Teach me to weld?

Vumad

Super Hero, with a cape!
Location
St. Pete, FL
I want to be able to build anything. I need to learn to weld. I want a TIG and to weld aluminum. That’s holding me up, because it’s is expensive and difficult. However, I have this little welder my uncle gave me. I haven’t had any interest in welding steal so I have ignored it, but it’s a great place to start. So let’s get started.

This is what I have. What do I need?

Clarke 80e welder and manual, new I think, should work…
Retired structural firefighting gloves, out of date, but should be safe.
Retired nomex hood, out of date, probably no welding use
Goggles as seen, I am willing to buy a welding helmet if these aren’t safe
I thought I had rods, but I don’t see them with the welder, so I’ll post what I find, or buy what I’m told to

I don’t have scrap steel, but Alro metal is up the road and I can get remnants, or I can find some scrap.

Yes, there is a lot of information online, yes I am watching videos, yes I am looking at the manuals, yes etc, but there is a wealth of knowledge here and more importantly people with like minded project ideas!

Thanks!
 

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I dont know what welding those goggles were intended for, maybe plastic welding? You will need a helmet. I myself dont use the autodark ones but they are very popular.

I do zero stick, but for gtaw all you need is a helmet. gloves ,brown jersey gloves work fine for small dc jobs. You will need something like a gauntlet and leather for aluminum and higher amp dc. A light jacket or buttonup shirt to cover your arms and neck. Sunburn is what you are protecting against

I think for stick you will need a hat under your helmet and a jacket that both withstand spatter.

do you have an angle grinder yet? you will need one of those to prep your joints.
 

bird

walking on water
That's a stick welder. Stick Welding is super fun. It's difficult at first since the electrode is the filler metal. It's probably the best practive before jumping to TIG.

I would get a full face helmet rated for the spark you're producing. Gauntlets, leather apron, long sleeves, boots, the more leather the better.

A metal table with clamps and/or vice. Wood tables will catch fire from sparks. A hood or good Ventilation(outside). Stick welding relies on the electrode coating to act as protection from oxidation/contamination during the arc, puddle, and cure.
 

WFO Speedracer

A lifetime ban is like a lifetime warranty !
Location
Alabama
Tig is all about machine settingS , metal prep and correct gas ,tungsten and filler rod metal prep on aluminum is the most important, unlike stick welding and Mig WELDING everything has to be just right,
 

Jr.

Standing Tall
Staff member
Site Supporter
Location
Hot-Lanta
Buy the Best Auto dark helmet you can afford. If you cant see what your doing.
you make a mess. Plus, if you get flashed, you could possibly do permanent, irreversible damage to your eyes!
Then Prep work on your materal, and having the correct Consumables / gas.
word of warning, There is a Host if Bad info on Youtube, just like ski related stuff. Pick carefully what you take advise from. clean welds is an Art Form! Enjoy!
 

Vumad

Super Hero, with a cape!
Location
St. Pete, FL
Any suggestions on a specific helmet? Local is best, we have a Northern tool nearby, harbor freight and some welding supply places. I’ll start practicing as soon as I have the minimums in hand.

I don’t know that a table is a good investment for me right now. I work on my carport and things rust. I’ll weld on the concrete if I can for now.

Yes, I have an angle grinder.
 

Vumad

Super Hero, with a cape!
Location
St. Pete, FL
I assume that a quality welding helmet is going to be about $300? I don’t need a $50 piece of junk. I don’t want to buy frivolously, I don’t need fancy paint or pro grade features, but I want to invest in something that does the job, and does it right, the first time, and will keep doing it right regardless of the welder I am using.
 

Mike W

Infidel
Site Supporter
Location
North Florida
Man, my last deployment to Afghanistan, my supply clerk was an instructor at the Tulsa Welding School in Jacksonville, FL. He was going to each me the basics, but we were so busy all the time we never took the time. Looking back, it was a waste of a good opportunity.
 
Those are torch goggles, like a shade 5, meant for welding with a flame not an arc, shade 9-10 is what you’ll want for mig/stick, tig anywhere from 9-12 depending on what you’re doing. Don’t rule out a $50 auto dark helmet, but if you go auto dark make sure it has 4 sensors not just 2. Real welders use fixed shade helmets, the field of view is bigger. Burning some rods with that buzz box will be good practice, there’s a lot you can learn before needing to actually light up on some aluminum. When it comes time to get a tig, you will need an inverter, from talking to you in Daytona sounds like a transformer is out of the question with ur shop/power situation. I have heard good stuff about the alpha tig machines but have not personally ran one yet
 
Wow actually looked at the picture again, those googles say shade 10 right on them, definitely would still recommend getting an actual mask though
 

Vumad

Super Hero, with a cape!
Location
St. Pete, FL
Time to find some steel.

(They just gave me a few rods to try for free.)
 

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OCD Solutions

Original, Clean and Dependable Solutions
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Savannah, GA
I'm on my second Miller Classic series basic auto darkening. Seems to do the trick without breaking the bank.
I do MIG/TIG so I like the adjustable lens that I can change to suite. I use 11-12 depending on the task so a helmet that only goes to 10 won't cut it for me.

My first miller crapped out just as I started a project so I ran to Lowes and snagged a few Kobalt auto-darkening helmets on clearance for $8 each so I have those for backups.
They don't go dark enough for my taste but are good as a second helmet if you are learning or teaching someone.
 

Vumad

Super Hero, with a cape!
Location
St. Pete, FL
The set the helmet I got to the highest setting. I wanted auto darkening because it would reduce the things o have to think about while learning. I set it at the highest setting, 13…

My dad dropped an old bed frame for me today.

I think the rod they gave me for free with the helmet is 1/8” and too big for the welder. Every time I touched the left side it immediately stuck to the part. With a lot of struggle, I got it to arc a few times but only for a moment.

I ran up to harbor freight and got some 1/16 rod. Seemed to work real well on the right side.
 

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bird

walking on water
Some of the sticks can be hard to strike an ARC. You may need to drag them fast across the material at the start, so they don't stick. Setting the AMPs higher can help. Your machine might not have the power to run thicker rods...

You've got the idea, just keep laying beads until they look pretty and you can see penetration on the backside. Then try different techniques of puddling.
 

WFO Speedracer

A lifetime ban is like a lifetime warranty !
Location
Alabama
Welding is like jetsking always go with as much power -amperage as you can afford, you may not ever need to use all that power-amperage but it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it, you can always turn the amperage down on a big welder, on a small one you can't turn it up.I will post you a pic of my welder later today, you will get a kick out of it.
 

Vumad

Super Hero, with a cape!
Location
St. Pete, FL
Crumpton suggested the Millermatic 220 AC/DC.


It should weld anything I want to weld running off my dryer outlet. It's small enough and light enough that I can store it in my trailer with my mill and move it out to my carport when I want to use it.

So the plan is to practice with this laying down a bead and sticking a few things together and budget for the do everything welder in the near future.

Then get the millermatic, use bigger rod, then spool, then get gas and do aluminum. I also want to get a horizontal band saw for aluminum and a cutoff saw for steel, but I am having a space problem. Horizontal band saw is a bit of a priority because I need to be able to cut down stock to use in the mill but where to put it?
 
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