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Old 10-12-2019, 19:05   #31
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Re: Welder on board?

My $.02

I am self taught. I do have a Miller 330A/BP which is huge but does TIG nice. I now can do steel patch panels for antique car (Model A Fords) from scratch. Most of the weld would be hard to see in the bare steel. It took me quite a while to get there.

I have done some Aluminum. Had some luck welding up Mercedes oil pans. Got the ladder to a motor home back together too. Failed a bunch of other trys. You need really clean metal and the correct rod for the material. For some types you really need a new welder with a control on the square wave. It takes a lot of current!!

I would not want to trust any Aluminum welds in structural places unless you have the experience and knowledge to know you did it right.

Also for TIG you need to have a way to grind the tips to a point. You will need a grinder of some sort.

Then there is the conditions on board. I have repaired electronics. I hate to see the boards of a quality welder at sea for a while. I doubt a lower quality unit will hold up well out of the box. I can see the Chinese welder cable turning to green dust in no time. The circuit boards, if uncoated, likely will want to fail. There is some serious current floating around and some high freq high voltage. Some salty air will make for some interesting failures.
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Old 10-12-2019, 19:16   #32
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Re: Welder on board?

I've had my harbor freight pro tig 200 on board for 2 years, I own several machines, Lincoln , Miller , and esab and the harbor freight machine has really impressed me, just as good as the Lincoln squarewave 200 and 1/3 the price. guess time will tell how life on a boat is for a welder . I have left it in the rain a few times and on deck several nights . . But still going strong, i use it at least a couple times of month.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoreFun View Post
My $.02

I am self taught. I do have a Miller 330A/BP which is huge but does TIG nice. I now can do steel patch panels for antique car (Model A Fords) from scratch. Most of the weld would be hard to see in the bare steel. It took me quite a while to get there.

I have done some Aluminum. Had some luck welding up Mercedes oil pans. Got the ladder to a motor home back together too. Failed a bunch of other trys. You need really clean metal and the correct rod for the material. For some types you really need a new welder with a control on the square wave. It takes a lot of current!!

I would not want to trust any Aluminum welds in structural places unless you have the experience and knowledge to know you did it right.

Also for TIG you need to have a way to grind the tips to a point. You will need a grinder of some sort.

Then there is the conditions on board. I have repaired electronics. I hate to see the boards of a quality welder at sea for a while. I doubt a lower quality unit will hold up well out of the box. I can see the Chinese welder cable turning to green dust in no time. The circuit boards, if uncoated, likely will want to fail. There is some serious current floating around and some high freq high voltage. Some salty air will make for some interesting failures.
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Old 10-12-2019, 19:25   #33
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Re: Welder on board?

You mention aesthetics as unimportant a, but I was always told that a strong weld will be a good looking weld and a crappy looking weld will be weak. That is, the strength and appearance are inseparable.
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Old 10-12-2019, 19:31   #34
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Re: Welder on board?

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
OK, so is "stick welding" aka "shielded metal arc welding" a subset of TIG or MIG? or v/v?

I've been clear that even butt-ugly is not an issue, much less "ordinary looking", so never mind about aesthetics.

Also that I'm talking structural, load-bearing big beams etc.

I assume anything suitable for that would also be fine for "small jobs and repairs"?

Really appreciate your patience. . .

Succinctly, you need a MIG welder. One point of note is that "butt ugly" and "structurally sound" are kind of at opposite ends when it comes to aluminium welding. It's one of the most difficult mainstream materials to weld for a number of reasons. You might get a pass with "ordinary", but I wouldn't be standing under anything substantial made of aluminium glued together with "butt ugly" welds



None of the welding processes mentioned are subsets of any other.


(technical rambling follows...)



Stick, TIG and MIG are distinct arc welding processes with the technical descriptions being Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) and Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) respectively.
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Old 10-12-2019, 19:38   #35
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Re: Welder on board?

John,
You would really, really be best advised to take a class at a Votec school.
Aluminum is not easy, butt ugly doesnít work.
Me, personally Iíd skip MIG altogether for a machine to carry and go straight TIG.
I also fell pretty certain that you can get 5 lbs of 3/32 low hydrogen rods, specifically 7018 and vacuum seal them in 1 lb increments, yes low hy rods do pick up moisture once unsealed and yes you can cook out the moisture, I kept rods in an old refrigerator with a 100W light bulb in the bottom, that kept them dry enough. I usually ran 5010 which we called 5P for some reason, 7018 and 7024 were mainstays, and that is all for steel of course.
You can even weld cast iron with nickel rods, preheating is essential.
Stainless and especially aluminum ought to be TIG in my opinion.

But there is way more to this than you may think, and with anything thatís not simple a few classes will get you a huge head start.
Then you will know enough to know what questions to ask and can get familiar with equipment.
However, buy a good self darkening helmet, for an old welder, those things are just pure magic, plain and simple. Took me a long time to trust one though
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Old 10-12-2019, 19:38   #36
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Re: Welder on board?

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
Stick, TIG and MIG are distinct arc welding processes with the technical descriptions being Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) and Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) respectively.
Excellent, precise terms do help.

And if pretty is important to functionality, it thus becomes a goal

Thanks to all.
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Old 10-12-2019, 20:26   #37
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Re: Welder on board?

Do we carry a welder? Short answer, No.

I did a little welding on some SS projects before we left to go cruising. It was fun and surprisingly easy. I thought I'd carry some welding equipment and do work for other cruisers as we went along. My friend said, "Every little village has a welder."

So I switched to sail repair and bought a sailmaking sewing machine.

It was a good choice but I still miss the welder.

However, my friend was right: everywhere I've needed welding done there was a local welder to do it.
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Old 10-12-2019, 21:10   #38
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Re: Welder on board?

I second reefmagnet on everything. I also agree with all on proper training. I have aluminum welders in my family so I know the importance of proper training. Until then, go to weldingtipsandtricks.com My advice, don't get lost in there. Do a quick search for aluminum and concentrate on that first. He's a great teacher and easy to follow. I think he put a good one out around August. Next, find proper training. Good luck.
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Old 10-12-2019, 21:10   #39
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Re: Welder on board?

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
John,
You would really, really be best advised to take a class at a Votec school.
Aluminum is not easy, butt ugly doesnít work.
Me, personally Iíd skip MIG altogether for a machine to carry and go straight TIG.
I also fell pretty certain that you can get 5 lbs of 3/32 low hydrogen rods, specifically 7018 and vacuum seal them in 1 lb increments, yes low hy rods do pick up moisture once unsealed and yes you can cook out the moisture, I kept rods in an old refrigerator with a 100W light bulb in the bottom, that kept them dry enough. I usually ran 5010 which we called 5P for some reason, 7018 and 7024 were mainstays, and that is all for steel of course.
You can even weld cast iron with nickel rods, preheating is essential.
Stainless and especially aluminum ought to be TIG in my opinion.

But there is way more to this than you may think, and with anything thatís not simple a few classes will get you a huge head start.
Then you will know enough to know what questions to ask and can get familiar with equipment.
However, buy a good self darkening helmet, for an old welder, those things are just pure magic, plain and simple. Took me a long time to trust one though

That was Lincoln's brand name for their cellulose rods. 99.9% used on pipework, or so it seemed.
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Old 10-12-2019, 21:46   #40
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Re: Welder on board?

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
What would be the best approach for a complete-welding-noob

far from shore power in remote primitive off-grid locations

wanting to start out learning on plain steel

but immediate goal is 5052 aluminium for structural load bearing applications?

Looks not important at all, only strength
What would be the best approach for a complete-welding-noob?

Looking at your requirements I would say your best approach is to aim much lower and not do what you look like you are planning to do.

Welding is a skill that takes a while to learn. It is not something learned in 2 hrs or 2 days and welding structurally sound pieces in a short amount of time is simply not done unless you are a natural. If you never take a test, how would you know? Welding requires practice and lots of it.

If your welds are ugly then they are not structurally dependable. Good welds that will not fail are not ugly.

A noob welding structural aluminum, where someone's life may depend on it not failing? Simply not done by serious people.

In the welding world if it looks like turd it is a turd and polishing a turd will only leave you with..... a turd. What that means is there is no way to fix a bad weld except grind it out and weld again.

AC TIG ( primary way to weld aluminum) ,is not that hard, actually easier than stick. But it takes time and you need a steady hand. Its not like stick where if the metal is thick enough you can just turn up the heat and push the rod in. No steady hand no nice TIG welds, in fact no TIG welds at all.

TIG must be done in a sheltered place with almost zero wind. If that is not possible a shelter must be constructed.

I have done a lot of stainless steel work on my boat this year. Lots of people come and ask me if I will weld something for them. I always politely refuse. If one of my welds fails ( chances are slim ) I don't need some yahoo coming back to me later.
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Old 10-12-2019, 21:58   #41
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Re: Welder on board?

Yes I plan on getting proper tuition when the opportunity arises, and have no olans to build anything that could kill antone but me.

Thanks all for the concern
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