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The Official Welding Thread

99gst_racer

Moderator
11,946
1,388
Apr 5, 2003
Coloma, Michigan
I figured it would be cool to have a thread pertaining specifically to welding. TIG, MIG, Stock, etc... Fabrication is a major part of the motorsports hobby and industry, and I know many people here are avid welders. In here, we can discuss technique, share methods and secrets/tips, as well as ask welding related questions.

I'd rather this not be a "post a picture of everything that you've struck an arc to" thread. If you want to share pictures, please show your beads and give the details such as materials and settings. That way we can all learn from each other and get ideas of new things to try.
 

99gst_racer

Moderator
11,946
1,388
Apr 5, 2003
Coloma, Michigan
I've been MIG welding for many years but I'm relativily new to TIG. I've always been able to talk the talk, but I've just recently started walking the walk.

One of the first things I learned was the importance of torch and filler angle. It makes more of a difference than I would have imagined.

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And here's a little cheat sheet that I found regarding gas flow and amperage. I figured it would be nice to keep this handy for a while.

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SkyGrowsCold

Proven Member
192
1
Aug 10, 2003
Barnegat, New_Jersey
I've been TIG welding for about 10 years. I started in a small shop building oil pans, valve covers and other misc. parts for the NASCAR guys as well as a drag car here and there. I moved on from there when the shop relocated to fabbing and welding tuna towers for yachts and am currently working in the pharmaceutical industry which is largely dominated by stainless steel.

As for some tips I've found red (2% Thoriated) tungsten is a pretty good "do all" tungsten to use for steel, stainless, and aluminum. I generally like to run more amp's then I think I'm going to need also (using foot pedal) so I can get my bead started earlier or "power through" a tough spot where the extra heat is necessary. When welding aluminum it's best to get your puddle started before adding filler wire and beginning your bead but this is not always the case when the weld starts on an end. Also with aluminum if there is a large gap you can essentially back fill the gap, think welding backwards so rather than chase the filler with the torch your following the torch with the filler, to close the gap to a manageable size. Once you have it filled you can then bump over your bead to smooth it out and get it to be more aesthetically pleasing. Just a few of the things I've learned that can be helpful oh and when you're laying on your back welding overhead if you don't have much experience it's not a bad idea to have someone stand around with a fire extinguisher to put you out. :thumb:
 

Bo0sTdTsI

Proven Member
327
2
Jan 21, 2010
Amarillo, Texas
Awesome thread been waiting for something lik this! And yealike you said 99gst_racer i learned that the hard way why my welds wouldnt tie in right when i first started welding, angles has alot to do with it. I gotta say though, welding carbon steel to stainless was pretty tough to learn but practice makes perftct. I feel like im back in welding school all over again eeing that but online LOL.. skygrowscold that is so true especially with stick and mig ive caught fire well over 10 times. Always smart to have a firewatch with you.
 

Bud92gsx

Welcome Wagon
22,958
328
Jan 16, 2008
Wisconsin, Wisconsin
Thanks for the thread Paul..I cannot wait to see everyone jumping in and offering some good experience...

I need a tig...But that will come when I don't live in an apt..LOL
 

SkyGrowsCold

Proven Member
192
1
Aug 10, 2003
Barnegat, New_Jersey
Here are some break downs on what shade lens you should be using in your welding helmet:

Gas metal arc welding and flux cored arc welding
. Less than 60 Amps Shade 7 -
. 60-160 Amps Shades 10 11
. 160-250 Amps Shades 10 12
. 250-500 Amps Shades 10 14
Gas tungsten arc welding
. Less than 50 Amps Shades 8 10
. 50-150 Amps Shades 8 12
. 150-500 Amps Shades 10 14


Personally I rock a #10 Gold lens. Your average welding helmet will come equipped with a black lens (Looks green when welding). The gold lens makes everything very clear and doesn't make me feel like I'm in algae infested waters as well as letting me see a larger portion of my work rather than just the area I'm welding. If you ever get the opportunity to give it a try I suggest you do but as usual everyone has their own opinion. Also when purchasing a helmet I like to get one which provides the most viewing area, again this allows me to see more which I like. There is also the option to work with auto shade helmets which have their place but I've had problems using them in tight spaces where the arc will not trigger the lens to come on.

On a side note the gold lens acts as a great mirror for when you need to pick out shards of wire wheel from your face not to mention the baller status of gold. :cool:

^^^ I'm totally buying one of Jody's TIG Fingers. I like thin gloves and resting on the material, but hate burns. I tried to make my own last week, but I failed miserably.

TIG Fingers looks pretty cool you might be able to use some left over heat wrap and DIY. I usually just cut the wrist cuffs down and use the left over leather to lay my wrist on, haven't tried wrapping my finger with it yet.
 

crash89

10+ Year Contributor
3,538
174
Mar 5, 2008
Punta Gorda, Florida
Great thread idea Paul! Im a newby MIG welder, not very good by any means but I get the job done. Most of the welding started doing was on our Demo race trucks. Dont have to be pretty. Id love to get into TIG welding though! Im actually thinking about going to school for custom fab stuff. I pick up on stuff really fast if Im doing it. Seeing all these videos and reading tips help, but not as much as if I was with someone doing it.
 

Gamble97

Proven Member
2,648
67
Jan 3, 2006
small town, Illinois
Just in case no one has seen this guys work and weekly video's. been following this guy for a while now and i have picked up on my welding skills since watching his video's. I have a feeling this thread is gonna blow up LOL :thumb:.

Welding Tips and Tricks - TIG, MIG, Stick and a pantload of other info

Jody is awesome, I recommend everyone watch his videos. I bought his shirt, next I'll get a tig finger.

Guy that tig, one thing to note is newer machines are inverters, older ones are not. Read your manual! Inverters say not to use green (pure) tungsten.

I purchased the student package from Miller for $25 IIRC but now the price has gone up a lot and it comes with a lot of books, and weld calculators. Very worth it.

Also I have the tig welding basics video that I bought for $40. Lots of money but it's well worth it, I have watched it a few times and learn something new every time.

Also Miller makes a phone app for droid/ios
MillerWelds.com - Mobile Resources
It's free and very handy, just input what type of welding, thickness and it will tell you how much voltage and gas.
 

99gst_racer

Moderator
11,946
1,388
Apr 5, 2003
Coloma, Michigan
I purchased the student package from Miller for $25 IIRC but now the price has gone up a lot and it comes with a lot of books, and weld calculators. Very worth it.

Also I have the tig welding basics video that I bought for $40. Lots of money but it's well worth it, I have watched it a few times and learn something new every time.
Got a link to these?
 

SkyGrowsCold

Proven Member
192
1
Aug 10, 2003
Barnegat, New_Jersey
Guy that tig, one thing to note is newer machines are inverters, older ones are not. Read your manual! Inverters say not to use green (pure) tungsten.

Good catch. I should have been more specific between the older and newer welders. Now even the newer transformer welders run aluminum quite well with 2%thor. tungsten and yes, for an inverter welder, you have to use the tougher tungsten, you will just blow out green tungsten. On an inverter machine usually it winds up blowing off the tip, rather than when using it on an older transformer machine where you would just see the ball get a bit bigger.
 

Gamble97

Proven Member
2,648
67
Jan 3, 2006
small town, Illinois
Good catch. I should have been more specific between the older and newer welders. Now even the newer transformer welders run aluminum quite well with 2%thor. tungsten and yes, for an inverter welder, you have to use the tougher tungsten, you will just blow out green tungsten. On an inverter machine usually it winds up blowing off the tip, rather than when using it on an older transformer machine where you would just see the ball get a bit bigger.

And keep in mind new inverter machines do not ball the tungsten like older transformer machines.
 

snowborder714

Moderator
16,169
342
Oct 15, 2006
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
I need a tig...But that will come when I don't live in an apt..LOL

My last apartment had a 220 outlet right next to my computer desk ;)

Putting a TIG in the living room was the plan the minute I toured the place. Too bad they're so darn expensive.


I wish I was in a position to even borrow/use someone else's TIG just to get the learning process started. Keep the good info flowing, everyone. I'm sure some day I'll use it!
 

99gst_racer

Moderator
11,946
1,388
Apr 5, 2003
Coloma, Michigan
Too bad they're so darn expensive.
Expensive indeed, but they're definitely worth the investment. They help you save money, make money, and the machine holds it's value quite well (which is a huge plus when you're ready to upgrade).

Hit me up whenever you're ready to shop for one and I'll see if I can help you find a good deal. I know there's always a few older Miller DC boxes on eBay that sell for around $500. They're great for the beginner, but they can't do thin aluminum and they're not appartment friendly due to their size and weight. And I know you can find nice inverter boxes for around $1000 +/- a couple hundred.
 

snowborder714

Moderator
16,169
342
Oct 15, 2006
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Will do, P.

The new apartment doesn't have a 220 sadly, but I wouldn't (realistically) use the welder inside. Too many things could go wrong, and heaven forbid the landlord came in and was like "What the heck is that???" LOL

I just started looking on craigslist for TIG's. I thought I found a great deal on a Synchrowave 180, but then I saw that the high voltage (?) feature was broke so it couldn't do aluminum. But I've read their good units as they are easy to work with and give you ample room to grow. If you guys have suggestions on something else that'd work just as fine for less dough, I'd be all ears. I don't see myself picking up one in the next year or two most likely, but if the right deal came along, it might be considered.


My local welder that we always bring stuff to said I could come in after hours some day and he'd teach me and let me play with his stuff, but making time for that is so darn hard.
 

turboglenn

Proven Member
6,377
111
Nov 5, 2007
RIpley, West_Virginia
Looks like a lot of baics have been covered as far as inverter vs. transformer machines and tungsten use (love my inverter Dynasty 200DX).

I'd just like to touch on auto darkening vs. standard helmets for a second. Auto darkening from HF to even my really nice Jackson are something that anyone doing a lot of welding should steer clear of, and i'll explain why.

Auto darkening besides the flaw of not tinting in some confined spots where the sensors are shielded from the arc completely or even just long enough to make you stop the arc and say "WTF?" can cause some seriouse damage to your eyes when you work welding for long periods of time (4 hours or more a day is my personal recomendation for the auto-tint cut off)

Even the harbor frieght ones only take 1/20,000th of a second to tint, but even in that short amount of time your eyes catch an intense amount of light, and over the course of an 8 hour day you can flash burn yourself from all those 20 thusandths adding up. NOw for anyone learning to MIg/TIG i think they are a must-have for speeding up the learning curve until you know where your hands and gun are in reltion to the work piece just from comfort and experience. for a begininnger, lifting and closingthe mask over and over to make sure the MIG wire is where you want it pointed or that your tungsten is in the right relation to thework piece can get frustrating FAST, so an auto tint will make your learning experience that much nicer, and let you focus on quality of weld and not being worried about making an error when the arc is started. but once you're past the learning stages and feel comfortable with your hand/torch placement switch to a normal mask as fast as possible and before long you will not want to wear the auto-tint anymore.

I flashburned the hell out of my eyes 3 times in a row from an auto tint, at first i thought it was from the HF one being bad and i moved up to anice jackson (almost 300 bucks) and only to turn around andburn them twice more.. there's nothing like waking up to your eyes glued shut from the dead cornea having scraped loose in the night and worked its way out to the eyelid. (gross to think about too) but that's what happens, your cornea takes the abuse from the heat and dies off in a layer just like dead skin from a burn or a scab from a cut. Thej for the next few days you end up wearing a patch and feeling like there's sand in your eyes and a lot of it (not fun either) not to mention that all this ads up to permanent vision damage that will show up more as you age through the years.

My auto-tint sits in storage and at home in the shop i have 2 cheap manaual helmets, one with a shade9 and one with a shade 11, I usethe 9 for almost everything up to 150 amps and the 11 from there on out.

Lets also talk oxy acetaline torches, the sets usually come with a pair of those goggles you'd see a guy named snot wearing in mad max or some kid at a rave have on his head, but they are for morethan just end of the world fashion. The light from even the flame of an oxy torch is enough to really put some spots in your eyes from a short use, and even "flashburn" them from extended use over an hour or so time. Use a shade 8-9 for O/A torch use.

there's also sunglasses style shades you can get in welding tints, or i shuold say torch and plasma tints, there's too much room for light to get aroundthem to be used for welding but they make awesome companions for O/A work and plasma cutting. I have a pair that look like safety glasses but are shade 8, and with the lighter shade they are easy to see through in a well lit room or outside where you should be using o/a and plasma to begin with, but sometimes we're stucjk in the garage for whatever reason from reaching the outlet on plasma to not having your bottles on a cart with a torch set

No matter what operation you're working with inthe world of metal-fab, welding, cutting, heating and bending you should always be wearing some type of ohsa aproved eye protection in a shade that meets the criteria for the job. taking care of your eyes is priority number one because without them (your eyes) your metal fab career/hobby will come to a quick halt along with a lot of other things in your life (and that's not even thinking about adapting to life as a blind person at some point in the middle of your life when you're already use to being able to see)
 

99gst_racer

Moderator
11,946
1,388
Apr 5, 2003
Coloma, Michigan
I just started looking on craigslist for TIG's. I thought I found a great deal on a Synchrowave 180, but then I saw that the high voltage (?) feature was broke so it couldn't do aluminum. But I've read their good units as they are easy to work with and give you ample room to grow. If you guys have suggestions on something else that'd work just as fine for less dough, I'd be all ears. I don't see myself picking up one in the next year or two most likely, but if the right deal came along, it might be considered.
Syncrowaves are nice for sure, but they are transformer welders, so they're big and heavy (really heavy). I'd really recommend holding out for an inverter welder unless you find a smokin deal on a transformer box. The fact that they hold their value is a double edged sword. Great for the seller, not for the buyer. Keep an eye out for a Miller Diversion 165 or 180. They're near impossible to find for sale used, but it's worth keeping your eyes peeled. Another consideration is a Lincoln invertec V165-T. It's DC only, so no thin aluminum, but it makes up for that with pulse control and post flow control. That's the model that I bought and I've been very happy with it so far. And it's worth mentioning the Everlast inverters as well. They are a China welder, but they do seem to work well for many people. They're cheap and have many bells and whistles. I was really close to picking one up before I found my Lincoln. I'd still like to try an Everlast sometime.

Looks like a lot of baics have been covered as far as inverter vs. transformer machines and tungsten use (love my inverter Dynasty 200DX).
I love your Dynasty too. :p I hope that's the model that I replace my Lincoln with a few years from now.

Thanks for chiming in, Glenn. I agree completely that a nice helmet is a must. I have an eBay special auto-darkening helmet and a Lincoln Viking autodarkening helmet. The cheapy flashes me all the time, whereas the Lincoln protects my eyes very well (spent 4 hours out in the garage with it last night). The larger viewing area is a huge plus too.
 
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turboglenn

Proven Member
6,377
111
Nov 5, 2007
RIpley, West_Virginia
Thanks Paul, I really wished i lived close to a lot of you guy i've come to know over the years on this forum. I'd gladly teach or let some of you use my machine to get your skills up to snuff on. I like teaching people to weld for some reason.. I've taught many of my friends to decently TIG in no more than a few hours at the table, i mean they aren't master weldors, but teaching them the concept of the puddle and flowing in the filler is enjoyable to me for some reason.

I've been trying to think of things to add on here but deciding where to start or deciding on a topic to touch on overloads my mind a bit with all the different things there are. I figured i'd add on the lenses/tent masks since i saw some mention of it earlier, but as people post be it a question or some tips, i'll add what i can when i see something that triggers the urge to want to add some info, i'll do what i can

On the "TiG Finger" at first i thought you meant the little tri-pod with pointed weight end for holding parts was what you meant and i was gonna make you one and mail it out, then i realized you were talking about the little HD finger condom :p

A simple replacement for "TIG finger" (did this myself) is to get some of those thick big leather gloves that are in x-tra large so you cna wear a mechanics glove underneath it comfortably at the finger fitment (seems you can find one in any old shed or buy them at any store with tools) then use a razor to cut out the area of the thumb and first three fingers out, this leaves you with a round wrist cover and only a pinky finger on it so you can wear thin gloves that are exposed for good control, but have a super thick coverage on the wrist and pinky for laying them on the work piece to steady your hand. with my nerve damage 70% of the time i MUST have my hand rested on something, so i had to come up with an answer for that pretty fast and being that my dad has a huge bag of those gloves i decided to give it a try and it worked out well.. Unless i'm doing welding that requires me to constantly hold a piece of the material with my left hand i wont' even wear gloves but will toss on my cut up one for my right hand to rest, my filler rod hand i usually prefer to be naked so i can feed a long rod smoothly on a long weld

another thing you can do is cut the cuff/wrist area off one of those gloves and then slice it open to where you have a small "rag" sort of that you can lay on the work where ever you want to rest your hand.

And yea, Synchrowaves are nice machines (i learned on the Sync 250, which was the standard for a good machine for many years) but unless you have a crane or a fork lift (or at least a large dedicated shop - not a home garage) I would steer clear of buying one used, but if you've got the room and get a smoking deal go for it. Also they (syncrowaves) have only one voltage source type you can use, where inverter machines like mine can run on 110, 220 and 440 3 phase all by just swapping the plug, as it auto senses the current being fed to it and adjusts accordingly. I have a 220 dryer style plug on mine (as it's the most commonly found in homes) then i have several adapters I made that will allow me to plug into all the variouse types of 220 or a 110 since there's probably at least 4 or 5 different plug types depending on amperage and type of use from home stove and dryer (both different) to shop/commercial style plugs and the 4 prong twist loc like is on most generators. Then there's one that i have with a 220 female and has two 110 make plugs to allow me to either run on 110 (limited to 150amps max on a 30amp 110 circuit) or i can plug each one into two legs of 110 that are on different breakers to make a "ghetto 220" but it works (440 3 phase requires me to pull the plug end and swap what wires i'm using for "hot" in order to be used by my machine )
 
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bastarddsm

15+ Year Contributor
5,525
1,344
Aug 26, 2003
Mendota, Illinois
I rip an old school econotig. Yeah its dated, but it works and I get some decent results with it. I've just started using red tungsten ground to a point on it for aluminum, and it seems to work ok. I got a stick of orange I want to play with, just havn't had time.
 

Fejery4491

15+ Year Contributor
229
9
May 15, 2007
Osakis, Minnesota
And it's worth mentioning the Everlast inverters as well. They are a China welder, but they do seem to work well for many people. They're cheap and have many bells and whistles. I was really close to picking one up before I found my Lincoln. I'd still like to try an Everlast sometime.

I've been eyeballing the Power TIG 185 for quite a while. Alot of people seem very happy with their Everlasts. I just worry about finding parts if/when it breaks....

Its just a tough decision. It's less than half the cost of the Miller 180, but I doubt I should be cheaping out on a TIG....
 
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