Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I have seen a lot of different Welders and I am not sure which one to look into. Is there any specific one? And what are the differences of them all?

Edited by Conner Michaux
Link to post
Share on other sites

Assuming you have no experience in welding based on your question.....many people start using wire feed welders, MIG or flux core wire, such as the Lincoln Weld Pak series most big box stores carry. A lot depends on what you want to do with a welder; precision welds are usually done with TIG, other things with stick or MIG. Acetylene welding is still useful as well. What are your goals?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Steve.  The basics are:

Oxy-acetylene: uses tanks of gas and a torch with filler rod.  Advantages: you can cut, weld, and braze steel. Disadvantages: expensive, dangerous, and difficult to learn.  Can't do stainless or aluminum well.

Stick or shielded metal arc weld (smaw): uses a transformer, either ac or dc, and flux coated rods.  Advantages: not too expensive, different rods can do different things, relatively easy to learn. Disadvantages: rods can be expensive, can't do stainless or aluminum. Must have 240 volt service. Leaves a layer of slag that must be chipped off.

Wire feed: can be flux core wire or inert gas shielded (MIG). By far the easiest to learn, you can get 110-volt models. MIG can do stainless and aluminum. Disadvantages: flux core is messy, and with either the wire can get rusty and fail to feed. MIG requires shielding gas, which can get expensive.

TIG (tungsten inert gas): the cleanest, best method for most steel welding. Usesa handheld electrode and filler rod. You can match the rod to the material for an invisible joint. Disadvantages: most expensive, hardest to learn.

Solid state diffusion bonding, aka forge welding: the only way to make damascus or pattern-welded steel.  Requires a forge and skills not found in other methods.

For what you ask, some kind of wire feed welder is the usual choice, but any other method except forge welding can work fine.  A good name brand 110 volt model like Lincoln or Miller will do this for you, but you can outgrow it quickly.  Avoid off-brands and buy from a welding supply store, they offer support the bigbox stores do not.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Welding by any method is not like using a hot glue gun. Any method is "skilled". As it relates to knifemaking, beyond forge welding it is sort of "optional" depending on method. It is probably best to firmly, specifically, decide "Why?" And "What?" you need to weld and why that will help you make a knife to decide what type of equipment you need and you should first find someone to teach you a bit, hands on.

If you are considering it for building a forge there are ways around that, flanges bolts etc. Financially, by the time you get the equipment, screw up a few things climbing the learning curve, use wire, sticks, and/or gas, paying a welder to do it, or buying a forge might look like it would have been a good idea

Edited by Vern Wimmer
Simian digits
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just dont buy a harbor freight welder. They are junk...at least the ones i have used kinda spitted and sputtered and didn't have a smooth arc like the lincoln and miller welders i have used. Hell my 1950's century welder will run circles around a harbor freight welder. Also when the wire feeder quit working on my harbor freight flux core welder i called the number in the manual for parts and guess what...they dont supply that part.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do still have a little stick welder from harbor freight that i only use on thinner sheet metal that is still going strong but there is no mechanical parts to break.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love my AHP AlphaTIG 200. Fairly inexpensive ($730 shipped), inverter, TIG/stick, AC/DC (will do steel and aluminum both, as well as various brazing functions), dual voltage (110/240), high frequency start (super nice), 200mhz pulse, and welds like a beast from 10 amps to 200 amps. Oh, and a 5yr warranty for another $30 through Amazon

I have an old 110v Blue Point MIG I'm looking to replace, and the Everlast (parent company to AHP) PowerMIG 200 is looking really nice. It's dual voltage also (really nice feature), MIG/stick, and has a host of other useful functions. Its running about the same $730 shipped...5yr warranty included. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Stick or shielded metal arc weld (smaw): uses a transformer, either ac or dc, and flux coated rods.  Advantages: not too expensive, different rods can do different things, relatively easy to learn. Disadvantages: rods can be expensive, can't do stainless or aluminum. Must have 240 volt service. Leaves a layer of slag that must be chipped off.


I am so sorry Alan, I really don't want to be the wiseass :(. But welding stainless is no problem with smaw/electrode welders :). Aluminium can also be welded with for example meltolit electrodes. But I don't think it's very common. Never x-rayed any smaw joints in aluminium.

Electrode welders are often the jack-of-all-trades. Almost anything can be stick welded, but depending on what you are doing, quite a large amount of skill might be needed. For example, welding 44,5x2mm tubing with electrodes require quite a lot of delicate heat control if you want the joint to pass X-ray.

A general tip when buying welding machines. It is better to buy an older/used professional machine than buy a new one for the same price. At least at our side of the puddle, there is a huge difference between cheap welding machines and "real" ones.

 

//Daniel

Edited by DanielQ
Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps I should have said I can't do stainless or aluminum with a stick welder...:lol:  I have an elderly 220V AC stick machine and an oxy-acetylene setup.  Electric welding is not my strong area, I freely admit that.  I've been told if I had a stick machine that could do DC reverse polarity it would be nice.  This from a friend who is a weld inspector, the same one who told me "Longmire, for an archaeologist you're a really bad weldor." ;)

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

Perhaps I should have said I can't do stainless or aluminum with a stick welder...:lol:  I have an elderly 220V AC stick machine and an oxy-acetylene setup.  Electric welding is not my strong area, I freely admit that.  I've been told if I had a stick machine that could do DC reverse polarity it would be nice.  This from a friend who is a weld inspector, the same one who told me "Longmire, for an archaeologist you're a really bad weldor." ;)

Welding school?  I checked and you have several in your area.  One night a week for six weeks won't make you a pro, but will get you going well enough to take off the "Really bad"

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

That was ten years or more ago, I have since graduated to merely not great. :D

Oh, then you're like me.  I did the apprentice training program, but then went sailing.  It was almost five years before I picked up a welder, all my hard earn skills were gone.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had a miller buz box/stick welder since I was a bout 18 (51 now). I inherited a mig/flux wire deal from my dad when he passed.

I didnt know I could mig until I used my brother in laws mig with argon. Long story short if you decide to go mig I recommend going with the argon. Not impressed with the flux wire at all =/

Would love to get a tig someday.....

Link to post
Share on other sites

What part of Virginia are you in conner? 

21 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

I agree with Steve.  The basics are:

Oxy-acetylene: uses tanks of gas and a torch with filler rod.  Advantages: you can cut, weld, and braze steel. Disadvantages: expensive, dangerous, and difficult to learn.  Can't do stainless or aluminum well.

Stick or shielded metal arc weld (smaw): uses a transformer, either ac or dc, and flux coated rods.  Advantages: not too expensive, different rods can do different things, relatively easy to learn. Disadvantages: rods can be expensive, can't do stainless or aluminum. Must have 240 volt service. Leaves a layer of slag that must be chipped off.

Wire feed: can be flux core wire or inert gas shielded (MIG). By far the easiest to learn, you can get 110-volt models. MIG can do stainless and aluminum. Disadvantages: flux core is messy, and with either the wire can get rusty and fail to feed. MIG requires shielding gas, which can get expensive.

TIG (tungsten inert gas): the cleanest, best method for most steel welding. Usesa handheld electrode and filler rod. You can match the rod to the material for an invisible joint. Disadvantages: most expensive, hardest to learn.

Solid state diffusion bonding, aka forge welding: the only way to make damascus or pattern-welded steel.  Requires a forge and skills not found in other methods.

For what you ask, some kind of wire feed welder is the usual choice, but any other method except forge welding can work fine.  A good name brand 110 volt model like Lincoln or Miller will do this for you, but you can outgrow it quickly.  Avoid off-brands and buy from a welding supply store, they offer support the bigbox stores do not.

Alan, just wanted to add that you can weld outdoors in the wind with SMAW (sheilded metal arch welding) such as stick or flux core. Chipping slag is very easy if you set your machine properly. In fact, my old instructor was famous for running beads that the slag would peel up as it cooled and he would just brush it away with his glove.

Not sure I would call TIG "the best" (at least on mild with no intentions of heat treatment). All processes done properly should be stronger than the surrounding area. As always, there are tradeoffs. 

Stick welding allows you to weld on dirty metal in windy conditions, and allows more versatility with electrode selection. But, you can't run a continuous bead (wich means you must master restarts), electrodes can get pricey, and you can't weld very thin sheet. 

MIG welding is versital depending on gas, and wire composition. If you run spray transfer with 100% argon you can weld all positions with maximum penetration on anything you'll likely need to weld. However, 100% argon is expensive, and most prefer a high end short circut transfer with 75/25% argon to CO2 mix which can accomplish the same on thinner material. 

Tig requirs skill, and equiptment, lots of training or natural talent, but is beneficial due to the ability to use the same filler material as the base metal. 

While I would like to continue, I gotta go :-(

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...