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Started welder

cyanidekid

Titanium
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Location
Brooklyn NYC
I see old transformer welders sell cheap at auction on a regular basis, no you can't test run them, but cheap enough you can scrap them if that is what needs to be done. I bought my Lincoln 32 years ago for $25, dirty dusty looked like it had not been used for years, plus several hundred for a new Bernard gun, and it has made thousands in that time, I think it was well worth it. Yes it sucks to move it, its on casters but it takes full body weight shoving it to get it rolling. I have no doubt some of the newer pro grade inverter units could match it, but my experience with the portable 110v machines is that they will never match its capabilities.

As for duty cycle, if you are doing light sheet metal, maybe they are ok, but at max power you will hit the limit rather quickly. Maybe you guys don't trip the thermal switch because temps in upstate NY are milder, in central Tx at night when its still 100f, it took me 3 to 4 hours to finish a job that the Lincoln could have done in under an hour.

The only use I see for the 110v units is portability if you do lots of small offsite work.
I get the value of old antiquated welders, the best stick welder ive ever used was an ancient Lindy selenium rectifier unit that probably weighed 2200 lbs, dimmed the lights on the entire east coast when turned on, and only put out about 160 amps. and yes they can be had for pennies, but there is a reason. go ahead and wave your sword at windmills, but its just not good advice for a novice who isn't a masochist. :D
 
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john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
I always have a close look at old welders.......a lot have aluminium windings,but the varnish browns off to look just like copper to the unwary......However ,go back a bit further ,and the windings are copper.....but my favourite has to be spot welders.....if you cant get $500 in copper out of a spottie ,youre just not trying.
 

dalmatiangirl61

Diamond
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Location
BFE Nevada/San Marcos Tx
I get the value of old antiquated welders, the best stick welder ive ever used was an ancient Lindy selenium rectifier unit that probably weighed 2200 lbs, dimmed the lights on the entire east coast when turned on, and only put out about 160 amps. and yes they can be had for pennies, but there is a reason. go ahead and wave your sword at windmills, but its just not good advice for a novice who isn't a masochist. :D
I had to look to see what HF carried in welders these days, the way you are talking I figured there might be something new. In the 110v only line-up its the same hobby grade stuff they have had for years, and the 110/220 stuff is not much better. Those machines are perfectly suited to the Homeshop Harry that just needs to weld lawn furniture and lawnmower blades back together, hard to imagine any real welders using those. My critiques, not high enough amperage, not high enough duty cycle, the sheath for the mig gun appears to be 1" unshrunk heat shrink insulation, and the leads are only 6' long so every time you reposition you have to move the welder (thank god they are portable!), and they can hold a whole 5lb spool of wire! Not sure what was wrong with your ancient welder, mine does not even dim the lights in my shop or home.

I'm curious, would you recommend a HF lathe to a beginner? I bet if you bungy corded some cinder blocks to the base it would be just as good as a 10EE:scratchchin:
 

cyanidekid

Titanium
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Location
Brooklyn NYC
I had to look to see what HF carried in welders these days, the way you are talking I figured there might be something new. In the 110v only line-up its the same hobby grade stuff they have had for years, and the 110/220 stuff is not much better. Those machines are perfectly suited to the Homeshop Harry that just needs to weld lawn furniture and lawnmower blades back together, hard to imagine any real welders using those. My critiques, not high enough amperage, not high enough duty cycle, the sheath for the mig gun appears to be 1" unshrunk heat shrink insulation, and the leads are only 6' long so every time you reposition you have to move the welder (thank god they are portable!), and they can hold a whole 5lb spool of wire! Not sure what was wrong with your ancient welder, mine does not even dim the lights in my shop or home.

I'm curious, would you recommend a HF lathe to a beginner? I bet if you bungy corded some cinder blocks to the base it would be just as good as a 10EE:scratchchin:
haha! good one, but no, I wouldn't steer anyone to a HF lathe, but now that you mention it...some cinderblocks is a good idea... :D
look, we are talking about a beginner on a budget, looking for a unit to learn on. do you think everyone needs a 10EE?

of course we're not talking about anyone who depends on laying down poundage to make a living. who knows, they might start out and then decide its not for them. yup, its all hobby grade for sure, and yes id certainly say go with 110/220 machines unless they didn't have 220/240, but for most,( not all) its just better advise.
 

idacal

Hot Rolled
Joined
Aug 9, 2011
Location
new plymouth id
when i finally really learned to weld at 18, my boss first told me to cut a 3' of 6" pipe into 2" lengths me being the hotshot I was, I I did a crappy torch job on them, I was in a hurry and thought they were for something else. i KNEW how to run a torch, a winter in a scrap yard, will teach you that, but i did a crappy cuts out of laziness. he then told me to go get the 50 lbs box of 6010 and weld them all all back together 25 hours later I had them welded back up, I now knew how to fill gap, deal with contaminants, biggest thing I learned to always cut like I was going to be the one rewelding it, To this day I hate the sound of an old flat head engine in a lincoln sa 200 howling and moaning, reminds me of being young, stupid and arrogant. all that to say get a stick welder learn to run it, buzz box, inverter, whatever, get some 6011 or 7014 or what ever stick it will run and run 2 pounds of rod then go watch all the you tubes again, do that until it makes sense. 10 lbs of rod ought to get almost anyone able to run a bead in a flat position then go from there, don't build anything that can hurt someone until your in the 20 lbs of rod stage of learning. a little 110 wire feed for a beginner is next to useless, unless your trying to do art that looks like bird squirts. you have to learn puddle control first and you can't learn on a small mig
 

dalmatiangirl61

Diamond
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Location
BFE Nevada/San Marcos Tx
Well if he wants to learn, he should probably go to school, as someone else mentioned if he is broke there is probably a way to get the gov't to pay for it. Back in the 80's I took courses at Texas A&M, forget what it cost, the 2 hour commute probably cost as much in fuel as the class did. Like anything else, you got to want it.

A little over 2 years ago a friend had taken in her nephew, lets just say he had crappy parents, he signed up for a welding class right before the world went to shit. The school went online only, you can imagine just how well that is going to work for welding. As soon as he got his first stimulus check I hit the online auctions and found him a nice, not as old as mine, professional grade welder, 2 years later he is not a broke kid anymore:cheers:.
 

idacal

Hot Rolled
Joined
Aug 9, 2011
Location
new plymouth id
I was going to edit my earlier post ,
All my brothers learned basic welding building up cable tool drill bits they could get the rod time in without having any structure being ruined, I have also cured a couple of wannabe welders who were getting ready to sign up for welding classes by letting them see what its actually like welding. after 3 hours burning rod they decided on a different career field, 3 hours of time they were payed for, saved them thousands and I got my bits built up
but like you said you have to want it and bad
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Unfortunately , employment agencies and careers guidance experts now wont even consider stick welding as useful,they want experienced Mig welders straight off......Like machining ,it seems to me ,they wont consider anything a self employed beginner can do ,everything has to cost a million bucks and belong to a giant multinational.
 

kenton

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 15, 2015
Well I don't think we cleared up what OP should buy at all. Funny how vastly different everyone's perspective is.

To add my own, I love my Lincoln AC buzz box, I got a 50 ft extension cord and drag it all over my gravel driveway, I use 6011 95% of the time, the rest being 6013, 7014, and 7018. Yeah my Miller syncrowave runs prettier beads with 7018 but it is a pain to move and almost always set up for TIG at my welding table.

Speaking of TIG, my BIL bought a 240 HF inverter TIG welder. Having played around with it I would say it is adequate but I definitely get better welds with my Miller. Stick welding 6011 was basically a no go, if you did manage to strike an arc it would go out any time you tried to whip, 7014 was a bit better but still sucked.

My local community college has a fleet of Lincoln 120 volt welders they teach MIG intro with, 2nd half of the semester it with the 240 volt MIG. I think they are dandy little machines, they lay wonderful welds on 1/8 and thinner steel. They inspired me to pick up a 120 Volt welder of my own. It is much easier to move around the shop and driveway than my big Miller MIG. In fact I have thrown it in the trunk of my car with a small bottle of CO2 to patch up a trailer to get it to where I could actually fix it. That said I wouldn't trust welds with it on heavier materials.

Another potential option for OP is to look into community ed classes through your local community college. The school near me offers a non credit class that is 5, 3 hour classes that is basic intro to MIG, Stick, and plasma cutting.
 

cyanidekid

Titanium
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Location
Brooklyn NYC
when i finally really learned to weld at 18, my boss first told me to cut a 3' of 6" pipe into 2" lengths me being the hotshot I was, I I did a crappy torch job on them, I was in a hurry and thought they were for something else. i KNEW how to run a torch, a winter in a scrap yard, will teach you that, but i did a crappy cuts out of laziness. he then told me to go get the 50 lbs box of 6010 and weld them all all back together 25 hours later I had them welded back up, I now knew how to fill gap, deal with contaminants, biggest thing I learned to always cut like I was going to be the one rewelding it, To this day I hate the sound of an old flat head engine in a lincoln sa 200 howling and moaning, reminds me of being young, stupid and arrogant. all that to say get a stick welder learn to run it, buzz box, inverter, whatever, get some 6011 or 7014 or what ever stick it will run and run 2 pounds of rod then go watch all the you tubes again, do that until it makes sense. 10 lbs of rod ought to get almost anyone able to run a bead in a flat position then go from there, don't build anything that can hurt someone until your in the 20 lbs of rod stage of learning. a little 110 wire feed for a beginner is next to useless, unless your trying to do art that looks like bird squirts. you have to learn puddle control first and you can't learn on a small mig
If you think ANYONE is going to be a decent welder after burning 20 lbs of rod, well you must think the roads are paved with gold in OZ..

one thing stick welding instructors used to tell new students was “ here is a pallet of 7018, 1 TON of rod, and you aren’t going to be even a SHIT welder till you’ve burned through ALL OF IT!!!” ,

ok that was a bit of an exaggeration (hopefully) if you have any skills at all, but it made the point very clearly. It takes time, expierience, and a HELL of a lot more poundage than that to become a decent welder.
 
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72bwhite

Titanium
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Location
California, Ventura county
Kind of hard to beat a decent new inverter of adequate size
for anything more then sheet metal you really need 220 power
figure out how thick you want to be able to weld and size accordingly
with duty cycle.
as already pointed out check out Jodi’s reviews of the off brand welders
there are some good bargain brands out there
Love my dynasty 280 but they aren’t budget friendly
the new inverters aren’t the same as the old ones

proper prep and fit is the first step
clean tight joints weld much better then rusty or dirty sloppy joints

a good auto darkening hood makes it much easier also hard to weld if you can’t see
what you are doing
 

cyanidekid

Titanium
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Location
Brooklyn NYC
I always have a close look at old welders.......a lot have aluminium windings,but the varnish browns off to look just like copper to the unwary......However ,go back a bit further ,and the windings are copper.....but my favourite has to be spot welders.....if you cant get $500 in copper out of a spottie ,youre just not trying.
that's for the floor standing industrial units, not handhelds, but a true scrapper, dropping' some wisdom... :) doesn't sound like the OP's game tho!
 

idacal

Hot Rolled
Joined
Aug 9, 2011
Location
new plymouth id
If you think ANYONE is going to be a decent welder after burning 20 lbs of rod, well you must think the roads are paved with gold in OZ..

one thing stick welding instructors used to tell new students was “ here is a pallet of 7018, 1 TON of rod, and you aren’t going to be even a SHIT welder till you’ve burned through ALL OF IT!!!” ,

ok that was a bit of an exaggeration (hopefully) if you have any skills at all, but it made the point very clearly. It takes time, expierience, and a HELL of a lot more poundage than that to become a decent welder.
I have to disagree on this, unless your training for x ray quality,in a mirror, while hanging upside down off of a crane, in a windstorm, it doesnt take a ton of rod to be a proficient stick welder in the easier positions, unless of course, the weldor has the iq of a rock with lips. And even a rock with lips can learn repetitive motions fairly quick. The last 2 50 pound cans i picked up last week were 3.50 a pound so telling a guy he needs to spend 7000.00 just in consumables to learn kind of defeats the purpose of a cheap welder if a guy sticks with it through 20 lbs he will have the basics to where he is not a total danger to society. But expert journeyman all postion welder of course he will not be. I wasnt saying he would be. At a deposition rate of 2 pounds per hour thats 10 hours of straight practice plus slag removal. Most people will not stick it out that long. I burn several hundred pounds a year and i am far from an expert, i hate welding as much as truck driving, but it is the miserable part of what i do.
 

scsmith42

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 28, 2020
Location
New Hill, NC
Hi all...
I'm trying to get into welding, but have no place to start. I'm not sure what a good beginner welding setup is, I've read countless articles, but they all say something different. I just wanted to take this issue directly to real people.

ps. this is very budget minded considering I'm broke

Mike, I've been welding for over 40 years and am fluent in most processes. I started with oxy-acetylene, then learned stick, then TIG, and finally MIG. I have a mix of Lincoln and Miller equipment.

My advice to you is to take a welding class at a local community college before you invest in any equipment. The class will teach you the various processes and how to use them, and from there you can determine which type of welding best meets your needs.

For instance, if you need to weld cast iron, your best options are oxy-acetylene brazing, stick (arc) with nickel rod, or TIG brazing or nickel rod.

But if you need to weld aluminum, then your two primary options are TIG on AC with high frequency, or MIG on DC with a spool gun. Note that inexpensive multiprocess welders may have DC TIG (steel or cast iron) but not AC that is needed for aluminum.

For basic steel, all will work but MIG is probably the easiest to learn.

A class will not only teach you proper welding techniques and allow you to practice, but also keep you from spending money on equipment that may not be what you need.

Best of success to you.

Scott
 

cyanidekid

Titanium
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Location
Brooklyn NYC
I have to disagree on this, unless your training for x ray quality,in a mirror, while hanging upside down off of a crane, in a windstorm, it doesnt take a ton of rod to be a proficient stick welder in the easier positions, unless of course, the weldor has the iq of a rock with lips. And even a rock with lips can learn repetitive motions fairly quick. The last 2 50 pound cans i picked up last week were 3.50 a pound so telling a guy he needs to spend 7000.00 just in consumables to learn kind of defeats the purpose of a cheap welder if a guy sticks with it through 20 lbs he will have the basics to where he is not a total danger to society. But expert journeyman all postion welder of course he will not be. I wasnt saying he would be. At a deposition rate of 2 pounds per hour thats 10 hours of straight practice plus slag removal. Most people will not stick it out that long. I burn several hundred pounds a year and i am far from an expert, i hate welding as much as truck driving, but it is the miserable part of what i do.
if you read my entire post, I say that's an exaggeration:).

hey, maybe it was 700 lb of rod, but the point of that "introduction" by old school instructors was to scare off the lazy and uncommitted, not to define the actual amount of rod it takes. and yea, that was probably for out of position x ray cert on pipe.

as to wether you can be a "decent welder" after 20 lbs, that depends on a lot of factors. I guess im weary of giving folks the idea it's easy,lol! too many think they are experts just because they merely watched a video on the internet...so, I don't think we are really disagreeing all that much. I might up that to 50 lbs though.
 








 
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