
 
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Unless you are doing bridge construction I would skip the stick machine. I have welded stick only a few times in the past many years and only because it was easier to haul the buzz box out to plug into the generator. Go MIG. Way easier to learn. You adjust heat and feed rate. Charts give you an idea where to start and you go from there. With stick you have to figure out what rod to use, what setting, and things go to s&*$ you don't know if it is you or the wrong rod.

Unless you are mainly welding heavy steel there is no reason to start with a stick. You do not become a better welder by starting with stick, you just get more frustrated trying to learn. A decent 120 MIG will handle a lot of material. If you are serous about learning I would spend a few more dollars and get a 240 setup and gas. Lots of decent machines to chose from. You don't have to get a $2,500 Miller to do some serious work. I have built snow pushers, snow buckets, furniture, deck railings, all sorts of stuff, big and small on a relatively inexpensive Eastwood machine.

A 240 machine doesn't give you better welds. It does give you a wider heat range so you can weld heavier steel, and usually you can weld continuously for a longer time. This is rarely a problem unless you get into large items where you have welds that are many feet long. Any decent 120 machine will easily handle 1/4 -5/16" steel without any problems.

It is very hard to weld thin material with a stick, but not so with MIG. It is easier to weld heavy material with a stick, but still not easier than welding with a MIG set-up. Lastly, stick welds are not better. A good weld is a good weld and I would argue it is way easier to learn how to control and lay down a nice bead that penetrates well with a wire feed than than it is to learn how to get a feel for striking and holding an arc with a stick. I am comfortable stick welding but rarely see an occasion to do so.

Also, get a decent helmet with autodarken. You can get cheap ones but you eyes will notice it. You don't need to buy the best, just get one that you can control the sensitivity and darkness. Cheap ones have no adjustment.

A little practice and you will see the light at the end of the tunnel, or the shop is on fire, which has happened, so be careful.
 
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