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  • #16
    Having someone mentor you is great. As far as the wife, flowerpot holders,flower boxes, shelf brackets, bbq, and other small stuff keeps her happy. The up side of this is they are small projects so if they don't work out there's not much lost for the exprience gained. Learn from your mistakes though. Another good thing about them for a beginner is if they break nobody gets hurt. Please wait 'till after you've got some time behind the torch before you do things that go out on the road. What I did for my first trailer was I did all the joint prep and tacked all together then trailered it to the weld shop for them to do the beads. What they did was set up their machine and supervised me welding it up. I don't know if you could find a shop that would do that now. Liability is just one of their concerns.
    Having someone to tell you what you are doing wrong and how tho do it right is a real timesaver. Pictures of beads on this site are good, but it's nice to have instant feed back.
    Friends and neighbors will soon find out you can weld which will provide you with many opportunities to weld. Please don't do anything beyond your skill level or your not comfortable with.
    Weld safe, It's a great hobby!
    Expect stupidity, and you'll rarely be disappointed.

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    • #17
      i started out with books and trial & error...then i got these dvds which were VERY helpful...seeing it done correctly, seeing how things are supposed to look made all the difference.

      http://www.weldingvideos.com/

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Thomas Kuhn
        Having someone mentor you is great. As far as the wife, flowerpot holders,flower boxes, shelf brackets, bbq, and other small stuff keeps her happy. The up side of this is they are small projects so if they don't work out there's not much lost for the exprience gained. Learn from your mistakes though. Another good thing about them for a beginner is if they break nobody gets hurt. Please wait 'till after you've got some time behind the torch before you do things that go out on the road. What I did for my first trailer was I did all the joint prep and tacked all together then trailered it to the weld shop for them to do the beads. What they did was set up their machine and supervised me welding it up. I don't know if you could find a shop that would do that now. Liability is just one of their concerns.
        Having someone to tell you what you are doing wrong and how tho do it right is a real timesaver. Pictures of beads on this site are good, but it's nice to have instant feed back.
        Friends and neighbors will soon find out you can weld which will provide you with many opportunities to weld. Please don't do anything beyond your skill level or your not comfortable with.
        Weld safe, It's a great hobby!
        All great advice. Thanks.
        Believe me, I don't plan on getting in over my head. I'm pretty good at knowing my limitations.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by snake.oiler
          i started out with books and trial & error...then i got these dvds which were VERY helpful...seeing it done correctly, seeing how things are supposed to look made all the difference.

          http://www.weldingvideos.com/
          Thanks for posting that. I'll check it out.

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          • #20
            Get a Thermal arc 185. you can stick weld & Tig weld with it plus it has high frequency AC capability which wil allow you to tig weld aluminum. The whole set-up is about two grand. Have a O/A set up to cut your steel but forget about learning how to do anything but torch cutting because Tig will superceded all that.
            You can learn from books, but be practical....if your welds don't look like those pictures in the book within a couple of weeks of really devoted practice, then you'll need help. To me, if i were you I'd invest in the equipment you need to fabricate the things you want. Get some text on how to do it and go for it. There has to be someone in your neighborhood who can weld.....pick their brain or ask to see their shop and maybe get a demo. If you were in New England I would come over and show you a few things and you'd atleast be able to start making what you need. Getting a few tips is better than none.
            If you go this route, get a digital camera and show us your progress, and believe me, there are enough experts on this site who can help you out. Myself and most of the welders on this site can tell you what is right or wrong with a weld by looking at it. Just do it!
            Experience really is the best teacher in my opinion so I say..........Go for it!

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            • #21
              Thanks for the encouragement. I'll look into that machine as it sounds really versatile.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by jimgood
                All great advice. Thanks.
                Believe me, I don't plan on getting in over my head. I'm pretty good at knowing my limitations.
                One of my primary motto's

                By the way add your town to your profile sometimes help is just across town
                sigpicViceGrip
                Negative people have a problem for every solution

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                • #23
                  Well, 1st off.. OA welding is a thing of the past except for old-timers and some unique situations. MIG would be the easiest to learn, stick the cheapest to learn. If you want to learn just to do some basic things, you don't need to be a full welder. You just need to know enough to get by. Videos can be a huge waste of time and money. Before I took my course (40 weeks, full time, at local college) I got a couple videos. There were just some guy talking and welding in his garage. Zero teaching.

                  If you can't take a full course in school, or a night course thats offered once a week... the only way to learn is to read some books, and burn some rods. A GREAT book for both theory and practise is the one we used in school: WELDING Principles and Applications (5th Edition) by Larry Jeffus.

                  A good/cheap stick machine is the Lincoln AC/DC 225/125 machine... AC for your 6013 rods and DC for your 7018's and 75% of the other ones.

                  But I WOULD recommend going by a weld shop of some sort when they're not busy and just getting someone to watch you weld for a bit so they can correct you from the beginning. Doesn' t make much sense to do it wrong from the start and not find out until months down the road.

                  But the amount of time and headaches you could save yourself by having an experienced welder teach you to do it, at least for a bit, would be invaluable.
                  -- z0diac
                  Lincoln Precision TIG 225
                  Lincoln SP175+
                  Lincoln Hobbyweld 50
                  http://www.zeroreality.com/welding

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                  • #24
                    Resurrection!

                    In spite of all the great advice in this thread, I finally jumped into welding by getting an O/A outfit. I can't believe it took me 5 years to finally take action! I wish I had just done it then. O/A offers the flexibility I need at this point. I can weld anywhere on my property on pretty much any thickness material, I don't need a power source and I don't have to understand a bunch of jargon related to causing an electrical arc to melt metal.

                    I bought a Victor outfit back in October. I burned through one set of #3 tanks relatively quickly by making some scrap metal even more worthless with welding and cutting practice. But I found the welding process to be fairly straightforward and it wasn't long before I was getting consistently good welds. Cutting? Well, I still need lots of practice on that. I find cutting much more difficult.

                    Once I was consistently making decent welds, I started a project to make some frames for bird barriers to keep birds out of our indoor arena. I made the frames out of 1" sq tubing. The openings that had to be covered were 12' wide by about 8' high so the frames were about that size. The frames were then covered with chicken wire.
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                    Some things I learned:
                    • Distortion plays **** with accuracy. No matter how carefully I measured, cut and fit, the welds caused distortion that I didn't see until after the entire frame was constructed. I got pretty lucky in that neither frame was more than 1/4" out of square overall.
                    • Welding small assemblies out of tubing with the tubing completely air tight can be dangerous. The air inside the tubing is constantly trying to expand and blowout that last bit of weld. And it's guaranteed to blowout in your face
                    • You can't have enough clamps. In fact, there were times when I felt like I didn't have enough hands.
                    • It's a pain to weld without jigs. This project was a one-off so building a jig just wasn't practical. But I can see how it would have made things so much easier.
                    • Single piece welding magnets are probably better for MIG or TIG. There's simply too much heat with O/A and they get burned.



                    Some things with which I struggled:
                    • Distortion. With such small joints, and with 4 sides to each joint, I didn't have the patience to tack weld. I was afraid that I'd tack the top of the weld and it would cool and distort before I could crawl underneath and get situated to tack the bottom. I probably should have tried that. I definitely need to do some research/practice on controlling this.
                    • Welding inside corners...I'm not sure I have gotten the hang of this yet. I could not seem to get the heat concentrated at the joint. I would get pools on either side of the joint but never directly at the joint. I ended up flowing in some filler between the two pools to join them and working along the joint that way. I'm not sure I ever got penetration in the corner itself. I also had to use a lot more heat and I always had to clean the tip after each joint.


                    Overall, O/A was a good choice for me. It gives me the flexibility I need, it didn't cost as much to get started and, I've been told, if you get proficient with O/A, the other welding processes come more easily. I'm actually working on some similar frames, albeit smaller, for the doors to the loft in our barn. I'll try to post up some pictures of this project when I get a chance.
                    Last edited by jimgood; 04-09-2012, 03:31 PM.

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