OK, I've done it now, I got a welder

Welding Techniques, Theory, Machines and Questions.

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SteveM
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OK, I've done it now, I got a welder

Post by SteveM » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:32 am

Well, I REALLY didn't get a welder, because REALLY getting a welder requires getting a REAL welder.

As Frank Zappa would have said "Is that a REAL welder or is that a Sears Welder".

I got a Horror Freight 90 MIG.

Yea, rib me all you want, but I paid $20 for it.

It's missing the little shroud that goes around the tip (think it's called the nozzle), other than that, looks complete and in good shape.

I read the posts here:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=105366&p=375072&hi ... 0A#p375072
especially BigDumbDinosaur's excellent newbie tips.

I've also been looking at Jody's welding tips and tricks youtube channel. One issue with Jody from my perspective is that he is using MUCH better equipment than me.

One tip I have heard about these is to get good quality (e.g. Lincoln) welding wire.

I don't plan at this point on welding anything really big, but I do realize that I will probably outgrow it. I see using it to make stuff out of tubing, so I don't need something yet that can weld 1/2" plate.

So here's a few novice question:

What should I do to test it out before I turn it on?

What should I do to test it out after turning it on?

Other than gloves and a helmet, what else should I get to go with it (maybe noting what are MUSTs and what are WANTs).

Anyone have any tips specific to using a small welder like this in general or this welder specifically?

Steve

mikeehlert
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Re: OK, I've done it now, I got a welder

Post by mikeehlert » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:09 am

You will stick the wire down a bunch of times. A pair of diagonal cutters are mandatory. Don't ask me how I know.
Have fun and always wear long sleeves.

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SteveHGraham
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Re: OK, I've done it now, I got a welder

Post by SteveHGraham » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:30 pm

Since it's MIG, you will WANT to stick the wire. I think Mike was warning you about TIG.

Get some MIG pliers. You will be taking nozzles off, trimming wire, and replacing tips. MIG pliers make it a lot easier. I bought Radnors, and they work.

You might want some of that goop that prevents spatter from sticking. You also need a wire brush and something to knock spatter off. They make little hammers for that.

Your metal has to be fairly clean. If you don't have an angle grinder set up to clean it, you will suffer. You will also use the grinder to bevel things.

I find welding puddles hard to see. Lights help. I spent something like 12 bucks on a magnetic-base LED sewing light. Very helpful. There is also a very cheap light that clips onto the MIG torch.

Buy extra tips. You will need them.

To test the welder, you will want to know if the wire actually goes anywhere. Hold the torch up in the air (away from metal), turn the machine on, and squeeze the trigger. After that, all you need to worry about is the arc. Obviously, you won't want to test that without eye protection.

A welding jacket (a real one) is a good idea. MIG will throw hot metal around. A $20 jacket will generally block it, and it will be fire-retardant, too. Catching on fire is not good practice. Wear long pants with the pants over your shoes to keep metal from going down into your socks. Also, covering up prevents sunburn from the arc. Not saying I do all these things. I fried my legs a few months ago while welding a bush hog.

Keep your dog and cat away from the welder so you don't hurt their eyes. Make sure people know not to come in the room while you're welding. My dad has ambushed me about 10 times due to dementia.

You need a fire extinguisher, too.

Find a piece of crappy metal and start laying beads down on it, and keep watching those videos.

Do you have a gas bottle and regulator, or are you using cored wire?
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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SteveM
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Re: OK, I've done it now, I got a welder

Post by SteveM » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:51 pm

SteveHGraham wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:30 pm
Since it's MIG, you will WANT to stick the wire. I think Mike was warning you about TIG.
I think he was referring to the MIG wire welding itself to the work and then having to cut it off.
SteveHGraham wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:30 pm
Get some MIG pliers.
Hadn't thought of those, but I have seen them.
SteveHGraham wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:30 pm
You also need a wire brush and something to knock spatter off. They make little hammers for that.
Got one in my torch box.
SteveHGraham wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:30 pm
You might want some of that goop that prevents spatter from sticking.
Hadn't heard of that, but I can see that making my life easier.
SteveHGraham wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:30 pm
Do you have a gas bottle and regulator, or are you using cored wire?
This one uses cored wire. I really wanted a gas shielded one, but I figure I have to start somewhere and $20 was the right price.

Steve

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SteveHGraham
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Re: OK, I've done it now, I got a welder

Post by SteveHGraham » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:19 pm

It's nice that you don't have to deal with gas yet.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

mikeehlert
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Re: OK, I've done it now, I got a welder

Post by mikeehlert » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:34 pm

Yes, I have welded wire into the work many times. Use flux cored myself as the time between projects is just too long to justify tanks and regulator.

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ctwo
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Re: OK, I've done it now, I got a welder

Post by ctwo » Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:13 pm

I don't know how you guys stick mig wire to the work. If I do that, the whole wire melts back into the tip, then I'm spending the afternoon cleaning it all out.

SteveM wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:32 am
So here's a few novice question:

What should I do to test it out before I turn it on?
plug it in
What should I do to test it out after turning it on?
melt some steel
Other than gloves and a helmet, what else should I get to go with it (maybe noting what are MUSTs and what are WANTs).

Anyone have any tips specific to using a small welder like this in general or this welder specifically?

Steve
I never messed with any of the niceties, just went to work, My first project was to convert a chevy love pickup into a trailer. Found out I needed to install a cooling fan in the welder.

I feel fortunate in that mine is a "dual mig" meaning it has some provision to fool you into thinking you can use gas with it. I might try it out some day.

Oh, chucke2000 did some kind of review of something that is probably similar.
Standards are so important that everyone must have their own...
To measure is to know - Lord Kelvin
Disclaimer: I'm just a guy with a few machines...

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BadDog
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Re: OK, I've done it now, I got a welder

Post by BadDog » Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:56 pm

Sticking the wire usually occurs at lower amperages, particularly when using larger wire at the thin material end of it's range. But I've personally proven you can stick the wire just about any time at the end of a bead, particularly out of position.

As mentioned, get good lights. I often work with the high watt halogen lamps. Makes it real easy to see the joint, the torch, AND the puddle. Without good lighting, I can see the puddle, but sometime drift off the joint because I can't see the gap. Along the same lines, if you are welding steel with the black coating, grind back to get a decent strip of clean metal, ideally roughly equal on both sides, and more than a typical beveled edge (if needed). In low light the shiny metal will reflect the light better and be more visible against the arc and puddle.
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Jawn
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Re: OK, I've done it now, I got a welder

Post by Jawn » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:00 pm

I prefer to wear leather shoes. Ideally without laces (such as wellington boots). Less chance of flaming feet that way.

Glenn Brooks
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Re: OK, I've done it now, I got a welder

Post by Glenn Brooks » Tue May 01, 2018 2:56 pm

+1 for welding jacket, gloves, and a full,face shield. You need full UV protection against welding burn from the Intense wavelengths the welding process gives off. I also routinely wear steel toe leather boots, when welding. Saves toe nails in the long run.

Nobody mentioned getting a 4” angle grinder, grinding, not cutting wheels, and a wire cup wheel. Cutting wheels are very thin and will explode in your face with sideways pressure - unlike grinding wheels. I never use cutting wheels on an angle grinder, as they are patently unsafe, due to their flimsy nature. But a grinder, wire cup brush and grinding wheels help a lot when cleaning up welds. I use them side by side with small and large hand held wire brushes and a hand held chip hammer.

Lastly, a jug of Ospho and a bunch of cheap chip brushes will help you clean up any rust and welding byproducts on welds, when you get to the point you want to fab something and paint it. Mig is pretty clean to work with, unlike stick, so maybe phosphoric acid,treatment isn’t as necessary. But for a permanent paint job, it makes a nice base coat.

Glenn
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steamin10
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Re: OK, I've done it now, I got a welder

Post by steamin10 » Tue May 01, 2018 7:41 pm

Ya, ok , now get a bucket of fine dry sand. It the last resort for a small fire. One o f those ABC fire things from Mantards to sit and look pretty is a needed evel too. It is amazing what flaming BBs around the bench can find. The dry sand can be an extra quick set of hands too, for tacking stuff together. A dedicated set of side cutters for clipping back the wire, either a torch plier designed for the job or just any old cutter, is needed to shorten the wire so you keep the sitckout short. I use a desk lite on a swing arm to put some high intensity light on my bead area, so the cut and puddle are visible. It is harder for me since I got surgery for cataracts. If you cant see em, you cant do em. I use a cheap HF helm and get by ok, but I have other gold shield and heavy lenses too, it depends. And I would buy your wire at the welding store, they have quality stock that works over some China quality bulk wire. I use both gas and flux cored wire together at times. It depends on the base stock .

I have a HF grinder for cheap that carries a flat flap wheel that is good for cleaning and knocking the tops off of welds. It was less than $20, and got a dab of real grease in the head gears to replacce whatever that was in there. It growls and yeowls but has passed the torture test for a few years.. I have 4- 4 inch grinders, each with a different brush, cut, cup, so I just grab and go. I dont play with attachments. But thats me. All the abrasive stuff is HF, it is cheap enough and disposable.My biggest problem, is when I have help, they dont help. They take the wrenches off the plug end and set them down, so it takes a search party minutes to find the nut pin wrench and time is wasted. All my grinders have holes that are beat on fomr one character that never used a wrench, just a hammer and screwdriver, beating everything up. It is up to you to run your methods.

Some guns dont have the outer shield, just the contact tip. These are set up for cored wire, and must be modifies to run gas with a liner and valve and some other parts. Really an advantage for light gauge metal and smooth welds. Another caviat is poor performance becasue of the welder starving during line sag. Get a heavy extension cord, and plug into a heavy circuit. Make a tap at the box if you have to just for the welder. I dont know how many people were frustrated with 'cheep' machines that just could not get enough power to run well.

My large welder is converted from a 3 phase machine and can run 350 amps. I can pull 90 amps off the line for smooth welds.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
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