Advice: I want to learn to weld - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-25-2014, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
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Advice: I want to learn to weld

I've seen plenty of welding done in person and on video, but never attempted it myself. Harbor Freight had a gas-less wire welder in their sale paper for $99 (similar to this Wire Welder - Save on this 90 Amp Flux Wire Welder). I was thinking this might be an inexpensive way to get started, but I'm not sure if this is the right type of welder for my purpose and if this thing might be total junk. I obviously need some gloves and a mask as well. I'm not looking to do any heavy-duty welding, just some light fabrication for my truck, RV, and around the house.

I looking for feedback from experienced welders.

Thanks,
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-25-2014, 07:02 AM
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It's a 90 Amp machine, you can find a coupon for $89 if you look, and for what they cost they actually are worth the money

But with a couple of of caveats;

Not much good over about 1/8" (with experience you can get 1/8 attached to 3/16)

Smoke, because it's flux-core you don't see the puddle well and not the best to learn on (a sm fan on Low, blowing that smoke away, helps)

And finally, MIG in General, can give you a sense of false confidence because if you don't know what you're doing you can make welds that look OK but really aren't $hit. They have not flowed into Both sides (TEST your practice welds, by breaking them, to know what you've got....)

So you need to learn what you can/can't weld, what it's supposed to look like as you do, and a whole bunch of little "details" about whichever process you're doing. It takes time & practice but EVERYBODY should weld!

There's a TON of YouTube on this, everybody likes "Jody" at WeldingTipsAndTricks (although I'm not sure he's got much on flux-core MIG), but I'm sure you won't have trouble finding others.

Get out there, give it a try, don't get discouraged, maybe join the WeldingWeb forum (they have a HF discussion there -> Harbor Freight) and learn to weld
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-25-2014, 07:24 AM
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My buddy just bought one if them and it works ok for what he does. I was talking with him and he said if you by one don't use the wire supplied because it's junk. Step up to a good wire.


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post #4 of 10 Old 08-25-2014, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Great info. Thanks!

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post #5 of 10 Old 08-25-2014, 03:03 PM
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Are you wanting to learn just for hobbies or to actually work as a welder?

Check out you local community college, some of them have programs and will teach you the proper way to weld, prep, and all the positions.

That's what I'm doing right now. 2500 a semester, they supply you with everything. They even have a good pipe welding program and when you are done you are ready to take your 6g pipe test. They are working on becoming an AWS accredited testing facility to actually certify.


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post #6 of 10 Old 08-25-2014, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Are you wanting to learn just for hobbies or to actually work as a welder?

Check out you local community college, some of them have programs and will teach you the proper way to weld, prep, and all the positions.

That's what I'm doing right now. 2500 a semester, they supply you with everything. They even have a good pipe welding program and when you are done you are ready to take your 6g pipe test. They are working on becoming an AWS accredited testing facility to actually certify.


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Just for hobbies. The county vo-tech has adult night classes available. Level 1 is $400 for about 24 hours of training. I was considering that just to learn the basics.

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post #7 of 10 Old 08-25-2014, 05:05 PM
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Advice: I want to learn to weld

That's a good deal for 400.

I would suggest getting a stick welder off of craigslist for a 100 to 200 and buy some1/8in 6011 or 6010 rods and just start burning them up. A lot of home hobby stuff can be achieved with a basic stick welder and some practice.

Once you get to where you can run a consistent bead start cutting them perpendicular and looking how much penetration your getting into both pieces.

Stick welder don't need any gas or or wire and you can weld with it anywhere.

A lot of people can run a decent looking bead with a mig gun but they don't have enough penetration. Once you get to where you can weld with a stick welder mig becomes easy and you can be a better judge of how much penetration you are getting.


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post #8 of 10 Old 03-24-2015, 05:09 PM
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If you want to do body panels and sheet metal a cheapo MIG will get you through. If you want to do heavier angle iron fabrications at home you can't beat a stick welder for the $. A Lincoln tombstone off craigslist is a great place to start. Interview the instructor at the trade school before you sign up for a class and ask if you'll be using the Guided Bend Tester. Google it. Anybody can show you how to make pretty beads but you need to learn what a good weld IS. The Guided Bend Tester does that.
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-24-2015, 05:37 PM
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Do some reading on arc flash, reflecting surfaces, and eyes feeling like you have sand in them. Then get a good hood.

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post #10 of 10 Old 03-24-2015, 07:04 PM
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I have done a fair bit of welding, I would consider myself a "semiprofessional". My welding carrier was spent welding cattle pens, cattle barns, and the like. While I have no experience with the Harbor Freight welder, I personally would not touch it. When it comes to tools, don't skimp. Buy quality and it will last. I would also say start with a stick welder, get one that will go up to 200 amps and you can weld pretty much anything you will ever want to. Also, invest in a good welding helmet. Get a quality autodark, your welds will turn out a lot better.

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