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Thread: Welding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA


    Reading the tractor forums is leading me to believe I need to learn how to weld or I risk flunking Bubba101 as a tractor owner.

    In the past, I tried a ROP class and managed a animal gate with gas welding. Sticks always managed to get stuck. Later on I bought a wire welder but it went to my brother (the metal worker) for helping me move. He is willing to weld for me but he is 10 hours away.

    The forums say wire welding is sufficient and easy to learn. Some of you weld. What do you think of this?

    I can get it for $379 as a member of that forum. Paid lots more for the Miller back in the day. Any other machines you'd care to recommend? Seems I remember a MIG vs. TIG conversation a while ago. Stu?

    Also, any tutorials so I can get an idea of the fine mess I am about to get myself into.

    And thoughts on safety items? What other accessories? Knowing the tool itself is only the tip of the iceberg.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    Stu's the man on the welding front, but what I'll say is that using the appropriate wire/gas combo made a heck of a difference.

    I picked up a lincoln 180 wire feed welder, and for my hobbiest needs, it does great but it requires 220 volts.

    I'll step back and let the experts take over now.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Humid Gulf Coast
    Outsource it.

    1 welder will not do everything, Mig Tig Gas, Arc...

    Look in the Yellow pages vs online for a metal shop near you.

    There should be one within 1 hours drive.

    The quality of the weld has to do with a lot of things.

    Avoid places that have illegal alians doing the welding if you care about quality.

    Look for places that sell sheet steel, and plate steel.

    With a good Mechanical drawing type pencil drawing many will fabricate for you at very reasonable prices--CASH accross the palm vs charge or invoice.

    That way you know the welds will be solid and hopefully they are using GOOD wire.

    Ever use an Angle Grinder? Know how to use it properly to smooth out a wled bead? Do you know a good bead from a bad bead? etc...

    Experiance is very low cost to buy from these guys, and their stuff is more likley to not rust out, crack apart, or just plain fail.

    You could learn it, but why??????? Its pretty cheap to have it done.

    I could post the How to use an angle grinder correctly video, but the man swears like a sailor on shore leave and this is a family forum so I wont.

    just my 2 cents....
    Last edited by Scott R Smith; 05-01-2014 at 05:15 AM.
    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Sort of leaning towards being with Scott.

    I have a little MIG and while its a great little machine I'm not sure it really would do a lot of good on most tractor repair because it doesn't really have the penetration needed for anything of size and doesn't lay down enough (or the right type of) material for say - surfacing a bucket edge or similar. Haven't really done much TIG, but it seemed harder than stick when I tried it once (although I wasn't no great shakes at stick even when it hadn't been 20 years). If you're bent on it personally I'd shoot for a decent stick welder for most tractor work, excepting maybe sheet metal work on the body (a mig would definitely be easier there). If you do get a welder the auto darkening helmets are the great gift to amateur welders, I might even have stuck with stick welding if we'd had one of those back when (instead of just the rod being stuck all the time ). If you're doing your own fixes you'll likely soon end up also wanting a torch.. and a cutoff saw and .. well the list gets longish

    You might see if the local college has a welding course and see if you can get into that. Having some more hands on with gas and stick would likely be pretty useful.

    I've also said before that while I don't have a problem doing small projects with my (lack of) welding skill, I'd be awfully hesitant to do anything where life and limb mattered without more practice and instruction.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Last quote for welding here was $90 per hour plus materials. And he was a tractor guy. You can see why I am looking into it.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
    I bought the Everlast 160 tig. All I needed was a helmet, Argon gas + tank ($$) . Arc has no problem heating even 1" thick rod that I welded. Tig to me is like the acetylene welding from high school days, but with an electric arc to melt the metal.
    hobby woodworking since 1972

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Humid Gulf Coast
    Still, I'd pay the 90 and sit inthe shade sipping a nice cool Iced tea.

    You will have more than that wrapped up in a welder, protective eqpt, clamps, (Special Boots) special Elecrical outlet.

    You can get cheap rigs at Harbor frieght, but the innards are not going to give a long serivce life.

    Look at it this way, Brain surgeon, $20 for the cut with an Exacto Kniife, $20,000 for knowing where to cut.

    Look around, take the part to a weld shop, ask for a price on the repair vs time.

    Or maybe trade soemthing for the repair, such as using the tractor to redo the guys front lawn????

    A pair of welding boots (to keep the molten hot metal from burning a hole through your foot) will run about $200.

    Still its easier and cheaper to pay the $90 an hour<--(I'd get a solid dollar bid for the job though)

    Cash is king and should get you a better deal. Maybe ask your husband to go down and ask the price, they might be giving the ladies night special (higher priced).
    Last edited by Scott R Smith; 05-01-2014 at 07:21 AM.
    It's kind of fun to do the impossible

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    I'm going to disagree with Scott on some things and agree on others.

    If you want a welder so you can be a weldor and fix/make things from steel, then go for it, but for somethings that are very mission critical on your tractor, get them fixed by a professional welder.

    The first thing you should do is learn something more about welding, look around I'm sure there is a night course that you can take that will give you the basics, and then you will be able to understand the difference between the four main electric methods.

    Here are my impressions of the various kinds of welding and what I think are good and bad points about them

    SMAW Shielded Metal Arc Welding
    Stick welding You can, with the right rods and an AC/DC machine weld a LOT of different metals, but it takes real skill and know how, plus you have to keep those rods in good shape, which usually means a rod oven that is on a certain temp 24/7, not exactly for the home hobbyist. That is why most stick welding done by hobbyists or farmers is on metal, using basic rods like the 6010 or 6011 they work well on most anything, have good penetration and don't mind a dirty surface. The 7018 is good too, and you can make much nicer looking welds, but they need a clean surface and don't penetrate as well as the 6010/6011. Stick welding can weld through paint and rust and deal with wind outside. Really it is not hard to learn stick welding, but to become very good at it takes a steady hand and a lot of practice. Upsides are that you can weld thicker material with a fairly basic unit, 220V for sure but most homeowners have that on hand, even if you have to wire in a new 220V outlet. Also a good basic unit can be had used for very little money, older units might be a bit on the heavy side, but they are usually well made and will run for many more years. Down side, they are messy to run, chipping the slag, and they are not easy to use on thin material. When you finish the weld you have to chip the slag off the weld, this is the stuff on the welding rod that vaporized during the welding creating the gas cover for the welding pool and then protects the hot metal from contamination as it cools, this is messy but for outdoors welding on rusty painted metal it works rather well, and if you are out fixing a tractor in a yard, the mess is not a concern.

    FCAW Flux Core Arc Welding
    MIG with flux core wire and no gas bottle, in many ways this is like stick welding with a stick that never gets shorter as you use it. Basically there are the 110V and the 220V units, many are dual voltage, so you can weld 110V at almost any regular outlet, all be it not the thicker materials. The main difference is the thickness of the steel the 220V unit can weld over the 110V units. IMHO don't buy the 110V unit, unless all you wanted to do was restore a car body, even then I'd suggest GMAW unit even if it is 110V, as it is cleaner, no slag to get rid of. As Brent will tell you, the cheap 110V units are expensive, as they just don't work very well and you either give up, which is a waste of your money as you sell the unit for cheap, or it takes up space in your garage, or you still want to weld, so you end up buying a good quality unit that you should have bought to start with. This holds true for almost any tool, as I'm sure most of us are painfully aware of. Good points, machines are usually less expensive, this is fairly easy to learn how to weld and you can weld in almost any place that has a 110V outlet. Bad points are you are limited to steel and fairly thin steel, but they work and fill a need for many hobbyist.

    GMAW Gas Metal Arc Welding
    MIG with solid wire and a gas bottle. With a 220V unit and the right wire you can weld from very thin steel 24 gauge to 5/16" on a single pass. Machines like the Hobart Handler 190 are great, they also can weld stainless, with a different gas bottle and wire, and Aluminum, also a different gas bottle, wire and a spool gun, but there many package deals that the spool gun comes with. I think Brent got a Hobart....? By shutting off the gas, and changing the polarity of the welder (5 min job) as well as getting a spool of Flux Core wire you can also FCAW with this welder, which means you can weld outside. Some of them are also dual voltage you you can set it up to run on 110V as well, which means you can still weld even if you don't have access to 220V power, say at a friend's house or something. Really if I had to had to suggest one machine for someone beginning to weld I'd say a 220V GMAW (MIG) welder with the gas bottle, you can do a LOT with one of these welders, and if you want to sell it at some point you will get good money for it, because it is a very capable machine.

    GTAW Gas Tungsten Arc Welding
    TIG Welding. Like Bryan said it is very much like gas welding, without the fumes! Dependent on your machine you can weld anything from razor blades to fairly thick steel. The TIG welder does take the most time to learn and it is certainly a learning curve, but with an AC/DC machine you can weld just about any metal that conducts electricity, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, brass, copper, bronze, cast iron and I'm sure there are some I've not mentioned. The good machines are not cheap, but they are worth it, the arc is very stable and easier to use. Good points, clean, quiet, not such heavy fumes, bad points, steep learning curve, slow, not cheap.

    If I could only own one welder it would be a TIG, as most TIG welding machines can also be set up to run SMAW or Stick welding too, that being said, the TIG is slow, if I have a bunch of basic easy welds to do, the MIG, GMAW will be my go too machine.

    I hope that gives you some more info, and clears things up.

    I'd not buy an offshore machine, lots of guys do, but I've heard some real horror stories about them, I did a LOT of research on the subject and I would not buy one of those machines, I'd look for a good used MIG welder with a gas bottle, or step up and buy a good new machine, Hobart and Miller are the top two IMHO as well as Lincoln.

    I really think you should save your money and go take a lesson at a night school tech college of some sort, then make a decision of what works for you.

    PS don't skimp on the helmet and gloves when you get around to buying them, good fitting gloves make the whole thing much easier to do and a good helmet is worth the money.

    I like Chucke2009's videos, very entertaining and lots of good info.


    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Stu said it very well. I would change the 6010 rods for 6013. 6010 is more for pipeline welding, and 6013 is a good general purpose rod.
    "You got to learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself". (Author unknown)

    "Time flies like..... an arrow,,,Fruit flies like..... a banana." Groucho Marx

    Ah,,,to live in Paradise!

    Registered voting member

    Fighting for all I am worth, and praying every day.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Sound advice so far, I have come to the conclusion I am going with what Stu suggested re Migs and also want a dual voltage unit. Only thing stopping me at present is this house we in. But in the next few weeks if i get the hookup sorted i am planning then that obstacle is off the cards.

    However I think Scott has a very good point. I have welding i need done right now for business purposes where its got to be good and consistent and result needs to be accurate frame. I am outsourcing this. Would do the same for something i would be planning to use to hold stuff on the back of a tractor.

    But as a hobby i want to be able to weld to make things i want to make when i want. Period. I have two and soon to be more disc brake rotors in my garage that have been waiting wont say who for to get welded to some pipe i have to make my own outfeed roller stand. Local stuff available is tai chi junk and i dont want to fight it tipping over. For this my own buddgie poo welding ground down will be more than adequate. In a case like this i dont wish to impose on a local shop as i understand the economics of a shop and dont want charity from a small business that cannot afford to be doing it.

    I do wish we had a welding forum. I go back to Darrens words about trusting the people you have come to know for advice. One forum is all i can spare time for. Even mediocre advice here is better than internet wild cards.

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