Welding for beginners ?

I have a ageing relative who owns a house with a bit of land attached. I help out with general maintenance tasks when I visit, and although I have never welded, it looks to me like a welder would be useful addition to my growing collection of tools. For example:
- The steel gate to the field is suffering from localised but deep rust. It might be worthwhile to reinforce it in places before repainting it. - There's a small barn with a steel internal framework. There's localised severe corrosion. The cost of replacement would probably be much higher than the cost of repair.
The existing "good" steel is probably at least 3mm thick. The results of my welding attempts don't have to be pretty, just strong and cost-effective.
Would one of the temptingly cheap arc welders from Screwfix be a good place to start learning?
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A stick arc welder is difficult to master, though easier when welding thicker metal.
A MIG/MAG welder is much easier to use, and if only used occasionally, it's worth considering using no-gas-wire.
Both will need the rust remove prior to welding, especially for MIG/MAG.
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Fredxx formulated on Sunday :

I disagree, I found stick welding much easier and you need to be less critical of the result.
It is also a much cheaper option for start up.
Either way, I would certainly suggest an automatic helmet, especially so for a beginner - it gives massive confidence because it is less of a juggling act.

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Regards,
Harry (M1BYT) (L)
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Maybe, as they are cheap. The trouble is that stick welders are only good for thick stuff, whilst it's the thin stuff that rusts out first and needs fixing. Really you want a wire-feed (aka MIG) welder, but that's far more money.
For 6mm and over, stick is fine. For 3mm, stick is still fine, but takes a bit more care. For under 3mm, find a MIG.
Gibson's "Practical Welding" <(Amazon.com product link shortened) />/ 0333609573/codesmiths> is a very good tutorial for all the processes. There are things you need to learn, then you need to go and practice. Courses are best (especially as you get hands-on before buying equipment), but self-taught is fine, so long as you are reading a good tutorial (Random fiddling isn't so good).
Automatic helmets are wonderful.
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If you've not welded before I'd sugest a wire feed welder. These are so much easier. If you do go with arc, allow a fair bit of time to practice on scrap first.
NT
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In article < snipped-for-privacy@26g2000yqv.googlegroups

Yes 'tho you'll make a lot of scrap to start with;!...

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Tony Sayer



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Might be contrary to other comments .. however best way to learn to weld is with a straight forward electric arc (rod) welder.
Don't buy auto-darkening visors or other 'extras' .... use the basic handheld shield, until you know whether welding is for you.
Get some off cuts of steel, and practice .... There is a good welding forum on-line .... and they can give you plenty of advice.
Fob beginning practice on running fillets along a piece of scrap, (at least 3mm thick) initially with current up about 20% higher than recommended on the dial, this will make striking arc easier ... Start off with touch method, once you can run a horizontal bead and it is even ... reduce current down to correct setting, and practice ... striking arc without sticking rod to material is hardest part to learn.
Once you have this sorted you should see even beads , with no undercutting but full penetration ... not just sitting on surface.
You can then move on to stitching some pieces together at 90 degree angles .... and then progress to vertical .... which along with overhead is the hardest to get to grips with.
A good tip ... keep rods in a warm dry place, if any doubt put them in oven on low temp for any hour or so .... if flux is even slightly damp it will sputter badly.
Don't try welding anything thin until you are really happy with your arc control.
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