Beginning welding

Discussion in 'The Tool Box' started by Mark Aycock, Aug 9, 2017.


  1. Mark Aycock

    Mark Aycock Binder Driver

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    Just signed up for a 6 night, 18 hour welding class. What kind of helmet should I buy? Auto-darkening ? Brand ? Thanks
     
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  2. FSM09

    FSM09 Binder Driver

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    I spent $50 on my first auto darkening helmet. It was pretty basic but worked good. Sometimes when your first day they have some good recommendations. The nice welding helmet I bought has a grind only mode. This gives you shaded protection and doesn't darken.
     
  3. Dana Strong

    Dana Strong High Wheeler

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    If it's a stick welding class mainly, it wouldn't hurt to learn to use the old manual helmet flipping technique. For TIG welding, it's nice not to have to move anything, at least when doing 'precision' type work. I still prefer to use clear goggles when grinding, and normally #5 goggles when plasma cutting or gas welding/brazing.
    Do you wear reading glasses? If so and you can get by with generic magnification (not custom ground) ones, wouldn't hurt to have a pair so the good ones don't get damaged.

    I got a good adjustable Speedglass helmet a dozen or so years ago, and knew the shop owner so it was wholesale, but still expensive. Whichever you get, buy some extra cover lenses so it can be replaced when gotten scratched or pitted by spatter.

    Another thing to consider is what kind of clothing to wear. Synthetics generally are bad, as they can melt and stick to skin, and some don't take UV well. I would expect the instructor to cover that well, but it's worth being prepared when you first arrive.
     
  4. MrKenmore

    MrKenmore High Wheeler

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    Funny this thread popped up. I am considering learning to weld (finally). What type of welding is most appropriate for general automotive? Stick? MIG? Thanks.
     
  5. Greg R

    Greg R Y-Block King

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    I've been welding off and on during day jobs for over 30 years. I've taken courses in welding and brazing. I have a brazing certificate, but not for welding. I think for versatility one should at least have some training in gas and stick. The wire feed and mig will come easier I think after the foundation is laid, and you have a back-up set of know how in your skills drawer. For general automotive I think the wire feed is fabulous. Heavy frame and mounting I still like stick.

    As to hoods, I still use the manual. For constant use such as a day job, the self darkening are okay. However it's a lot for me to trust electronics for my eye protection, and keeping track of battery age.

    Dana made a good point on clothing. NO synthetics! All cotton twill, and flame resistant treatment if you can get it. It helps the beebees roll off better than burn through. No pain like a burn in the bird's nest.
     
  6. Darrel

    Darrel High Wheeler

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    Mark, for the welding helmet I would get an auto darkening to start out. Being able to get in position with your helmet down is a huge advantage when you're staring out. In a short 18 hr class you won't have that much trigger time so it's best to concentrate on welding instead of flipping a helmet down while keeping your tip a fraction of an inch from your work. I wouldn't spend money on an expensive name brand helmet just yet. Try as many as possible first (welding shop or in class). It takes some trigger time to work out what you like and what works best for you. Things like viewing window size, grind mode, sensitivity, speed, tint, harness, back light protection, and how well your neck is protected are all personal preference, but can make a big difference . Like anything it's the little details that make all the difference. In the mean time you can order a cheap helmet from Northern Tool for around 50 bucks. This one has good reviews. http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200657844_200657844
     
  7. Mark Aycock

    Mark Aycock Binder Driver

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    Thank you Darrel.
     
  8. BigRigg

    BigRigg High Wheeler

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    I have the helmet that Darrel refers to. I really like it. I struggled really bad with the old school helmet. My sense of awareness was off, and I couldn't trust myself enough to keep the stick in place.

    For most welding I use MIG. But, I really like the stick welder if I am going to weld on 1/4 inch or bigger.
     
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  9. Darrel

    Darrel High Wheeler

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    Short answer is MIG. A 240v 180 class machine will weld anything from sheetmetal to heavy duty bumpers in one pass. Easy to learn.
    Check out the "welding tips and tricks" channel on youtube.

    Stick is much cheaper, but challenging to get good at and not normally used for sheetmetal.
     
  10. Erik Morton

    Erik Morton High Wheeler

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    Honestly just starting and doing little body welding so far I like just wire feed. I have yet to actually use gas on my welder and haven't done too badly. Yes it is not clean enough for body welding but my floors, firewall and frame welding are pretty good, strong and cleanish.
    For protective clothing, I like a lighter leather work glove on my right hand. Helps me feel the trigger. I'd recommend getting a pair of leather welders and a pair of leather garden/work gloves.
     
  11. Gui

    Gui Farmall Cub

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    Where are you taking the class?

    Sent from my SM-N910T using Tapatalk
     
  12. sarookha

    sarookha Farmall Cub

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    Erik, I know the gas bottle is expensive, but what a difference it makes! One try, and you'll never do MIG without gas again.
     
  13. Mark Aycock

    Mark Aycock Binder Driver

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    Gui, the class is at Katy ISD Community Education. $200 for 18 hours. The old Leisure Learning was about $200 for 1.5- 2 hours.
     
  14. Erik Morton

    Erik Morton High Wheeler

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    I have the gas just haven't needed it yet. I will soon though.
     
  15. Scout Driver

    Scout Driver Binder Driver

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    Like others have said, get an auto darkening helmet right away. They have gotten very affordable and once you use one, you won't go back to an old-style helmet.
    Myself, I have a Weldcote Metals helmet that I picked up for about $100. I recently picked up a nearly new Snap-On for $100 from a pawn shop that was going out of business. Either way you go, a large viewing area in your helmet is a plus!

    Greg R mentions getting good clothing. He is spot on! I wear a Hobart shirt https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/hobart-flame-retardant-cotton-welding-jacket-extra-large. It's comfy and offers a degree of protection. I've heard that black (like the Hobart shirt) or another dark color is preferred to prevent possible light from reflecting back into your helmet.

    Try on as many pairs of gloves as you can! I've found that a lighter pair offers the protection I need while offering a lot more dexterity than a heavier glove.

    Raid other peoples scrap bins to get plenty of metal to practice with. Practice a lot and have fun!!

    Scott
     
  16. Darrel

    Darrel High Wheeler

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  17. Mark Aycock

    Mark Aycock Binder Driver

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    Cool. Thanks everyone!
     
  18. johninwi

    johninwi Farmall Cub

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    Second the welding tips and tricks site, an auto darken helmet is a must, i have a weldcote ultraview plus xa-5122td, large viewing area, preset's for tint and sensativity, it also had a blue tint, not green, was easier for me to see, $160, weldingweb.com is also a great site.
    As for clothing, NO synthetics is correct, also, don't tuck your shirt in, if spatter gets in your shirt and it's tucked in the spatter won't have a way out.
    While welding is a visual skill, listen also, it should sound like bacon frying.
    http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/
    http://weldingweb.com/
     

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