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Old 08-01-2013, 01:03 AM
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Welder question

Hi, I'm sure this question has been answered before, But a quick search really did not turn up any concrete answers, Atleast not for me. But my question is: What welder is best for building car frames with? I want to start out by building a go-kart to help me learn the best way to weld that is best for me. I have seen where people say TIG is best, And some say Stick/ARC is best, I'm sure it boils down to personal opinion, But I would like to know if MIG would be good and strong enough to build car frames with? I would also like to know if one that works off of a 110 socket be powerful enough, I have seen where people said only 220 is strong enough, But I live with my girlfriends grandparents for now, And I don't know if they would be too thrilled about having their garage rewired as they don't have a 220 outlet. I figured I would ask the pro's their opinion on this before I buy a welder and discover that it is not good enough. Thanks in advance for any help you could give me.

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Old 08-01-2013, 09:11 AM
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What I will give you is my personal opinion, others will have theirs. To weld on a car frame a MIG is Plenty strong enough. I wouldn't weld a car frame with a 110 MIG even though they have improved the 110 welder greatly over the years. The frames on cars are made of heavier material (especially the older full framed vehicles) than regular body panels and may require more penetration than the 110 MIG can provide. Some people may come on here and say that they have done it without any problem and that is their opinion....this is mine.

If your going to start out welding up go kart frames a 110 should be strong enough and is a great format to learn how to weld...you might want to start there. Later on you could move up to a 220 MIG and selling your 110 wouldn't be a problem, if you wanted to sell it. I still often use a 110 MIG for body panels, the metal is much thinner than the metal on a frame and the 110 gives me all the penetration that 18 to 24 gauge metal requires.

TIG welding is another matter, before you get into TIG welding, it's probably a good idea to learn how to use a MIG. The skill set for TIG is much greater than a MIG, again, people may disagree and maybe it's just that I'm more comfortable with a MIG but, TIG takes a real steady hand and you need to know how metal reacts when being welded. A MIG will provide you with much of that information before you attempt TIG welding.

I hope this helps and as I said, these are my opinions only.

Ray
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:17 AM
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What Ray said, every word, what Ray said.

Brian
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:55 AM
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there is no weldable metal on a standard vehicle over 10 gauge
110v machines are fully capable of welding 10 gauge in a single pass
i welded my whole truck frame and lots of the sheetmetal with a 110v fluxcore machine
i bought 110v for portability, i've had it on ladders and in a basket on a forklift
you can't beat fluxcore for welding outside.
i've had my lincoln weldpac 100 for 14 yrs and have never had to run out to fill an argon tank

that said... a 220v mig will be more versatile for more metals and methods
most welders have 4 to 6 heat selections and infinite wire speed
i prefer lincoln, miller and hobart, in no particular order.
but lately have heard a lot of good reviews on the eastwood brand welders

stick works well if you have an arc welder available, but i would not buy one unless you have a specific purpose, same goes for tig
welding is all about heat, puddle control and penetration.
once you master those all welding is pretty much the same
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:24 AM
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welder outlet

if the garage is attached to the house and the laundry area is close u can use the dryer plug.. it's a 30a 220v sys and plenty for light stick welding. u'll just need to make an extension cord for dryer and welder which are different.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:35 AM
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A 220v wirefeed is THEE most efficient machine for auto work.

It will handle anything from thin shettmetal with .024 MIG wire and up and more than 1/2" with multiple passes

I wrote this on another forum in the welding and fabrication section,it pretty much gets to the point of facts,not myths....


As was already said,a 110v machine will push it to it's limits and borderline that "maybe" it'll work and hold welding 1/4" without a preheat.

once you start gettin into alot fab work on the Jeep you'll runnin into alot heavier things to weld than a 110v machine is designed for..heavy suspension parts,roll cages,heavy bumpers and rock gards,motor mounts if swapping out for more power..etc etc.

A 220v machine is just so much more versatile and suitable for Jeep mods and repairs than a 110v,there wont be anything on a Jeep your working that a 220v can;t handle without question,from thin sheetmetal to heavy axle tubes and chunks.

Now a days there really isn't that much of a price difference in my opinion between a 110v vs 220v to justify going with a 110v unless 110v power is your only option,but that would be a rare occasion unless you live in an apartment and have no 220v dryer plug.

You'll most likely hear/see some people say"i welded my whole rig up with a 110v 140 amp machine and its held up to the worst abuse in the world!"...that's all cool and i'm glad it held up,but it still doesn't hide the fact that a 110v machine was put to it's limits and overworked at max settings to do the job,plus it doesn't hide the fact that it may of made a nice looking weld but the fact is it still aint hot enough to do a confident sufficeint weld on thicker materials.

The manufacturers recommend the maximum thickness of steel for the machine not for the fact it can't get a complete fusion in every pass,but for the fact it isn't hot enough of a machine to sufficeintly penetrate that thickness.this is where most don't understand...i could weld up a 1" thick plate with a 110v and cut it and it'll show a solid complete fused weld,,but do a bend test on it and see what happens because it didn't penetrate because of the heat sink the bigger steel caused and sucked the heat from the weld..

Bottom line is..when picking a weld machine for a purpose..the general rule of thumb is to purchase one that is designed to handle more than what you ever plan to use it for,for the fact you won't have to geuss if it will hold,plus you won't be working the machine at it's limits and seriously shortening the life span of the machine.
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogre View Post
there is no weldable metal on a standard vehicle over 10 gauge
110v machines are fully capable of welding 10 gauge in a single pass
i welded my whole truck frame and lots of the sheetmetal with a 110v fluxcore machine
i bought 110v for portability, i've had it on ladders and in a basket on a forklift
you can't beat fluxcore for welding outside.
i've had my lincoln weldpac 100 for 14 yrs and have never had to run out to fill an argon tank

that said... a 220v mig will be more versatile for more metals and methods
most welders have 4 to 6 heat selections and infinite wire speed
i prefer lincoln, miller and hobart, in no particular order.
but lately have heard a lot of good reviews on the eastwood brand welders

stick works well if you have an arc welder available, but i would not buy one unless you have a specific purpose, same goes for tig
welding is all about heat, puddle control and penetration.
once you master those all welding is pretty much the same
I agree with much of what your saying, however, a lot depends on what type of welder the person has, not all 110 MIG's are created equal. I've used a 110 MIG to try and weld 12 gauge, it should have handled a task as light as that....I had to bring my 110 MIG (220 wasn't available) to the site and weld the metal...it worked fine.

The other thing, and please take this in the spirit that it is meant, the OP is new to welding, to say that a 110 MIG may be able to weld any 10 gauge metal on a standard vehicle is a fairly broad statement...We don't know what type of frame he is trying to weld. Some heavier duty frames aren't 10 gauge they can run up to 3/16 of an inch whereas 10 gauge is about 1/8th inch. Is that a standard vehicle, I don't know what the OP would consider standard. That being said, an experienced welder may be able to properly bevel the edges and make this work with an efficient 110 MIG, I prefer to err, if I am, on the side of caution as we don't know exactly what the OP is intending to weld, other than go kart frames and even then, what gauge of metal is being used on those frames.

Perhaps a better question would be, how thick a piece of metal can be welded with a 110 MIG, then we would be able to refer back to different manufacturers and get the answers as to their specifications. The OP should also understand that these specifications would be with an experienced welder

Hope you understand where I'm coming from Ogre, not trying to disagree, just to further explain.

Ray
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:37 PM
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I started off 25 years ago with a 110V Lincoln Mig machine with shielding capability. I used it for sheet metal welding and tack welding frame components, then took the frame to a shop and had a qualified welder use a 220V machine to weld the component I tack welded.

Later, about 20 years later, I bought an ESAB 220V Multimaster that does tig / mig and stick. I kept my Lincoln 110V though and made a bracket to place it above the ESAB. This allows me to switch between welding on plate gauge steel vs. sheet metal without changing liners and rollers.


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Old 08-01-2013, 05:57 PM
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Thank you all so much for your answers, You all have been a very big help. As far as the car frames, I would like to get as sturdy as possible, Without being too much. As for go-karts, Again the same answer, But I probably want it to be a bit thicker thank normal just to be on the safe side and to be able to hold me(I am 265Lbs.). I will probably get a 140 MIG welder first, Then make a few go-karts and sell them and then get a bigger 220 welder with the profit I make on the go-karts. I plan on making "Big Boy" go-karts, Something with some power that is fun to drive, Not some 3HP Kiddy-Kart. Do you think a 140 MIG would be able to weld a go-kart frame strong enough to hold up to the stress and abuse a 8-15HP motor and a slightly overweight rider would put it under, lol?
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:08 PM
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The welds your planning to make with your new welder will only be as good as your skill set. First of all, decide what gauge or thickness of metal you require for your frame. After you get your welder, purchase some metal, be it scrap or whatever and practice, practice practice. A 110V MIG would be able to give you all the strength you need for a person of your size and a the HP that the engine puts out. You need to learn the art of welding more so than worrying about the welder, in the case of Go Karts anyway.

I have seen people try and weld thin metal with a 220V welder and the weld failed, why, because the person didn't know how. I'm not trying to be critical, I'm trying to give you the facts.

So, to answer your question if a 110 MIG could handle the job that you now have it intended for using the proper materials, the answer is Yes, the question of can you obtain the skills to use the welder so that it will hold the capacities that you want it to, the answer is yes as well. But learn how by practicing before you build a Kart that's for sale.

Hope this helps.

Ray
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:09 PM
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More welder info

One thing no one has mentioned is duty cycle. How long can you weld at a particular amp setting before you overload or damage the welders internal parts, to weld a car frame at higher amp settings a 110 V welder is probably at only 30 % . My lincoln 255 square wave does Tig, ac and Dc and arc and can weld at 200 amps all day long..at a 30 % duty, The manufacturere recommends that you only weld for 3 minutes out of every 10 without damaging the machine. sooner or later you probably want one of every kind. A stick welder with 6011 AC (farmer rod) works when repairing painted or rusty farm machinery. You can soak 6011 AC rod in water then turn up the amps and "cut" burn metal with the heat and poke method. Tig welding requires more skill and manual dexterity, contaminate the tig electroda and you have to resharpen and mabe grind out part of your weld. If you use a 110 V mig you will want to be sure to bevel and Gap your weld joints to get proper penetration. I keep a box of horse shoe nails in the drawer, they are miniture wedges, make a tack , check alignment and if needed a nail to widen the gap before the next tack , as mentioned earler with a 110 V with a gas torch, make multiple passes for thicker material. Flux core leaves a coating of slag that should be removed before another pass to get a good strong weld. .

Last edited by timothale; 08-01-2013 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:30 PM
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Welder

I have a 135 Lincoln that I use flux core in. Always has done a fine job with good penetration. I took a welding course a few years back and the instructor had a Lincoln 100 for his home welder, it's all in ability. Learn right, weld right. I'd take a course at a local high school to get the basics.
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:35 PM
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The duty cycle on 110 MIGS is usually 20%, Atleast all the ones I have seen under $500. And Ray, I understand that I need to practice alot before I start building go-karts, I'm not going to just get a welder and build a go-kart immediately and then sell it, I am not going to endanger someones life like that by having inferior welds that could break. You have been a big help Ray, And I thank you for that. It is nice to see a forum where someone can come and ask a question and not get flamed for it. I have had a little welding experience before, My grandfather has a Lincoln 225 stick welder that he taught me how to use, My welds were not the prettiest, But after beating on it with a sledge hammer a couple times, It never came apart. But again thank you all for your help, It is very much appreciated.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:45 PM
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Don't waste your money on a 110 machine.. You will be sorry down the line and wish you bought a 220... Spend the money one time..And one time only... It's much easier to learn on a 220 then a 110.... You couldn't give me a 110...To me they are good for nothing...Miller or lincoln is your better choice of machines out there..Good luck with what ever you go with..
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arc-Angel View Post
The duty cycle on 110 MIGS is usually 20%, Atleast all the ones I have seen under $500. And Ray, I understand that I need to practice alot before I start building go-karts, I'm not going to just get a welder and build a go-kart immediately and then sell it, I am not going to endanger someones life like that by having inferior welds that could break. You have been a big help Ray, And I thank you for that. It is nice to see a forum where someone can come and ask a question and not get flamed for it. I have had a little welding experience before, My grandfather has a Lincoln 225 stick welder that he taught me how to use, My welds were not the prettiest, But after beating on it with a sledge hammer a couple times, It never came apart. But again thank you all for your help, It is very much appreciated.
Happy to help when I can.

It sounds like you have the right attitude and that in some ways is as important as the equipment your using. This is a great forum, I've learned an immense amount and just hope I can give back.

Now, if your planning on painting these Go Karts, I'd be more than happy to give you any advice I can.

Best wishes

Ray
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