MOUNTAINEERISUZU1 wrote:Dude I paid 150 for my 220 dual mig from HF and love it.
I had one of the cheap harbor freight stick welders (well,it wasnt from HF,but it was the same one,juts a different sticker). I was ready to fix my frame,bought a box of welding rod,and got ready to start welding,and it didn't work. It would not hold an arc. I spent a few hours troubleshooting then gave up and broke out the acetylene. In my opinion nothing beats acetylene. About 200 dollars will hook you up with a decent sized tanks from Praxair (don't buy the tiny ones,they are worthless I use a plumbers tank for acetylene and a Q tank for O2. I'm planning on upgrading the plumbers tank to the next larger size. My local Praxair dealer lets me upgrade for the difference in purchase price of the tank. You can pick up a used set of regulators for a less than 100 bucks. Stay away from the HF junk. Get a set of relatively modern Victors,even if they dont work. (pay less if they dont work of course).You need a good handle. Choose a good brand. Victors are a good choice. If they don't work you can get them rebuilt for about 50 bucks a piece. Tips ranging from 0 through 4 will be good for metal up to 3/8". (Thicker metal is no problem with the right tips) You can also get a cutting attachment. (You heat the metal up,then press the lever which turns on an oxygen flow that actually burns the creating massive amounts of heat and cutting the metal)
I think Im done with the arc welders for now,although I would like a TIG welder for aluminum. Then again,I can do it with the right flux if I have to.
In any event,my preference is oxy/fuel welding but whatever type you choose,mig,oxyfuel,smaw,etc,make sure you start with good quality equipment,and then practice alot on scrap metal. When you think you have a good joint,bend it. For instance,clamp it in a vice and bend it or bend it by pounding it with hammer. The weld should bend,not break. Thats how we used to test them at Caltrans. They would take a 12" thick piece of steel used to build bridges,weld it to another,put it in a giant hydraulic press then cut it on a band-saw to look for cracks and inspect weld penetration. Keep practice your welds until you get them right. Thatas the difference between someone who bubbafies their vehicle and someone who does a proper repair job
. Bubba takes that stick welder,starts a seam,and then realizes that its a total mess,has zero penetration and is a bunch of porous globs stuck to the surface intermixed with the slag. He then grabs a beer,and another welding rod (of the wrong type) ,and keeps welding.
The guy that does a good job starts out exactly the same way. Hopefully he starts on scrap metal though,but even if he starts on his truck (or BBQ or whatever) he immediately realizes that hes not doing it right,gets some scrap metal and starts practicing. he keeps practicing,looking up how to fix the problems that occur,or asking someone who knows until he can get decent welds. Only when he can do it right on scrap does he go and do the job right.