Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
oldtuckunder

Novice MIG TIG? Welding Advice

Recommended Posts

OK looking for some advice on buying a MIG, TIG, FIG, JIG or whatever "IG" flavour is in fashion these days.

Treat me as an absolute novice, I used to have a small arc welder 40+ years ago and learnt to teach pieces of rusty metal to want to stay joined together, however I suspect at times they used to do it just to humour me and also because they had got bored with the process, A mild case of Arc Eye after patching an A40 sill in the early 70's marks the last time I used one.

I have no ambitions to set out rebuilding rusty body shells, there are a few sheets of new 20 gauge steel sheet that I wish to overlap and plug weld, like I'm thinking 100-150 plug welds.  After that welding the odd angle iron bracket, or maybe the odd alloy one is the complete limit of my ambitions.

So not looking for the Bee's Knee's welding set, just something small and practical for the intended job and the odd bracket afterwards.

So do I need MIG or TIG, do I need Gas, see a whole bunch of small kits on ebay but I have no idea what amperage I need, what the best case colour is, is a monday a better day to buy than a tuesday......   About the only thing I do know I need is a decent self darkening mask (one bitten, thrice shy!) 

Alan

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alan!  With your other expertise, I'd assume you could weld!   As usual, IMHO, you waste money by buying cheap kit.  So if this is for a limited project you might consider a quote from a local fabrication firm, rather than investing and not using.

If you want to invest, then definitely MiG.   Its much easier to learn than gas or TiG .   if you plan a lot of spot welds, there is a special torch end that makes it easier.    But "plug welds" are easy to learn.

Consider finding a short welding course.  I've been on two - the first was a waste of time, poor kit and poor teachers.  You need someone who will guide you about the choice of power, gas flow and wire feed, what to listen for in the fizzle and how to move your torch.  Courses should give you lots of metal to practice on too.     My second course was great, just the opposite, and I now have City & Guilds, Grade 1 welding, MiG and gas!

IF you invest, then proper gas bottles, MiG or gas.   The tiny ones run out too quick, "gasless" MiG is finicky.

Masks?  Same criterion.   Any known maker, Clarke, SIP, etc.    Machine Mart are good for all kit.

Good luck!  Can be both frustrating and very satisfying!

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eh....?  What did you weld your "race" bonnet with then? 

I'd say you want a MIG.  For someone setting out on a resto I'd normally advise a reasonably decent MIG (R-Tech or similar) with Euro torch and a 10 or 20 litre Argoshield bottle.

However, for a simple, single job and then occasional general "metal glue gun" duties, this is overkill.

I would suggest something from the Clarke family - I started out with a 100E in 1987 and in theory it's still around somewhere - if I can figure out which one of my mates has it....... and if it still works, you can have it - but don't hold your breath!  These do crop up used very often, quite often having had very little use and sometimes include handy extras like full-size regulator.  Many on ebay and probably on Gumtree too. Avoid the "no gas" ones.  You can always use flux cored wire in a standard machine if you are so inclined.  Doesn't give nice (or even acceptable) results though in my experience.  Small SIP machines of a certain age have an evil reputation for wire feed problems (justified) and are best avoided. 

Do you need gas.....?  Flux-cored wire gives pretty rough results usually (in my limited experience).  If you are welding only small amounts (and that means small!) then the the small disposable bottles may not be a totally daft option but the cost soon mounts up if you have much to do.  Otherwise you can choose between CO2 (pub-gas and fire-extinguisher type bottles are an option) and argoshield (usually 5% Co2 for thin sheet metal).  Choices there might depend on what can be had locally at the most reasonable price.

I have a SIP 150 (bigger, semi-pro machine) which is probably 30 years old, on wheels with Euro-torch that I paid £100 for at least 15 years ago.  It's had a bit of fettling over the years and is a bit moody, but it does ok.  A good friend has just bought one of the small R-Tech ones and I'm itching to have a go with it......

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buy proper gas & a decent MIG torch, can't remember what mine is now think it was a Euro torch? made a big difference anyway. Decent masks are cheap now so no worries there & if you want to plug weld then i find the punched holes too small & drill out to 6mm ish, depends whats sharp at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Yep, to what John says.  If you only want to weld mild steel MIG is the way to go.  I agree that "gasless" is not the best, and buy the Argon mix (CO2 will weld, but it won't flatter you like Argon!).

I find the small bottles fine, they are cheap, and don't last on big jobs (for which I have a pub CO2 cylinder), but are fine for little jobs.

I've tried stainless wire in my MIG, and while it will stick stuff together it's not neat (but that's probably 50% me....)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Nick Jones said:

 if I can figure out which one of my mates has it......

I still look for gear i kind of know someone borrowed decades ago, but not sure who.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

1 hour ago, RedRooster said:

I still look for gear i kind of know someone borrowed decades ago, but not sure who.

Yeah...... mind you, it's possible I still have things borrowed years ago that I've had possession of so long I've forgotten they are borrowed!  Nothing a big as a MIG though!

I should say that that Clarke machine did me very well.  I learned to MIG weld with it and it even helped me get work with a Triumph repairer/restorer while I was a student, which helped pay for my developing Triumph habit.  I later got a job as a "real" welder-fabricator having passed a weld test.  That weld test, done with a high-end professional MIG was the first time I welded with any MIG other than the little Clarke machine...... Yes, I did notice the difference!

It stuck together the remains of my Herald the first time around, did what little welding was needed on the Vitesse, more or less glued a complete Mini shell together from scratch, did a significant amount of welding on a couple of Dolomites, a huge amount of welding on a Fiat X1/9, same again on a horrifyingly rusty Renault 5 and then a full resto on the Herald.  There was also work on a Reliant SS1, another horribly rusty Mini and various other scabby old sheds.  It also used to go off on working holidays regularly.  It became battered and ugly - but continued to work.  I did add a cooling fan fairly early on, converting it to a 100E "turbo"!  

Nearly all my car related welding has been done with CO2.  We swapped to Argoshield quite early on in the Spitfire resto - but only because the local CO2 supplier became very unreliable when refilling the cylinder.  Took me quite a while to get used to the Argoshield, not helped by my big SIP machine becoming unwell at more or less the same time and muddying the water!

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Alan - just a quick outburst from the back row -- what John and Nick have said is correct - words of wisdom to me years ago (and they were correct) buy the most powerfull set that that will plug into a 13 amp socket which now would be @200 amp or you will regret it later !!!! Definitely go for MIG - TIG does not play well with dirty or oxidized metal - gasless or flux cored wire to be right and proper is atrocious at best - and the statement "you get what you pay for" is true - I have been a welder and fabricator for 35 years now and fully understand now that the wisdom was right I just wished I'd listened at the time!!!!! but there is hope for me yet as my 130amp cebora mig has just unceremoniously expired (@22years old - how very dare it!!!) in a large and smelly cloud of smoke!!!! Oh and the bang was impressive as well

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recommend mig w/shielding gas and auto darkening mask. They also have magnifying lense inserts like reading glasses. The higher the peak amperage the better for thicker metal so if physically and financially possible a dedicated circuit to match the current draw.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for so much feedback so fast!

NIck, just cause I don't weld doesn't mean I can't bend, roll, cut, and jig together (self tappers work like little spot welds!) then I take it to someone who can.

I agree I normally do use one of the local fabricators, agri engineers, etc, but you are always at the end of the queue, in the past that is why I have purchased things like Tractors, JCB's etc. just cause you then you can when you want to, not in a country sometime soon!

As far as welding goes, I have just been thrown a few weeks delay (or uncertainty when) on a couple of simplish jobs, that if I still had the old arc welder would have prodded me into trying, hence my decision that spending the money on a bit of kit is likely to break even short term, and might be useful for the odd small job again. I am not planning a lifetime of welding! :down:

So the consensus seems to be Gas and MIG, and that given the choice on Gas that an Argon Mix is likely to better, easier, produce better results. Don't think I'm worried about not having big gas bottles, provided it easy to get when I need it small bottles would probably do me, provided that if I found it really annoying I could upsize?

So if something like this comes up on ebay, worth a punt? or walk a mile?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/mig-welder/183196049943?hash=item2aa755e217:g:7I0AAOSwdUVa4Gig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Alan

                  I bought one of these a few years ago (185) when I thought I was going to rebuild my TR2!

I still can not weld! they call it a Portamig what they mean is it is on wheels(it is about the weight of a Brick Built S**t House)

http://www.weldequip.com/portamig-mig-welders.htm

I need my mates son to come down for an hour or two and show me what to do(he is an Ace welder)He works for these people

http://www.huxleymotorsport.co.uk/

Roger

ps I bought a new bonnet last week! (never been fitted to a car!) but it has had the middle cut out and a Fiberglass GT6 hump fitted!!!!

But I was given a GT6 hump in steel to go with it! So I will get mates son to weld it in(not sure of the structural strength with Fiberglass hump fitted!)

It has the bracing tubes fitted and just a touch of surface rust here and there.

Roger

Edited by rogerguzzi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice MIG Roger!

Be really careful welding a steel hump into a Spit bonnet.  The scope for catastrophic distortion is massive.  If the FB one has been fitted well I'd be tempted to leave it......

Nick

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Nick Jones said:

Nice MIG Roger!

Be really careful welding a steel hump into a Spit bonnet.  The scope for catastrophic distortion is massive.  If the FB one has been fitted well I'd be tempted to leave it......

Nick

Hello Nick

                  The hump is riveted in and I was thinking to just plug weld through the holes! and perhaps a few small tacks in between?

No to bothered what it looks like from inside (not a Konkers Man!)

Roger

 

13 hours ago, Nick Jones said:

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is where I eat my words.   TiG is easy!

Today at College, in a rare workshop session, my lecturer demonstrated TiG, and then told me to have a go!

And it is so controllable!    Quite unlike MiG, being more like gas welding, in that you cause a weld pool in the native metal, and only add weld rod if you need it.    The result, when it goes right, is a lovely line of weld with scalloped markings, full thickness but not raised above the surface.    Neat and tidy, no pidgeon poo.

It is very powerful, the arc strikes from a remarkable distance, and a well appointed unit has all sorts of bells and whistles, like a gradual switch off, that helps you not burn it off at an edge, and continued gas flow after you let go of the trigger to continue the masking and prevent oxidation.     You can work on a different metal just by using a different fill rod.

I fabricated a strut with compression tubes for a car we're working on, and was very happy with the result.    I've got loads more to learn,  and I really want to, now!  My college course isn't about workshop skills, so maybe I'll look for a course this summer.

JOhn

Edited by JohnD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, you must have more brain cells available for motor control than I......  It all goes to pot if I have to drive more than one hand at a time......

It's nice technology - but high end machines are very expensive, especially AC/DC ones for aluminium.

Glad you are having fun - Get good at it - I can send you things to stick together neatly! :biggrin:

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TiG machines are certainly costly.    I had a look last night - and nearly fell off the chair, when  after looking at £2-3000 ones, found machines like this for less than £100

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/250AMP-TIG-DC-Inverter-Welder-IGBT-Drawing-ARC-Welding-Electric-Machine-DC-230V/292518224501?hash=item441b71e275:g:ST8AAOSwidFazIPm

But fantasy be still.   It says "TiG" but look, no gas!   In fact it says "TIG" which probably stands for something else, that the advertiser has plucked from the air.

Machines that do have a proper-looking TiG torch and gas connections cost from £200, but I fear that would demonstrate the "Buy cheap, buy twice" rule.   I know it's an almost imposisble Q, but how much would a decent TiG machine cost?

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JohnD said:

TiG machines are certainly costly.    I had a look last night - and nearly fell off the chair, when  after looking at £2-3000 ones, found machines like this for less than £100 

Hello John

                 It looks like a stick welder to me

Roger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said, no gas!    Advertiser's flim-flam to append "TIG" to it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheap and medium cheap machines will be DC only.  Fine unless you need to weld aluminium or titanium.  The very cheap ones will have scratch start and doubtful gas control. You can stick weld with most TIG machines (or MIG for that matter if equipped with the right cables).

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You wont go wrong asking us/these guys   http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/forum/

 

Gr8 Bunch of lads 

 

my advise would be to buy new, cheap and give it a go JUST to get the feel of things and see if its for you or not.

 

I dont know of a single welder who has been welding that started out with the same bit of kit they have ended up with,

 

your going  to learn so much about welding and the limitations of the kit its best to buy cheap and then sell it on if thats what you wish to do.

 

Most come with 12 months warranty if not more

 

Good welding kits come from Fronious, Lorch, miller, lincon etc etc 

I would not buy SIP, clarke is good for low end priced stuff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can do a Short Course in Welding at my College.  Four weeks of Saturdays,  includes Gas and Mig, but the instructor would be happ to let me 'specialise,' and do TiG only!   And I went tontjst welding board to find another person from this area who wants to learn TiG!  So I might have a colleague to learn with!

J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its a fantastic topic to learn John 

I still use mig, as in sum situations, its better,  but on the hole, once you have gone tig, you wont often go back.

Its such a more mauluable weld, softer for working with a dolly etc, hand files a dream, 

you can tig with so much more control 

 

you will love it once you get past dipping the tungsten to often 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×