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  1. #1
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    Default Cheap welder for beginner

    Basically I have zero welding knowledge. I'm looking for a cheap machine that I can weld on bungs, seat hinges and little doo dads that come up in my adventures. Nothing crazy like building frames or hard tailing shit. Maybe some books or videos. I don't know. Drop the knowledge bomb on me CC

  2. #2
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    A 110-volt MIG machine would do what you want, but PRACTICE after study. Grind down your joints (angle grinder w. flap disc) and always weld clean material. Do some break testing on scrap.

    Do NOT "learn" on shit you are using. Learn on scrap. Prep scrap as you would a part to be repaired.

    Flux core can be sexy:

    http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php...or-outdoor-use

    Read your ass off, it's interesting and fun.

    Best general welding forum, and IMO the best welding forum:

    http://weldingweb.com/

    http://weldingweb.com/forumdisplay.p...y-Fuel-Welding

    Best manufacturer website no matter what brand you run, and their forum is only second to Weldingweb. Lurk both and learn.

    http://www.millerwelds.com/

    Training videos and other useful info:

    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...g-your-skills/

    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...ng-Discussions

    There really should be a welding resource sticky and a "troubleshooting a no start" sticky thread.
    Last edited by farmall; 07-29-2014 at 5:33 AM.

  3. #3
    ScarTissue
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    For welding bungs is a stick welder okay (assuming quality welds)? I'm just concerned about overpenetration, even with a smaller diameter 6013 electrode (for example).

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScarTissue View Post
    For welding bungs is a stick welder okay (assuming quality welds)? I'm just concerned about overpenetration, even with a smaller diameter 6013 electrode (for example).
    any welding type of machine is good in the hands of a good welder,
    stick welders though are not really used much in the motorcycle fab industry theyre a little too sloppy looking of a weld compared to what you can achieve with a tig welder.

    My advise for a machine for a beginner would be get something like a Miller Econotig and learn to tig weld.

    Mig welders are okay but again tig welders like the econotig can do aluminum and steel and you can really "grow" into that machine.
    Most people that start out mig welding have some awful looking snot welds and when you get better and better eventually at it you are going to want to start tig welding.
    Plus a nice little Tig machine (once you learn the skill) will let you pretty much be able to weld and fabricate about anything you need to on a motorcycle build.
    I use my tig every single day in the shop.
    My mig machine maybe gets turned on 5 times a year.

  5. #5

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    My experience with welding.....

    Tig - Quality looking welds, Can weld steel or Aluminium, Just the best thing overall. However..even an average quality Tig set is a little expensive and the main issue for me was the Gas bottles. Where I live you have to sign up with a company to loan a cylinder than have them fill it etc etc. Too much trouble unless you're really serious about welding and will be building a tonne of stuff to really justify it.

    Mig - You can get no-gas or gas. Not herd great stuff about no gas set-up. It's supposed to OK but best to use Gas. Again, good Mig sets are pricey for occasional use and then there is the issue/expense of renting Argon bottles etc.

    Arc-(MMA) - Cheap to buy but frustrating to use when starting out. The welds don't look great. It's probably the most difficult to master. Better for thicker gauge steel.

    I ended up going with arc welding. It's really cheap. I don't weld that often. A couple of bits here and there but if its a really big job then I'll use it to tack stuff together and take it to a shop and get it properly Tig welded.

    I use 1.6mm electrodes at around 55-60 amps and its fine. The welds aren't pretty but you can always dress them up a bit.

    So if you have patience and only really need to make/weld on mounts and brackets then its fine I think.


    I did the whole seat-mount subframe with with an Arc welder on this bike. It wasn't pretty but its wasn't on display either when the seat was mounted.






    Recently made / welded a hinge for a solo seat for my Sportster. Again not pretty but I'm not complaining.


  6. #6
    SamHain
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    keep practicing with the arc, it can look damn near as good as tig. I've seen original invaders that were arc welded. Out of position tube is going to be the most difficult, but hell thats no walk in the park with tig either.

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    I bought a hobart 140 mig welder as my first machine and I use it for everything best bang for your buck. look at getting a nice auto darkening helmet. I also went hobart with the helmet and I have not been disappointed. hobart is also a miller company

  8. #8
    ScarTissue
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManicMechanic View Post
    My experience with welding.....

    Tig - Quality looking welds, Can weld steel or Aluminium, Just the best thing overall. However..even an average quality Tig set is a little expensive and the main issue for me was the Gas bottles. Where I live you have to sign up with a company to loan a cylinder than have them fill it etc etc. Too much trouble unless you're really serious about welding and will be building a tonne of stuff to really justify it.

    Mig - You can get no-gas or gas. Not herd great stuff about no gas set-up. It's supposed to OK but best to use Gas. Again, good Mig sets are pricey for occasional use and then there is the issue/expense of renting Argon bottles etc.

    Arc-(MMA) - Cheap to buy but frustrating to use when starting out. The welds don't look great. It's probably the most difficult to master. Better for thicker gauge steel.

    I ended up going with arc welding. It's really cheap. I don't weld that often. A couple of bits here and there but if its a really big job then I'll use it to tack stuff together and take it to a shop and get it properly Tig welded.

    I use 1.6mm electrodes at around 55-60 amps and its fine. The welds aren't pretty but you can always dress them up a bit.

    So if you have patience and only really need to make/weld on mounts and brackets then its fine I think.


    I did the whole seat-mount subframe with with an Arc welder on this bike. It wasn't pretty but its wasn't on display either when the seat was mounted.
    Which electrodes did you use specifically for welding on the frame, 6013, 7014? I plan on getting a nice tig setup in the future but for now all I have is a hand-me-down 220 stick. Going to be grinding/molding the welds anyway so just need it to be structurally okay.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    A 110-volt MIG machine would do what you want, but PRACTICE after study. Grind down your joints (angle grinder w. flap disc) and always weld clean material. Do some break testing on scrap.

    Do NOT "learn" on shit you are using. Learn on scrap. Prep scrap as you would a part to be repaired.

    Flux core can be sexy:

    http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php...or-outdoor-use

    Read your ass off, it's interesting and fun.

    Best general welding forum, and IMO the best welding forum:

    http://weldingweb.com/

    http://weldingweb.com/forumdisplay.p...y-Fuel-Welding

    Best manufacturer website no matter what brand you run, and their forum is only second to Weldingweb. Lurk both and learn.

    http://www.millerwelds.com/

    Training videos and other useful info:

    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...g-your-skills/

    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...ng-Discussions

    There really should be a welding resource sticky and a "troubleshooting a no start" sticky thread.
    Just wanted to show my appreciation for all the links you gathered, thanks.

  10. #10
    SamHain
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScarTissue View Post
    Which electrodes did you use specifically for welding on the frame, 6013, 7014? I plan on getting a nice tig setup in the future but for now all I have is a hand-me-down 220 stick. Going to be grinding/molding the welds anyway so just need it to be structurally okay.
    7018 is the baddest of the bad, 6013 may be a bit easier to run.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamHain View Post
    7018 is the baddest of the bad, 6013 may be a bit easier to run.
    Is it weird that I actually really took a liking to arc welding? 6013 is cake to get through. Just don't get frustrated about starting the weld and keep a cool head. I'd personally never use a stick setup on my shit (just because they can literally only come out so pretty, and i want my shit as pretty as possible), but they're definitely the cheapest setups BY FAR.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScarTissue View Post
    Which electrodes did you use specifically for welding on the frame, 6013, 7014? I plan on getting a nice tig setup in the future but for now all I have is a hand-me-down 220 stick. Going to be grinding/molding the welds anyway so just need it to be structurally okay.
    I've been using 6013 with no problems. The welds are super strong. Just make sure that you remove all of the slag each time you weld (wire wheel helps) otherwise you'll get porosity.

    I always cut the electrodes in half for better control.

  13. #13
    SamHain
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubman View Post
    Is it weird that I actually really took a liking to arc welding? 6013 is cake to get through. Just don't get frustrated about starting the weld and keep a cool head. I'd personally never use a stick setup on my shit (just because they can literally only come out so pretty, and i want my shit as pretty as possible), but they're definitely the cheapest setups BY FAR.
    I love arc welding, I'd use it before mig based on aesthetics.

  14. #14
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    Got a DC stick machine? Wanna TIG steel? We trained many TIG students using these rigs and Lincoln Idealarcs:

    http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php...-Welder-People

    Is it weird that I actually really took a liking to arc welding?
    Fuck no! Stick is fun and versatile.
    Last edited by farmall; 07-29-2014 at 1:22 PM.

  15. #15
    Wolfie
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    I had a cheepo stick awhile back...was tough to get an arc goin....my buddy bought a flux core from Harbor Freight fer $99 (hid it at my house from his ol lady)...runs of yer kitchen outlet....I use it fer all but frame welding.....and its easy to learn on....once ya get good, ya get a $500 MIG.....or a TIG if ya ever wanna do aluminum....

  16. #16

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    I've been thinking about getting the Craftsman Gasless 110v MIG Welder. It has excellent reviews, does anyone have any experience with it?

  17. #17
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    You have to be a little selective of where you get advice.

    Anyone who says stick welding can't look good, doesn't do a nice job, etc. just simply never learned to stick weld.

    Unlike a lot of processes, stick is very simple to figure out... if it looks half decent, it's probably VERY strong.

    Would it be good for first welds on a bike? Probably not. But it will get the job done. And if you ARE a good SMAW welder, there's no reason NOT to use it for bike work if that's what you have available.

    These same people will tell you that self shielded wire is crap and looks like garbage.... another case of not really knowing how to use it.

    What you have to do is differentiate between the guys who do some welding, and the guys who are WELDERS. There IS a difference.

    Whatever process you choose it up to you, but here's my advice: Figure out what size welder you think you'll need, then save up for something just a little bigger.

    When you buy that 175A 220V MIG setup it will never fail... someone will find out you have a welder and need something heavy welded... they'll ask you to weld it and offer you a good amount of money to save them the hassle... and you'll have to say "Sorry, my welder is too small for that."

    Welding doesn't have to be a HUGE investment to start with, and honestly, if you aren't sure you can do it or want to do it, you'd be a fool to drop a ton of cash on it.

    You can get a decent 175/180A Miller or Lincoln wire feeder used for $5-600 all day long in most places... add a small tank of CXX (I run 10, but you can run 25 if you just plan to do basic stuff) and you'll be set to do most things.

    Also, don't buy this crap about how "TIG is better". It's not. Tig is just different. All of the common welding processes that you will see most people discussing, like tig, mig, stick, etc. are very capable of doing what they are designed to do. And in the hands of a person who knows how to use them, each of them is just another tool in the bag. If I'm building handrails for the local mines here and want to get them done fast, I am gonna MIG weld them because they are just safety rails. (Non aesthetic dominant). If I am building piping for a local brewery, I am gonna TIG weld it. If I get hired in to do some pipe repairs at the local ski resort on snow making piping I generally plan on burning some rods while laying in the mud.

    They are all good, and they are all capable. They are just all different, that's all.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronHead73 View Post
    You have to be a little selective of where you get advice.

    Anyone who says stick welding can't look good, doesn't do a nice job, etc. just simply never learned to stick weld.

    Unlike a lot of processes, stick is very simple to figure out... if it looks half decent, it's probably VERY strong.

    Would it be good for first welds on a bike? Probably not. But it will get the job done. And if you ARE a good SMAW welder, there's no reason NOT to use it for bike work if that's what you have available.

    These same people will tell you that self shielded wire is crap and looks like garbage.... another case of not really knowing how to use it.

    What you have to do is differentiate between the guys who do some welding, and the guys who are WELDERS. There IS a difference.

    Whatever process you choose it up to you, but here's my advice: Figure out what size welder you think you'll need, then save up for something just a little bigger.

    When you buy that 175A 220V MIG setup it will never fail... someone will find out you have a welder and need something heavy welded... they'll ask you to weld it and offer you a good amount of money to save them the hassle... and you'll have to say "Sorry, my welder is too small for that."

    Welding doesn't have to be a HUGE investment to start with, and honestly, if you aren't sure you can do it or want to do it, you'd be a fool to drop a ton of cash on it.

    You can get a decent 175/180A Miller or Lincoln wire feeder used for $5-600 all day long in most places... add a small tank of CXX (I run 10, but you can run 25 if you just plan to do basic stuff) and you'll be set to do most things.

    Also, don't buy this crap about how "TIG is better". It's not. Tig is just different. All of the common welding processes that you will see most people discussing, like tig, mig, stick, etc. are very capable of doing what they are designed to do. And in the hands of a person who knows how to use them, each of them is just another tool in the bag. If I'm building handrails for the local mines here and want to get them done fast, I am gonna MIG weld them because they are just safety rails. (Non aesthetic dominant). If I am building piping for a local brewery, I am gonna TIG weld it. If I get hired in to do some pipe repairs at the local ski resort on snow making piping I generally plan on burning some rods while laying in the mud.

    They are all good, and they are all capable. They are just all different, that's all.
    this

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    All this, and nobody mentioned torch? IMO, torch is great way to learn. You can see whats going on much easier (no blinding arc), and have more direct control of heat. Its also very flexible- if set up right, you can even weld aluminum. Plus there's the option to do brazing, which neither mig nor stick allows (tig does, though its not nearly as common, and the torch allows techniques that are hard w/ tig brazing- and vice versa, of course). Plus, of course, a torch can be used to cut (steel anyhow), and as a heat source for bending and other forming / annealing, etc.

    If I was setting up my own shop on a budget, I'd go torch, practice my ass off and learn all the different things I could do with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by whiteknuckles View Post
    I'm looking for a cheap machine that I can weld on bungs, seat hinges and little doo dads that come up in my adventures.
    You are looking for a torch with some small tanks, and some brazing rod. Will set you back $300 tops.
    Last edited by 53Bash; 07-29-2014 at 9:05 PM.

  20. #20
    SamHain
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53Bash View Post
    All this, and nobody mentioned torch? IMO, torch is great way to learn. You can see whats going on much easier (no blinding arc), and have more direct control of heat. Its also very flexible- if set up right, you can even weld aluminum. Plus there's the option to do brazing, which neither mig nor stick allows (tig does, though its not nearly as common, and the torch allows techniques that are hard w/ tig brazing- and vice versa, of course). Plus, of course, a torch can be used to cut (steel anyhow), and as a heat source for bending and other forming / annealing, etc.

    If I was setting up my own shop on a budget, I'd go torch, practice my ass off and learn all the different things I could do with it.



    You are looking for a torch with some small tanks, and some brazing rod. Will set you back $300 tops.
    I'll second it, torches do it all. Most people are gonna go buy the cheapest wire feed they can get their hands on though.

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