Re learning oxy acetylene welding after many years with no practice
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  1. #1
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    Default Re learning oxy acetylene welding after many years with no practice

    Hi All:
    So I had a nice Christmas project to keep me amused over the holiday...I built a stock rack from 1" x 2" x 16 ga rectangular mild steel tubing.
    I've never TIG welded but I did learn oxyacetylene welding 45 years ago when I went up north to work as a welder's apprentice/odd job Charlie one summer and I have an oxy acetylene rig set up in the shop.
    So I thought...no problem...I've got a gas welder...I'll just gas weld my project together.

    Man am I ever rusty!
    This was about the best I could do, but it seems to me I was way better back then.
    Maybe that's just my faulty memory, but I don't think so...I had a lot harder time getting into the root of the weld without blowing holes in the sides of the tubes than I remember, and my wire feed control is for shit now.

    So, my question for you all with experience TIG welding thinwall tube.
    Is it a lot easier than gas welding, is it a bit easier or is it just as hard?
    I look at what some of the bike frame welders can do and I'm envious of their skills and the quality of their work.
    Mine looks rougher than a cat's ass by comparison.
    Nothing a bit of paint won't fix but it offends me a bit every time I look at it.

    I guess I'm sort of asking if I should invest in a nice little inverter TIG...it was kinda cool to struggle with the technique I thought I'd lost and to recapture a bit of it, so now I'm looking with amorous eyes at a Miller Dynasty or something like that, and thinking about spending some time getting decent at it.
    It's not what I do for a living, so I can't justify it, but I CAN afford it.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dscn5008.jpg   dscn5009.jpg  

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    That looks pretty damn good after years of no practice.

    I have very little TIG experience, having only recently set up for it but IMO if you have a functional gas setup TIG may not be an improvement for you. You can still get burn through and other issues. I always loved the control of gas welding and the only reason I wanted TIG is because I can not bring the oxy setup anywhere within the confines of the house for insurance reasons. I have never welded anything but steel with my gas setup but I welded cast iron in school and I understand with proper flux aluminum, stainless, and copper can be welded. I have of course brazed and silver soldered with the gas rig.

    Welding Flux - TM Technologies

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    Just go inside one of the local gyms and look at all the equipment put together with crappy looking welds. What you did is levels above.

    The major hurdle people have is justification, "this won't pay for itself". The remedy for that is to accept the answer and buy what you want anyway.
    When I have cleaned out a home of a family member who died, and collect all the unfinished projects the answer becomes clear. Better get on with it and stop thinking about it.

    I recommend a Miller Dynasty or a Synchrowave 250.

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    Too big a tip? filler size? Tip size #1 3/32 filler. Not all that bad but to me too much heat,fillet weld like that is one of the hardest to do.

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    looks just fine.

    The only thing I think would be a detriment to gas welding this job, is the time it took.

    I'm sure you took longer (and pumped much more heat) into the parts, thereby risking warping.

    With stick (or MIG) you would be "Hot & Fast" on the part, and off it faster, with less heat distortion.

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    I have talked with a few guys who think TIG takes too long. They say go with MIG and get it done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rons View Post
    I have talked with a few guys who think TIG takes too long. They say go with MIG and get it done.
    Yup, simply look at the heat affected zone when comparing process's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnEvans View Post
    Too big a tip? filler size? Tip size #1 3/32 filler. Not all that bad but to me too much heat,fillet weld like that is one of the hardest to do.
    What John said although I'd prefer 1/16 filler.

    Yes, tig is easier because you have instant heat control with your foot. With OA you either have to go faster or cram more filler into the puddle. Backing away with the torch works well for brazing, but for steel welding you lose the high temperature heat necessary for the base metal melt, but still put all the lower temperature heat into the part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by implmex View Post
    So I thought...no problem...I've got a gas welder...I'll just gas weld my project together.

    Man am I ever rusty!
    If you are looking at TIG or MIG as a easy route in the sense that it doesn't take practice, then that is wrong. You can get rusty with either method.

    Don't get a new machine for that reason. Get one that is TIG based to do really fine work with currents down to 5 amps.

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    I started out welding with oxyacetylene and now primarily weld with TIG. Your welds definitely Demonstrate some ability and I do not think you would have any problems learning TIG. The 2 processes are somewhat similar but they are also somewhat different. You need much more of a steady hand with TIG. But like anything else if you invest the time the skill set will develop. Since you say you can afford a decent TIG machine like a dynasty, To that I say go for it and pull the trigger. My only recommendation for you is that you get the dynasty 280 DX and not the 210. Both are very capable machines but the 280 will give you a lot more capability when it comes to working with thicker material Especially when it comes to aluminum. Set the machine up with CK Worldwide Tig torch. That is my $0.02 for what it's worth.

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    If you ask any of the real pro motor body builders who do vintage cars etc,they all say oxy acetylene is the best ,because the weld is softer and more malleable without cracking......I love oxy/acet for any kind of steel sheet,magic for exhaust piping.But I wont pay the crazy price for acteylene,so its all electric far as Im concerned.

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    One thing that really hurts the pocket book when doing GTAW is the amount of gas and the cost of gas. GMAW is so much faster and so uses much less gas.
    Consider wire feed unless you intend to do a lot of stainless or aluminum.

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    I find TIG way easier than O/A. If you can do what you posted in the photos you can do TIG no problem with a little guidance. it's similar but different, like painting with a brush vs roller.

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    Hi All:
    For all of you who responded with kind comments...thank you, I appreciate it!

    For those who made specific recommendations; here's how I ran the welds:
    Ancient Victor aircraft torch with a number 1 tip.
    5 PSI oxygen and 5 PSI acetylene.
    Neutral flame a twitch on the soft side, just short of noticeable hissing.
    Roughly 10 seconds to get a puddle forming in 16 ga stock.
    1/16 rod.

    A 2" long fillet weld required about 3 minutes to complete, so pretty slow.
    All got hot enough to noticeably warp the 1" x 2" tubing (about 1/4" in 4 feet).

    Those upright legs were spaced on 11" centers and there were 5 legs per 4 foot tube all welded onto the same side of the long tube.

    I got through the job without incident, the sins are covered with paint and the rack is bolted to the wall with split 4" ABS sewer pipe bolted on to make the shelves...I'm a happy guy and from a couple of feet away it all looks professional...I don't have to be embarrassed by it.

    So moving on...I've been looking casually at what's available in welders.
    So far I've looked at Miller, Lincoln and Esab.
    Any other brands I should look at?
    Any specific machines anyone of you can recommend?

    I want an inverter TIG I want AC, I'd like to be able to run a stinger occasionally to build a workbench or similar and I have zero interest in MIG.
    I have no desire to automate it, and it will be a feel-good hobby for me that occasionally makes me some coin.
    I'll never do even remotely heavy fabricating...my interest is in 1/8" plate work and smaller...something to complement the laser welder I already own.

    So are there any machines that stand out?

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining

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    The lowest end of functional AC tig is the AHP alpha tig 200. its around $800 and runs fairly well. I helped a buddy set it up and got to run a few beads with it on SS and Al. It did as nice of a job as any other tig in its class. Foot pedal was a bit clunky.
    Mid range are the Everlast units and depending on how many amps you want they are in the $2000-$2500 range. Get as many amps as you can afford because you will *Always* end up with an aluminium job where you want 20-50 more amps if not more.
    The one I've gotten to run was similar to their 225ext. I think they slightly upgraded it and changed the model number. The machine did as well as the miller 350 dynasty I was using for my day job at the time, but with 100 or so less amps. It had more control and more features than some of the similar red/blue machines in its weight class.

    If you can weld oxy fuel like that, you will pick tig up fairly quickly. Things that will be different include the torch being much closer to the work, using the foot pedal to control your heat instead of torch height and the biggest one is not yanking the torch away from the work at the end of a weld. Taper down and hold still for a few seconds so the post flow can do its job. You can still use the filler rod to control heat to a degree, but not as much as you would with oxy. Thats why you have a foot pedal I've been working with a retired gentleman who only really knew oxy-fuel and stick... these are the habits im watching him try and break lol

    From what you're describing and how you handle oxy fuel, just get a good AC tig. All tig machines can stick weld, so you would have that for any random "heavier" work or household repairs. With tig its a push of a button and a cleaning of the tungsten and your switched from al to ss to steel ect ect. Mig takes a lot more effort and even a few different gasses to run right, and is still limited to thinner materials. Plus, if you want the thing to look really good, you usually have to do Some kind of finish work to mig welds, even if its just knocking off little bits of spatter.

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    Good morning PlasmaOn TheBrain:
    Thank you very much for that post; that's exactly the information I was hoping for and I really appreciate you taking the time to put it together for me this way.

    I'll start looking at the alternatives you described, it will simplify my search a lot.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining

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