don.bowen at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 22 23:36:29 EST 2008
What do you want to weld? Thin sheet? Heavy plate? Cast iron? All require
different techniques. For a start take a class. Many schools offer night
classes on welding and will help you decide what equipment to buy. Many
times local welding stores will give significant discounts for students in
the classes. Other than that, a good book is the one by Richard Finch.
For thin material a gas outfit is a good start. Plus it is handy to cut
heavier metal and it is often called a "hot wrench" because of the way a
little flame can make rusted nuts loosen. The biggest hassle is the tanks.
Small tanks are fine for occasional jobs but do run out fast on larger jobs.
Tanks can be leased or purchased.
To get good beads, a wire feed welder works well and a beginner can do a
passable job with one but they are more expensive than a stick welder. Good
AC stick welders are common and not too high priced. Makes a better weld
but the units are more expensive. Avoid the small cheap buzz boxes.
I have gas, stick, and wire. The gas is an outfit I bought over several
garage sales, regulators at one (single stage, still looking for an
affordable set of dual) mixer and tips at others. A friend gave me the
hose. I have two sets of tanks, a small and a larger set, both sets picked
up at garage sales.
The stick welder is a 40 year old 180 Amp AC welder I bought at a garage
sale that has what appears to be an almost 100% duty cycle. I have abused
it many times. The cables were given to me and I bought the holder and
clamp new. I use mostly 6011 and 6013 rod because I bought several boxes at
a garage sale. I have put some hard surface rod through it.
The new welder I have is a Hobart wire feed. I got it at a welding show and
it is an easy unit to use. The gas tank came from a home center going out
of business and I traded it for a larger tank at a sale. I use C20. Good
welder and easy to use but it has problems welding much over 1/4 single
I also have an anvil and forge and have done some forge welding.
Don Bowen KI6DIU
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