On 18 Dec 2003 21:12:31 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Chris Lewis)
Put a 500watt halogen worklight above the work area so you can see
what you are doing. You might also have a helmet whose glass is TOO
DARK. I have two of them, one is too dark, the other is just right.
You can buy replacement glass, and they come in different darknesses.
This is the absolute best advice that could be given to you, short of the
advice given earlier about taking a class. The only thing I would add is
that when he says name brand, that does not mean Harbor Freight or something
you see advertised in a car magazine. Those machines are imported and
essentially disposable machines. When you have any trouble, no matter how
minor, be prepared to throw them away, because parts are difficult to
impossible to find.
On the class - there is a whole lot more to welding than just melting some
metal together with smooth technique. You could probably figure out most of
it yourself eventually with trial and error and reading, but taking a class
will dispense with the frustration and wasted time, and give you the
confidence to hit the ground running, not to mention walking into a welding
supply store like you know what you are doing.
AND, if you know someone that already knows how to weld, or meet someone now
that you are interested, they can show you more in an hour than you will
learn in a month of trial and error.
Some of the stuff will come easy, but on the things you are having trouble
with, a knowledgeable person is a great friend to have.
I hope this helps you new as well as experienced welders to prevent injury.
I have arc (stick) welded for over 30 years. One day I was sitting on a milk
crate in the yard welding a home made bike carrier for the truck. Every now and
then the rod would stick to the job, and a quick yank on the rod holder would
break it free. Normal practice.
One time, all of a sudden, I was falling over backwards, getting shocked like
never before. When it stopped, I got up and felt like my teeth were going to
fall out. I Had a 1' long burn mark about 1" from my right eye!
Aparently what happened was that when I wiggled the rod holder to free the
stuck rod, it didn't come loose, so I gave it a bigger pull, and it started to
lift the work up, then released, putting me off balance, and as I fell
backwards, my helmet fell off, just before the rod, came into contact with my
face, and started me dancing. I could see where the rod made a track accross my
upper cheek, and down to my shirt sleeve, where it burned thru.
Thank God, one inch up, and it would have fried my eye!
This is a true, freek story, that could happen to anyone, so BE CAREFULL.
If the rod doesn't unstick at first, just release it from the rod holder. Damn,
I love hind sight. And still having 2 eyes!
Thanks. I've worked with hazardous chemicals and foolishly didn't check the
hazard level on a material I hadn't handled once. After breathing a bit of
that dust and wheezing it up for a few days after, I learned my lesson. I
always let the work take 2nd place to safety.
<< Any thoughts on where to start? >>
Take a class at any vocational school. After the third or fourth class buy the
beat autodarkening helmet you can afford, major brand. Get well acquainted with
your local welding supply distributor. The folks behind ther counter have heard
all manner of hints and tips they can pass along. Look in the help wanted ads
to see if there are production welding jobs. Sometimes you can learn a whole
passle of techniques from joining a factory maintenance crew. Or see if you
could sign on for a few sessions of Monster garage and watch Jesse James do his
magic. Then buy some gear and go out on your own. Good luck.
I moved to a farm a few years ago. When I lived in town there were a
few times I needed something welded, and took it to a welding shop.
But on the farm I was finding the need for welding too often. Last
spring I bought a used arc welder, hooked it up, and was nervous about
using it. At that same time I broke the loader on my tractor and
called a friend who has welded for years. He came over, and used my
welder for the repair. While he was there, he showed me the
technique, told me what type of rods to use for what, and what
settings to use for the type of steel. After he left, I bought a
variety of rods and some scrap steel. I spent several days welding
this junk steel together. It's didnt take me long to catch on.
That's when I repaired a broken steel gate, and the next thing I was
welding all sorts of stuff. I wasted about $25 worth of rods and
scrap steel, and probably a few bucks of electricity, but that's
cheaper than school, and I did it when i had time. I dont claim to be
a pro now, but my welds hold quite well. It's not as hard as it
Mig stands for Metal Inert Gas
Tig stands for Tunsten Inert Gas
For ornamental iron work you can use any type of stick welder. Mig would also
be good but is a little more expensive. Tig is not needed for ornamental work
it is used for precision welding of smaller pieces at very high strenth. If I
were you I would look for a used AC/DC arc welder to start with. Mosty require
220Volts to run them.
I would go with a 300 Amp minimun as the duty cycle drops off dramatically in
the at the high end of the scale. So lets say you need 250 amps to run the rod
your using. If you had a 250 amp welded you would only be able to weld 10
minutes every ten minutes. This is why you go a little bigger because with a
300 mp welder you could weld for 30 minutes with a 10 minute cool off time. So
a 300 amp give you a good sized welder for all around use with no worries about
duty cycle times. You could also go with a MIG welder to do ornamental work
but they are more expensive and require more practice. I would start wtiht an
Arc welding stick type first when you can do that to your satisfaction then you
could move up into a MiG. You gotta walk before you run.
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