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Picking up a new hobby I've always wanted to learn!


Knucklehead97
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Since my Jeep's back on the road and I'm slowing down building it for a bit while I am waiting on my next promotion (just applied for it) and possibly will have to relocate/purchase my own house. I decided to buy everything necessary to begin a hobby I have ALWAYS been interested in... Welding! Picked up a cheap Amazon Flux Core welder after a couple weeks of reading reviews on it and the HF one. Also picked up gloves, welding table from HF, slag hammer, ect, ect... All the bear necessities! All together I'm in it about 300$ which I'm perfectly fine with for a welder that will allow me to learn without being out a bunch of money if I either don't care for welding, or break it being myself. I would have loved to of gotten a name brand 220v mig but have nowhere inside to weld and don't have a 220v outlet. Haven't used it, just got the wire fed through it and watched some tutorials about Flux Core. But am excited to get started. This will mainly be used to tack the perches on to my 8.25 when I start building it and to fix my door hinges before I install removable 97+ doors. If anyone has any tips that'd be highly appreciated! Also had to have the ol' blue turd in the background!

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I have heard nothing but bad things about these welders and flux core. But I've never personally used one. I learned to weld on a Hobart 140. With gas.
I still have that welder and use it for body panels. But it cost about double what you're in it now.

I think you'll get discouraged by using the cheap flux core welder, but don't quit! Yoill struggle for a while. Or it might work out. can't honestly say. But if you have friends with welders, go use theirs too.

Basically, it's all in your motion and consistency. Keep a steady pace. Try every possible setting and position you can.

The #1 thing I tell my new guys at work is "don't anchor yourself to the table or work piece" if you have to make a long weld, don't put all your weight on your arm on the table to balance yourself. Touch the table the least bit you can. Leave yourself open to move freely.


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Those cheap Chicom welders have come a long ways in the last few years.  I bet it will do you well.

 

Have fun with it.  Be careful and wear the right PPE.  What did you get for a mask/helmet?  Make sure you're using the right shade, because your eyes are kinda important.  And don't burn yourself too much with arc flash, it's not good for you either.  Make sure you've got good ventilation if you're welding indoors, or get a respirator, and only weld clean metal as certain chemicals will create very nasty fumes when welded.

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This is what I got for a helmet. Due to the ratings and auto darkening feature. I plan to wear a long sleeve thick button up that I use during messy Jeep work, along with my leather apron and welding gloves. All of my welding will be done outdoors. I wish I had a shop and the means for a better welder, but this will work for now!!!

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I've got a Mastercraft flux-core welder that I got cheap. Pretty well It'll stick metal together, but I still haven't made anything approximating a good-looking weld. Supposedly it's got the ability to run gas like a mig but didn't come with any explanation on how to do so.

I managed to get the driver's door striker back onto my Jimmy with it, and it's held up for over a year now. I've also done done exhaust work. Thin metal is tough though. 

I learned to weld on a 220V Miller. Couldn't tell you which one, but it could stick 1/2" steel together in one pass. It came with a chart for how to set it up, and welding with it was pretty well working with a hot glue gun. I think I've learned more about welding with my flux-core though... or mostly I've learned that I never learned the first thing about welding. Without much guideline as to what settings to use, I've had to experiment quite a bit.

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11 hours ago, gogmorgo said:

I've got a Mastercraft flux-core welder that I got cheap. Pretty well It'll stick metal together, but I still haven't made anything approximating a good-looking weld. Supposedly it's got the ability to run gas like a mig but didn't come with any explanation on how to do so.

I managed to get the driver's door striker back onto my Jimmy with it, and it's held up for over a year now. I've also done done exhaust work. Thin metal is tough though. 

I learned to weld on a 220V Miller. Couldn't tell you which one, but it could stick 1/2" steel together in one pass. It came with a chart for how to set it up, and welding with it was pretty well working with a hot glue gun. I think I've learned more about welding with my flux-core though... or mostly I've learned that I never learned the first thing about welding. Without much guideline as to what settings to use, I've had to experiment quite a bit.

I plan to finish my exhaust using this welder as well. That'll be a great first project after practicing a bunch. And I figure if I can get decent welds from this welder, then later on when I have a real good welder I'll be able to get super good beads. I'd like to learn how to stick weld but Flux peaked my interest way more.

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Wear safety glasses and foam earplugs under your helmet and get a welder’s cap to keep sparks out of your hair. (I intigrated a fabric welding cap onto the adjustable structure for the welding helmet so it’s all in one) Once you start the habit of glasses and earplugs when the helmet is on, it will be hard to break. I’ve had sparks come into my helmet before, it happens more often than you think and you’ll want those glasses on. 

 

Also, your 4.5” angle grinder will be a best friend when prepping for welding. Having the glasses and ear plugs on at all times is just that much easier to get things done quicker. 

 

Get an old fan to blow fumes away too or wear a respirator when grinding. Contrary to popular belief, black boogers are not a good thing to have! 

 

MIG is where it’s at for small Jeep projects. Flux core wire is expensive and it’s a pain to clean the flux every time you want to strike an arc. Sheetmetal to 1/4” thick is most of the stuff you’ll find you want to do. if you need to go thicker, just run multiple passes. 

 

Have fun! 

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welding is one of those things that really truly benefit from a few hands-on lessons from an expert (and then tons and tons of practice).    feel free to sign up for a local college class.  :L:  worth every penny!   remember that the important part of the weld is invisible and so it is hard to get a feel for what if you don't yet have the experience.  and be sure to slice open your practice welds to see what's going on.  

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7 hours ago, Pete M said:

welding is one of those things that really truly benefit from a few hands-on lessons from an expert (and then tons and tons of practice).    feel free to sign up for a local college class.  :L:  worth every penny!   remember that the important part of the weld is invisible and so it is hard to get a feel for what if you don't yet have the experience.  and be sure to slice open your practice welds to see what's going on.  

I always wanted to but sadly I don't have a set schedule at work. I could be opening every day for a week and then the next week be working nights :crazy: I have a friend who works in a fab shop and said he would show me a thing or two when we both are off. My angle grinder has been my best friend in a lot of situations. Mostly situations where it was my last ditch effort to make something fit, but still applicable :))

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On 8/13/2018 at 12:48 PM, 500 MJ said:

Wear safety glasses and foam earplugs under your helmet and get a welder’s cap to keep sparks out of your hair. (I intigrated a fabric welding cap onto the adjustable structure for the welding helmet so it’s all in one) Once you start the habit of glasses and earplugs when the helmet is on, it will be hard to break. I’ve had sparks come into my helmet before, it happens more often than you think and you’ll want those glasses on. 

 

 

This is the first time I have ever encountered a recommendation to wear ear plugs when welding. What's the reason for that? What kind of plugs -- are the cheap foam rubber ones I use under my shooting earmuffs adequate>

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1 hour ago, Eagle said:

 

This is the first time I have ever encountered a recommendation to wear ear plugs when welding. What's the reason for that? What kind of plugs -- are the cheap foam rubber ones I use under my shooting earmuffs adequate>

 

It's to keep sparks out of your ears more than anything, although a wirefeed welder is actually quite loud and you will notice it hurting your ears if you weld for a long time.

 

I don't use plugs but probably should...  And I should have a proper respirator given the amount of welding I will often do at one time.

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Another cheap and easy thing to do is to get yourself a pair of drug store reading glasses.   I thought my welding was starting to go down hill.   Three bucks for a pair of 3x's glasses and I'm now back on track.

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as common as it is, welding is actually quite a dangerous hobby.  burning hot things fly everywhere.  the light is both blinding and (sun) burning.  use all the protection, protect all the soft spots.  :L:   no matter how many times you see someone welding in shorts and sandals on the internet, don't take any shortcuts yourself.  :D   

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        You're getting a lot of good advice. Having every thing VERY clean is quite important. Pay attention to duty cycle; tripping the temp breaker too much is not good for the welder. I did it to my first unit and I couldn't use higher settings. Breaker would trip almost instantly.

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1 hour ago, Pete M said:

as common as it is, welding is actually quite a dangerous hobby.  burning hot things fly everywhere.  the light is both blinding and (sun) burning.  use all the protection, protect all the soft spots.  :L:   no matter how many times you see someone welding in shorts and sandals on the internet, don't take any shortcuts yourself.  :D   

 

Serious question, is it safe to weld inside an attached garage?  Or do you guys have a separate shed out back for flinging sparks?

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12 minutes ago, DesertRat1991 said:

 

Serious question, is it safe to weld inside an attached garage?  Or do you guys have a separate shed out back for flinging sparks?

 

Yes, but you should always keep it clean and plan out your work to minimize risk.  Nothing on the floor, no rags lying around, no open solvents, flammable materials moved away or secured in cabinets (that includes things like a cardboard box with parts in it), etc.  Get a welding blanket or 5 and use them to help contain/direct any sparks or slag.  Always clean up after welding, ventilate the garage so the fumes don't enter the house, and wait at least a half hour to make sure nothing is smouldering before leaving.  Have a real fire extinguisher on hand, or a couple.

 

When I built my shop I did a concrete pony wall around the perimeter of it, as it greatly reduces the chance of slag, sparks, hot metal, etc from running under the edge of the wall and getting into the framing.  I also put everything in the shop on casters so I can move things around to sweep under them, so I don't have a buildup of sawdust or other flammable materials on the floor.

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About 15yrs ago we had a welding related accident at work. The kid that was suppose to be doing the fab work was a moron!
He had been doing allot of small jobs all evening, and had cutting slag all over the floor, accompanied by drops from making small cuts. He was busy welding a vertical filler of about 1\2in, and since he sucked at it, there was hot weld dropping off into the floor. The previous job he did had resulted in a half empty can of spray paint that he left on the welding table. As he was welding, he knocked the can off the table, it landed on a sharp piece of slag that punctured the can, and the dripping weld ignited the paint. It shook the entire building, and have him 3rd degree burns to everything that was exposed.

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Safety is definitely first for me cause I can't play around with my eyes or skin. Always going to be welding away from fluids and other flammable stuff, and always will have my mask on before I start. I have a few friends that have tried tac welding by looking between their fingers and burnt their eyes...

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  • 8 months later...
On 8/16/2018 at 8:46 AM, Eagle said:

 

This is the first time I have ever encountered a recommendation to wear ear plugs when welding. What's the reason for that? What kind of plugs -- are the cheap foam rubber ones I use under my shooting earmuffs adequate>

The first time you get a nice red hot ball of spatter sizzling it’s way through your eardrum you’ll know why to use ear plugs and a welding hat. 

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