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Discussion Starter #1
I've heard of MIG, TIGG and ARC, but don't know what they mean but, mainly, I have seen small welders on sale here in hardware stores.

These are plug in the wall, ie no utising a gas supply I've seen connected to welders in garages (not that I know what gas this is).

If I were to buy one of these mains run welders how good or bad would it be?

Would I be restricted to steel?

What should I look for in the specs/features of said welder?

Finally, how hard is it to learn/refine?
 

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Stone Crazy
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MIG and TIG can do stainless,ally and mild steel, arc you are restricted too steel although i have welded cast iron but would never do it for a stressed item, I have ever used MIG or TIG cause i only worked on a farm and we had an arc welder, arc is good for welding thicker steel and the cheapest option, for bodywork etc the best bet is MIG forthe average user i belelive, there are now some resonably priced ARC/Tig inverters around that are much lighter than the traditional air/oilcooled arc welders, overall i would say go for a mig, I am told it is easy to use once you know how. you can get gasless mig welders that do not use the CO2 bottles as well they have a flux built into the wire,now i will leave it too someone that knows more now
Merv
 

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luddite
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arc welder can do stainles too, you just have to buy the correct welding rods.

Arc welding is easy to do... but not so easy to do well!

I only arc weld cos I just play with big lums of steel + a little stainless but I have also been told that mig is the way to go.
 

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Elefant rider
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am attending a welding course (for women) this weekend.... can tell you afterwards if it was easy to learn and if the skills are usable....

(as for me: want to use it to make bashplate and side panels for the PD06 project...and whatever else needs welding)
 

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Serial Scenic Router
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'A grinder and a pot of paint, will make the welder you aint!' :D:D

Simple but not, kind of :rolleyes:

Have a play, read a book, and do a nightschool or local tech college course for the simple stuff. :thumb: good luck
 

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XRV750 RD04
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I got one of those arc welders from aldi a while back when they were on sale. Its so far sat in the box in the corner of the room unused, but I'll get around to learning one of these days (for the price it was too cheap to pass up even if it only turns out to be a toy or used for fixing chair legs or something).

From what I can gather, with arc/rod welders like this, they're more useful for welding thicker material and will tend to blow holes in thin stuff like pipe etc. (unless you're very good with them, and they're meant to be more difficult to learn to use well than mig and tig, particularly the cheaper ones).

I bookmarked this site when I was reading about it which seemed quite good:

MIG Welding - The DIY Guide

Seems to be lots of activity in the forum there with professional welders talking to each other, and giving advice to learners (including reviews of various welders etc.).

There are a few videos on youtube too.

Looks like lots of fun, and one of those things that looks easy, but probably isn't by a long shot.
 

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Do you have any cheese?
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Used to work in a garage when I was younger, one of me first jobs.

Welding is quite a tricky little art to master, lots of fizzing and popping and a few holes, it's all about the wrist motion and speed, get that right and you'll be laughing!

Mig is best for starters as it is a fair mistress. Arc and Tig can be a real B***H!

:thumbup:
 

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Welding is easy it just needs practice.
ARC welding uses a stick that is covered in a flux which protects the weld from oxidising while molten.
MIG - Metal Inert Gas uses a continuous feed of wire protected by an inert gas like ARGON and CO2.
TIG - Tungsten Inert Gas uses a tungsten electrode that is shielded by the Same ARGON and CO2, it is more like gas welding, as it needs a separate rod for filling.
The easiest for the beginner is MIG as it is almost automatic you just point and shoot.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Firstly, thanks for all the advice.

I must confess that if I went for a welder it would probably have to be ARC simply because I don't have a lot of room and I'm a bit wary of having all these gas cannisters around.... seems like hassle... Once I have a unit, I just want plug'n'play...

what are you wanting to weld together?
simple question but very important.
As for what I want to weld, well mostly it has been lengths of 5 x 30mm steel flat bar, to make brackets, holders, supports etc for my TA and my Ural.

However, if I get a welder, I'll probably start expanding, putting a strip into a second tank for more range etc, etc.....
 

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Stone Crazy
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However, if I get a welder, I'll probably start expanding, putting a strip into a second tank for more range etc, etc.....
Now that is a bit ambitious for a begginer i reckon, petrol escapes through the slightest hole, expanding your tank maybe a bigger project than you think, metal tends too distort with the heat of welding, and things tend to take a very different shape as you go, but best of luck with it
Merv
 

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As a maintenance engineer of some 40 years now, I have to say that most of the DIY welders ,will put you off. A decent wire feed mechanism on a mig set will cost £200 min,and without a good wire feed your welds will be messy and unreliable. As has been stated by other chaps on here ,MIG is the easiest and probably best for anything below 3mm thick.
I use a miller inverter ,which when used for "stick welding" gives a smooth d.c. current, but after years of welding I would struggle to produce a decent weld on, for example , a bike exhaust pipe, .
Go get some lessons ,before buying anything,use the decent welding gear that colleges usually have,and learn about weld preperation,and the changes that occur around the weld after welding so that you will have confidence in your welds.
Remember that welding is a skill that takes time, I am still learning.
Cheers
Lee
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Now that is a bit ambitious for a begginer i reckon, petrol escapes through the slightest hole, expanding your tank maybe a bigger project than you think, metal tends too distort with the heat of welding, and things tend to take a very different shape as you go, but best of luck with it
Merv

I should clarify. That sentence should have read:

"I'll probably start expanding (ie trying new stuff), for example: putting a strip into a second tank for more" I'm optimistic, but not that optimistic!!

Yes, I'd like expand my tank, (or buy a Chang Jiang unit), but I could live with someone else doing that....
 
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We do a lot of mig (use it general purpose) but we have a nice Kempii which does a gorgeous arc weld for large items (though we do have an old oil cooled oxford for really big welds)

The Kempii though also does TIG and is a must for welding anything thin or anything that you want to do finished welds on.

If you do go for mig then you have the choice of gas or gasless, if running gas then it can work out expensive but you get a lot better finish than on gasless wire.. but it you;re grinding the welds down afterwards then it doesn;t really matter.

Oh and if you want to do aluminium then you'll need a decent amperage AC welder (I don't mean one that plugs into the AC but one that give a HF AC voltage at the weld) and expect to pay 300+ for a reasonable 2nd hand AC welder..
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If you do go for mig then you have the choice of gas or gasless, if running gas then it can work out expensive but you get a lot better finish than on gasless wire.. but it you;re grinding the welds down afterwards then it doesn;t really matter.

Oh and if you want to do aluminium then you'll need a decent amperage AC welder (I don't mean one that plugs into the AC but one that give a HF AC voltage at the weld) and expect to pay 300+ for a reasonable 2nd hand AC welder..

300 quid there is going to be more, I think....

Ironically, aluminium would be a great metal to be able to work with...

As for gas/gasless: I tend to tidy the welds with an sanding disc.

So perhaps gasless MIG may be OK.

Anyone know the Estonian for MIG? ;)
 

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Errrr...... I would say not very if you want to do "decent" welds.

you have to weigh it up, the investment cost, time, ability, against taking it to someone who uses it regular, there really isn't a substitute for experience. Usually some one knows - " a man who can"

as said before - it takes alot of practice on scrap material,
and a course is useful for the technicalities of theory and preparation.

a couple of things, if you get into arc welding, it does have advantages of being able to access very fiddly areas - I have welded very difficult items in situ by carefully bending the rod into various "coat hanger" shapes, the hard part is being able to buy the right thickness rod for the job, and the right grade rod of which there are gazillions out there.

One thing common to arc and mig is they don't like damp, rods I keep in the kitchen draw, and if the wire spool for the mig gets corrosion spots on it, it don't work well, so take that off & keep it indoors too! In fact. keep the bike in there too!:D

If you get MIG, CO2 gas is OK, but most body shops use a gas mix, argoshield or some other mix which is not as "cool" as co2.

for fine work, although difficult to get hold of now with all the regs is the Oxy / acete gas torch, very tricky to master, (once you can control your nervous reaction to bangs!!), silver solder is the easy way out! can use it for brazing (anyone remember that?)


Not too practical because of size, but still has a place today, mainly for intense localised heating to free up seized items, and as a last resort - connect the burning head! (Yes! wield the gas axe!:D)

just be sure that pannier frame, rear rack, or what ever will be on the bike at the end of your trip aswell as the beginning!
 

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When I had to weld up my exhausts I used Oxy Acetylene to weld them.
To make small items like frames ETC, I would use gas as it is easier for me.
 

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Kymmy accepts no responsibility for this blondes c
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For mucking around on 3mm plus mild steel buy a cheap arc, max outlay £100

For mucking around on under 3mm mild steel you need mig, cheap migs can be a problem as the wire feeds are ... well crap, you'll need to replace the liner, beef up the wire feed roller and so much more.

Personally i'd say avoid a gas-less mig, its nearly impossible to get a decent weld, it takes longer to clean up and its twice as hard to use.

Gas migs can be expensive, the diy bottles are not cheap but if you only use the mig every now and then they DO work out cheaper than a rental bottle... roughly use it for 4 hours or less per month and disposables are much cheaper. (rental contracts are about £15 per month and £50 per bottle!).

whilst on the subject... co2 or 'bar gas' the weld quality is very poor and it makes a mess avoid it it you want quality work.

A decent gas mig is now £200 plus, budget ones are have that but you spend the extra trying to get it to work... also the gas valves leak and let your expensive gas get away!!

Top for the diy'er is tig, its said you can weld tin foil with tig as its that controllable.... suited to thinner metals (mild steel and stainless), requires a bit of practice to get right but the quality and strength is second to none.

tig come these days in two forms, the old coil type (big, bulky but reliable) and inverter (expensive but small light and run on much lower amps). there are bargains out there for old 'old style' units which can be found for under £100 but it will need an HD power feed (your 13amp feed is not enough, ours can trip a 20amp breaker!), cheap inverter units are a problem ... ebay is littered with crapped out new ones for a reason, a good one will be £500+

Welding ally is whole different ball game and is not cost effective for the diy'er, I also dont recommend Oxy.

At the end of the day for most people getting a job done is these days just a cheap and your getting it done right, we looked for ages at buying a cnc plasma set up but after doing a deal with an engineering company they actually supply the steel/ally and cut it for less than it would have cost us to buy the machine!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks all.

Basically it's a toss between the Arc and Mig.....

Jenna:
I agree on the ally weld front. I've found someone locally who'llweld pretty cheap to the point that a custom made 4mm ally bashplate to replace the TA600 plastic original could come to about £70!!!
 

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Thanks all.

Basically it's a toss between the Arc and Mig.....

Jenna:
I agree on the ally weld front. I've found someone locally who'llweld pretty cheap to the point that a custom made 4mm ally bashplate to replace the TA600 plastic original could come to about £70!!!

tell me more about this bash plate :D

Sorry late to this one.. again..

I was taught to weld as an apprentice.. But did not go down the coded welder route.. We all just did a common first year in our apprenticeship before going into our differing engineering disciplines, so I ‘thought’ I could stick. & Gas weld.. I decided to make some simple steel railings for the house a few years ago.. (20mm box section with 3mm infill), so I bought a cheap stick (coated welding rods ) welder and set about this simple task…… made a complete mess of it.. Found out there was a beginners welding course at the local school so condescended to go ….sorted

What I had forgot is that welding is the last part of the fabrication process.. You need to ensure you have prepared and jigged and set up and tacked what you intend to weld.. And only then do you strike an arc… I had also forgotten that as an apprentice I had labelled a few folk as neeps as they could not grasp the subtleties of the maths needed for instrumentation and power systems.. But could weld like me ….

Welding is not a skill… I met one of the neeps a year later, we were third year apprentices then, I had been on various course and plants and was very skilled.. He had ‘just welded’ I had to sort something on the plant and the simple welder was below me on the ‘unit’ he was welding on to a pressured line doing a HOT hot tap…

Welding is an art… ALL the work he had done was checked and checked . He was a perfectionist … and as a coded welder is only as good as his last weld qualification.. Shame doctors et al don’t go down the same route…

Bottom line for us mortals.. If we want to stick something together.. Use stick J

You want a good job.. Get an artist to do it..

Or fill it fill it grind it out and paint it
 
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