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I broke down today and bought a Mig welder, a Vulcan 140 which should meet my needs to do simple repairs rather than having the local welder take my money! And I get to learn a new skill too! First up will be some repair welds on my MacKissic Chipper which I messed up by hooking a chain around the feeder to help lift it on the 322....hmmm the metal there wasn't really as strong as I thought, or subconsciously I needed an excuse to get the welder. Absolutely an area out of my current skillset so I will likely be asking a lot of questions. I am watching a lot of youtube videos but I think this is one of those things that until you start burning metal you'll never really grasp properly.
 

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I broke down today and bought a Mig welder, a Vulcan 140 which should meet my needs to do simple repairs rather than having the local welder take my money! And I get to learn a new skill too! First up will be some repair welds on my MacKissic Chipper which I messed up by hooking a chain around the feeder to help lift it on the 322....hmmm the metal there wasn't really as strong as I thought, or subconsciously I needed an excuse to get the welder. Absolutely an area out of my current skillset so I will likely be asking a lot of questions. I am watching a lot of youtube videos but I think this is one of those things that until you start burning metal you'll never really grasp properly.
before u do anything read the instructions first.. get to know what happens when u makes mistakes.. do a lotta welds on scrap metal.. did u get tank of GAS.. or does it use flux- core wire

I bought one before I retired in 2011.. it has a GAS tank.. the tank is now about empty..

more later..
 

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First, make sure the metal is clean and rust free before welding (how clean it has to be will vary depending on if you use flux-core or solid wire in your mig welder).

Second, get a good welding helmet. Your eyes are worth more than the cheapest welding helmet available... And cover up, even if it's warm out. It prevents skin burns (both from uv rays as well as flaming hot sparks). Even shoes. You'll feel it when that hot bit of metal falls on your sandal/synthetic shoe, melts through it in 1/2 second, then sits on top of your foot where it's no longer that easy to get out.

Third practice. weld some scrap metal together, of varying thicknesses, cut them apart, see how well you got weld penetration, see how strong the weld is, then weld some more. Read through the manual, and make use of the charts for the settings to use for various thickness of material. You'll need to play with them a bit, to see what works for welding different thickness metals together.
 

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ChuckE2009 has some pretty good welding videos on his channel on youtube. Plus, he also collects and repairs old tractors. Think he has 11 or 12 now. Also does reviews on tools and all kinds of build projects. It is really refreshing to see a young guy come up the way he has.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJAFY2kKKb5sg79yld7T3hA
Flaken, thanks for the link, don't think I've seen any of his videos before. Hoping to do some things to make my 3 pt. hitch more valueable to me like a carrier for tools, pole lift, small forks to lift thing just a bit off the ground, etc... After I retire next year I will probably see if I can get into a welding class close by.

before u do anything read the instructions first.. get to know what happens when u makes mistakes.. do a lotta welds on scrap metal.. did u get tank of GAS.. or does it use flux- core wire

I bought one before I retired in 2011.. it has a GAS tank.. the tank is now about empty..


more later..
Whirly, just doing flux core to start, bought the welding hammer and I have a grinder to clean thing up. I plan to do some small welds on things that if I mess up won't cause me any grief. The feeder on the chipper is about the same thickness as a car fender so I suspect you can blow through it with too aggressive of a weld. Somewhere down the road I'd like to re-fab it with some heavier steel or at least reinforce the weak areas. I will try the 20/80 gas a little later, I made sure to buy a welder that allows the use of shielding gas.


First, make sure the metal is clean and rust free before welding (how clean it has to be will vary depending on if you use flux-core or solid wire in your mig welder).

Second, get a good welding helmet. Your eyes are worth more than the cheapest welding helmet available... And cover up, even if it's warm out. It prevents skin burns (both from uv rays as well as flaming hot sparks). Even shoes. You'll feel it when that hot bit of metal falls on your sandal/synthetic shoe, melts through it in 1/2 second, then sits on top of your foot where it's no longer that easy to get out.

Third practice. weld some scrap metal together, of varying thicknesses, cut them apart, see how well you got weld penetration, see how strong the weld is, then weld some more. Read through the manual, and make use of the charts for the settings to use for various thickness of material. You'll need to play with them a bit, to see what works for welding different thickness metals together.

Dave, funny you should say that. I watched a guy doing some welding for me and he didn't clean the rust very well and he kept getting poor welds across the item. I asked him if that was normal and he looked at me and said, "no but you didn't clean it very well and I don't have time!" So I never took any work back to him! But I did learn that it really needs cleaned before starting to weld. I have to pick up a long sleeve shirt but I have the gloves, apron, boots, and a helmet, maybe not the best but we'll see. Also picked up some holding vises and magnet holders to help and a set of wire brushes to get areas the grinder can't get to. I will read everything I can and watch several more videos, I was even watching some TiG welding videos although I really don't have any intention of going that far. To me this will be a hands-on learning experience.
 

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As the old joke goes, how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. I welded and fabricated at Eastman Kodak for a few years and can tell you every weld is different, every job is different and you can never be sure you've got the setup until you strike an arc. Set your machine, strike an arc on similar metal to the job and adjust as you go along. The simple act of welding a piece of metal heats it up and it changes the way it welds while you're welding it. Strive to be in control of each puddle.
Enjoy! Welding is an art form that a lot of people do but few really get past the basics. Have fun with it! ...and don't forget to have a fire extinguisher or two handy!

:dancingpa
 

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We used these welding sleeves in the trailer shop I used to work in. I ended up with a pair and use them for welding at home. A bit cooler than full gear and fine for welding.

Cutting with a torch needs a bit more coverup to prevent burns so I also had the full shirt like the one below. When I burned up the sleeves I'd take home the shirt and a new sleeve set and the wife would sew them on for me.
 

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OK, so got into it today and probably didn't spend enough time setting up the welder at the beginning. Welding 16 guage with flux wire which is just at the limit anyways. The first welds were giving me the pop pop pop sound and I bllew a few holes in the steel. Stopped and went over the welder settings and saw that I forgot to tension the drive pulley for the wire properly. (this was on a video I watched too!) Got that tensioned and then was able to do the recommended tacks about a couple inches apart and even fixed the blow through areas (patting myself on the back for that one). Gun was doing good tacks and I did my first "MiG" welding. Then I was grinding a bit and got my thumb with the grinder (it's in the safety forum). So at a pause because every time I try to do something the thumb bleeds like crazy. Going to have to give it some time. Here are some pics of the job and one of the welder too.
 

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The largest problem almost all welders have when first starting out is the complete lack of patience that one learns over time. They completely forget that in the videos seen those welders have spent years learning the craft. Usually, in almost all the videos, everything is in pristine condition, the operator knows all the ins & outs of his machine and has practiced.

Don't expect to be making anything even close to mediocre in the first few hours. Scrap metal is there for a purpose!
 

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Yeah, but I expect to rebuild this piece completely with heavier steel, so I don't mind practicing on it, I didn't have anything this thin available for practicing on anyways. I suspect that everyone when they start looking at how things are made figure they can do it better. Considering this feeder chute takes a real beating as the limbs pull in they could have reinforced it some and prevented all the cracks this has on it.
 

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Before too long you'll be asking "why did I wait so long to get this". I believe that you will ask yourself the same question whenever you finally get the tank of gas.

I saw your boo-boo from the grinder. Hope you always wear safety glasses with that. Grinding wheels are one of the more common causes of ER visits.
 

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I always use all the recommended safety equipment, but sometimes you just get caught anyways.

I have to say that I was impressed as well with the welding helmet, it really quickly changed when the welding started. When I was a kid I remember my father wearing those old safety goggles that when you put them on you could barely see anything let alone what you were working on.
 

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My favorite welders quote is :
"A grinder & paint will make you the welder you ain't"..

I need to get more practice with my craptastic Harbor Freight 90 amp "flux core welder"..
So far my attempts to master running a bead with it have been futile,it acts more like a plasma cutter on thin metal..
I think it is partly due to the fact its an AC "wire feed ARC welder",not a "MIG" welder that has argon/co-2 gas and are usually DC ..
I have better luck using 3/32" 6011 rods with my DC arc welder set on about 35-40 amps. than I have using the wire feed ,I've tried fiddling with the wire speed and heat setting (only has "hi & lo")...my friend has an identical welder and he's done pretty good with his welding a new door skin on his car door,so I assume its me that isn't doing something right..he also has a "real" MIG with gas and I've tried using that with not so great results too,I think its because I'm used to stick welding..
 

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I am kind of surprised that no one mentioned the most common mistake we have all made ...especially in the beginning..
DO NOT GRAB THE PIECE YOU JUST WELDED

Now you have to keep your eyes out on junk night for when you see bed frames and other useful items that can be repurposed in steel fabrication
Good luck with the machine
 

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Now you have to keep your eyes out on junk night for when you see bed frames and other useful items that can be repurposed in steel fabrication
Good luck with the machine
No kidding. I drove past a piece of steel on the side of the road awhile back when the wife was with me. Made a metal mental note of its location and picked it up when she wasn't with me a few days later. ?
 

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I've used bed frame angle iron to make some things,but it is not always a good choice for an item that needs structural strength...its "pig iron" and is often hard skinned and brittle,and drilling holes in it is tough to impossible sometimes--a drill press an sharp bits sometimes work ok for a few holes,but it dulls the bits badly quickly..

I've used my arc welder or torch to blow holes for bolts thru it instead,or heated it up to cherry red and let it cool ,then try drilling it..

Some bed frames steel is hard and brittle to prevent flexing and it'll snap if put under an extreme load or shock..so it's not much good for a load bearing item,or one subjected to strong shock loads or impacts..

Finding good mild steel angles or tubing for free or cheap is getting more difficult--scrappers scoff up everything listed online right after sunrise here ---usually,dumps discourage "picking" at the metal piles,and scrap yards are now "off limits" to non-employees,they only let scrappers in to dump off their loads and wont even let them do any picking now..

Sometimes you'll see an old exercise machine listed for free online,those have a good amount of square tubing,treadmill machines do too..one place I used to get some decent metal for various projects was a place that sells snowmobiles,and another that sells new lawn tractors,often those pallets are either all steel,or steel reinforced wooden ones..

Pipe is sometimes easier to come by,if you see a newly sold older home being renovated,you can score all the old steel pipe if you ask the plumber,usually they only want the brass & lead to scrap for themselves..pipe is strong and makes good frames for various things like outbuildings and other backyard projects..

Sheet metal is easier to come by,every dump has tons of old appliances,filing cabinets,heating ducts,etc..just be aware galvanized can get you very sick if you fail to grind it all off where your welding,use a fan or weld outside to avoid inhaling the white smoke it'll make..
 

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Sorry to hear about cutting your thumb. I havn't read the article so I don't know what you were using for the abrasive. I thought I would suggest getting some flap discs for a hand held grinder, they are great tools.
As mentioned old sayings say your either a good welder or a good grinder, I have SEVERAL hand held grinders. I have learned the small 4 inch grinders don't last too long and now my favorite is my 9 inch Kawasaki. I also have the 7 inch.
Did I mention about being a good grinder?
The 7 inch grinder from Harbor Freight is another of my favorites, their red ones last the longest. I also have the 9inch.

I'm a pretty good grinder now.



Treat your self to some NEW STEEL ! You will find it's not to hard on the pocket book after all. About a buck a pound, 25 lbs of steel is a lot of material.

Find a local steel supply, even a scrap steel yard and pick up some 1 inch flat bar, some angle or box tubing and 1/8" plate build your self a cart for the welder. It's the first project a new welder should do and you will learn about heat settings etc.






Mmmmmm, new metal. . . . .







One more tip, you can use a piece of heavy metal, aluminum or copper as a backing on thin metal to aid in drawing some of the heat away. It helps you to keep from blowing holes in the thin stuff. Dissimilar metals won't stick.

A gas bottle will be a next good investment, I don't care much for flux core and the spatter. Two bottles and you can add a spool gun and weld aluminum :)


Then you may as well get a TIG. :tango_face_grin:





Most of all Have Fun!
Enjoy it, otherwise, what's the point.


Donewrken

:fing32:

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Got to find a good steel scrap location. Most of the local welding/machine shops save their scraps and then sell everything to the local recycling metal place. I do need to buy a new washer and dryer so I'll have to see what I can scrounge from them when they go. Should be some sheet available from the outsides. I have a few pieces that are heavy that I can probably practice on. I also need to practice the different types of joins, fillet, butt, and vertical just to see how I can do, but that will be after some flat practice.
 

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One more tip said:
This sounds like a great tip...any way you could elaborate on this or show some pictures of how you would do it?...It always seems that I have to weld thick steel and thin steel...invariably blowing holes in the thin material ( stick welding) ..Thank you
 
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