Re: OT - Which 115V welder?
I wouldn't consider bumpers and shock mounts to be "light welding", but it is doable with a 115V wirefeed machine - you just have to make more passes. A wirefeeder with the CAPABILITY for MIG is what you want, as you may decide that you really like welding and want to do some autobody repair or the like. Fluxcored is fine for the heavier stuff, as it will penetrate a bit more then solid wire using 115V input. You'll kick yourself though if your machine can't handle MIG welding.
MIG/FCAW welding is generally easier for novices then stick welding, but to be a good MIG/FCAW welder requires a fair amount of skill. Most people can pick up a wirefeed gun, start welding on some scrap, and produce "acceptable" beads within an hour or so. However, before welding on some relatively structural stuff like bumpers, shock towers, cages, trailers, etc., it is best to have a few smaller welding projects under your belt. As well, check the strength of your welds by placing a butt joint (two pieces of metal joined together edge-to-edge (in ASCII art, ][ )) in a vice and hammering the crap out of the plate until it is bent at a 90* angle. If the weld didn't break or tear, you should be strong enough.
Stick is a little more challenging for some beginners, but once you have mastered the art of stick welding, most other welding process are simple to learn. The real advantage to stick is its ability to easily use the correct electrode for the job - just place the rod in the holder and off you go! With a wirefeed system, you'd have to swap the entire spool of wire, possibly change tips and/or liner, adjust wire tension, etc. Stick welding is also fairly easy on the wallet, as you can pick up a used basic buzzbox for under $100. All you need is to supply the electrodes and helmet and you're set. [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
My advice is to see if any friends have a welder and play on their machine for a while to get the feel of the process.
Time, heat and pressure.
The same things that make a diamond also make a waffle.