Author Topic: Old Dogs.... new tricks  (Read 694 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.

Offline Grumblebuns

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #26 on: Thursday,August 10, 2017, 11:31:59 AM »
I decided to follow my own advice and take a formal welding course at my local community college. This past summer, I just wrapped up a six week summer introductory welding class. It really was well worth the time and expense. The class was four days a week with one hour of classroom followed by of "lab" which consisted of three hours of  hand on welding practice with top notch equipment on what was discussed in the classroom.

The big thing I got out of this experience was not having to pay someone $40 a pop to weld up a simple item and then wait a day to pick up the next day with everything on hold. I'm confident that I can weld up simple non critical stuff in carbon steel. If it comes to welding aluminum or stainless steel, I will need a bit more practice before doing anything in those two metals. We spent two weeks TIG welding aluminum plate in class, laying flat beads, lap joints and "T" joints. I still can't weld a "T" joint to save my life.

At this point, it's on the look out for a used MIG or TIG welder to maintain my limited welding skills and hopefully create projects like what Brian has done with his exhaust header and S/S  header tank.

To carry on my technical education, I've enrolled in a manual transmission/FWD transaxle class for the fall semester. This should come in handy when the time comes to tear into the 336 gearbox.

Offline EuropaTC

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #27 on: Thursday,August 10, 2017, 01:13:56 PM »
 :)

That is a really inspirational post Joji, good on you for getting out there and making it happen.

The course sounds quite intensive and a real commitment of your time, I think you're being modest when you call that an introductory course. I'm betting you come out of such a course with more skill than you're letting on. 

Get yourself some kit and let's see some projects !

Well done again.

Brian.

Offline BDA

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #28 on: Thursday,August 10, 2017, 01:21:24 PM »
I'm envious, Joji! Maybe one day...

Offline FranV8

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #29 on: Thursday,August 10, 2017, 11:31:51 PM »
Joji, I know I'm on the wrong side of the pond, but when looking for kit that is going to see garage use (occasional) I would recommend some of the imported Chinese sourced inverter machines.  I have an R Tech from over here (UK) - the local distributor rebramds them and is impeccable for customer service.  Mine is a TIG.  My friend has an inverter MIG and it's great too, he's done a couple of 60's Mustangs and is on something really old and American now that is made entirely of rust flakes.

I think over there the equivalent is probably Everlast.

If you've got the power supply in your garage, some of the older transformer based equipment is cheap and indestructible second hand, but you'd need 3 phase power for the best bargains.  And bang goes any portability.

Well done on the course!