Seeking Recommendations on Welders - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 10 Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 3:56 pm Thread Starter
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Seeking Recommendations on Welders

I'm looking to get a small welder for DIY projects around the house and garage. I don't want an arc welder, but I don't understand these wire and gas models, so I need a recommendation. I'd like something small, easy to use, safe and able to weld a wide breadth of materials (e.g., aluminum would be nice, but not req'd).

Your thoughts are appreciated.
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post #2 of 10 Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 6:44 pm
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Michael,

My preference is brazing, just about as sturdy as welding and a lot easier. I have used propane for real light stuff and Mapp gas for heavier stuff. Mapp is propane with a little acetylene added and burns quite a bit hotter. Aluminium requires inert gas shield to weld and a good bit of skill (I don't have it, but know some who do). Just my suggestion. Will see what others post on wire welders as I have never use one.

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post #3 of 10 Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 6:44 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midwilshire
I'm looking to get a small welder for DIY projects around the house and garage. I don't want an arc welder, but I don't understand these wire and gas models, so I need a recommendation. I'd like something small, easy to use, safe and able to weld a wide breadth of materials (e.g., aluminum would be nice, but not req'd).

Your thoughts are appreciated.
You want a 220V mig welder for maximum flexibility--especially if your going to weld aluminum. 120V models just won't get it. You always want to buy more welder than you think you will need. Once you get going on projects, you always could use that extra capability.

Don't let "these wire and gas models" scare you. The "wire" is just a spool of metal wire that is fed through to the welding tip at speeds that you control. The type and diameter of the wire that you use depends on what you want to weld.

The "gas" is fed through a small tube from a bottle on the welding cart to the welding tip. The gas shields the tip and allows a stronger, smoother weld to occur. The type of gas you use depends on what you are welding.

Your local welding shop will have all the details and should have a complete selection of welding wire spools and shielding gas bottles.

I didn't buy a monster gas bottle, either. Just a medium bottle did the trick. My welder is very similar to the one in this link.

Happy welding! Your're going to find a million uses for that puppy.

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...seBVCookie=Yes

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post #4 of 10 Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 6:51 pm
 
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Welding 101

Take a course in welding at your local tech. school. Then you will know which way to go.
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post #5 of 10 Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 6:57 pm
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Take a course in welding at your local tech. school. Then you will know which way to go.
...or many of the local school districts teach it in adult continuing education. I took the course and ended up buying an oxy/acetylene kit and a Lincoln 220v arc welder. You won't believe how much you'll use them when you know how.



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post #6 of 10 Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 7:34 pm
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TIG or MIG

A small Mig welder would probably do most of the things you want to do..

Get a TIG and you can also do Aluminum... But it won't do big jobs..

I've already got a MIG welder and am looking at a small TIG for my delicate work..

Stainless, aluminum, etc....

John

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post #7 of 10 Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 8:02 pm
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110V MiG will do up to about 1/4 inch steel (poorly) and down to 1/16 inch sheet metal (poorly). It will do a decent job with metals between.

Very easy to use and learn on.

If you use flux core wire, you will not need the gas on steel but it will splatter more.

MIG will also work on Stainless steel.

220 V models will do a MUCH better job on thicker metals that need high strength.
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post #8 of 10 Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 8:09 am
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Inside a shop you can't beat the tig, if your gonna be doing outside stuff [email protected] mig is the way to go.
Wire feed and sheilding gas are not hard to figure out, Miller and others make cheat sheets (plastic ref cards) that match wire/rod/settings to what your doing.
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post #9 of 10 Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 12:32 pm Thread Starter
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Thanks!

Great advice everyone!
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post #10 of 10 Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 8:22 pm
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I was a welder thirty years ago, so my knowledge is dated. My recollection is that while each type mentioned above can be used on almost all metals, they each have there pros/cons.

MIG was the easiest for me to perfect, it's a one handed operation, but it produces a lot of splatter.

Arc welding takes some practice to see the puddle through the burning flux (that coats the rods), it can be used for light or heavy jobs by selecting various rods, it's a one-handed operation, and it will support aluminum welding (but most welders would use TIG).

TIG is the cleanest of these three types - no splatter. It is a two-handed operation that requires more practice to get good looking beads.

If I were to buy a home shop unit, it would be TIG because it's clean. The local highschool probably teaches all three, so I concur with judgment that you should try all before choosing. Good luck.

Regards,
John
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