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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If a complete newbie wanted to try his hand at welding to work on basic manipulation of 3pt hitch stuff and basic fabrication, what type of welder would you recommend to learn on. I do not plan on quitting my day job and plan on attending an introductory class at a local college this spring.

Thank You - Dana
 

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Well Dana,

Strickly speaking as a self taught sparky, I don't think you can go wrong with a MIG. I never tried stick or TIG, though I have heard TIG is a little tricker and may just take more time to learn. Everyone has there own pace ya know. It will come down to practice and experimenting.

Here is a good place to do some reading.

http://www.millerwelds.com/resources/
 

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First, you need to give us a budget-there is a lot involved like the welder, grinders, gloves, helmet, saw's, gas (if MIG welding), wire/electrodes...

A good basic stick welder is about $400-$500 for a decent (Miller, Lincoln) AC/DC machine-they often come up used for sale. You really want DC capabilities with stick.

A good basic MIG will be $1200 for a machine that can weld 3/8".

So, how much do you want to spend to "try" it?
 

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I found a pretty decent solar powered auto darkening hood at Prax-air for around $80. Very happy with it, so far.

sent from the road
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good question Kenny. I see a lot of welders in the $500 range new. I realize that some accessories and materials are required as well. I get these ideas in my head...anyway I am not afraid to go craigslist for something. I read a bit about welding generally and i got the sense that a flux core would be a good starting point but figured I would throw this out there. May not be a practical endeavor but am interested in learning something different that I can apply. I love the time I spend tractoring etc. Think I could enjoy this as well.

Dana
 

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Kenny has given good advice.

If you go flux-core on a MIG machine, you can use it when it gets breezy; but I've heard weld appearance with flux-core is not as good as using shielding gas.

Stick will give you the cheapest entry into welding; but if you're going to take an intro course at the local college; I'd hold off buying one until you attend some classes. Hopefully the intro class will have you try stick, MIG & TIG, which should give you an idea which one you feel most comfortable with.

If you can afford it, stick with major brands such as Miller, Lincoln, and Hobart. Parts if you need them are readily available. Miller and Hobart are owned by ITW (Illinois Tool Works).
 

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Whatever you do, stay away from the Chinese stuff, affectionatly known as Chicoms on the welding forums. Check out welding web, to see some horror stories on some of them (link below).

I currently have a Lincoln 180T, but don't run gas on it, mainly because I just haven't gotten around to getting a contract. I use flux-core wire, which works fine for me, with the exception of body work. Stuff just runs way to hot for light metal, and will punch holes. Gas mig excels here, the gas helps cool the weld on thinner stuff.

Here are some forums that might help, I have lots more, just give me a shout if you want, or need 'em:

www.weldingweb.com

http://weldfabzone.com/forum/index.php

Good question Kenny. I see a lot of welders in the $500 range new. I realize that some accessories and materials are required as well. I get these ideas in my head...anyway I am not afraid to go craigslist for something. I read a bit about welding generally and i got the sense that a flux core would be a good starting point but figured I would throw this out there. May not be a practical endeavor but am interested in learning something different that I can apply. I love the time I spend tractoring etc. Think I could enjoy this as well.

Dana
 

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<< covering ears >>> La la la dee dah de dah.... :hide:

...I am not readying this thread.....I am not reading this thread...

Although the "types of welding" chart at the Arcon Welding site say that "soldering" is a type of welding, so, maybee I'm OK? I _might_ keep an eye on this thread to see how it all turns out though.... It will be interesting to see how the OP manages. I do like the idea of taking a welding course to get exposure before buying anything- our local community collage has a number of welding classes.

Pete
 

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I'd go for it, good way to see if you like it. I took motorcycle mechanics at BCIT way back when, and that's how I got my taste for it, took an intro to welding as part of the course. Picked up my welder 3 or 4 years ago, and basically taught myself a little more since then.

<< covering ears >>> La la la dee dah de dah.... :hide:

...I am not readying this thread.....I am not reading this thread...

Although the "types of welding" chart at the Arcon Welding site say that "soldering" is a type of welding, so, maybee I'm OK? I _might_ keep an eye on this thread to see how it all turns out though.... It will be interesting to see how the OP manages. I do like the idea of taking a welding course to get exposure before buying anything- our local community collage has a number of welding classes.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank You for the replies. I will let you all know how I proceed with this....

Dana
 

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Dana, you might consider a small AC/DC stick welder. With a decent duty cycle and enough amperage, you can weld anything from sheet metal to thick steel plate. Bought my off-brand from Grainger about 30 years ago for $200, and it has served me well over the years. I'm still not a welder, per se, and don't know if I could pass a certification test. But I have been melting metal with it over the years, and thoroughly enjoy making and repairing things with it.
 

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I second bridgeman's suggestion. A atick welder would be a great start. Every good welder started with a stinger in his hand. starting with mig welding can lead to bad habbits. It is the only process that will light up and run but not fuse. Cold lap can happen very easily. Its hard to cold lap with stick because the electrode won't even light if your heat is too low.

alot and most tractor projects can be done with 7018 stick wire, either 3/32 or 1/8 diameter.

If you want to jump into mig welding just go for a millermatic 251, they pop up used all the time and i've cut into 5/8 plate no problem. It'll do sheet metal with .030 wire.

I weld for a living and take it very seriously. I am a certified union pipe welder. I've taken many tests and even competed as an apprentice. I own three machines, miller syncrowave 250dx HF tig, millermatic 251 mig machine, miller bobcat 250 engine drive, and fab all the time.

I am happy to help with anyones welding endeavours. -Joe.
 

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...miller syncrowave 250dx HF tig...

I am happy to help with anyones welding endeavours. -Joe.
I assume the HF means High Frequency and not Harbor Freight. :laugh:

Careful about offering help Joe, as you may get more questions than you expected. Just kidding...we appreciate expert help.
 

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Oh yes HF, Sounds like music when you really get going. Speaking of harbor freight that tube bender that uses a pump jack was pretty slick.

I'll harbor as many questions as the membership can throw, I like chit chatting about welding more than my other hobbies, mustangs and tractors.


Good luck with your welder selection, if you havn't already chose the small miller maxstars are great little stick welders, Can even tig steel and stainless.
-Joe.
 
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