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#1 iZach98 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 12:02 PM

Hi all, my birthday is july 6th so its coming up. Ive been wanting to learn how to weld and do metal work. Right now my dad has a bunch of wood tools but no metal tools.
And with the tractors and stuff i have around the house id like to build a plow for my a-100 wheel horse to push some snow here on shelter island. And other projects pop up that need welding or metal work.
So id like to get a welding machine and a couple of metal working tools.
I get $300 from my parents from my b-day. And i can kick in probably $100 to $150 or so. So as you can tell i dont have that much money to spend on this as i am also saving for a car (im 15 now, turning 16) so im sure i'll need to weld stuff up for my first car.
I know i would like an auto darkening welding helmet. And a mig welder, i spoke with my grandpa over the weekend. (He was a welder for Brookhaven labs here on long island, he now has cancer because of that)
So he said i should get a mig welder from harbor freight, like the $99 one there. Just to try it out. Im not sure what i could get for a total of $450 (welder, auto darken mask, a metal cutting power tool, maybe a couple of hand tools) so any suggestions would he great!
Here is a pic of my wheel horse ImageUploadedByTapatalk1402333333.216887.jpg
Zach


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#2 Bmerf OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 01:58 PM

Zach, While I have no experience with the Harbor Freight welder(I have an old Miller Cricket mig), I have used a buddy's cheap mig welder. It worked good. An auto darkening helmet is nice to have, but a regular helmet works just as well. I would suggest SAFETY GLASSES, FIRE EXTINGUISHER, elbow length or longer leather gloves, a 4" hand grinder with an assortment of wheels: grinding, cut-off, and wire. A nice hacksaw, a hammer, and a few clamps or vice grips. And don't forget a fan. It will keep you cool and blow the smoke/fumes away from your face. I enjoy welding and creating things, but you have to be SAFE. 


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#3 TAHOE ONLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 02:31 PM

Sorry to hear about your grandpa. I had an uncle die back in the 80's at 66 yrs old due to lung cancer....we believe it was a combo of smoking and he was a welder building safes for 35 yrs.

 

You will get many opinions on this subject, some will say only buy big name brands, others may say the cheapies are okay. There are many who will also say mig with gas only, others use a lot of flux and do just fine.

If you decide to a lot of sheet metal, then go ahead and convert to gas and use the thinner wire.

 

I would say though if you get a flux core welder, make sure it can be converted to mig with gas and I will only use an auto darken helmet now. Also, spend a little extra for a  4 1/2" angle grinder, been through 2 HB ones already, next one will be an upgrade.

IMO Up front you will need...

*Welder

*good helmet

*angle grinder. maye some decent clamps.

Then option maybe

*other hand tools

*gauges/regulators to convert a flux to mig

* gas tank and gas  ( I still haev not switched to gas due to $$$$$).

*welding cart

 

 

 

Here is my experience....I was in the same boat as you, needed welder to build some implements, but I had very little money to put into it. I did some research and watched all the ads. I got lucky and the Harbor Freight 151 welder popped up for $149, I jumped all over it. It was a 150 amp 220V flux/mig welder, came with welder, 2# flux wire, cheapo face shield, cheapo wire brush. I ran me a circuit in garage to run it and started playing. I run .030 wire and have built quite a bit with it, being self taught by reading a lot and practicing with different size scrap. Eventually I could throw a decent weld, still looks like a beginner, but it holds and I clean it up with a grinder and flap wheel if I want it pretty. I can make bubble gum with the best of them!   :D  I bought a set of regulators/gauges, but with the cost of having to buy a tank, I have never switched over, tanks are pretty expensive, even used ones on CL.

 

So, as a beginner, you can go buy a cheaper HB welder to get yourself started and teach yourself. HB model like the one I have is I think a 170 now, maybe a 180. They can be had on sale for usually $200-249. That leaves you some money to buy some other extras and maybe stash some for later or have left over money to buy your materials for your build. I'm pretty sure if you look around, maybe even on ebay or your local CL, you may find a nice used name brand one pop up that would be a good starter.

 

 

Here is what I made with my HB welder, been going strong for 3 yrs pushing snow, dirt and even lifting 300-350#'s of dirt/gravel ,etc.

 

100_0953.jpg

 

100_0982.jpg

 

photobucket-10281-1358177293587.jpg


Edited by TAHOE, June 09, 2014 - 02:32 PM.

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#4 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 02:43 PM

Tahoe gave some good advice there.

 

The harbor freight welder will serve you well.  I started with the 110V 90AMP one.

 

What type of power do you have available in your garage/work area?

 

If you don't have 220V your selection is limited to smaller welders.  They do well for thin metal work.  I'd be hard pressed to go anything over 1/8 with a 110V welder.

 

http://www.harborfre...68887-8494.html

 

That is what I started with, and it served me well!

 

If you do buy that welder practice with the spool they gave you then go buy some good name brand wire!!

 

Remember keep some cash aside for consumables.  Tips, nozzles(if you get a gas/flux combo), and wire.  Welders aren't free to use.  They require care and maintenance like anything else.


Edited by toomanytoys84, June 09, 2014 - 02:45 PM.

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#5 iZach98 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 02:46 PM

Sorry to hear about your grandpa. I had an uncle die back in the 80's at 66 yrs old due to lung cancer....we believe it was a combo of smoking and he was a welder building safes for 35 yrs.

You will get many opinions on this subject, some will say only buy big name brands, others may say the cheapies are okay. There are many who will also say mig with gas only, others use a lot of flux and do just fine.
If you decide to a lot of sheet metal, then go ahead and convert to gas and use the thinner wire.

I would say though if you get a flux core welder, make sure it can be converted to mig with gas and I will only use an auto darken helmet now. Also, spend a little extra for a 4 1/2" angle grinder, been through 2 HB ones already, next one will be an upgrade.
IMO Up front you will need...
*Welder
*good helmet
*angle grinder. maye some decent clamps.
Then option maybe
*other hand tools
*gauges/regulators to convert a flux to mig
* gas tank and gas ( I still haev not switched to gas due to $$$$$).
*welding cart



Here is my experience....I was in the same boat as you, needed welder to build some implements, but I had very little money to put into it. I did some research and watched all the ads. I got lucky and the Harbor Freight 151 welder popped up for $149, I jumped all over it. It was a 150 amp 220V flux/mig welder, came with welder, 2# flux wire, cheapo face shield, cheapo wire brush. I ran me a circuit in garage to run it and started playing. I run .030 wire and have built quite a bit with it, being self taught by reading a lot and practicing with different size scrap. Eventually I could throw a decent weld, still looks like a beginner, but it holds and I clean it up with a grinder and flap wheel if I want it pretty. I can make bubble gum with the best of them! :D I bought a set of regulators/gauges, but with the cost of having to buy a tank, I have never switched over, tanks are pretty expensive, even used ones on CL.

So, as a beginner, you can go buy a cheaper HB welder to get yourself started and teach yourself. HB model like the one I have is I think a 170 now, maybe a 180. They can be had on sale for usually $200-249. That leaves you some money to buy some other extras and maybe stash some for later or have left over money to buy your materials for your build. I'm pretty sure if you look around, maybe even on ebay or your local CL, you may find a nice used name brand one pop up that would be a good starter.


Here is what I made with my HB welder, been going strong for 3 yrs pushing snow, dirt and even lifting 300-350#'s of dirt/gravel ,etc.

100_0953.jpg

100_0982.jpg

photobucket-10281-1358177293587.jpg


Thank you, I'm sorry to hear about you uncle. My grandpa is still around and in decent health. He is going into for another surgery soon. He has bladder cancer, it just keeps coming back.
I am not looking at getting gas anytime soon, i guess it depends on what I'm doing. I was looking on craftsman website (their tools are great, and not crazy expensive) the grinder is about $50, plus a few dollars for the other wheels for it. So i will probably get a Harbor Freight welder unless Lincoln or miller comes out with a welder for $200 lol i don't think thats gonna happen.


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#6 iZach98 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 02:50 PM

Tahoe gave some good advice there.

The harbor freight welder will serve you well. I started with the 110V 90AMP one.

What type of power do you have available in your garage/work area?

If you don't have 220V your selection is limited to smaller welders. They do well for thin metal work. I'd be hard pressed to go anything over 1/8 with a 110V welder.

http://www.harborfre...68887-8494.html

That is what I started with, and it served me well!

If you do buy that welder practice with the spool they gave you then go buy some good name brand wire!!

Remember keep some cash aside for consumables. Tips, nozzles(if you get a gas/flux combo), and wire. Welders aren't free to use. They require care and maintenance like anything else.


Thanks, that is most likely the welder that i will be getting. I have regular outlets, 110 i guess? I will talk to my dad. Most likely 110v
Thanks for all the info everyone! Im sure i'll have more questions to come. :)


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#7 iZach98 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 02:51 PM

Also where would i get steel/aluminum or any metal for projects? Home depot? Or a place online?


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#8 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 02:52 PM

220V is what a dryer or stove would run on.

 

110V is a regular plug. 


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#9 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 02:52 PM

Also where would i get steel/aluminum or any metal for projects? Home depot? Or a place online?


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Look in the phone book for a metal dealer.  You can get better prices, and better selection than at a chain store.


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#10 iZach98 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 03:08 PM

220V is what a dryer or stove would run on.

110V is a regular plug.

Yep so its a 110v, there is only one 220v in the house, thats for the stove in the kitchen.


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#11 iZach98 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 03:10 PM

Here is what I made with my HB welder, been going strong for 3 yrs pushing snow, dirt and even lifting 300-350#'s of dirt/gravel ,etc.

100_0953.jpg

100_0982.jpg

photobucket-10281-1358177293587.jpg


Nice tractor you got there. :)


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#12 TomLGT195 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 03:46 PM

MTCW : I would start the way others have described . Flux isn't good for bodywork , but this is a great way to get your feet wet.
Important things to remember : SAFETY !!!, when buying things like grinding disks, cheap ones break/ shatter easy , so always be safe . Proper eye protection always! Gloves too. Don't forget ear protection ( often overlooked)
Auto darkening helmets are great but I bought a cheap one and had issue with it auto darkening fast enough. The old fashioned ones are safe and a good starter helmet.
Upgrade as you can afford to, as your needs grow. A good basic unit will always be helpful and won't break the bank if your interests change.
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#13 iZach98 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 03:48 PM

MTCW : I would start the way others have described . Flux isn't good for bodywork , but this is a great way to get your feet wet.
Important things to remember : SAFETY !!!, when buying things like grinding disks, cheap ones break/ shatter easy , so always be safe . Proper eye protection always! Gloves too. Don't forget ear protection ( often overlooked)
Auto darkening helmets are great but I bought a cheap one and had issue with it auto darkening fast enough. The old fashioned ones are safe and a good starter helmet.
Upgrade as you can afford to, as your needs grow. A good basic unit will always be helpful and won't break the bank if your interests change.


Whats a decent auto darken helmet that wont empty my wallet?


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#14 Kyocum OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 03:55 PM

All I can add to any of this advice is to start watching craiglist for your simple hand tools. You can find amazing deals sometimes.


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#15 iZach98 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 09, 2014 - 03:59 PM

All I can add to any of this advice is to start watching craiglist for your simple hand tools. You can find amazing deals sometimes.


Yup, ive only been to one yard sale and i got a husky 1/2" drive impact gun and an air rachet and a few hand tool with an air compressor line all for $40


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