Which welder

Been thinking for some time about buying a Welder, i now have an early VW camper which needs quite a bit of new metal if its ever going to pass an mot. So what do i buy, what would be the easiest to learn too use by a complete novice.
Thanks
--
Oz

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well for a range of opinion from people who've used them then register on migweldingforum.co.uk & read a bit & watch the videos. It depends on how much money you've got (or the extremely low chance you've got 3ph from your storage heating), personally I really like the tiny R-Tech mig welder I've got, whatever you buy think carefully about the gas, the little bottles get expensive very fast.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 22 Jul 2010 15:32:42 +0100, Ozie wrote:

I had a mig (170A, IIRC) which served me well enough. I think it cost me about 70 quid (s/h), and possibly something similar for the gas/rental (I got a big tank to use with it). Easy enough to get to grips with on heavier stuff; welding thinner material took more practice.
Main gotchas were my having a mask with a fixed screen (offer welding tip up to material, then can't see a bloody thing until trigger is pressed :-) and gaining enough access to the material being welded (sides of vehicles a doddle, undersides not so much without a car lift or inspection pit)
cheers
Jules
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Search past posts, this has been done to death
You need a wire-feed MIG welder. Manual stick is cheaper, but no use for bodywork. You can use gas too, but it's harder and much slower. Handy for shaping though.
Cheap MIGs are grim, as their wire-feed is poor. Cebora or Butters are about the cheapest you'd be happy to use. Murex have a Tradestig 141 that is getting a good reputation and is about the cheapest of all the useful ones.
Gas needs to be an inert mix, not CO2. This means either disposable (pricey!) or renting a cylinder from BOC et al. This is a real pain in the UK 8-(
Get an automatic helmet. fantastic things. Also a leather jacket (dirt cheap, really useful under vehicles) and a bright floodlamp. Angle grinder, wire wheel, flap disks etc. & the obvious safety kit. You can never have too many clamps.
Night school is good. You need to be "told how to weld" (5 minutes, a book will do it) and then practice a lot. Don't practice on the vehicle you're trying to fix. You need a wheelbarrow full of small mixed clean scrap, then after you've welded that into a solid lump you'll be getting the knack of it. Once you're half-decent, you then need to start sawing your welds in half and testing them to see how they really are. A good book on welding in general is Gibson's "Practical Welding", <(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
The theory of wire-feed is vital to understand:
* Constant voltage, not constant current (so the arc length is self- regulating and you can do what you like about wire stick-out).
* Transfer modes. Spray transfer (very good, needs the power up) Dip transfer (good, what you have to do with thin sheet, bit tricky to get right) Globular transfer (that thing with the pigeons that most amateur welders favour, definitely bad)
You learn by winding the dials up and playing with spray transfer on thick stuff, then learning subtlety (lower power and dip transfer) later on.
Shaping replacement panels is another story. Fortunately Beetles and campers are both nice thick steel, nothing too weird and have good panel availability.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 22 Jul 2010 10:18:40 -0700, Andy Dingley wrote:

Maybe it's changed now, but it wasn't too bad when I did it last, around 5 years ago; I don't remember jumping through hoops or anything - the only pain in the butt was the fact that it was a rental, so irritating having monthly charges for something that I didn't use very often. I got mine from the BOC place round the back of Mackays engineering works in Cambridge, and took the cylinder home in the back of the car (I don't remember if I had to "sign up" as a new BOC customer first then go back to collect a couple of weeks later or not).
cheers
Jules
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Gas is very expensive and a good compromise is to use gasless wire. It does spatter a lot more, but after cleaning up the weld is more than adequate.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Fredxx wrote:

Its not that easy to use on car bodywork though as it tends to cut through .
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

eh? IIUC on thin sheet gasless MIG wire is worse than MIG wire with seperate gas? - how so?
Cheers Jim K
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Its down to conductivity of the shielding gas. You can get differing ratios of argon, CO2 and O2 depending on thickness of material and depth of weld.
I concede that the shielding gas is better than "gas" from gasless wire, but its effect can be offset by using a lower welding current.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

...yebbut..... he is specifically referencing thin material (car bodywork).... why do you and he believe it's *harder* to weld thin stuff with gasless wire vs gas and ordinary wire?
Cheers Jim K
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thin metal is prone to "blowing" holes, but only if very thin and ought to be plated anyhow. With gasless you may have to reduce current wrt gas to stop this. It also depends on feedrate, charcteristics of welder (current vs voltage) and the skill of the operator.
I find gasless is more tolerant of unclean metal, it's also largely unaffected by wind. Each to their own.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the
something like:

Another plus for gasless is it just sits there, ready to use. You don't need to worry about a gas bottle or rental or any of that shit. The downside is it's a bit harder to use at first, but it rapidly justifies its existence when in use. I have a small gasless set for odd use and it's fine for a lot of things when I can't be arsed with farting around dragging a bigger set around. The wire is more expensive, but not a big deal, really.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
saying

Gasless wire also has less metal in it for twice the price.
If you add up the cost of gas and normal wire I guess its probably not far different to gasless wire.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jim K wrote:

Gasless is hotterso you get more penetration,a lot of Migs start at 30amp which will just blow holes in <1mm steel. the welds look crap and you get weld splatter everywhere.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Are you using the right welder polarity?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I've read an number of articles which suggest it doesn't make much difference and that its more the current/voltage characteristics which are more important.
My MIG is wired for gas, and my understanding the ideal polarity is the reverse for gasless wire, yet I can make satisfactory welds. If you have an alternative experience I would like to hear them.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's interesting - I have a SIP Migmate for gas only, and would like the option of gasless. Do you need any other parts other than the wire?
--
*Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

no - tho all "either way" machines have easy access to reverse polarity of torch/earth - tho seems some don't bother....
cheers Jim K
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I could only get gasless wire at 0.8mm, whereas with gas I only ever used 0.6mm. I felt the feed rate ended up being nearly the same. There is a lot more spatter than using gas.
I have bought gasless wire of eBay and found it ok. I think machine mart do smaller reels which perhaps you can try out.
If I was using reels of wire I would go for gas in hired bottles, but as I use a reel every year or 2, gasless is the cheaper option.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

One major snag for me would be storing a large bottle.
--
*It's o.k. to laugh during sex..just don't point!

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.