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  #16  
Old 05-27-2009, 03:37 PM
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I don't think a class is necessary, although I spent months struggling to weld with a crappy stick welder before stepping up and buying a used Lincoln Promig 130 for $300. It's really just point and shoot. I've only used flux core so far and I've welded structural and sheet metal, seems to work fine, although sheet metal is probably easier with gas and produces a better looking weld.
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  #17  
Old 05-27-2009, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEBalles View Post
I don't think a class is necessary, although I spent months struggling to weld with a crappy stick welder before stepping up and buying a used Lincoln Promig 130 for $300. It's really just point and shoot. I've only used flux core so far and I've welded structural and sheet metal, seems to work fine, although sheet metal is probably easier with gas and produces a better looking weld.
I'm not sure I agree with you about the "no class necessary" issue. If you are welding sheet metal panels that might be, more or less true, but if you are welding structural things where there are consequences for failing welds you better have a pretty good idea about what is a sound weld and what isn't a sound weld.

Beginners almost always don't use enough heat, their welds tend to be shallow and lack penetration.

There are lots of other things that you will learn in a basic welding class that will make things much easier (fitment, multi-pass welding, out-of-position welding, the 'best' type of welding technique for the job at hand, ect) that are pretty hard to pick-up by trial-and-error.
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  #18  
Old 05-27-2009, 10:18 PM
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http://www.learn-how-to-weld.com/
Good info here, videos are decent also.

Buy a welder within your budget, and get going! Definetly get an auto darkening helmet, makes learning very very easy. Spend less then $100 on one, but more then the $50 cheapy at harbor freight (That one WILL! let you down...)


~Nate
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  #19  
Old 05-27-2009, 11:17 PM
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Yeah, don't cheap out on an auto darkener. No sense going blind for a few dollars.
Personally, I use the regular helmet. A quick nod drops it in place. I might get an auto darkener for tig welding though, the lift arc start is difficult when you can't see how close you are to the metal.
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  #20  
Old 05-28-2009, 09:48 AM
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Auto dark comes in handy when you are under a car.

Jorg
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  #21  
Old 05-28-2009, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by 89-300ce View Post
Auto dark comes in handy when you are under a car.

Jorg
It's handy everywhere. Not having to blindly strike that first arc is nice, it's very easy to loose your spot.

FWIW, even the cheap ones fail to their darkest shade when the battery goes.

~Nate
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  #22  
Old 05-28-2009, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by TimFreeh View Post
...Beginners almost always don't use enough heat, their welds tend to be shallow and lack penetration...
Definitely. Just because the weld looks good from the surface doesn't mean that it penetrated enough to be strong. That's where the skill comes in - to apply enough heat to get proper penetration without blowing a hole in the metal.
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  #23  
Old 05-28-2009, 12:22 PM
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THx

Good comments fellas - thanks. My dad is a seasoned welder (30 yrs) so he can give me some pointers once I get going - although he's very good at welding he's not good in teaching... so I may take a class anyway, and learn the basics, the terminology and work on my technique.
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