Thinking about buying a mig-welder...

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle Welding, Fabrication and Paintin' started by dimentio, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. dimentio

    dimentio New Member

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    Hey all. I was thinking about making a custom bike one of these days - or at least doing modding to some bikes. I have no experience with welding (only soldering), do you guys think its worth it to invest in a mig welder? theyre 520$, with tax itll be about 560. I work full time so its not like im gonna play with it very often, but in the opinion of the motorbike community, what say you?
     
  2. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    Mig is one of the easiest forms of welding to learn but it still takes practice to be proficient.

    My suggestion is to shy away from the cheap big box store brands and go for a name brand. Miller, Lincoln, Hobart comes to mind. The cheaper machines are hard to get parts for and no one will work on them if you have problems after the store warranty runs out.

    Practice, practice and more practice is required before tackling something like a bike frame where you're life might depend on your welding talents.

    Tom
     
  3. Greg58

    Greg58 Well-Known Member

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    I prefer the mig that uses cover gas over flux core wire, since there is not a build up of flux you can fill gaps or voids much easier. A bottle of argon will last a long while for home use. I have a flux core 120 volt mig and a stick welder, but neither compare to a cover gas mig welder.
     
    #3 Greg58, Feb 13, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  4. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    I concur and forgot to mention gas shielding. Flux core welding is ugly and takes more work to make a good looking weld. It's okay if you're mending fence posts or don't care how the welds look. Go with a machine that will use shielding gas by all means.
    Lease your tank from a local welding supply store. It's cheaper than buying one and refills are less expensive with a lease.

    Tom
     
  5. dimentio

    dimentio New Member

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    It would be a lincoln branded one. I was going to take out a credit card from my job to get one and just pay 100$ at a time to stay below the financing offer lol. So you say dont get a mig welder?
     
  6. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    No, we didn't say that. We're saying a MIG with gas shielding option is the way to go. Some of the cheaper machines do not have the capabilities of using gas but can only run flux core wire. Using Argon or Argon/Co2 mix gives you a cleaner weld without producing slag that must be chipped off after welding. The welding process too is cleaner without the nasty sparks associated with flux core wire.

    A welder that uses gas also requires a tank, a regulator/flow meter and connecting hose.
    That increases the price somewhat but you have a better and more versatile machine.

    Tom
     
  7. Greg58

    Greg58 Well-Known Member

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    When we say argon we are referring to cover gas in general. For steel I like 80% argon with 20% co2, 100% argon is used with aluminun. If welding aluminum you will need a puller handle added to the welder to help the wire flow through the hose to the handle without kinking the more flexable wire.
     
  8. 16v4nrbrgr

    16v4nrbrgr New Member

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    Weld penetration is very important to safety and MIG has a tendency to blob crap on top of bad surface welds that protrude. Do a lot of sample welds on pieces of the same material and thickness to be welded to get the settings and technique right for full weld bead penetration, checked by inspecting the back side of the welds.

    Grinding out welds also weakens them, especially if they are limited depth due to bad penetration already, a weakness of MIG because of its constant feed no matter what's going on at the puddle. Structural joints should never be ground down.
     
  9. Lowandslow

    Lowandslow New Member

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    Invest in a good quality welder set up to use shielding gas, then practice ,practice,practice!
    Welding paper thin bicycle tubing requires good technique. My first welder was a Hobart Handler 140.
     
  10. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    Did the same thing Demintio, got one to learn on. http://motorbicycling.com/showthread.php?t=25137

    Is so worth it! Having that capability is great and did not regret the investment for a second. My welds are still butt ugly but ya can beat em with a hammer and they hold.

    LOL, a line from that thread; "You welded what to what!?"


    Also, the folks here are great about helping out with questions. So it's not like ya have to struggle to hard to get your feet wet. (or burned)

    OH! get all the protective gear!

    The one I bought, that went down a 100 bucks! http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200332691_200332691

    Has gas as well. Not that I am suggesting it as I am a newbie my self and couldn't advise you
     
  11. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    Forgot to post this link. There are some great "how2's" all over the net but I really like this one.

    http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/ Found/find him easy to follow and has some thing on every thing I have come up with so far.


    Edit, that is funny. Even with hiker's smilies, the link works.

    I didn't know it would. Looks very cool.
     
    #11 Dan, Feb 14, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  12. MEASURE TWICE

    MEASURE TWICE Active Member

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    I have used the bevel edge to a v shape and butt against with another bevel edge v shape to have weld through and though. Then a grind to get flat I find acceptable.

    Others mentioned about how to use a drilled through hole on one piece of metal to fill in an attach flat to another in addition to edge weld together.

    Somethings can be done with tricks like this, but I may like to see what those TIGs that others got a HF do. I used a couple thousand dollar TIG machine, but just own the Hobart Auto Arc 130 run on 120 single phase. Does 1/4 inch although they say it shouldn't. Use 75 / 25 gas and like it a lot for steel.

    MT
     
  13. 16v4nrbrgr

    16v4nrbrgr New Member

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    I'm just restating standard procedure, what you'd want to do if you were building a bike for another.
     
  14. tooljunkie

    tooljunkie Member

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    i have a lincoln sp160.it performs very well,using mig mix.
    you can cheap out,but if you want quality welds you wont regret
    spending the extra.
    its a practice thing,for the most part.
    i've been reviving my stick welding skills,learned if i slow down on my passes
    the welds improve dramatically.

    cannot stress enough how important safety gear is.
    even the footwear is important,get one blob of molten metal in your boot
    and it will cause a world of hurt and suffering.
    even with the good boots,i find myself checking for good foot placement.

    when shopping for electronic helmet,compare a few,the faster they switch the longer it takes to get a headache.
     
  15. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    True dat!

    Was helping a guy weld a desk to a bulkhead on a ship. I was holding a pc of steel, the top of the desk and he was under it welding. He got some slag in his boot and about broke my leg kicking me trying to get out from under. I couldn't move with out dropping the steel on his head. When he did get out from under and got his boot off, it was ugly!
     
  16. Greg58

    Greg58 Well-Known Member

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    Don't learn the hard way like I did, back when I was young and dumb (I'm not young anymore) I was welding under a truck on a trailer hitch without glooves on. Since I am left handed guess where a blobs of slag fell, right on my ring. I probably looked stupid running around looking for water to put my hand in.
     
  17. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    MIG! LOL.
    Most MIG welders know that it's a good idea to use a pair of side cutters and to snip off that little molten ball that is sometimes left on the end of the wire before starting another bead. Just a couple of days ago I was working on a bike and snipped off that ball only to have it fall right on my ankle. It burned through my sock and into my skin before I could slap it away. Ouch! Left a nice little, perfectly round hole in my sock and me.

    Tom
     
  18. maniac57

    maniac57 Old, Fat, and still faster than you

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    If you're not welding at least a couple times a week, then a gas-shielded mig is not really needed. You can get nearly as good looking a weld with a stick welder for MUCH less cash. The stick welder is a much more economical way to get into welding for the home hobbiest. After you weld a while, you might want to worry about all the extra costs and consumables involved in MIG welders. I also agree if you DO need a MIG, a good brand-name gas shielded rig is the only way to go. Avoid china migs unless you like tinkering a LOT.
     
  19. tim turbo

    tim turbo Member

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    What are you talking about, 16v4 , the weld blobbing and whotnot? I weld with MIG all day long, and no penetration probs!If you grind out a weld, just burn it in better. Do you weld? What do you have a little stick welder?
     
  20. MEASURE TWICE

    MEASURE TWICE Active Member

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    Even before I was welding with TIG or my own MIG I bought, I got an understanding of welding at an electronics lab at school.

    There is this thing that measures characteristic curves of electronic components, a Tektronix 576 Curve Tracer.

    This guy took a small transistor T092 size and should have known he hooked it up wrong as he was not seeing on the screen as others had shown.

    There is a plastic cover that should go over the top of the place you install the transistor, but it was missing. The cover also has an interlock to keep a lower level of current allowed.

    The guy put a tooth pick in the interlock and evaded it. Then he stepped the current up high enough the plastic flew off the transistor and molten silicon and metal as a small glowing ball flew up and over his head and landed on the particle board bench I was at.

    The glowing ball smoked and sizzled around in a concentric circle for a while. As it slowed it rate of speed on the surface of the bench it melted down in about a half and inch while on fire.

    A charred desk top with the nice design was left for me to see and contemplate.

    I use a linen sort of medium weight long sleeve jacket with collar up and a leather apron doing MIG. Everything else is cotton except the leather apron. The helmet uses a AA batteries and has a audible warning if low and a flashing led. You can test it before each use by testing with a button. If the test won't work you know to replace the batteries. The test darkens the screen so it is really what I like. Safety 3rd is fun camp at Burning Man Event, but otherwise I strive to be mild mannered;)

    MT
     

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