All things welding

AirborneTexasRanger

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I wanted to start a thread where everyone can come to get answers to questions about welding. I notice that a good number of members are able to weld and often ask for advise.

A little about myself. I've been in the welding industry for about 8 years now. I've worked in several different industrial fabrication shops from Telecommunications to Oil & Gas. Currently I'm a CWI (certified welding inspector) for an aerospace company in Boca Chica, TX. I also do a lot of welding in my garage in different processes (SMAW, GMAW, FCAW, & GTAW) also quite frequently use an oxy/fuel setup & plasma cutter. I'm familiar with welding different types of metals as well (carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, etc.). At work I have access to a large group of people with decades of welding experience & knowledge.

I think that the biggest assets I can provide are identifying flaws in welds and how to repair them and/or prevent them from reoccurring. Anyway, I'm available for any discussions on welding so feel free to reach out.

@Chris If this thread is in the wrong location then feel free to move it to the appropriate location.
 
I wanted to start a thread where everyone can come to get answers to questions about welding

Are you intending to keep things just on physical welding, or are we talking equipment selection as well?

If we're covering equipment, I've been trying to figure out how/where to source good used equipment at reasonable prices, and how to evaluate the condition of a used machine.
 
Buying a welder and learning to weld has been pretty high on my to do list for awhile now.

I highly suggest taking a welding course through a local community college. For a few hundred bucks, maybe less, you can learn on good machines. I did it years ago with Miller equipment and learned that I actually enjoy TIG.

I'm still trying to figure out how to source good machines at a reasonable price for at home hobby type use that I would be using.
 
I wanted to start a thread where everyone can come to get answers to questions about welding. I notice that a good number of members are able to weld and often ask for advise.

A little about myself. I've been in the welding industry for about 8 years now. I've worked in several different industrial fabrication shops from Telecommunications to Oil & Gas. Currently I'm a CWI (certified welding inspector) for an aerospace company in Boca Chica, TX. I also do a lot of welding in my garage in different processes (SMAW, GMAW, FCAW, & GTAW) also quite frequently use an oxy/fuel setup & plasma cutter. I'm familiar with welding different types of metals as well (carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, etc.). At work I have access to a large group of people with decades of welding experience & knowledge.

I think that the biggest assets I can provide are identifying flaws in welds and how to repair them and/or prevent them from reoccurring. Anyway, I'm available for any discussions on welding so feel free to reach out.

@Chris If this thread is in the wrong location then feel free to move it to the appropriate location.

Don't take this the wrong way but you've already shit the bed with your target audience. Folks that know shit really have a hard time getting into the heads of folks that don't and realizing that 50% of what you posted is pure gibberish to them.

Start with SMAW and what the average person would know that as so they don't have to go look it up to just try and follow along. You're discussing this topic at college level, you need to back it down to beginner elementary level and then let the more advanced folks that know more ask for help if needed. You already know the beginners do, they need the most help so start there.

A good discussion should be had on what a proper MIG weld looks like that the average person should strive for and how to achieve that.
 
Following. I have a small Lincoln Weld Pak which uses 120V. It didn't take long to figure out I am pretty much limited to 5/32" steel. The welder is able to use flux-core which would help with some of the thicker stuff, maybe up to 1/4"? I haven't tried the flux core though. I've been casually looking for a 240 machine. Likely a Hobart or another Lincoln.

20230312_165443.jpg


Its fun, but I need to practice more. I probably turn it on every few months and weld a coupons together. I've also been trying to pick up scrap where I can find it. This has been my best weld (I think), but it was also 7 months ago😅

20230316_185751.jpg
 
Since you're playing with coupons, do you ever test them or cut them apart?

I've placed them in a vice and tried to bend the piece with a pair of channel locks. My table isn't secured to the floor so I ended up just moving the table. I haven't cut anything. I really should though.

This is a close up of another weld. It looks like good penetration (at least to me), but you can still see a gap between the two pieces, so there is no material filling that void. My guess is if it wasn't welded on both sides, that this would have broken apart easily.

Screenshot 2023-05-09 103549 edit.jpg
 
This is a close up of another weld. It looks like good penetration (at least to me), but you can still see a gap between the two pieces, so there is no material filling that void

I think you need more heat with that one. It looks like you didn't get into the base. Let's see what the other more experienced guys say.
 
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Are you intending to keep things just on physical welding, or are we talking equipment selection as well?

If we're covering equipment, I've been trying to figure out how/where to source good used equipment at reasonable prices, and how to evaluate the condition of a used machine.

I would add just in general, what makes a good, entry level but quality MIG that is unlikely to be outgrown anytime soon for general Jeep use.

I've got these two on my wish list. Close enough in price and both generally well known brands, don't know what might make either one better than the other.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BJ2PYHN9/?tag=wranglerorg-20

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004USV5UC/?tag=wranglerorg-20

They're rated for the same duty cycle, but the Lincoln appears to offer 175A output vs Hobarts 150, and at less input current, which is interesting since the Lincoln weighs in at 41lbs to the Hobarts 79 despite being about the same physical size. I like the idea of the lighter weight and it seems to have better performance on paper but is there something I'm missing with that extra 38lbs or is it just modern tech able to do more with less? The Lincoln appears to be more adjustable and techy and also has what looks like better handles to move it around than the Hobarts single handle for a 79lb box 😬

My previous experience is with a Harbor Freight 125A FCAW that I've modified for DCEN and improved cooling. My welds are ugly as hell but with enough tinkering I get them structurally sound enough for my purposes, though I think it's more of a blind squirrel phenomenon than actual skill...I wouldn't trust myself to weld something life-critical like link brackets. I have what I think is a quality auto darkening mask but I have a hard time seeing the puddle through all the smoke and I've come (mostly through advice on this forum) to believe I need to move to gas shielded to actually get any better.

My background is as a design engineer on equipment that uses a lot of welded assemblies, such as structural steel frames and pressure vessels, so I've gotten enough secondary exposure due to working closely with welding engineers that I'm pretty book-smart about what makes a good weld, but I lack the experience to visually distinguish a good weld from a crap weld that looks pretty, or see a bad weld and know exactly what to do to fix it, or whether it sucks because of settings or technique. I'm like someone who took the classroom part of drivers ed but hasn't been in a car.
 
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I learned to weld on a Lincoln buzz-box AC stick welder (The Tombstone). I found that was a great way to learn the process, puddle control, etc. I still stick weld on the trail using the welder in the jeep.

But my first MIG welder was that Lincoln 175 220 volt machine similar to the one referenced above. That is a great machine at a reasonable price. For what we do, I would start with that one and it will last a lifetime.

And definitely move over to gas. It’s night and day - and much more fun - than flux core. Way easier to see what your weld looks like as you are welding. With flux core you don’t see your weld until you chip off the slag - which to me makes using gas a bit easier to learn and improve.
 
Are you intending to keep things just on physical welding, or are we talking equipment selection as well?

If we're covering equipment, I've been trying to figure out how/where to source good used equipment at reasonable prices, and how to evaluate the condition of a used machine.

We can discuss equipment or anything you like
 
Don't take this the wrong way but you've already shit the bed with your target audience. Folks that know shit really have a hard time getting into the heads of folks that don't and realizing that 50% of what you posted is pure gibberish to them.

Start with SMAW and what the average person would know that as so they don't have to go look it up to just try and follow along. You're discussing this topic at college level, you need to back it down to beginner elementary level and then let the more advanced folks that know more ask for help if needed. You already know the beginners do, they need the most help so start there.

A good discussion should be had on what a proper MIG weld looks like that the average person should strive for and how to achieve that.

Point taken. My goal was to just set up a place where beginners could ask questions and get answers from more experienced welders. I can get a few images of common flaws and what a good MIG weld should look like. That's a good idea, thank you
 
Point taken. My goal was to just set up a place where beginners could ask questions and get answers from more experienced welders. I can get a few images of common flaws and what a good MIG weld should look like. That's a good idea, thank you

Awesome, good weld tech is sorely needed here.
 
I've placed them in a vice and tried to bend the piece with a pair of channel locks. My table isn't secured to the floor so I ended up just moving the table. I haven't cut anything. I really should though.

This is a close up of another weld. It looks like good penetration (at least to me), but you can still see a gap between the two pieces, so there is no material filling that void. My guess is if it wasn't welded on both sides, that this would have broken apart easily.

View attachment 488531

Your welds actually look pretty good. you have good fusion where the weld touches the base metal and the profile is smooth. It's difficult to tell from this angle whether or not you have good penetration or not. I would need a picture facing the edges of the coupons to make a better assessment
 
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When it comes to equipment, you don't need to spend a lot to get a lot. IMO I overpaid for my first machine, it was a Miller Multimatic 200. I liked it because I could run it off 110v or 220v and it could do multiple processes, except for aluminum TIG. It was expensive to me when I bought it ($2500) but I used it for a few years and ended up selling it to get into TIG aluminum.

I currently have 2 Everlast machines (Power Pro 256 & Power i MIG 253) I'm very happy with these machines, and the are a lot cheaper than Miller or Lincoln. I like that they are based out of the US so getting support is easy. ESAB is another option for quality machines also based in the US. Hobart is basically a Miller but geared more for DIY welders. You can't go wrong with Lincoln as they are the industry standard. They are typically more expensive because your paying for decades of R&D. The company I work for uses Fronius but you might have to get a 2nd mortgage to afford their machines.

Every welder has their personal opinions abut which company is better, but I find it's best to not cheap out on tools. with that being said, I've listed a few starter machines that I think will work well for at home use.

Things to look for when guying a machine include:
GET A MACHINE THAT WILL DO MORE THAN FLUX CORE OR STICK you'll thank me later.
Voltage it runs on: 110 (standard wall outlet) or 220 (dryer type outlet).
The settings are easy to understand (most machines have a guide/chart)

Quality welding machines for DIY/beginners: I just want to note that I do not like Hobart's settings controls because they are kind of confusing to me because I learned on inverter based machines.
 
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Your welds actually look pretty good. you have good fusion where the weld touches the base metal and the profile is smooth. It's difficult to tell from this angle whether or not you have good penetration or not. I would need a picture facing the edges of the coupons to make a better assessment

I think it was this piece...
20230405_202943.jpg
 
You can read your penetration on the bottom plate in the pic, started on the cold side then a third of the way the heat is building. How's you wire speed set.

It's a lincoln. So Volts are on setting D and wire speed is 8.5/9. I dont know what that is exactly for ipm