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Old 07-31-2012, 09:41 PM   #1
vision.dynamix
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Default First Welder

I want to learn some welding. I got a little tease of it working at a performance shop for a week last month, and welded a towing eye onto a bumper beam, and now I want my own to learn on. I often find myself with little projects that need a little welding, and being able to do it on my own would be great.

What would you recommend for a beginner welder? The welding I did was MIG.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:24 PM   #2
Angry Outcast
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In my opinion a MIG is the easiest welding process to learn, some say stick is but to me that is just crazy. I have been welding for over 15 years and have even ran my own welding business. You can learn from videos and such on the internet but the best way is hands on with someone that knows how to weld right there teaching you. It all depends on how quickly and easily you learn new things. And I do have to agree with you, welding is tons of fun.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:55 PM   #3
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I recently bought a Millermatic 140 and I am extremely pleased with it. I took a welding class last semester and did everything from oxy/acetylene to stick welding. MIG is the best for beginners for all purposes. I run a 75/25 Argon/CO2 mix and a .024 wire diameter on mostly mild steel/sheet metal and have pretty nice welds when it comes to body work/exhaust work and stuff like that.

As far as MIG is concerned, everyone welds at their own setting/pace. It is good to get advice for someone who knows how to weld, but you will weld a lot better at whatever pace you are comfortable with. Basically everyone has their own style, whatever style you are most comfortable with will probably yield you better quality welds.

I push puddles slowly with a circular motion. My father pushes puddles at the speed of light in a C motion. Both welds are very strong and look good.

Fine tuning your machine to your liking is going to take some time and practice. Power setting shouldn't be too difficult, they have gauges to approximate settings, it is just getting the feed speed to your liking, finding a good motion, and making yourself comfortable enough to stay as steady as possible.

Hope this helps...
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:06 PM   #4
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I personally think there is nothing better than TIG. It can weld any kind of metal with little to no change of parts/gas for the machine. Plus TIG gives you that stack of dimes look everyone wants in the auto industry. Yes it will take more time to learn, but in the end you will be able to make anything you want.

TIG does tend to cost more and if you get one get an AC/DC unit.
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:05 PM   #5
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i have a miller 175 MIG machine (now replaced with the 180 i think?) and it's been perfect for what I wanted it for. I had minimal experience elsewhere and this was the machine I learned on.

I would recommend going with a 220v unit. Nothing wrong with the miller 140 but as soon as you crank up the settings for welding something hefty you will start popping breakers and that's no fun.

Very easy to learn on a mig and it's easy to produce nice results. However, if I did it again, I would be having a TIG. You can get a spool gun for aluminium on the mig but as soon as you use one you will regret it.
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:19 PM   #6
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If you want a machine to learn on and do it inexpensively would recommend something like this Lincoln Electric 120-Volt Flux-Cored Wire. Flux cored wire is the easiest to work with; you don't need any gas mixtures, a 220 breaker and it will work great outside. If you decided to weld an exhaust together just throw in a stainless steel spool.
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Old 08-18-2012, 01:27 AM   #7
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Flux-core setups also make welds that look, in a majority of cases, quite terrible. I would literally never use a flux-core setup and anything that mattered, or that anyone would ever see.

For a starter machine that will take you a decent way, I would check out the models on eastwood.com. IIRC, their basic mig machine is often on sale at around $300. My friend has one, and I have something very similar (they both appear to be a re-branded generic machine). I do hobby work, but he owns a shop and uses it constantly without issue. There are also a boatload of positive reviews on it.

Something basic like that should take you more than far enough to decide if you want to get something bigger. I'm now looking to pick up a nice TIG machine, but do not intend on replacing my basic $300 MIG since I don't really see a reason too. I've used it for several tasks in building my RX7 (motor brackets, rear diff conv. brackets, other random brackets...seeing a trend?) and it's come in very handy.


I was feeling nice :
http://www.eastwood.com/mig-welder-1...5a-output.html
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:43 AM   #8
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Tig welding is where it's at. Buy a simple mug, and work up to a tig. Tig welding takes LOTS and LOTS of practice to get beautiful welds.. And each material has its own challenges. However.. Lots of people with mugs see no use for a tig, when a mug can do the job.. (just a little less pretty)
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:59 AM   #9
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mugs?
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:04 PM   #10
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Guess he means mig? Maybe his I key doesnt work? lol. I am presently learning with a mig, but wish I had a tig too. Tig welds are beautiful when done well. But from what I understand tig requires cleaner metal, and tighter fitting pieces.

I too would never start with a flux core welder. Techinically a mig machine using flux core is NOT actually welding mig, since it stands for metal inert gas. As mentioned the welds with flux core also look pretty crappy.

Mig seems a good starting point...if money and learning time isnt an object shoot for tig.
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:25 PM   #11
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I would have to disagree and say that MIG is the way to start, regardless of budget. A lot of lessons can be learned much more easily with MIG (once taught GF to lay a decent lap joint weld in maybe 30 minutes), whereas a first timer on TIG will likely just be frustrated to no end (especially on Al.) as they blow through their material. I learned a ton about welding in general by playing with settings on my MIG welder, as well as by simply experimenting by welding a ton of random scraps together in various ways.

A MIG machine is a great stepping stone/learning tool, but it also works out well that they are VERY useful machines in and of themselves and will still likely be used on more jobs than a later acquired TIG setup.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:32 PM   #12
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get a decent mig setup, and go from there. tig is great but would be best to take a class first. mig will also give a "stack of dimes" look if you are good at it. dont bother with the flux either. and look used if you want to stay cheap. a lincoln or miller are both great welders.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:19 AM   #13
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I learned on a TIG, and I don't think that learning MIG would help with it at all. If you want to make cool looking welds that hold up, get a QUALITY TIG that can do more than 180-200 amps and you'll be able to do anything (for just stainless a sub-200 amp machine will do) but you'll NEED quality instruction. TIG is the ultimate welding process, but it's not the fastest and it's probably the easiest to mess up if you don't know what you're doing. If you just want to stick pieces of metal together a simple MIG will work well and not cost too much.


You CAN get a stack of dimes with a MIG, but not if you're doing it right. With TIG it's a part of the process, but stacked dimes from a MIG weld are just the welder trying to emulate a TIG joint.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:12 PM   #14
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This all depends on what you be welding most of the time, and what material you are welding on. If your doing little projects here and there on a variety of things, a GMAW (MIG) or flux core setup would probably be best. If your welding most heavy material, a SMAW (Stick) machine might prove more useful. If you want strong welds on precision parts, GTAW (TIG) would be your best bet.

Keep in mind, there a number of machines available from Lincoln, Miller, or various other manufactures that are multi-process. With the right support equipment you could do SMAW, GMAW, or GTAW. But, a SMAW and GMAW process machine are more prevalent.

Also keep in mind the material you will be welding on. Lets say for example you want to GTAW (TIG) aluminum. You will need an AC/DC GTAW machine, as aluminum requires AC current. And there many GTAW machines that are just DC, so you would be unable to weld aluminum on that machine.

Personally I like GTAW the best. I've got 13 certifications throughout all the welding processes and if I was given just one process it would be GTAW. It may take more time to weld something but between the strength and appearance of the weld, it's an easy trade off.

If your just welding little projects here and there though, I'd agree with most people and get a GMAW/flux core setup. But i'd run the flux core wire. MIG is more brittle. I've done mutiple bend tests using both. MIG tends to break 50% of the time, no matter how well you welded it. As opposed to flux core, that almost never breaks, and you don't even have to lay a perfect bead.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:35 AM   #15
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