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Looking for a welder

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by rampage, May 15, 2001.

  1. rampage

    rampage 1/2 ton status

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    I have some welding projects lined up and need some input on a welder. I have no experience welding so the type that I buy needs to be easy to use (MIG, TIG, etc). I plan on doing some frame repairs (the infamous steering box crack), body work and roll cage. I don't plan on welding anything thicker than 1/4 inch plate. What I need is something that would be easy to use and good quality. I REALLY prefer something that will run off of 120V since I don't have a 220V outlet available and I don't want to use gas either. Any suggestions? Also would like some suggestions on where to learn to weld correctly, something besides trial and error.
     
  2. plk33

    plk33 Registered Member

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    I bought a hobart mig welder about 7 years ago when I started my 1970 Dodge Charger RT project. It is the 120 v model. I used it on the body work of the charger and dozens of misc. projects. I am now using it for the body work on my 1987 suburban. Tig is too expensive and hard for amatures. No one I know has a tig in their garage. You can easily weld steel up to 1/4 inch with a 120 v mig welder. On the thicker stuff you will need to v out the joint area and build it up with weld. If you get a mig, make sure to get a gas model. They sell gas less mig welders that use a special wire. These are usually a hundred bucks or so cheaper than the gas ones, which require a non flamable sheiding gas. You pay about as much for regular mig wire and gas as you do for the special gas less wire, so their isnt really any long term savings, but the gas model is much more versitile. It welds much smoother. I would recommend a hobart, lincoln or miller 120 v gas mig welder.
     
  3. MaxCrack

    MaxCrack 1/2 ton status

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    me too me too, I would like to know these things to. I'm in a very similar situation.

    That's because I'm the devil.
     
  4. Waxer

    Waxer 1/2 ton status Author

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    Mig = gas wirefeed
    with out the gas its just a wirefeed that requires the flux cored wire.
    So, I'd recommend the Lincoln Weld-Pak 100 I use it and weld 1/4" all the time w/no problems. Its both wirefeed & mig with the gas attachments. Remember that welding with the gas will create a cooler weld so actually welding with the Weld-Pak 100 to do something on 1/4", it'd be better to use just wirefeed as it will be hotter. Anyways, thats my 2 cents. The Lincoln Weld-Pak 100 (110v) is $328 at Home Depot.
     
  5. rampage

    rampage 1/2 ton status

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    So how did you guys learn to weld?
     
  6. plk33

    plk33 Registered Member

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    I have never heard of the gas producing a cooling effect. I know different gases affect the welding. co25 vs co2. Actually any mig welder can be used gasless with the flux core wire. Usually the gas type wire is .023-.024 dia and the flux is .030-.035 dia, which requires a different liner in the gun. I would still recomend getting the gas bottle for any serious welding.
     
  7. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    If you can afford it, check into the Lincoln SP125. I think it is THE best 110 MIG available but it will run $600-$700 set up. SP100 is a bit cheaper but not enough to make it a good buy IMO. I’ve never used a small MIG before but I'm thinking of getting one of the SP125s. But, I may just go with a Hobart 135 which can be bought at Harbor Freight for around $475. Haven’t got to that point yet so I have not decided. I’m hoping I get lucky and find a nice used one cheap or something in the mean time. [​IMG] The Weld-Pak is ok but by the time you add the gas kit, your getting into the same price range as the H135, not sure how they compare quality/feature wise though.

    As for learning to weld, both my Grandfathers and one Uncle are/were life-long Boiler Makers with my uncle also doing marine construction on the side (ship yards and dry docks). Anyway, I got started with their help using a Miller 225 buz box and a big portable MIG. Then I ran a big Lincoln MIG on frame machine in a body shop (co-owner) for several years.

    2 good references you can take a look at are:
    Welder's Handbook - ISBN 1557882649
    Metal Fabricator's Handbook - ISBN 0895868709

    Bad Dog

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, NP205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked
    Soon: 4" lift, 40" tires, massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  8. plk33

    plk33 Registered Member

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    Trial and error. Welding thick stuff is pretty easy. I would only be concerned with highly critical parts like welding a shackle holder to a frame, not using any bolts. You would want to know what you are doing to make sure you get good penatration there. The hardest thing to do is to weld sheet mettal body pannels without warping them. You have to be REAL carefull because they warp easy.
     
  9. Wheels

    Wheels 1/2 ton status

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    MIG with a CO2/Argon mix for welding sheetmetal is the best set up I've used. Stick welding sheet metal produces too much heat and it'll crack eventually. It can be done but it takes a lot of practice. Stitch welding with a MIG welder seems to produce the best results. The gas shields the work and replaces the flux. Less splatter, little cleanup (no slag buildup as with stick welders). The smaller units can be had for around $300. Go down to the hardware store and buy some small sheets of 12 through 16 gauge metal and practice, practice, practice. Check into some of the local Tech institutes in your area. They usually offer a good welding class and it's pretty cheap (about $125 per class).
     
  10. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Wheels makes a good point about local vocational classes but instead of buying sheet from a local hardware store, pick up some damaged sheet metal from a truck similar to yours at the junk yard. If there is one that you frequent, they will likely *give* (or sell VERY cheap) you several damaged panels to practice on. I say get a panel off of the same vehicle because different manufacturers (and different years) used different alloys and thickness for body panels. This can make a noticeable difference in welding them. I also agree with using the Argon mix. That is definitely the way to go and only costs a little more than CO2.

    For sheet metal, don’t even try it with a stick. Welding sheet (and doing a good job) has got to be the toughest welding jobs there is (if we limit discussion to steel and eliminate things like cast iron, aluminum, etc.). What I usually did when splicing bodies is to cut the donor panel about 2” too long. Then, after measuring VERY carefully I cut off the excess as if the 2 pieces would be butted together. Then, take the scrap and section it (may also need some hammer work) so that it can be fit tightly up behind the section to be repaired and tack it in place. Grind the tacks down so that the new panel can slide completely into place and tack/clamp it there. Then, weld a 1” section, skip 2 or 3 inches and weld another 1” section letting it cool periodically. A flat panel will be more likely to warp than a panel with more "crown" so adjust accordingly. When finished with the first pass, go back and pick up the next inch or so and repeat until you have a solid weld. The piece on the back allows you to get a little heat and a good weld without “blowing through” but you still have to be careful of heat warping. Obviously this technique would have to be modified in some areas but you can see the general idea. I often use a similar technique even on heavier stuff (like frames) which must be but welded and have very good penetration (but I don’t want to “blow through”) and strength.

    Bad Dog

    85 K30 CUCV, 350 TBI, TH400, NP205, D60/C14, 4.56 Locked
    Soon: 4" lift, 40" tires, massive cutting, shorter wb and rear overhang.
     
  11. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    I paid $700 bucks for a Lincoln SP-125 and the whole setup. I highly recommend it. So far I've done some fab work and welded on the frame with it and it's so easy.

    "Liberals ain't mean, they just don't have any common sense!"
     
  12. rezalb

    rezalb 1/2 ton status

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    My friend has one of those Lincoln 100 pak and it kicks but...Not to big, not to small, simple but good....If it were your job you may want more but for around the house with 4x4's and race cars, fence, so it is GREAT....
    I want one and will have one sooooooooonnnnnn

    rezalB

    Built for a purpose.
     

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