Author Topic: Old Dogs.... new tricks  (Read 316 times)

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Offline andy harwood

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #15 on: Monday,March 20, 2017, 04:16:13 PM »
check out eastwood site. they have a nice variety of tig/mig setups. I'm sure there are others though. Or make a trip to welders supply, prolly cost a bit more.


Offline BDA

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #16 on: Monday,March 20, 2017, 05:50:52 PM »
I've started watching Northern Tool and Harbor Freight and occasionally Amazon, but so far, I'm just watching...

Offline EuropaTC

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #17 on: Monday,March 20, 2017, 11:15:41 PM »
I checked and the MG club has a MIG welder so unless I find a friend with a TIG welder, I'll probably have to start on MIG. There is the possibility that I might buy my own welder - if I can find a place to store it! A friend told me to get the highest amperage welder I can afford, but that's not much help for me. I don't think I'm likely to weld anything as thick as 1/4". What amperage would you recommend?

The logic on buying the highest amperage set can't really be faulted because you can always turn it down !  However in the DIY world where it's your own time and doesn't matter if you finish today or tomorrow, then there's a place for lower powered sets. Clearly I'm no expert but I'll happily tell you what I bought and why.

My set is a 160 amp, DC only set with the facility for upslope/downslope/pulse welding, it's compact and runs off a (UK) standard 13 amp plug.   160 amp because 200+ amps requires a 16 amp input. The advantages of higher power are thicker metals, longer duty cycles before it overheats/cuts out and faster welding.  Most sets I saw also do arc welding so a higher amperage would come in handy should you want to weld 1/2" steels but I've no intention of welding greater than 1/4" with this set.  If it's of interest, that header tank is 1mm 304 SS and was mostly welded at 40 amps, the highest I went to was 50 amps on pulsed current

I picked DC only because sets with AC welding are for Aluminium and other highly oxidising metals. I considered an AC/DC set but decided I'd probably not use the facility as I've got a MIG set which I would use for Al.   

Upslope/downslope just make it easier to control the start & finish of a weld, plus reducing the tendency for crater cracking at the end of a run with some metals. 

Pulse welding because you can minimise overall heat input and still have good penetration. I think it's easier to control on thinner metals, especially if you're welding without filler metal addition. I used pulse on the overflow return tube attachment where it was easy to build up heat but I don't think it's essential, more a "nice to have".
 
That's the so-called "logic" behind my purchase although you need a lot of man-maths to claim it's a sensible buy  ;)

I don't know if it's an option over there in the US, but some places in the UK run training schools for hobbyists and if you could find one locally that might give you a taster ?

Brian

Offline FranV8

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #18 on: Tuesday,March 21, 2017, 12:23:35 AM »
That's not an RTech by chance is it? I have the 160 amp AC DC.  I bought the pedal as well which helps in some situations. 

I also changed the torch to a water cooled one, so much lighter and more flexible than the stock air cooled one.  I built the cooler out of a central heating pump and a Corvette power steering cooler, bit overkill but it works a treat.

TIG is great for clean jobs where you can set things up where you can get to them (I can't recollect getting the hang of doing it upside down).

Offline EuropaTC

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #19 on: Tuesday,March 21, 2017, 12:53:19 AM »
That's not an RTech by chance is it? I have the 160 amp AC DC.  I bought the pedal as well which helps in some situations. 
:)

Yep, it's RTech 160amp but just the cheaper DC version.  I've been very impressed with it so far.

I'm still too inexperienced with TIG to make significant equipment changes, the only addition I've made so far is to add gas lenses to enable the tungsten to go out a bit more for fillet welds in tight spots. Since buying it I've looked on the RTech site and think the smaller torch would have been better for my use, maybe later. Likewise the foot pedal is on the options list, I think that would be better for seated/bench welding.

Brian

Offline BDA

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #20 on: Tuesday,March 21, 2017, 07:13:40 AM »
Great information! Thanks. If I do go down that road it's comforting to know I don't have to spend much at all on a set.

Offline andy harwood

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #21 on: Tuesday,March 21, 2017, 09:33:10 AM »
BDA, Chuck Nukem mentioned makerspace co-ops. There is one in Greensboro, has a small machine shop- lathe, mill, welders. This may be a option for you. Cheap, use anytime.

Offline BDA

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #22 on: Tuesday,March 21, 2017, 09:42:32 AM »
I had forgotten about those. I think there was one in Raleigh but I think it went under. I could be wrong so I'll see what I can find out. That's a really great option for most of us.

Offline Rosco5000

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #23 on: Wednesday,March 22, 2017, 10:47:08 AM »
This is all good advice.  I myself went down the used route.  I bought a Miller Syncrowave 200.  It is an older transformer machine, and 200 amps as the name suggests.  Way more machine than I currently need but it welded nicely on a lift I made for my 4X4 all made out of 1/4" plate steel.  There is a lot of debate on Chinese vs. American made welders on the welding forums.  I think in hind sight I might have tried a chinese welder if I did it again.  Look of an IGBT Inverter machine, this is the newest technology and you don't need massive house wiring to do the job.  Right now my welder in in my dad's shop with easy access to 220 power but if I move it to my house one day I am going to have to get a 220V 60 amp circuit into my garage some how to power that old transform based machine it might cost as much as the machine itself just to power it. 

110V Migs are fantastic little units and really can do most of what a hobbiest needs unless you start wanting to do truck stuff.
1969 Europa S2 - 54/1869 I still can't believe I own one.
1978 Austin Mini - 1275, big brakes
1991 Ford Explorer - Lifted on 33s, custom lift and radius arms
2005 Chrysler 300C - chipped, lowered 22s
2003 GMC Yukon - chipped, lowered
You could say the stable is diverse

Offline Grumblebuns

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #24 on: Thursday,March 23, 2017, 07:52:37 AM »
BDA, another option to start learning how to weld is to see if your local community college offers welding technology classes. I was planning to enroll in the Welding 100 introductory class this spring until other commitments popped up and I had to back out. Perhaps I'll try again this summer.

I took a three day introductory welding course offered by my local art academy several years ago. It whet my appetite to learn more welding. I only got as far as buying a used Lincoln "tombstone" arc welder from  a buddy of mine and haven't done anything with it since.   

Offline BDA

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #25 on: Thursday,March 23, 2017, 09:24:49 AM »
I did talk with a guy from the local community college about taking some welding courses. He seemed disappointed that I didn't want to get a degree. We played phone tag a while and eventually one of us didn't call back. I also talked with a guy in the MG club who said he would teach a few of us and that fell apart, too. Maybe, this just isn't to be! I may revive the issue in the MG club again. The two things that are hampering me are that I would have to go to a friend's house to do any welding or practice, and that I don't really have a burning project to use it. Of course, the fact is that once you have a tool, more opportunities to use it appear from nowhere. It will happen sometime.