Looking to get into welding

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by jsalman93, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Not true.
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  2. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    I'm all ears. If the transformer is wired for 480V three-phase, how is that going to work on 220-240V single-phase?
    #22
  3. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Inverter/converter. Most people don't know this, thus you can steel three phase stuff on CL all day long.
    #23
  4. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    Well...YES...he could buy a phase converter. Considering a cheap 30 HP rotary phase converter costs (on the low side) $1500 by itself and it only puts out 50A 220V 3-phase, I'm not sure how cost effective that is unless he needs the power for other 3-phase equipment too. :lol3
    #24
  5. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Hai, you're the one said you can't do it. :lol3

    :freaky
    #25
  6. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    I'll say you can't run three phase welding equipment. I bought a miller square wave gold star 300 and tried to run it off a phase converter but no go. My nuclear electrical engineering riding buddy said the electrical signals coming off the scr wasn't accurate enough.

    I've heard similar stories about three phase. I have a phase converter currently and a vfd but my welder is single phase
    #26
  7. Schlug

    Schlug JockeyfullofBourbon

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    I feel like I need to clarify some things:

    There is a tremendous difference in both skill and cost of equipment between welding MIG and welding TIG. I know some people here have downplayed it, but I think they're being a little cavalier.

    If you're going to weld up some brackets for the work bench or maybe repair the ear on your crash bars that you snapped off, you should buy a MIG machine, a quality machine with shielding gas. And you should either take a one-night-a-week, six week course at the local community college or you should muck with the machine quite a lot welding up 1/8" flat stock until you can make a nice full penetration weld. Buy some 1/8" flat stock from where ever and weld it and bend it until the weld won't break.

    The problem with MIG welding is that any schlub can but two pieces of flat stock together, lay a nice turd of weld on top of it which looks good, smooth and straight, but has zero penetration and won't hold for 100 miles. So once you get the MIG machine, learn how to groove your welds and how to test them until they are good. With a 110 buzz box you aren't going to weld anything very thick or heavy unless you have a lot of time and a lot of finesse. If you can afford a 220 machine and have the power, you'll be doing yourself a favour.

    TIG welding is a much better method because you can weld thick and very thin metals and, although the technique required is more challenging and the equipment is more expensive. A good TIG machine is expensive. The tungsten, the cups, the torch, then mini torch, then button backs, then--- you get the idea-- it all adds up. Once you realise your 25 dollar Harbor Freight hood blinds you everytime the cup gets in the way of the sensor, you'll soon be buying a new hood with 3 or 4 pickups. That being said, if you can do it, and you can take some classes, learn to free hand and walk the cup, you will have a very useful skill under your command. Notice the difference between this and simply buying a MIG, hooking up a bottle, flipping your hood and giving it a go.

    If you want to weld aluminum you need a high-freq machine and that's really costly unless you stumble on one for sale at an estate. I've NEVER seen a MIG welded aluminum joint look as good as well made TIG joint. Never ever. Same with stainless.

    Stick welding is far from ancient, outdated technology. Probably 90% of the welding done in this world is still stick. Why? Because it's portable (unlike a MIG unit) and it's inexpensive and it's easier to learn than TIG welding. It will still take some time to learn. Again, it won't take long to make a decent looking 3-pass fillet weld with 5P. But having that weld free of undercut and porosity and IP is another issue. Still, if I were welding a heavy front bumper I would do it no other way. You can fill heavy-wall joints with a TIG machine with lots and lots and lots of passes. Again, a 220 machine is what you want.

    In terms of cost and skill, cheapest and easiest to most costly and difficult.
    MIG
    Stick
    TIG.

    Orbital.

    In that order..
    #27
  8. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    Well, yes, your points are all correct. My issue is that the very first thing they tend to teach in the welding classes is gas welding. When you move to electric welding, nothing feels or works like that again...until you come back to TIG.

    Gas welding came naturally to me. I like the control over the heat and where I put it.

    MIG and stick always feel like a vehicle with an on or off throttle and they only steer when the throttle is on. The whole process feels very out-of-control to me.

    Sure, once I get a "throttle" setting I like for this particular "road" I can navigate it pretty well. The problem is is that you have to drive the same road a few times to find that throttle setting. TIG puts that throttle back in your control. You can put the heat where and when you want it.

    As you said: MIG and stick can give the APPEARANCE of a good weld without it actually being sound. You're still suffering the same problems of penetration and/or blowing out the material but, you have little control over those factors in the middle of the weld. Need more heat in a particular area of a stick or MIG weld? Your only choice is to leave it there and build up more material than you wanted. TIG solves all that.
    #28
  9. Ryel

    Ryel Been here awhile

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    I bought my MillerMatic many years ago and it has srved me well with CO2 and tri gas but in hind sight I wish I had gotten a TIG inverter and gone through the learning curve on tig. much smaller and easier to get around to the job and 120vac is everywhere and my miller is set up for 220.
    but, it is easy to set and use, just don't forget to turn on the gas
    #29
  10. Schlug

    Schlug JockeyfullofBourbon

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    None of the welding programs with which I am familiar in my locale teach oxy-acetylene gas welding. In fact, with all the welders I have met in my career (1,000s) very few have ever made a gas weld. And usually, those are the farmers and the boys from down south who had to get something fixed with what was on hand.

    what you say is sort of true. Once the heat is set, you're stuck with it. But a welder, after he learns his trade, will be able to vary rod angle, travel speed, and arc length to adjust any of those things mid weld. We don't use foot pedals in the field, so the heat is set on a TIG weld as well.

    I will say this for stick welding-- a shitty stick weld has a much better chance of hanging in there than a shitty MIG weld. For TIG welding, well they usually know whether they have it or not by the time they turn the gas off.
    #30
  11. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Backyard Adventurer

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    Interesting. In the local adult education's class that I took last year we all started out on gas welding. The pro-welder instructor felt it was the best way to practice some of the skills that Tig would require.

    Basically, in that class you were introduced to the welding process in steps - starting early with cutting torches and a little plasma cutter practice, but then given more and more complex steps to perform with gas welding. Then, after those three months, if a student signed up for the class again, he chose an advanced type of welding to practice (stick, Mig or Tig).
    #31