Welding what do you use? Recommend?

Norman

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This might be fun. Post what you like and use. Let not make this into a whizzing match on which machine is better, if this turns into a whizzing match I will delete you post.. I'll say my welders are all cheap but work for me.
This is more for being able to find out what works for you. Info on the least expensive welder that works good.
Places where you get good deals on supplies.
Places where you get accessory's that many might not know about etc. Maybe even how to soup up a cheap welder to make it do what you want it to do. I've found some welding forums that tell how to soup up the Harbor Freight wire feed welders in case you have one already. Check this out. http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=33848

I use an oxygen/ acetylene torch mostly. I have a buzz box ac welder hardly ever use it. I just bought a cheap
flux core wire feed welder Century 80 GL. Couldn't pass it up looked at a lot of other welders
but this was a deal.
This thing works right out of the box better than I thought it would. I'm learning how to weld thin metal with it sheet metal is tough to do still learning and might need to do some changes to make it work right
Here's some cheap tips if found searching on the web.
to keep the tip clean from splatters use Pam cooking spray on the tip also supposed to work on keeping the metal splatters from sticking to the welded area. I have not tried this the old lady would get up set if I stole here kitchen stuff.
I have tried using vaseline on the tip makes the splatters very easy to wipe off, prevents it from sticking to the tip just dip the tip in the vaseline and go to welding.
All I've used so far is the Lincoln flux cored wire with this welder 0.035 dia. I have to use the flux core as this machine is not designed for gas shielding the wire.
For a cheap wire feed welder it works good so far.
Its supposed to be able to run smaller 0.030 wire I haven't tried it yet.
It may need a smaller wire drive wheel and tip, I read that you can run the smaller wire with out changing the drive wheel or tip if your using flux core wire.
One thing I found out right to start with is do not let the end of the spool of wire loose. Keep a tight grip on the wire it will go crazy if you let it slip as your feeding it in to the drive wheel.
A auto darkening welding helmet is a must have for wire feed or arc welding.
Don't wear your good glasses either, they will get welding boogers on them when welding.
Walmart sells the magnifying reading glasses they will work good for us who need to wear glasses to see, or you can get welding lens that have magnification built in them.
I didn't use my good glasses, just thought it might help one of you guys from having your good glasses get ruined.
 
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bairdco

a guy who makes cool bikes
Aug 18, 2009
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i'm gonna be the first one to say "I use JB Weld!" just to get it out of the way...(even though i don't really use it.)

i don't have a welder, yet. moving out in april, hopefully to a place where i can have one without someone thinking i'm gonna burn the house down.
 

civlized

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Apr 28, 2009
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I mainly use lincoln wire welder. Harbor Freight is a great place for supplies. Tips, wire, brushes, chipping hammers, welding blankets, auto hoods, welding gloves, etc. A welding jacket or long sleeve denim shirt is a good thing to remember before welding!
 

civlized

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I use to work at a place that had a tig machine that could weld an aluminum can back together! I didn't believe until I saw it. That was an impressive machine.
 

2door

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I have a Miller water cooled high frequency TIG and a Hobart MIG machine. I use both on bikes depending on what I'm doing. The TIG is the best for high stress areas but for quick tack welds and general welding the MIG (wire feed with .024 wire) is the easiest and quickest.
I use shielding gas with the MIG, C-25, (argon/co2 mix) and Argon for TIG. I've done some aluminum stuff with the MIG but it requires a teflon liner for the wire, reverse polarity and straight argon. Aluminum also takes a lot of practice to stay proficient. I like steel. I also have Oxy/Acetylene...okay for heating or cutting but I don't use it much.
Tom
 
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Elmo

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Sep 3, 2009
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I use oxy/acetylene because that is what I have. It will weld steel, braze and silver solder. I used it to weld a 4130 airplane fuselage that worked good. I feel that if it will weld airplane tubing it will be ok for bicycles.
 

Gareth

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Dec 8, 2009
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I have a small Lincoln MIG for welding. I have .030 wire in it right now. I have used .025 and .035 as well depending on what I was primarily welding at the time.

I have a nice small portable oxy acet rig with a much larger high quality cutting torch I use when I need the ol' blue wrench.

Some day I will take the time to sit down with the welding tips and learn to use it for more.
 

civlized

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What about a plasma cutter, any of you guys have one. I love my plasma cutter. No gas bottles to move around or get filled. No expensive regulators, hoses, or torches. Just 110v and compressed air will slice through 1/4 inch like butter.
 

flybytaco

Metal Molding Madman
Oct 17, 2009
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ok norm. the way i look at it is any welder is better than no welder. I have a miller 252 x mig and a diversion 165 tig. to be completely honest the tig welder works really good but its def not good for tacking stuff and holding it with the workpiece with other hand. sheet metal will be esier for ya norm if you try the 0.30 too bad they dont make 0.26 or do they? cause that would be even better. if you really had to out in the woods four wheeling if you broke something my friends carry welding sticks for an arc welder i've seen it work but use jumper cables to weld hooked up to battery lol it was nuts but worked
 

Norman

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Hey it looks like we are off to a good start.
I'd like to try smaller dia wire. I read that you can use smaller wire on the welder I have by just changing the tip and wire size the drive wheel has 2 grooves both are the same size 0.9mm the grooves are knurled supposed to be for flux core wire. I think the wire feed liner is sprial wire
like a bike brake cable liner.
I might try to get some 0.30 wire just to try in the welder.
This machine has only a high and a low setting for heat control. I wish there was a way to put a dial control on it to control the heat.
I plan on getting a cart for it soon just so I can move it around easier.Harbor Freight has the carts for $50.00 I can get a 20% off coupon on line then hit the store for the cart looks like
a nice kart for the price.
Do you guys buy larger spools of wire then re spool a smaller spool to fit your machine?
Mine has room for up to a 8" spool but the instructions say to use the 4" one pound spools.
The spool holder is plastic so the larger spools might break the holder.
Ilikeabikea bought the harbor freight wire and if I remember right he didn't like it as well as the Lincoln wire.

The welder I have is for flux core wire only it's not set up to use gas shielding.
I know the welders that use a shielding gas make cleaner welds, less splattering etc.
If I knew of a way to modify it for an adjustable heat control that would be great.
I'd be as happy as a fly eating fresh poop.
 
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flybytaco

Metal Molding Madman
Oct 17, 2009
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norm spools of wire usually go by weight my 252 x takes 30 pound spools lol wire for a few yrs lol is it possible to hook up a small co2 /argon tank? if so then thats really the best way to go much cleaner and .0.26 wire is avail at harbor freight. I agree they have tons of stuff there but no tig supplies whaaaa. i love to weld...
 

civlized

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Apr 28, 2009
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The HF cart is pretty nice, for the money. I bought it about 2 months ago and kind of customized it to hold my mig and plasma cutter on one cart. The wheels could use an upgrade to a larger size, but it is a good deal.
I stick with the small rolls. Not enough savings for me compared to time invested to respool. The small spools last quite a while for the shadetree tinkerer.
 

Norman

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I didn't see much of a cost saving on buying larger spools maybe a buck or two.
I just was thinking, if I can't find the 1 lb spools I could get the larger spools.
I can get the 1 lb spools of Lincoln flux wire for $10.00 that seems to be about the average price
around here.
I do like this wire feed welder easy to use, light in weight ,very portable.
 

DOC BOLM

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Aug 21, 2008
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I use a hobart 210 wire feed mig in my home shop.I also have 2 lincoln pipe line welders at the farm shop along with the iron man 250 mig and a airforce plasma cutter.They were mostly from Holox.
 

Norman

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Fairracing had this on a different thread its interesting so I'll put it here. I think this guy is from the U.K. he's got some nice short videos to watch along with still photos.

Learning MIG Welding

you can also go to the forum most of it is from Europe and the U.K., so the wording is a little different along with prices but still interesting reading.
Have fun looking.
 
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professor

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Oct 14, 2009
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I have a Lincoln "tombstone" (that is the shape) that I've had for 40 years and now use it mostly with tiny rod from HF at 40 or 60 amps for bike related stuff. With that rod it will even work plugged into 110V.
Speaking of HF, I have 2 expensive welding helmets at work - the Miller is supposed to self -turn on first strike- it doesn't - you get a flash, then it will work. Or you first hit the reset button (second one I tried- same thing) and another brand has a on/off button. But the HF auto-dark helmet works like it is supposed to all the time and no batterys. Go figure...
I have a small set of tanks for welding / braising/ cutting - Keep it under the workbench. Would love a small mig but am out of room!
On plasma cutting- I have a big one at work and it is amazing, BUT it fills the room with a foul cloud of vaporized metal if used for very long. Maybe a small unit would be beter, this one cuts a path somewhat larger than 1/8 inch.
It is much more dangerous than a torch to me- blowing molten metal a lot farther than a cutting torch. i am always looking for ways to block the array of metal spray from getting to me or my gloves.
 

2door

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Just a note to anyone contemplating buying a plasma cutter...you'd better have a good sized air compressor to go with it. They are not stand alone machines but require a huge amount of compressed air to function properly. They are great machines however for anyone doing custom fabrication. Far superior to a cutting torch and grinder. Next best would be a metal cutting band saw. Neither are something for the casual/weekend hobbiest.
Tom