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Old 10-14-2008, 09:07 PM
72 grabber 51F-1 65 chevystang
 
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learning to weld, any tips or advice

My dad has a millermatic 175 I believe. It has gas with it. I have never welded before. I tried laying down a bead on some scrap angle iron. At first I layed down a decent bead but then I messed with the settings and couldn't get a real good bead. Does anyone have any advice or tips for a beginner welder. The funny thing is my dad can do great work with a 39 years old buzzbox that won't even adjust anymore but can't do much with the new miller

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Old 10-14-2008, 09:41 PM
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welding

I started welding back in 1963, ran a steel fabrication shop for equipment and so here's the way it goes-it takes time, don't get in a hurry, set up some scrap low-carbon steel on a work bench, set the gas flow by using as small amount as needed, a slight hiss when you pull the trigger, CO2 works great, and make sure no wind is blowing because it can blow the gas out of the nozzle, next on a small welder pick the highest temp range and by keeping one hand on the feed control, start welding and using the rheostat, run the wire speed up until it sounds like bacon frying, write down the settings for later use, and now set the welder on the next lower heat range they are A,B,C,D so do the same trick for feed control. It always tends to go better with a solid wire .025 for light stuff and .035 for heavier, but I doubt your welder would work well with the bigger diameter wire. The wire is sold with the diameter on the box or package. PRACTICE on scrap and then work on a small project, keep the nozzle clean, and the gaps as close, high temp will give more penetration, just welding on top does nothing to weld two pieces together, for a butt weld, grind both sides on a 45 degree angle so you are filling this "V" gap from bottom to top with weld. remember those little balls of melted steel rolling off the table always get in your shoe, so wear bluejeans and boots, gloves and a leather welding jacket, and if you can afford it a auto-dark helmet
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:08 PM
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Get a nice, plump, healthy Aloe Vera plant and keep it within a short trot of where you're welding.

You will grab that hot steel before you should.
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:59 PM
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I've been welding for about 10 years now and the auto darkening helmet has got to be one of the best upgrades I could have made from the regular helmet. Makes it so much easier to set up before you pull the trigger when you can see what you are doing and not having to move to pull the helmet up and down as you need it. I also found flux core wire to be a lot easier to manage. I keep it in my welder for the convenience of not having to keep the bottle filled. If I run out of wire I can go to most any HD or Loews and pick up some more wire without having to worry where I am going to find a place to fill the bottle. I have a Lincoln and only use Lincoln wire. I think I have noticed a difference in weld quality on lesser brands. I really find flux core welding very easy. Not sure how the pros feel about using it...
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Old 10-15-2008, 04:09 AM
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If you are going to do heavier metal like 1/4" to 5/16", then you will need to use a higher speed and heat setting. If you're doing thin sheetmetal like body which can vary from 20 to 18 GA, then what I have done is take some scrap of the thickness you will work with. Then practice with different settings on the welder till you get the right heat range and speed. Also, using gas is better for thin metal, gives a better weld and less spatter. There are tons of instruction on the web as well. Just google "mig welding techniques"
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Old 10-15-2008, 08:09 AM
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Two words. WELDING COACH.
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Always learning...and sharing what I've learned. The Scratch-Built Hot Rod.
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Old 10-15-2008, 10:29 AM
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Check your local Junior College...

for welding classes. I hadnt done any welding for 15 years so when I got back into building cars, I signed up for a MIG class at our JC. I convienced five members from our car club to sign up as well. As I recall it was about $80 for a semester and they provided the equipment, gas, wire and steel.
The instructor was top notch - demonstrated proper technique and was on hand to observe and critique your work.
In addition to getting back in the groove so to speak, we had a great boys night out every week!
Just read Dewey's post on a Welding Coach. Totally agree with his comments as well. I recently had a good friend and excellent welder/fabricator drop by my shop. He showed me some really great techniques for MIG welding thin gauge material and preventing warping the material while getting good penetration.

Last edited by Conrad_AZ; 10-15-2008 at 10:34 AM. Reason: another thought!!
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:35 PM
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I'd like to take a welding class but they are only offered in the morning and I have school. There are no afternoon classes offered at the community college
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Old 10-15-2008, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrad_AZ
for welding classes. I hadnt done any welding for 15 years so when I got back into building cars, I signed up for a MIG class at our JC. I convienced five members from our car club to sign up as well. As I recall it was about $80 for a semester and they provided the equipment, gas, wire and steel.
The instructor was top notch - demonstrated proper technique and was on hand to observe and critique your work.
In addition to getting back in the groove so to speak, we had a great boys night out every week!
Just read Dewey's post on a Welding Coach. Totally agree with his comments as well. I recently had a good friend and excellent welder/fabricator drop by my shop. He showed me some really great techniques for MIG welding thin gauge material and preventing warping the material while getting good penetration.


That's 80 bucks well spent and considering the cost of welding it has to be one of the better bargains! There are simply too many myths and bad habits associated with welding and unfortunately all too often these just get passed back and forth by well intentioned but ill-informed friends who weld but are not pros. A good welding class is the best investment a beginning welder can make because once bad habits are acquired they can be hard to break.
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Old 10-15-2008, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulerow
remember those little balls of melted steel rolling off the table always get in your shoe, so wear bluejeans and boots, gloves and a leather welding jacket, and if you can afford it a auto-dark helmet
I can vouch for the strange attraction between shoes and molten globs of steel -- it taught me real quick not to wear those cheap, tops-vented-by-woven-plastic sneakers while welding. That cherry red steel ball will zip right through and the melted plastic makes it stick when it gets to your foot. Wear all-leather footgear!


Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
There are simply too many myths and bad habits associated with welding and unfortunately all too often these just get passed back and forth by well intentioned but ill-informed friends who weld but are not pros.
You mean even if I drink 2 gallons of buttermilk and put slivers of potatoes under my eyelids I still can't weld an army tank to an aluminum bridge using galvanized roofing nails for rods without a helmet? How about if I sit on a hot stove while doing the above? (Sorry, oldred, I couldn't resist).

Speaking of bad habits, and remembering the "more is better" syndrome that's somewhere in the Welding Coach thread cboy linked, a new weldor should avoid substituting a build-up of weld for good fitting and good prep. Right after buying a 110V flux core wire welder, I attempted to weld up an exhaust system with it. I took the car to a local shop for a front-end alignment and the mechanic there, a friend, ran it up on the lift to check the underside. His first comment on seeing the exhaust system was, "You must have some monster mud daubers at your house."

I've since given away the wire welder and now have a true mig, based on advice received here. That plus an auto-darkening helmet and that Welding Coach thread made a big difference for me. No more monster mud daubers.
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Old 10-16-2008, 04:09 PM
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I got were I could lay down a pretty good bead. I where slip on cowboy boots everywhere. My dad used to cut apart railroad cars ad he would only wear slip on boots. he wanted them so they would be easy to remove if something went in there
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old fords
I got were I could lay down a pretty good bead. I where slip on cowboy boots everywhere. My dad used to cut apart railroad cars ad he would only wear slip on boots. he wanted them so they would be easy to remove if something went in there


While being able to get out them fast may seem like a good idea slip on boots are IMO a real no-no, now before I get clobbered here the key is "IMO". The reason I say this and the reason I quit wearing slip-ons years ago is that while they may come off quickly they are by design FAR more likely to catch a stray piece of hot material in the first place! The design of a slip-on boot necessitates that they have a much larger top opening for the hot material to fall into unlike a good lace-up which fits much tighter around your leg. Your pant legs should cover the tops of boots anyway but this is not always the case depending on what you may be doing at the time but the material can get in even if the boot is covered. In fact most cases of foot accidents I have seen (and experianced! ) the material entered higher up on the pants, sometimes well above the knee. In the nearly 40 years I have been doing this I have seen this happen many times and slip-on boots have made up by far most of the incidents. When I ran my shop I had strict safety rules which included welding quality clothing and steel toe boots but although I strongly recommended good lace-up boots I felt it better to let the employee decide since there can be some argument both ways. It all boils down to this-You can shed a slip-on faster but you are MUCH more likely to get hot material in a slip-on than in a properly worn lace-up and if you do you will still get burned before you can get the thing off. It should be the user's choice but I would not wear slip-ons to weld with, IMO it's far better to keep the hot material out than to be able to quickly shed a boot that caught material it should not have caught in the first place!
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Old 10-17-2008, 03:30 PM
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If you can't get a class for some reason, do some small projects. I've been around building cars for years, but always let my dad do the welding. I practiced some when I was younger but as I got older I didn't try as much. I had a small class in HS shop class where we focused on welding which helped me find the "bead". This helped a LOT but a lot of my problem was finding the right setting and cleaning the metal a little more before welding. (if it would strike an arc I'd burn the mess off)

Its funny b/c when I started building my car you can see where I've consistently gotten better in both welding and cutting. When I started my cuts were usually off and I would have to fill in some (on thin sheetmetal) with the mig welder. as I neared the end of the metal work you could see which parts were done later in the build than which parts were done earlier in the build.
So basically practice makes perfect especially if you can't get into a class.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grouch
I can vouch for the strange attraction between shoes and molten globs of steel -- it taught me real quick not to wear those cheap, tops-vented-by-woven-plastic sneakers while welding. That cherry red steel ball will zip right through and the melted plastic makes it stick when it gets to your foot. Wear all-leather footgear!



You mean even if I drink 2 gallons of buttermilk and put slivers of potatoes under my eyelids I still can't weld an army tank to an aluminum bridge using galvanized roofing nails for rods without a helmet? How about if I sit on a hot stove while doing the above? (Sorry, oldred, I couldn't resist).

Speaking of bad habits, and remembering the "more is better" syndrome that's somewhere in the Welding Coach thread cboy linked, a new weldor should avoid substituting a build-up of weld for good fitting and good prep. Right after buying a 110V flux core wire welder, I attempted to weld up an exhaust system with it. I took the car to a local shop for a front-end alignment and the mechanic there, a friend, ran it up on the lift to check the underside. His first comment on seeing the exhaust system was, "You must have some monster mud daubers at your house."

I've since given away the wire welder and now have a true mig, based on advice received here. That plus an auto-darkening helmet and that Welding Coach thread made a big difference for me. No more monster mud daubers.
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Old 10-17-2008, 05:19 PM
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I practiced a little more. I was doing good wen the gun jammed for the millionth time. I fixed it and did some more. Then it got where it wouldn't burn good. Then it jammed again and I tried to get it to pull out. Ended up managing to break off both ends, and the door on it hit me in the head so I quit for today. I really didn't want to see a new welder go flying. Hopefully tomorrow will be better
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Old 10-17-2008, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
That's 80 bucks well spent and considering the cost of welding it has to be one of the better bargains! There are simply too many myths and bad habits associated with welding and unfortunately all too often these just get passed back and forth by well intentioned but ill-informed friends who weld but are not pros. A good welding class is the best investment a beginning welder can make because once bad habits are acquired they can be hard to break.
One of the benefits in living in a small rural county with high unemployment amoungst it's younger citizens. Our JC is very focussed upon not only providing the typical academic college courses, but also in providing a well structured VocEd program as well. The VocEd courses are run in conjunction with several of the local high schools which could not by themselves fund the classes.

The welding school produces around 10-15 AWS certified welders a semester. Most of the kids are finding good paying jobs with the oil/gas companies, copper mines and with clean room/hospital piping contractors. In addition to the welding school, they have a great training program for the health care industry as well.

This program is one area where I feel that we are getting a good return on our tax dollars. It is great to see state, county and local governments actually working together to help prepare our kids for the future.
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