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?
A stick arc welder is difficult to master, though easier when welding
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.
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
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.
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
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
Don't try welding anything thin until you are really happy with your arc
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