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Voodoo
09-08-2008, 05:32 PM
Folks --

I want to learn how to weld. The local community college offers two classes. The first is "Intro to welding" and the second is "Mig/Tig welding". Each class cost $500.00. The classes are two months long, once a week for 3 hours. Of course, $1000.00 will get me a good start if I skipped the classes and bought some welding supplies and started by trial and error. My do-it-yourselfer skills are well above average. Any recommendations from the welders out there?

Voodoo

03 35th Anniversary
09-08-2008, 05:40 PM
Do-it-your self will be fine if your only going to do small stuff for yourself.

Other than that, you'll need the courses if you plan on doing anything that needs X-rayed out and to pass structural test.

flipper
09-08-2008, 05:41 PM
oops double.....

flipper
09-08-2008, 05:41 PM
I never went to school for it, but where school comes in handy is learning all the different types of metal, and how they'll act. Also what rod for which application. I learned on the job, from people that went to, and some that taught welding classes. Most of this info you can get from a book, or read on line, and the rest is pretty much trial and error. I'd just ask somebody for some pointers, have them watch you weld, and practice. Don't try to weld anything important until you've had a lot of practice. Also remember a pretty weld, doesn't mean it's strong.

dummy
09-08-2008, 06:38 PM
$1000? That'll buy you a nice MIG with a spool gun for welding aluminum or it'll go a long way towards a MIG and a TIG.

One of the best bangs for your buck in the MIG welding world are the 180-amp, 230V machines offered by Miller, Hobart, and Lincoln Electric. These moderately sized welders offer loads of versatility and the ability to weld anything from sheetmetal to axle housings. Just a quick price check on cyberweld.com and a couple others: the Miller Matic 180 for $805, a Hobart Handler 187 for $698, and a Lincoln Power MIG 180C for $785. Any one of these will serve the average enthusiast for a lifetime. You can add a spool gun for aluminum on any of these machines for a couple hundred, but MIG welding aluminum can get a little messy compared with TIG.

For a TIG, I just picked up a Miller Diversion 165. It's a pretty dummy-proof TIG (no pun intended). It'll do AC/DC, but the duty cycle is a bit low if you're gonna be welding thick aluminum. Cost ready to run is right around $1,200.

flipper
09-08-2008, 06:49 PM
If you're going to buy one, get a Miller.

dummy
09-08-2008, 06:55 PM
If you're going to buy one, get a Miller.

I'd tend to agree even though my MIG is a Hobart Iron Man 210. My plasma cutter, TIG , and my best welding helmet are Miller.

Miller owns Hobart. In fact, my Hobart came with a Miller gun. Lots of guys swear by Lincoln, too. Stroll by your local welding supply store and see what they have in stock and what looks good to you. Any one of those 3 is a top flight unit, but the Millers are generally considered the best. Sort of like comparing a Mastercraft to a Nautique. I appreciate both, but I bought the MC.

flipper
09-08-2008, 07:08 PM
I've had bad luck with Lincoln wire feeds, the Miller machines seems to weld a lot better to me. I do have an old Lincoln buzz box that I really like though.

M-Funf
09-08-2008, 07:17 PM
Miller owns Hobart. In fact, my Hobart came with a Miller gun.

Mine did, too. I've got the Hobart Handler 180. Works great. I've never run into a duty cycle issue, but then I don't do much heavy duty welding...

If you're relatively capable, you should be able to pick it up pretty quick. There are some good online tutorials for MIG and TIG welding. I'll see if I can dig up a link.

Found link...Mig Welding (http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/tutorial.htm)

I did weld up my winch mount this summer. Turned out pretty good :D

http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/attachment.php?attachmentid=38717&d=1218056413

dummy
09-08-2008, 07:50 PM
There's a lot of personal preference involved. I have no real experience with Lincoln, so I can't comment about ergonomics, etc.

I do have a Miller Passport Plus portable MIG and my buddy has a new Miller 180 with the Auto-Set. In using both these MIGs I find the wire feeds more slowly upon initial trigger pull, then ramps up. Miller says it's part of its new "smooth start" technology that's supposed to result in less spatter and better starts, but it sort of throws me for a loop whenever I use 'em. I guess I'm just old school because I like how my Hobart or an older Millermatic 180/210/etc feeds the same wire speed whenever the trigger is pulled.

Point is, you should test out a machine before you buy if possible and see how you like it.

jakethebt
09-08-2008, 09:14 PM
I would recommend the class. There is a lot of do it yourself stuff that you can pick up and figure out, but I would not say that welding is one of them. Sure, you can do it, and it may hold, however... the class will teach you to look at a weld and determine if it is ok or not. If it is not ok, it will teach you what is wrong and how to fix it. The reason that this is important is already mentioned above, some beautiful welds are bad.

Second reason for school... you are probably welding important stuff that will be really bad if it breaks. Like your boat trailer, or a engine stand that will be holding 500 lbs over your feet.

As for the class, you may be able to skip intro to welding and move right to the MIG class. Chances are the intro class may cover all For the average stuff you are going to be doing, MIG is all the average handy man (or woman) will ever need. Tig is expensive and time consuming unless you have a need (materials or what not). My local vocational school had a MIG only class that was about $300 or so. My work ended up paying for it...

lsupcar
09-09-2008, 12:49 AM
I had my first welding class at the local community college this evening. I've never welded before. They started us off by having us cut off a 6x6 square of 1/4 inch steel with an oxy acetylene torch, then practice forming beads across the square with a stick welder for two hours. I have a long way to go. My friends recommended just getting a MIG machine and practicing, but I wanted to learn how to do correct, strong, safe work, and it was nice to have instructers coming around to inspect your work and make suggestions. Bill Z

76S&S
09-09-2008, 11:03 AM
If your goal is to make a career welding, then stick with the classes since you don't have any experience. They will pay for themselves in the long run as a good welder can make a pretty good living.

RexDog1
09-09-2008, 12:36 PM
Folks --

I want to learn how to weld. The local community college offers two classes. The first is "Intro to welding" and the second is "Mig/Tig welding". Each class cost $500.00. The classes are two months long, once a week for 3 hours. Of course, $1000.00 will get me a good start if I skipped the classes and bought some welding supplies and started by trial and error. My do-it-yourselfer skills are well above average. Any recommendations from the welders out there?

Voodoo

Well what are you going to do with your new welding skills? Is it for a job? or is it for just shade tree work? And do the classes give you certification?
I took auto body classes for a year at a community college, and they had a lot of welding in the classes, I am a fan of Miler I have been very happy with them :D

flipper
09-09-2008, 12:43 PM
I had my first welding class at the local community college this evening. I've never welded before. They started us off by having us cut off a 6x6 square of 1/4 inch steel with an oxy acetylene torch, then practice forming beads across the square with a stick welder for two hours. I have a long way to go. My friends recommended just getting a MIG machine and practicing, but I wanted to learn how to do correct, strong, safe work, and it was nice to have instructers coming around to inspect your work and make suggestions. Bill Z


I disagree with your friends. Once you can weld stick, you can weld with pretty much anything. I started out on stick, and then went to the other types of machines. The rest are pretty easy I think.

chudson
09-09-2008, 03:04 PM
Whether your going to career weld or work in your own shop you may work on something that down the road could involve someones safety, take the class!!! :twocents:

Voodoo
09-09-2008, 03:12 PM
Folks --

Thanks for all the replies. I am taking the class "Mig/Tig Welding". The price quoted was a little high with the actual price coming in at $310. Eight weeks at 3 hours per week.

Thanks again,
Voodoo