Welding Question

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Welding Question

Quarterwave
Hi everyone,

I've reached a point where I need to learn how to weld. I've researched it a bunch and think I'm going to pick up a hybrid welder that does MIG and TIG.

My question is - should I take some classes at say, a local community college, or just pickup some scrap pieces to work on, and just starting teaching myself, on my own time at my own pace?

The latter is pretty much how I've done things most of my life.

I've never welded metal before, but I'm really thinking about putting twin turbo's on my 351W, and from what I can tell, the fabrication time involved for the plumbing (manifolds and exhaust) is likely to be very expensive as there are no bolt-on turbo kits (that I'm aware of) for these trucks.

So, at first I'll be working with stainless and then, I'd like to scale it up to whatever else I may need to do in the future - so, buying the right welder from the start (and crying once) is a priority.

Any experienced input is much appreciated.

Gary - I'm not sure if this belongs in the FORD Lounge, but as that seemed to be a continuous thread, I wasn't sure if this topic would "fit". If so, please move this post wherever you see fit.

Thanks!

1985 Ford F150, 2WD.
351 H.O Windsor, aluminum heads
Cam: Lift = .496''/.520'' Duration @ .050: 224°/234°
C6 Transmission
6" Rough Country Lift
33x12.5x15 BF Goodrich All-Terrains
15x10" Pro Comp Rims
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Re: Welding Question

85lebaront2
Administrator
I would say go to a class. Unfortunately the absolute best welding school in the country is an in-house one at Huntington Ingalls Industries - Newport News Shipbuilding. Those welders learn every type of welding including setting up robotic systems. If your local community college offers a good class. go for it.
Bill
"Getting old is inevitable, growing up is optional"
Darth Vader 1986 F-350 460 converted to MAF/SEFI, E4OD 12X3 1/2 rear brakes, traction loc 3:55 gear, 160 amp 3G alternator
Wife's 2011 Flex Limited
Daily Driver 1994 Taurus LX
Project car 1986 Chrysler LeBaron convertible 2.2L Turbo II, modified A413
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Re: Welding Question

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by Quarterwave
I think where you have this thread is fine.

And on the question of training, I'd vote for a community college.  Some of the most fun I've had was taking a community college class on the lathe and then the mill when I was in my 60's.  The young pups were just there to get the pre-req, and I was there to LEARN.

I'll never forget on the final the instructor said that when you finish the test go out into the shop and work on your project.  I got done and everyone else was still working on the test.  So I put my first set of answers aside and took it again - with the same results.  So I turned it in and went to the shop.  And then the instructor came out and said the young pups were not going to like me - he graded on the curve.  

Pretty soon a younger guy I was friends with came out and asked what my answer was for a certain question.  I gave him the answer and he asked how I knew.  I told him it was in the book and he said "YOU READ THE BOOK!!!"  I didn't have the heart to tell him that I skimmed it the first night I got it, then read it cover-to-cover before the class started, and then read each section and took the quiz as we came to it.  

As for the welder, I can't speak to the TIG aspect, but can to the MIG.  It is far easier to MIG than use a stick welder IMHO.  In fact, it is pretty easy to do, but perhaps that's cause I have a bit of experience and some understanding of when I'm not getting penetration.  But, I still don't do a good job in many cases, as member Scott/WelderScott has pointed out a few times.  

Speaking of Scott, he says I need a TIG.  He owns Victor Welding in Tulsa, which is a welding supply house, and is licensed to weld anything, so I suspect he knows what he's talking about.  But, not having ever used one I can't speak to that.

Speaking of Scott, perhaps I can get him to respond on this thread......  
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Welding Question

Quarterwave
Ok, thanks everyone.

I work during the day, so I'll need to find somewhere that does night classes.

Appreciate the insight!
1985 Ford F150, 2WD.
351 H.O Windsor, aluminum heads
Cam: Lift = .496''/.520'' Duration @ .050: 224°/234°
C6 Transmission
6" Rough Country Lift
33x12.5x15 BF Goodrich All-Terrains
15x10" Pro Comp Rims
ETM
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Re: Welding Question

ETM
In reply to this post by Quarterwave
This last past winter I when and got my level 1 welding ticket, yet to use it but never the less I passed. From what I was told, Class will teach you the right way to weld, Yes you can learn on your own but there are something you can't. It may look good but may not be deep enough, or your wire speed is not their. Other thing like what is the Ideal way you should weld two peaces together.

I'd take some classes. I'm Looking for some Tig classes as most of my car is Aluminium. And with that I know with Mig I think I can fix my truck up some more.

Best of luck.
Eric
1981 F100 - One Owner 300 I6 - 3 on the Tree
2003 G35 Drift Sedan 6mt RWD

Ontario, Canada
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Re: Welding Question

WelderScott
In reply to this post by Quarterwave
Hey Quarterwave!

It's good to hear your standing on the porch ready to step off into the welding field.  I agree with the previous posts that the community college is a good "first step".

In regards to a welder for the garage that would be a multi-process (or hybrid) unit,  I like the new Miller multimatic 220 AC/DC. You can plug this machine into 110v or 220V.  You can mig with solid wire or flux-core, stick weld and tig in both AC and DC. AC tig also has the "high-frequency" option that allows you to tig aluminum. Not sure of your budget but you can expect to spend around 3k.

You can "google" all the machine specs by using Millers stock number"907757"

Good luck and have fun!
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Re: Welding Question

Quarterwave
Great, thanks WelderScott. I'll start researching...
1985 Ford F150, 2WD.
351 H.O Windsor, aluminum heads
Cam: Lift = .496''/.520'' Duration @ .050: 224°/234°
C6 Transmission
6" Rough Country Lift
33x12.5x15 BF Goodrich All-Terrains
15x10" Pro Comp Rims
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Re: Welding Question

Steve83
In reply to this post by Quarterwave
Other than having a LITTLE bit of training already, I was almost in your shoes before I bought my machine.  I chose the MM211 because it can handle 24ga-3/8" steel/SS or Aluminum (single-pass).  But the most-important to me was that its automatic settings (steel only) are almost foolproof.  Another important factor is that it's a professional-grade machine, so I'd have no trouble selling it if I decided to quit using it.

But it's becoming VERY fun & even generates a little income (as a hobby - I'm not trying to compete with pros).  With just a little practice (in addition to some stick-welding instruction many years before), I was able to get reasonably-good MIG welds from it, and build the bumper for my Bronco that I've been abusing for about 6 years now.  I also got the spool gun at the same time, and never having had ANY instruction with it, I've gotten useful (if not pretty) Aluminum welds from it, too.  All I did was read the manual, and a few other sources, practice on a few scraps, and I've done a few small jobs with it successfully.

So I'd suggest you start reading NOW, and maybe watching some videos ONLY by pros (none of the amateurs).  If you decide you can get by with just MIG/wirefeed, then shop for a 211.  Mine was ~$1300 delivered.



I also spent ~$350 on the 2 bottles of gas (75/25 for steel/SS, and Argon for Aluminum); and at least that much more on several spools of wire (I only use Hobart brand) and other supplies, gloves (also Hobart), brushes, grinding wheels (Diabolo), cutting wheels (Metabo), clamping pliers, clamps, sleeves, squares, rulers, magnets, etc.; and I put maybe $60 worth of material into my cart which I built to carry all of that, and a ~$60 extension cord, on minimal floor space.





After using an ultra-cheapo $35 hood for a while, I found this one on sale at TSC for $60:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AFICDIE

I added the outlets to my house myself, so that only cost me ~$60.  Check with some local electricians what it'll cost you.

I highly recommend this ~$350 vise:



You'll also need a table (preferably metal) to mount it on, and to weld on.  So make sure you add it all up before you dive in.  Don't overspend on a machine, and then NOT have the money to actually use it.
Walk softly and carry a BIG SIX!!!
https://www.supermotors.net/registry/2742#album
Memphis, TN, USA, Earth, Milky Way
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Re: Welding Question

Rembrant
In reply to this post by Quarterwave
Quarterwave wrote
My question is - should I take some classes at say, a local community college, or just pickup some scrap pieces to work on, and just starting teaching myself, on my own time at my own pace?
I'm going to go against the grain a bit here, but I'd pickup some scrap pieces to work on and try some self training. That's just my 2 cents.

I have a little Lincoln machine with gas, and it works really well. I did do a lot of stick welding when I was younger, so I found mig pretty easy to catch on to.

If taking a course is easy and cost effective, and you have the time to do so, by all means do it. However, if you're just playing around I don't think there's any harm in trying some practice pieces on your own;).


1984 F150 4X2 Flareside. Mild 302 w/GT40 heads, BBK headers, Holley 4bbl, Comp Cam, M5R2 5spd swap, Magnaflow full duals. Fresh Medium Blue Metallic in August 2019.
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Re: Welding Question

ArdWrknTrk
Administrator
In reply to this post by Quarterwave
Remember that welding stainless requires straight Argon and not your regular 75/25% Mig mix.

Also, you'll need back purge to keep from getting 'sugar' (crystallization) and blackness on the inside.
So if you're going to try your hand at Mig, get a dual flow regulator.
You don't need (or want) 15-20 CFM inside your tubes.

I taught myself Mig back in the '80's, but I was coming from Oxyfuel and Tig so at least I knew what I wanted it to look like.

I use Pearl abrasives almost exclusively. Though Makita makes a nice stainless .045 cutoff disc, and flap wheels are usually DeWalt or Bosch around here.
But two angle grinders, so you're not constantly swapping discs.
I have 4, & a cordless....  one wears a pipeliner and another a knotted brush for prep.


I'm looking to pick up a little inverter stick welder to do some fence work off a generator, but I'm surely tempted by the new multi-process machines.
Unfortunately, one big enough for heavy aluminum (that could replace everything else I own) would be too much for my genny.
So ultimately I'm probably going to end up with a green 'lunchbox' for fences, gates and trailer repairs.
Yet another tool to trip over....
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250 HD, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Welding Question

Gary Lewis
Administrator
ArdWrknTrk wrote
Remember that welding stainless requires straight Argon and not your regular 75/25% Mig mix.

Also, you'll need back purge to keep from getting 'sugar' (crystallization) and blackness on the inside.
So if you're going to try your hand at Mig, get a dual flow regulator.
You don't need (or want) 15-20 CFM inside your tubes.
Jim - What are you saying about "back purge"?  That it is necessary when going from one gas to another?  I had't heard that.  Please tell me more.
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Welding Question

ArdWrknTrk
Administrator
This post was updated on .
If you're doing full penetration (or even reaching Curie temperature) most stainless will crystallize and blacken on the back.
Providing an insert atmosphere stops this.
https://app.aws.org/forum/topic_show.pl?tid=34147

Look up stainless sugaring for pics.
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250 HD, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Welding Question

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Ahhh!  Got it.

Haven't welded much stainless, but did buy a bunch of school cafeteria sinks and counters when I was building the shop.  Have used it in the shop, but had to reconfigure.  Scott came over and told me what gas I needed, sold it to me, and showed me how to weld with it.  I got the counters/sinks in and haven't welded stainless since.
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Welding Question

Dorsai
In reply to this post by Quarterwave
This thread is of interest to me, as I've been wanting to learn to weld for some time now.

Do community colleges/technical schools typically offer automotively-useful standalone welding classes?  I ask because I've been looking at some of the technical schools in the Atlanta area, and they seem to mostly offer welding as part of either a certification program or a diploma program, neither of which I'm really interested in.  I've found a handful of standalone welding classes, but they seem mostly focused on 'art' welding.

Matthew
1980 F-150 Custom 2wd longbed, 300-6, C6, 2.75 rear axle
Atlanta GA
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Re: Welding Question

ArdWrknTrk
Administrator
'hobby' welding isn't nearly as common as it once was.

Do you have a Makerspace, or some kind of membership shop space in Atlanta?
They often offer 'basics' classes, if only to get people checked out on the machines.
(Having access to 3D printers, CNC routers, plasma cutters, water jets, laser cutters and 3-5 axis milling machines is pretty cool too!
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250 HD, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Welding Question

Dorsai
ArdWrknTrk wrote
'hobby' welding isn't nearly as common as it once was.

Do you have a Makerspace, or some kind of membership shop space in Atlanta?
They often offer 'basics' classes, if only to get people checked out on the machines.
(Having access to 3D printers, CNC routers, plasma cutters, water jets, laser cutters and 3-5 axis milling machines is pretty cool too!
There are a few around here, but the one that looks like it might offer welding is way down in Atlanta proper, and I'm not willing to fight with traffic to go there.  The makerspaces closer to me seem to lean more towards arts & crafts - no welding equipment, but they have plenty of fancy sewing machines, vinyl cutters, and whatnot.

Matthew
1980 F-150 Custom 2wd longbed, 300-6, C6, 2.75 rear axle
Atlanta GA
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Re: Welding Question

FuzzFace2
Dorsai wrote
ArdWrknTrk wrote
'hobby' welding isn't nearly as common as it once was.

Do you have a Makerspace, or some kind of membership shop space in Atlanta?
They often offer 'basics' classes, if only to get people checked out on the machines.
(Having access to 3D printers, CNC routers, plasma cutters, water jets, laser cutters and 3-5 axis milling machines is pretty cool too!
There are a few around here, but the one that looks like it might offer welding is way down in Atlanta proper, and I'm not willing to fight with traffic to go there.  The makerspaces closer to me seem to lean more towards arts & crafts - no welding equipment, but they have plenty of fancy sewing machines, vinyl cutters, and whatnot.
So you can make new seat covers for the truck
Dave ----
81 F100 flare side 300 six/T18 project
http://cars.grantskingdom1.com/index.php/1980-Ford-F100?page=1
81 F100 style side 300 six/SROD parts truck
http://cars.grantskingdom1.com/index.php/1981-Ford-F100
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Re: Welding Question

ArdWrknTrk
Administrator
In reply to this post by Dorsai
The other day when the motor in the cabinet saw at the shop finally stb for good, I ran to Horrid Fate for something to replace it, off the shelf.
We used to have Grainger here in Stamford, but they closed shop when Next Day undermined their retail+ pricing structure.

Getting to the point, I looked at their Vulcan and Titainium lunchbox welders.
IGBT is really killing it as far as high current transformers go!  
Cooling is always the issue with duty cycle.  (I stuffed a muffin fan in my little Italian MIG back in the early '80's)

Now I have feature lists and pricing for the HF units.  

Maybe I should just get dual voltage MIG/SMAW, and sell the old Cebora and Miller forward?
Tig is a whole nother feature set, and I don't want to compromise there.
Being rid of even two clunky old machines would make my life better.   
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250 HD, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Welding Question

Gary Lewis
Administrator
I don't know anything about the HF welders, but I'm sure you read the reviews on them.  Their stuff seems to range from really good in some cases to poor in others, but their are lots of people reviewing the stuff to help us decide.

I'd think if the HF units are good that one of them would simplify things for you.  And, you might be able to get some of the cost back by selling the other two boxes.  
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Welding Question

emunder
In reply to this post by Quarterwave
I'm with everyone else on this. If you have the ability to take a welding class I would highly recommend it. I learned to weld back in my early 20's when I worked in a fabrication shop. Gave me the opportunity to run a ton of different machines so that was pretty cool and I got to be a pretty damn good self-taught mig welder. After I left that job I enrolled in night classes at a local community college & got my certification. I learned WAY more by going to that class & became a way better welder. My instructor was old school so for the first few weeks he only allowed us to weld with an oxy bottle set up & wire. After that we went to stick welding & practiced inverted welds with 6010 root passes w/ 7018 for structural type welding. Then we went to mig & finally tig at the end. It was an awesome experience & to me a lot of fun because I like to weld.

I took a hiatus from it for a long time but when I bought my house I knew I wanted to get back into it. Think it was a holiday & I had been talking about getting a welder for a while & my girl came home with a Harbor Freight mig welder for a present. Honestly if I would have bought it for myself I would have gotten something a little nicer because I thought they were not very good machines. But I was like hey don't be an ass...she bought it for you as a gift, give it a shot. Think mine is the 185 model. First thing I can tell you is don't waste your time with the flux core wire. It spits & spatters & lays terrible beads. About the only thing I could see using it for is if you were welding outside & it was windy where you would have issues with your shielding gas. I immediately went & bought a larger spool of regular wire & went to my local welding supply store & bought a tank. When I got it home I made sure I didn't have any leaks with my lines & put a decent set of gauges on it. I'll tell you what...I've done a fair amount of welding with it up to 1/4 inch steel & it is a pretty damn decent little welder. So much so that I really have no immediate plans to get anything nicer...it just does the job.
1986 Ford F150 XLT 4X4. 300 I6 w/ 4 speed manual.
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