Anyone here able to advise on welding?
I'd like to be able to do some fairly simple stuff at home using a
not-too-expensive arc welder. Trouble is I know absolutely nothing about
the process of welding.
I've looked at single phase arc welding kits around the £120 mark and
wondered if these would fit the bill.
My question is are welders in this price range any good, and would a
complete novice like me be able to do anything useful with them if they are?
The first thing to decide on is whether you want a stick or MIG (metal inert
gas) welder. I suggest that the choice of a MIG is a no-brainer, because it
is far more versatile, will weld much thinner metal, and does not require
the removal of slag from the weld.
A £120 welder will probably be fine for you.
Almost certainly it will come equipped with an argon gas bottle. I adapted
the fittings of mine to take - originally - a pub CO2 bottle, making the gas
far far cheaper, but these became unavailable and I've converted it to take
fire extinguisher bottles.
You also need to make sure that it will take the larger (5kg?) rolls of
wire, or you'll be paying through the nose for this!
I'm sure you would be able to learn the art of welding from people who know,
and from books. But remember, knowing how to weld does not necessarily cross
all the bridges that experience in how to bend a bit of metal, where best to
connect it to another bit of metal, etc. etc. is built on.
Good luck with this.
Argon is soooo much better
CO2 is too cold and I found it froze the weld and caused it to solidify
far too early
COs is also not as inert as Argon and so results are not as clean.
There's a reason they use more expensive Argon!
I'd go along with what Rob G posted, but also add that what you weld, how
thick materials are etc will also come into the equation of which welding
tackle is best suited.
A £120 mig welder should do most things 'at home' like car panels, gates,
fencing so long as they're not too thick and even then good techniques can
achieve a hell of a lot, but it's a good idea when you start to get a load
of scrap and weld 'artistically' to get the feel of it. It's well worth
getting ideas from textbooks and tables of amps to use, thickness of rod,
thickness of workpiece, but there's a lot to be said from also varying the
current and rods just to 'suck it and see' what happens.
Lots can go wrong, especiallly at first, but the results can be very
Thanks for the very helpful replies. I've seen 'gasless' mig welders for
sale, are these any good?
Also, any views on this welder -
"Gasless" welders can actually be better - eg welding outdoors on a
You may want to look at something like a MIG 90EN. Although a 'No-Gas'
MIG Welder, it is a dual-purpose machine that can be used with both
flux-coated wire and with gas bottles.
It really does depend on what you want to weld. I would certainly
strongly recommend going on a course before doing any welds that have
safety implications if the weld fails.
A course made all the difference to the quality of my work. Although I
had read loads of books on the subject, nothing beats a practical course.
One thing to watch for is the supply requirements. A 13A socket will do
for a low output welder - but anything more than that needs a dedicated
circuit. I haven't checked on the welder you posted a link to, but
suspect that it needs a dedicated circuit - or a lot of replacement 13A
cartridge fuses. ;)
Most of my welding is done with output current <20A. But then, that
isn't welding 1/2" plate steel. Horses for courses..
The OP may have several machines in mind. This one may be out of stock
when he goes to buy or he may simply come across something that sounds
better or a better deal. In this case, a more powerful one may not be a
better buy. IMHO, it was a point worth mentioning. YMMV.
On Wed, 25 Jun 2008 08:53:55 +0100, Lucky Jim wrote:
==================================DIY arc welders can be bought for much less than £120-00 and they are
quite suitable for learning techniques and most basic DIY. Look here for
Mig welders are different tools and certainly much more generally useful;
techniques are basically similar but Mig is rather easier to learn and use.
Try googling uk.d-i-y for plenty of welding advice.
Using Ubuntu Linux
But don't. ARC welding is difficult, requires far more skill (slag
removeal, the extra heat distorts the metal, harder to strike the arc,
spits more, etc)
MIG is the answer for DIY
On 25 Jun, 08:53, Lucky Jim <Jim'llfixit.com> wrote:
I got a SIP 130amp turbo welder years ago and it was superb on thin
steel car bodywork, I got a small argon bottle from a well known
supplier ,and still have it! I also got a proper professional valve
with accurate pressure gauge, and as I recall not that pricey. The
standard plastic one was a bit of a toy. One thing I remember is that
it was sensitive to power supply ie best plugged in direct to a 13A
socket rather than an extension lead. If you have to use a lead make
sure it's an HD type.
You'll make a mess of things at first, but by experimenting with the
feed rate and arc power, you will soon be able to do those nice smooth
weld runs even on thin gauge steel.
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