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Old 02-17-2006, 03:09 PM
Coming back from burnout
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: in the Pacific Northwest
Posts: 2,274
What its like to be the worst welder in the world...

The first day you burn holes in the steel, the second day you forget to turn on the Gas, the third day you use low voltage and low wire speed and you get bird droppings for welds, & you wonder if you wasted your money and get discouraged and tired and start losing enthusiasm and start looking for POR55 and rivets...........then one day you get some good sleep & you get a little agressive and try wider voltages and wider speeds and suddenly you hear that Magic Hiss Larry Bible told me about, and I looked and saw the puddle...

.Today I was welding upside down!! week maybe i'll be welding fenders ( I dont think so, but I am kinda high now)

Even grouchy Greg Laethermang woulda smiled!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 02-17-2006, 03:32 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Colleyville, Texas
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Your getting there.
Fenders are much more difficult, due to the thinness of the metal, so practice on some thin scrap metal. I did a front valance Shelby mod on my sons 65 Mustang, Lots of burn thru's. If that happens reduce the voltage and go back over it. Grind it clean and smooth and see where you have to fill in. Also Bondo works wonders.
Keep practicing. I find welding just varies form day to day at my skill level. Running a few beads on scrap metal before starting is always a good idea. It gets you back to looking at the puddle.

1970 220D, owned 1980-1990
1980 240D, owned 1990-1992
1982 300TD, owned 1992-1993
1986 300SDL, owned 1993-2004
1999 E300, owned 1999-2003
1982 300TD, 213,880mi, owned since Nov 18, 1991- Aug 4, 2010 SOLD
1988 560SL, 100,000mi, owned since 1995
1965 Mustang Fastback Mileage Unknown(My sons)
1983 240D, 176,000mi (My daughers) owned since 2004
2007 Honda Accord EX-L I4 auto, the new daily driver
1985 300D 264,000mi Son's new daily driver.(sold)
2008 Hyundai Tiberon. Daughters new car
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Old 02-17-2006, 03:39 PM
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I've struggled with a few issues I seemed to be uniquely stubborn in realizing: not getting a good enough ground and moving the torch too slowly, thinking I'd keep it from building up too much by keeping the heat in one area longer Also, I've left the bottle valve open after welding more than once, leading to an empty tank All I'm saying is, keep learning so you don't fall into bad habits.
'82 300SD - 361K mi - "Blue"

"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement."

listen, look, .........and duck.
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Old 02-17-2006, 06:39 PM
Pete Geither's Avatar
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Location: Western Pa.
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I was a certified welder in my previous life and really enjoyed the challenges and making beautiful verticle and overhead welds. This was with a stick welder using 6012, 5/32 rods. Now our son is the welder in our business and he does aluminum and stainless work that brings tears to my eyes. One thing about welding,,,, to be really good you have to do it almost every day, and that goes double for aluminum.
95 SL500 Smoke Silver, Parchment 64K
07 E350 4matic Station Wagon White 34K
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05 F150 Silver 44K
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Old 02-17-2006, 06:57 PM
Posts: n/a
I know EXACTLY what it feels like to be the worst weldor in the world. Forty years ago I DEFINITELY held the title.

I took metal shop in high school because I wanted to learn to weld. The instructor just showed us how it was done and then told us to go do it. This was with a stick welder, at that time I had no idea what a MIG welder was. I spent three hours a week for the six week welding section of the course and NEVER got to where I could run a bead. It made me feel like a TOTAL uncoordinated idiot. BTW, I learned how to gas weld pretty good in that class.

After I got out of the Army several years later, I built a hot rod starting with a fabricated frame that I got from some body for cheap. It had a small block Chevy and a Model A Five Window body. One night I was at the Seven Eleven and saw my old metal shop teacher. We visited for a little bit while standing in front of my hot rod. After a few minutes of catching up on who was where and so on, I noticed that he was looking at the welding on the front spring perch that was hanging out there for anyone and everyone to see. He said, "Bible, I'll tell you one thing, you didn't weld that frame together." I said "No sir it was all welded up before I bought the frame." He said, "That's a good thing since I have to share the road with you!"

About 19 years ago when I moved out here in the boondocks and had to start keeping farm equipment glued together I bought a Lincoln Tombstone. I messed around with it and still couldn't run a bead, then one day my brother in law was visiting and I asked if he would try to teach me to weld. He was a certified weldor when he worked for Ryder Truck Rental in the seventies.

I messed around trying to run a bead for him and he finally held my welding glove and ran a bead to show me what it felt like. That was the missing link. Since that time I got to a point that I could not only weld all my farm equipment and junk together, but also started welding together gates out of thin wall tubing WITH A STICK. Since I was a little accomplished with a stick, when I got my MIG welder it took all of 30 seconds to learn how to make a good bead with a MIG welder.

It's sort of like learning to drive in a stick shift car. Once you can do that, then driving an automatic is no problem. If you don't have the luxury (or punishment) of learning to stick weld, then you have a lot of things to learn while you're learning to MIG.

Nowdays I'm getting pretty confident with my MIG welder. Over the holidays I built a camber brace for my Corvette out of thinwall tubing and I am probably more proud of that welding job than any I've ever done.

So, even someone as dumb as me can learn to weld, given enough time and practice.

Good luck,
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Old 02-17-2006, 07:28 PM
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Location: Milford, DE
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Larry's experiences exactly parallel my own.

I'm currently taking a 3 month welding class at local technical high school and for the first month the instructor made me START with a stick welder using 6011 rods. It took me about 10-15 hours of actual welding time before I could produce beads that looked ANYTHING like the beads my instructor did or any of the illustrations in the text book. When the instructor finally let me use a 7018 low-hy rod it was so easy to produce good welds it almost felt like I was cheating. Last night I "graduated" from the 7018 rod techniques and he is going to move me up to the MIG set-up next Tuesday night. After "mastering" the 6011 rod it took me about 3 hours to complete the exercises associated with the 7018 rods.

After I started using the 7018 rods I was initially annoyed that the instructor made me start with a more difficult rod, In retrospect I think it was exactly the right thing to do - but it is certainly more frustrating starting with the harder stuff first.
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Old 02-17-2006, 08:35 PM
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If you are working one of those under-powered 115VAC units (MIG), you must use at least a 50 AMP capacity extension cord. Ive seen guys get poor results, simply because their power input to these baby sized welding units, lacked sufficient amperage. Also make sure your 115 VAC source, is rated at a solid 30 amps or more, the better the input amps the better the heat will be.
If you are using a CO2 & Argon mix, sometimes straight argon will better lessen the dross, depending on the quality of your welding wire. MIG welding is an art form that has to be practiced for months until you develop the "feed feel" that stems from arm motion smoothness, correct amps settings, wire gauge diameter, feed speeds, and the particular material you are attempting to weld. Dont ever get stupid, and try to better your work by looking directly into the arc without proper eye shielding, you will only end up blind this way. Wear heavy gloves, and cover up your exposed body parts like your upper chest, as a tremendous amount of UV is released during the arcing. You will "sun burn" bad otherwize.....

Last edited by dave_rose69; 02-18-2006 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 02-17-2006, 09:41 PM
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Dave brings up a great point that I have never thought about because I have never used a 120V welder. I'll bet there are JILLIONS of these machines plugged into 15 or 20 Amp circuits everywhere.

When was the last time you saw a 30Amp 120 V outlet? They are not common and if your garage has one that was put there by the builder, you probably have a one in 10,000 house and it is only there because you or the builder of the house specified it.

Good luck,
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Old 02-17-2006, 09:52 PM
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Location: Tennessee River Valley
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Rediscovered the forum!

I lost my bookmarks and favorites and I just rediscovered this forum and am trying to get familiar with all the threads. Can anyone point me to a forum called something like Ask Stretch? I recall there were lots of practical Info on the 123 chassis...
Thanks for your patience !
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Old 02-17-2006, 10:07 PM
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Location: Geographically challenged on the S.W shores of Lake Michigan in S,E Wisconsin
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Originally Posted by Carrameow
...........then one day you get some good sleep

Even grouchy Greg Laethermang woulda smiled!!!!!!!!!!!!!
for a driven fella like yourself sleep just gets in the way. ya know, sleep is N-O-T underrated. try a little more and you will be amazed at what can be accomplished, ...the...first...time.

congrats on the graduation. i still need a garage i can work in so i am (hmmmm no envious ican)

.....and you aren't the worst because i haven't started yet!!
[1981 300 td tdidi 165500 dark brown/palamino-Brownie-mine-3k miles of ownership
1983 240d 162+++ Anthricite grey w/ henna red interior and hella lights-wifes car-Red

the above two cars are for sale
and can be seen on the cars for sale thread here. pix also available.

240d-144+ Manilla Yellow w/ palmino interior-greasecar kit-Blondie-the college kids car

23" gt 21 speed still on original tires-still got the nubs
21" khs tandem
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Old 02-17-2006, 10:30 PM
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I was lucky. In my late teens, I got selected to go to school to learn both pipe and structual welding for a paper mill that was going to be built. We were constantly instructed and tested, with both break and x-ray analysis to show any faults we had. The problem was, they had selected too many people for training, and I had come in the last bunch. Most of the first bunch were nearly through their TIG training while my bunch was finishing up our Stick training. Once they decided they had way too many people training, they decided they would lose half of us by TIG testing everyone. Nevermind that it was the first week of TIG training for my bunch. I had passed 6G pipe welding with stick the week before and got tested on 6G pipe welding with a TIG on the first week of learning TIG. After the testing, I thought I had a good chance of passing, but didn't. No one in my bunch passed and they wouldn't even show us our results. To this day I still don't know if I really failed or not but I got into auto repair and have the skill to weld when needed to.
85 300CD
83 300TD
78 240D (daughter)
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Old 02-17-2006, 11:54 PM
Coming back from burnout
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: in the Pacific Northwest
Posts: 2,274
Man oh man ...those schools........wistfully dreaming

How I wistfully remember Night School, did it for 8 years, three nights a a way I miss it, being around young excited people, the students were nicer than at some snobby college ( we were all in it together) and so were the instructors..of course that was Engineering, which is about as popular these days as being a Good Hunor Man ( I hope i have not offended anyone, I may be wrong)

I was thinking of taking Bodywork and Welding at at the Votech nearby, but dont laugh...I am not sure I can stay awake that long anymore, when i was younger I needed less sleep. Also my wife and I are very close and that would be one night she would be home by herself ( Ps she is 5'8 ft and has a blackbelt if some criminal type down the street is reading this post and I have two dobermans)
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Old 02-17-2006, 11:59 PM
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Location: Central, NJ
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i hire technical/trade people for a living. sounds to me like you have passed the toughest test of all: THE LIFE/SUCCESS TEST.

congrats! truly, congrats!! your obligation is to now pass it on. (and it is a most serious obligation).


'79 300D, "Liesel von Diesel", 235K

I kid proofed the house....but they still get in
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Old 02-18-2006, 12:04 AM
Coming back from burnout
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: in the Pacific Northwest
Posts: 2,274
Look atthe picture closely

HE HE THE PICTURES ARE LO RES and small and BECAUSE THE WELDS WERE TERRIBLE, I GROUND THEM DOWN and REWELDED THEM. I am sure everyone saw that but were too nice to say anything
The only thing I am proud of is the peening and forming job I did on the sheet metal, it took some patience for a beginner to make the pieces and solve the problem & I dont think a sheet metal brake would have been helpful..if you take a look at that joint from underneath the car, you can see that its kind of complicated
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Old 02-18-2006, 12:24 AM
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Location: Northern Va.
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Originally Posted by LarryBible
Dave brings up a great point that I have never thought about because I have never used a 120V welder. I'll bet there are JILLIONS of these machines plugged into 15 or 20 Amp circuits everywhere.

When was the last time you saw a 30Amp 120 V outlet? They are not common and if your garage has one that was put there by the builder, you probably have a one in 10,000 house and it is only there because you or the builder of the house specified it.

Good luck,
I've never seen a 30 amp 120V outlet but maybe I haven't looked hard enough while at Lowes or HD. Isn't the max 20 amp with 12 ga. wiring? I suppose you could do 30 amp with the higher quality orange outlets and paired 12 ga. wiring. Better to use the dryer outlet.

Oh and one more thing, the vast majority of outlets are wired by stripping the insulation off and pushing the end into a small hole in the back of the outlet which ends up being a point contact instead of using the terminals on the side of the outlet. I'd better start rewiring all my outlets.

Nice postings on welding. There are welding courses at my local Comm. College and I may just take them just for kicks along with my auto courses.

I took metal shop in High School with an intro to brazing and welding. It was fun.




Currently 1965 220Sb, 2002 FORD Crown Vic Police Interceptor

Had 1965 220SEb, 1967 230S, 280SE 4.5, 300SE (W126), 420SEL


Not part of the in-crowd since 1952.
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