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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-14-2001, 02:19 AM
Frank360
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Learning to weld...

How does a common mortal newbie learn to weld ? Are there books on the subject, should I look at welding in general or welding in automotive applications implicitly ? I would be interested in purchasing a welder if I knew how and would then know what to buy..

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-14-2001, 02:55 AM
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Re: Learning to weld...

I would recomend going to your local comunity college and signing up for a class. I took a introductory class for 200 dollars in fees plus and other 200 in gear (jacket, hood, gloves, ect.) this was in Alaska where prices are to high, in the lower 48 it would likly be much ceaper.

post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-14-2001, 02:57 AM
Frank360
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Re: Learning to weld...

Got this from a web page....

A good welder is one who PRACTICES, PRACTICES, PRACTICES. It is not hard to learn but you need to PRACTICE. Do not practice on your 914!
NEVER WELD NEAR ANYTHING THAT COULD EXPLODE, LIKE FUEL.

(This concerns Heli Arc Welding. Oxy-Aceteylene Welding is different.)

Welding is like anything else - Understand the principals and practice. The 1st thing to be concerned about when welding is the generated HEAT - you CAN BURN yourself, your house, your wife and your kids if you're not careful. If you have access to a welding machine, do some practice on scrap material similar to the actual material you'll be welding. [An article on 914 restoration in European Care magazine actually referred to using an old softdrink vending machine for practice! - taj]

Spend at least a couple of hours perfecting your confidence in your ability to make a good weld. By doing this you will see how you must not dwell too long in any spot. If you concentrate too much heat in one spot, the metal will become cherry red and burn a hole through the material and make it difficult to repair. Wire brush PAINT off of what you intend to weld. A weld MUST be clean.

After you have connected the welder's ground to the material (make sure that this is a good ground!), turn on your welding machine. Look at the amp setting on the welder. Turn it down to about 60 amp for sheet metal or to 100 amp for thicker metal. Don't forget that helmet that will protect your eyes. Also do welding in a venilated area. You will have to regulate the amperage to whatever is best as your practice will verify.

Now with the rod in the holder, drag the tip of that rod across the material you are going to practice on, which will start the arc. Use your other hand to pull your helmet down over your face at the exact moment of arc. Even closing you eyes as you do this arc and helmet coordination, for a moment, is a good safety practice. Welding light can damage your eyes.

You should see that you keep the end of the rod about an 1/8" above the material once you get the arc started. Now holding the angle of the holder with the rod about 30 degrees from the material, but toward you, about an 1/8" above the material, start a pattern of small circular movements with your hand holding the holder with the rod. You must push the circular motion away from you slowly and then pull slowly toward you. What I am trying to say in one word is to really make OVAL movements and as the rod burns and flows into the molten material, to keep moving the rod in this fashion, always trying to maintain the 1/8" gap between the material and the rod as you keep the arc burning. Your movement will be Oval and toward you along the gap of the pieces you are welding.

Oh, I forgot, wear a long sleeved shirt to protect your arms and make certain the material you are welding is always reasonably clean.

That REALLY IS all there is to it. Everything someone else can do, anyone else can do, if they want to do it. Skills are learned by PRACTICE, not BOOKS. Books are only guidelines.

I recommend a Lincoln welder for home shops because of 40 years of personal satisfaction of use in industrial applications.


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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-14-2001, 04:06 AM
Frank360
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Re: Learning to weld...

This would be something I'd be interested in... I'll check with the College in town, thanks... although 400$ in total sounds a little pricey...

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-14-2001, 04:46 AM
Frank360
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Re: Learning to weld...

I just ordered the Haynes welding manual, it only cost me 30$... It's a start...

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-14-2001, 08:42 AM
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Re: Learning to weld...

You can go to the student's bookstore and get a beat-up copy of the book they use in class, the rest of the class is just practice.

Even the best equiptment is worthless, if you don't know how to use it.
post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-14-2001, 08:52 AM
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Re: Learning to weld...

Frank, you might want to look at the topic "welder advice needed" started by me if you haven't done so yet. I got some great advice from others on this BBS regarding this topic. I actually just laid my first bead last night with a Lincoln Weldpac 100 that a friend was borrowing and let me try it out. Boy it was an ugly bead. You couldn't even call it a bead. Anyway, one thing I learned really quick in 10 minutes of trying: you can attach anything to anything (within reason) with a welder but to make a STRUCTURALLY STRONG weld you need some guidance, read a lot of books on the subject and PRACTICE A TON! My first welds were just like soldering, hardly had any strength. Some others looked like swiss chease. You get the picture. You either need to take a class (that's what I'm gonna do), have somebody good show you, or if you teach yourself (which is possible) practice a lot and shear, test, inspect your welds always, make notes of settings until you can make a strong weld. There are a lot of different metals, thicknesses, shapes of joins, positions and enviroments that affects what welding process, machine, filler material and technique is used. One last thing: when all is said and done be ready to spend upwards $400-$600 for equipment. I don't see any other way around that. Hope this helps.

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-14-2001, 11:09 AM
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Re: Learning to weld...

Practice, practice, practice! That is the name of the game. It's really not all that difficult, just a different set of skills that you might not be familiar with using. A beginner's welding class would be a great idea if you can find one near you. I've never really looked at any of the welding books available, so not real sure how useful they could possibly be.

One thing that caught my eye in the longer post that was explaining the "how to weld". This following statement makes me a bit leery: "Now with the rod in the holder, drag the tip of that rod across the material you are going to practice on, which will start the arc. Use your other hand to pull your helmet down over your face at the exact moment of arc. Even closing you eyes as you do this arc and helmet coordination, for a moment, is a good safety practice. Welding light can damage your eyes."
Seems to me there could be a lot of burnt out eyeballs using this method. It has always been my observation that whenever the rod makes contact with the metal, it will arc almost immediately. Therefore, finding the exact moment that you should be pulling the helmet down could be a costly trial & error experience. When doing arc welding, I guess I have always found it easier to line up the welding rod directly over the spot I plan to begin welding on, lower the helmet, THEN make contact with the metal, thus beginning the arc welding process. Maybe I'm doing things differently than most, but I tend to value my eye sight and don't really want to burn it out unnecessarily. To each their own I guess!

--Digger--


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post #9 of (permalink) Old 03-14-2001, 04:49 PM
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Re: Learning to weld...

The reason I recomend a class is that there are a lot of little tricks and knowledge that you will not get from books but will get from a good instructor. Books are great sorces of information but can't be asked for advise.

Using the wrong rod or amperage or polarity you can make a weld that looks good but is weak. In a class I spent about $200 in fees and had to buy my own gear but it was well worth it as I burnt up about $100 worth of rod in practice, and still have my gear.

One thing on safty that many people don't think of. Alway where natural fiber clothing (cotton, wool, leather) they may burn but they are easy to put out. Clothing such as nilon will not only burn but also melt and literally shrink wrap your body. Don't wear fire retardent clothing instead where cottons which can be slapped out against your skin. Also where boots that will not collect sparks and aim them at your feet.

Don't worry about burning yourself; because you will. But the burns if you are wearing the correct clothing will be small and not of lasting effects.

Something else to consider is longevity of the weild some rods if used incorrectly will give a weld with many hydrogen bubles in it, (parosity). the weild will be strong but water will work it way in to the bubles and rust the weild from with in. causing it to break many year later without warning.

I do not mean to discourage you but welding especially on critical application should not be done by simple draging the rod across the material and hopeing for the best.

Wilhelm

post #10 of (permalink) Old 03-14-2001, 06:20 PM
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Re: Learning to weld...

I've taught welding for years at our Community College and at Union Sheetmetal and Pipefitters halls. Usually you can get an instructor at the College to give you a couple of freebies. They don't have anything to loose really and allot of times, people get hooked and sign up for classes.

I encouraged walk-ins to bring their welding projects, so the students would have some "real life" welding experience. You might take a welding project to your College, see if they could weld it up for you, and just stick around for the actual event. You'd surely pick up some tips, and they might even throw a few free lessons your way...

Another good way to start welding is to try MIG. It's a good medium for learning to "see" the pool. Very safe and super forgiving.

Best of luck,

Devin

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