Author Topic: Old Dogs.... new tricks  (Read 794 times)

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Offline Yellowbelly

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #30 on: Friday,August 11, 2017, 03:17:27 AM »
Mig is a really good place to start on the principles of welding and then move onto tig as and when you start getting the hang of it. A good hobby Mig would be about 130 amps and will allow you to do most jobs that you would need on a car. If you can afford it going up to 160 amp opens up a different level of welder with options for "Euro" type torches and better earth leads and generally cheaper consumables. Also think of your gas supply as that is where most of your long term costs will be swallowed up. I have an ongoing supply contract with a local distributor because i use several cylinders worth per year so its cheaper on a monthly direct debit. Other options in the UK (I dont know about the states or Australia) are what are called hobby gas suppliers. Basically you buy a cylinder for life and pay for refills from authorized distributors. This is more expensive on an individual cylinder basis but better if you are not likely to use much as once you have the set up it only costs you at refill time. The small cylinders which often come with cheaper welders are not worth bothering with unless you are only going to weld once in a blue moon. Some people in the UK use "pub gas" which is generally CO2. I wouldn't recommend this for a beginner. O good welder can make it work but it is likely to create issues with the weld that the inexperienced welder will not be able to compensate for. Dont forget if you are going down the proper cylinder route you will need to factor in the cost of a cylinder adapter on the cheaper budget welders. It is also a good idea to install a flow meter so that you can accurately regulate your gas flow.

A little tip for Tig welding is to run the torch lead up your left arm (assuming you are right handed), across your shoulders and down your right arm into your hand. This supports the weight of the lead and torch and will allow you to get a more comfortable welding position.

Be aware that once you start on the road to welding and creating things there is no going back.You will start to look at everything on the car and think how can i make that better and before you know it.......

Offline Yellowbelly

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #31 on: Friday,August 11, 2017, 03:21:20 AM »
Forgot to add there is a really good welding website with a good forum which has lots of useful hints on getting started
http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/

Offline Grumblebuns

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #32 on: Friday,August 11, 2017, 07:51:09 AM »
Thanks for all of the tips and advice. I'm currently limited to a vintage Lincoln arc welder also referred to as "tombstone" or "buzzbox". It will have to make do till I'm able to afford a MIG or TIG unit.

My garage currently has a dedicated 50A 230V circuit for heavy duty equipment. Anyone know what size welder I will be limited to with my power setup. Also, I'm thinking of initially getting a MIG welder, possibly a TIG later on, so are there any welding hobby jobs that a MIG welder can't do that a TIG can?



 

Offline FranV8

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #33 on: Friday,August 11, 2017, 09:01:46 AM »
Crikey that opens things up, well my 160 amp inverter runs okay on 13 amp, so you'd be good to a pretty big machine, but single phase.  TIG is good for some really neat welding on a large variety of materials, but typically for us mere mortals it'd want to be pieces you can do on a bench and do from above/on the side.  It doesn't like dirty or rusty metal, so repairs need to be cleaned up.  Mig is probably better for general repairs in situ.  All in my opinion!

MIG can do aluminium but it sounds like a frustrating experience with variable results.

Offline EuropaTC

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #34 on: Friday,August 11, 2017, 09:23:29 AM »
Thanks for all of the tips and advice. I'm currently limited to a vintage Lincoln arc welder also referred to as "tombstone" or "buzzbox". It will have to make do till I'm able to afford a MIG or TIG unit.

My garage currently has a dedicated 50A 230V circuit for heavy duty equipment. Anyone know what size welder I will be limited to with my power setup. Also, I'm thinking of initially getting a MIG welder, possibly a TIG later on, so are there any welding hobby jobs that a MIG welder can't do that a TIG can?

Hi Joji,

I started off with an arc welder and moved to a 130 amp MIG a few years later because I wanted to weld aluminium. MIG can do that easily provided you pick the right gas;  I used Argon and still do as I can use it for Al/SS/CS because even if it's not ideal it works well enough across the range.  The MIG unit has welded car body panel steel, thin stainless and up to 3mm Al.  For thicker mild steel I prefer arc welding, it's easy to get lack of fusion with low powered MIG units on thick steel.

TIG can do all of the above but if you want to weld Al with TIG you need an AC/DC set. You can weld Al on DC but it's not as easy and the usual weld procedures are for AC.   

An inverter TIG unit as mentioned by FranV8 will also do arc welding so if you only pick one welder, an AC/DC TIG set is the most flexible.  My set is a 160 amp RTech branded Chinese (?) welder and it runs happily of a 13amp plug (32amp RCD supply) so your 50 amp supply will be plenty.  The 130amp MIG and 150amp Arc welding sets also work off 13 amp plugs, you will only need higher power supply if you want to weld thick steel. (I'm guessing maybe 200 amp sets ?)

There's a lot said for and against the Chinese units and I don't know enough about the designs to comment one way or another. The critical thing is your supplier and if they stock replacement parts that you'll hopefully never need but just might. R-Tech in the UK are known for customer support and that's why they got my business - you will have similar people over your side of the pond and I'd urge you to look at the supplier & not just the price tag !

I'll also be controversial and try to push you towards TIG rather than MIG. MIG is great for car bodywork and generally speaking you can knock out welds within an hour of getting your new set home.    BUT......   these days I don't use it very much.

For example, I originally made the Europa petrol tanks with the MIG set and they have 1/4" tube outlets which took me ages to get that leak-free because the welding wire comes out too fast for me to do such delicate work. There's a limit to how much you can slow it down and the process still work, unlike TIG welding where you have far better control over current and wire addition.  Another example in a different metal, those caliper brackets were made using the arc welder. I could have used MIG but was concerned over lack of root fusion on thick steel. 

So for your average hobbyist, an AC/DC TIG set with Argon gas can weld pretty much anything you're likely to need.  If you decide Al isn't going to feature on your wish list then a DC TIG will be significantly cheaper to buy. I predict if you buy a MIG set then you won't use it after you've got a TIG welder.......   ;)

Brian

« Last Edit: Friday,August 11, 2017, 09:27:18 AM by EuropaTC »

Offline Grumblebuns

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #35 on: Saturday,August 12, 2017, 06:54:02 AM »
I have zero experience with budget to mid grade hobby welders so don't know what to expect in regards to features. In the welding class, we used what I believe were top notch equipment (see pictures) so I suspect there will be a slight let down using lesser equipment.

Reading everyone's opinion, I suspect I will be looking at a reasonably priced TIG welder. There will probably lots of used welders out there that people are not using. U-Tube will also probably be my friend as I actually start TIG welding. I got relatively short TIG experience in class, enough to know that I will need more practice to get acceptable results.

Brian and others, keep posting your welding projects here, I'm sure most of us are very interested in what you are all up to.

Offline EuropaTC

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #36 on: Saturday,August 12, 2017, 09:17:31 AM »
Unless you're about to blow the budget on a welding set, I think you might be in for a bit of  "downsizing"  :)

The budget/DIY stuff isn't bad, the main thing I found is that the duty cycle or how long you can weld before they cut out through over temperature, which isn't as good with diy sets as with pro gear. And that's as you'd expect, a pro wants to weld all day without stopping for the set to cool down.

Some DIY sets have fans which help in this respect, and most of the better ones will.  As encouragement to what you can get with a relatively small budget, this is my workbench with the sliding doors removed...   Arc/TIG/MIG.

Brian

Offline andy harwood

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #37 on: Saturday,August 12, 2017, 10:27:38 AM »
Nice collection Brian.
Grumble - Eastwood has a "Eastwood" labeled line. Quality may be a bit better. Worth checking out. I've been happy with my MIG.

Offline FranV8

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Re: Old Dogs.... new tricks
« Reply #38 on: Saturday,August 12, 2017, 12:35:19 PM »
I've got the Eastwood plasma cutter.  Good machine and great value .  I looked at their TIG though and the R Tech equipment was significantly better in my opinion.  Never had duty cycle issues, and I use a water cooled torch (built my own cooler with a central heating pump, some Tupperware and a Corvette power steering cooler) and I am rarely above 70 amps for things I do.