Metal Fabrication For Beginners... ? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Fabrication & Tool Tech Need assistance with or ideas for custom metal fabrication? Want to show off your fabrication abilities or custom modifications? This is the sub-forum for you.

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  #1  
Old 02-04-2009
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Metal Fabrication For Beginners... ?

I have built a few things in the past and am a mediocre stick welder.

Now that I have my own house, I'm finding myself wanting to fab stuff for my garage, my truck, etc.

What is the best entry level stick welder?

What is the best entry level saw for cutting square tubing and flat bar? I want a good saw I'll be able to use when I build a deck in my backyard soon.

Any advice on *really* starting my self up and self teaching myself to weld?

Anything to avoid? Anything to be wary of?

Whatever ya'll have to tell me.

ALSO, if you're anywhere close to Houston and have any of the above for sale - lemme know.
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Old 02-04-2009
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Oh great thread, staying in tune for this one.
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2009
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Why a stick welder if you don't mind me asking?
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  #4  
Old 02-04-2009
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they're cheap and easy to use? i dunno.

it's all i've ever welded with.

built this bowfishing deck fine:
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  #5  
Old 02-04-2009
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not sure but i think mig welding is the easiest but thats all ive done
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Old 02-04-2009
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Stick is prett damn easy,
Nice thing is, you dont have to worry about gas and bottles. But MIG gives you a nice weld, and I find that it is indeed easier to setup than a stick.

But buy a Hobart, or something along those lines, you don't really need a Lincon or a Miller if you are just doing back yard stuff.


BTW looks like you slayed the whole family of catfish.
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  #7  
Old 02-04-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevelyn1015 View Post
I have built a few things in the past and am a mediocre stick welder.

Now that I have my own house, I'm finding myself wanting to fab stuff for my garage, my truck, etc.

What is the best entry level stick welder?
none, don't get a stick

Quote:
What is the best entry level saw for cutting square tubing and flat bar? I want a good saw I'll be able to use when I build a deck in my backyard soon.
Go to harbor freight and pick up one of their metal cutting chop saws. They are fairly inexpensive and (surprisingly) hold up fairly well. I don't remember how much the one we bought was, but it came with a few extra blades as well.

Are you building the deck out of steel or out of wood?

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Any advice on *really* starting my self up and self teaching myself to weld?
Practice, practice, practice. Find some scrap metal and practice any miter/joint combinations you may find yourself using in the future

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Anything to avoid? Anything to be wary of?
Yes, Avoid stick welders. Unless you are working outside on a high rise building, or on dirty farm equipment, Mig is the way to go. It is easy to use, very clean, very consistent and very strong. I learned on stick and had 3 classes on structural stick welding. Stick has its place in the welding world, and I think you will find yourself being able to do much better work with the mig. A good entry level mig would be a hobart 140 (http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...6073_200306073)

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Whatever ya'll have to tell me.
Invest in a decent hand grinder and some flapper discs. The flappers are great for cleaning up tube before welding and can also be used to notch tubes as well. They are much better than grinding discs because they do not take off as much metal and are much easier to work with.

Also get a wire wheel for that grinder to clean the crap out of all the joints before welding. The cleaner the surface, the better the weld.

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ALSO, if you're anywhere close to Houston and have any of the above for sale - lemme know.
sorry, can't help on that one
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  #8  
Old 02-04-2009
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Originally Posted by Trevelyn1015 View Post
they're cheap and easy to use? i dunno.

it's all i've ever welded with.

built this bowfishing deck fine:
Hmm I learned on one and its ok, but i also have unlimited access to a miller 250 mig and it is the way to go. I mean easy and no slag to clean up afterwards.
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Old 02-04-2009
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these are pretty nice to have around...

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Old 02-04-2009
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i would get a mig welder over a stick welder imo much easier to use and more user friendly
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Old 02-04-2009
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yeah go mig. so you gota buy gas here and there, no biggie. but its a much cleaner weld and you are in better control imo
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Old 02-04-2009
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these are pretty nice to have around...

That is what i have sitting in my garage
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Old 02-04-2009
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For a stick welder, I would just buy a TIG that has the stinger attachment. That way you have stick when you need it, and can weld anything with the TIG

But if you don't want to spend that money or learn TIG, I would really suggest a MIG welder. MIG weldign is super easy with a few hours or practice gets it down pretty good for small stuff. Keep practicing and read some books on welding theory with the pool and everything.

Now, you'll really have to ask yourself a serious question: How thick of metal will i be welding?

If you are doing sheet metal up to 3/16~1/4inch, a 120V MIG would do.
If you are doing greater than 1/4inch, a 220MIG will do.

Depending on how much money you want to spend, it might be worth it to buy the 220V straight off. That way you can learn on small stuff super easy (because of all the power), adn will be able to do heavier stuff (like welding stuff on your frame, etc).

I am looking into a 220V MIG now, but really considering a TIG...
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  #14  
Old 02-05-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainfire View Post
Stick is prett damn easy,


But buy a Hobart, or something along those lines, you don't really need a Lincon or a Miller if you are just doing back yard stuff.
hobart is nothing more than a miller. lincoln welders suck.


Buy yourself a GOOD welder and learn how to use it. You dont want to try to learn on a junk welder, you arent teaching yourself how to control your welding, you are too busy trying to control the welder... There are plenty of videos you can buy, take a welding course at a local community college, or just get a friend with some welding experience to show you some pointers.
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  #15  
Old 02-05-2009
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hobart is nothing more than a miller.
I know that, but are they not cheaper in price?
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  #16  
Old 02-07-2009
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i would really consider a small metal cutting band saw over an abrasive cut-off saw.

the band saw will be slower, but they are nowhere close to the noise of a cut-off saw, and a band saw doesn't throw sparks!
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  #17  
Old 02-07-2009
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you might wanna check one of these out

http://www.dewalt.com/us/products/to...productID=8921

the price at our store is $301.45
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  #18  
Old 02-07-2009
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I know that, but are they not cheaper in price?
yes they are
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  #19  
Old 02-07-2009
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I have a mig ready welder. I have not yet bought the gas to make it a true mig welder. I just use the flux core wire. Have used it more than planned in the last 2 years I have had it. I never used a welder before getting this one and I have gotten better over time.
The grinder with sanding disk does a great job to clean up newbie welds.

As for building the deck. I just used a skill saw and a couple power drills. I used pressure treated frame and composite decking. I think I used the sawzall just to tear down the old deck.
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  #20  
Old 02-09-2009
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Skip the HF chop-saw... it won't last. I agree I think you'd be happier with a bandsaw for cutting. The bandsaw is slower, but it will make your cuts more square (ie it won't deflect during the cut like a chopsaw, particularly a cheap one, will).

For a welder, I agree I think a basic MIG will work well for you. Lincoln, Hobart, or Miller are all good choices. I'm very happy with my Lincoln 140. It's easier to set up and go, and you won't have to worry about electrode storage. If you're only stick welding on and off, you'll have to have a good dry sealed place to keep the sticks, or you'll have to go to the store everytime you want to weld something.

As for practice, try to avoid watching the arc (even though it's REALLY pretty!) and focus on the weld puddle. Beyond that, it's just a matter of getting it set properly for good heat and penetration and getting used to bending and contorting in strange ways to reach everything you're welding on. Trickiest things to weld on are overhead welds and thin sheet metal. Just practice practice practice and get used to cleaning all your joints beforehand and bevelling your pieces for better penetration!
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  #21  
Old 02-09-2009
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i would get a mig welder over a stick welder imo much easier to use and more user friendly
True, but you cant beat a stick on 1/2in or bigger steel.
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  #22  
Old 02-09-2009
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Originally Posted by k.blakeley View Post
True, but you cant beat a stick on 1/2in or bigger steel.
without a doubt, but how many guys are welding greater than 1/2inch more than they are welding under 1/4in in their garage? MIG FTW
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  #23  
Old 02-09-2009
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i want to learn how to weld. would make life much more easy for my self.

Last edited by monkeysteeler12; 02-09-2009 at 10:38 PM.
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