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Old 13-02-2021, 15:57   #16
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

If you want to weld ss tube you pretty much need a TIG welder. Possible to do fugly welds with flux core. DC Tig welders can do stick as well for heavier stuff.

I'd recommend pulse TIG & foot control is a bonus. You cannot be a good TIG welder in 5 mins. For most people it takes a month to become ok. Its hard enough to learn in a workshop let alone on a boat. Other posters have pointed out the wind problem.. You need to get inventive with windbreak cloth if trying to do in situ.

Some good tutorials on youtube but you simply have to put in the hours to develop the hand/eye co-ordination.

Some great machines around these days but not cheap.
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Old 13-02-2021, 16:55   #17
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

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Originally Posted by tradrockrat View Post

Now - another note - welding stainless ruins the stainless in the heat affected zone - just be aware that as a tinkerer, any stainless you weld will need to be polished WAY beyond what you imagine, or the welds will rust. But it can be done.
Passivating gel sorts that problem out. Removes the oxidation, and the iron that can sit on the surface. After that, just a normal polish and the job is done
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Old 13-02-2021, 18:26   #18
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

As several have mentioned many TIG machines will power a stinger for stick welding.

If you want a machine to make or mend small stainless hardware and stainless tube I think you'll be sad trying to do it with stick.

Stick is a very useful process but I don' know of anyone who uses it for small detail work like I find on my boat.

As for aluminum, stick is reported to be functional for a field repair. It its reportedly very difficult to have it look good even for the stick pros.

And I certainly wouldn't want to bore you with the list of AWS certs I've had in aerospace and currently power gen turbines (From aluminum to titanium)


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Old 13-02-2021, 21:41   #19
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

I would get a moderate priced 110v inverter stick welder. You can add the equip to make it TIG very cheaply.
You can stick weld stainless, aluminum (Harris 26 or Lincoln Alumaweld-43)and dirty cast iron (Muggy weld) using stick.

Wire feed has more that can go wrong with it which in salt air more that will go wrong.
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Old 14-02-2021, 01:04   #20
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

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Originally Posted by WillyTheRat View Post

Me, I'd hire the job out to a boatyard. The price will be high, but professionally done.
Willy

Loved your post.
I'll never weld to the standard you describe.

As a first time welder I did a community college short course and bought a combination stick, TIG, MIG unit with foot pedal and wave form control.

After many near successes I now settle for fabricating, fitting, tacking the piece together and taking it to a pro whose weld quality reflects the effort I put into assembly.

The price is right

Cheers
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Old 14-02-2021, 14:10   #21
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

I could not get neat enough welds using my MIG gear so bit the bullet and bought a small TIG unit. I was advised to get the HF start feature and a foot pedal was not necessary. TIG welding is just about practice, cleanliness and eyesight in my opinion. I now use reading magnifiers which has made a huge difference to the quality of my welds. Once you understand how gas cup size, gas flow rate, electrode stick out, electrode angle and travel speed interact you'll be very happy with your results I'm sure. Practice , practice, practice ....oh, and pickling paste ....

Here is the reason I taught myself to weld stainless .....
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Old 14-02-2021, 14:21   #22
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

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Originally Posted by Rucksta View Post
Willy

Loved your post.
I'll never weld to the standard you describe.

As a first time welder I did a community college short course and bought a combination stick, TIG, MIG unit with foot pedal and wave form control.

After many near successes I now settle for fabricating, fitting, tacking the piece together and taking it to a pro whose weld quality reflects the effort I put into assembly.

The price is right

Cheers
Exactly what I do. I have an old 1950 TIG welder from the Air Force that weighs over 300lbs and is the size of a small refrigerator. I fabricate and attempt to weld the pieces together. Then take my disgusting welds to a pro and pay him to make it pretty while shaking his head. Then take it to the powder coater.
On a boat, I would think a stick welder would work for spot welding with only one limiting factor, the stick. I can't imagine how hard it would be to find argon in a remote village in Bahama's or Belize. Let alone with the same tank fittings. I bet it is easier to find a welder than argon. Price to weld in a shop is much cheaper than having a welder come to the boat.
Fabricate, with stick (spot weld) then take to shop. Then you can take the credit for building it. Please don't catch your fiberglass on fire. And, you don't have to worry about your welds in 40 knot winds and 15'-25' seas. Plus, if the welds break, blame the welder.
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Old 14-02-2021, 17:14   #23
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

Miller welding has an ap you might want to look at. You pick the material and it will lead you to the type and typical settings to use.
From there you can decide the type of machine you will want.
I have an older everlasting 225amp machine about the size of a roller suitcase but it does require 220 volts
For heavy intermittent use I took an aquarium pump and a 5 gallon bucket of fresh water for cooling. When the water gets warm I stop and refresh the water. Great no but cheap for intermittent high power usage
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Old 14-02-2021, 17:36   #24
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

I was certified in all common methods. I'd suggest you take a night school course. It's a lot faster to learn from someone. Maybe a welding shop would teach the basics for a small fee. To learn any welding method, have decent beads and the pieces stay together takes many feet of bead practice. Many more feet without someone to advise you.

If you're only going to run small, short beads in light weight metal a tig might be best. Mig is very easy to use and has the added benefit of being able to tack things together with out your hood.

I have a welder that can run as a mig or dual shield (cored wire and shielding gas). I use a spool gun and can get nice beads in aluminum and stainless. I'm retired and wanted a single welder I could carry on the boat that would do the broadest range.
If you only have a few small projects, it would be cheaper to have a welding shop do it.
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Old 14-02-2021, 17:56   #25
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

do yourself a favor...and go to welding school....here on this forum you'll get many opinions based on an individuals knowledge and experience...but unless you are standing there, it's just an opinion...
go sign up for welding school, there are many around...get a pro to show you the ropes, the machines, etc...
me...I welded up my own steel boat, but could not have done without lessons...I was doing it as " per book" but it took the guiding hand of a pro to show me.....there is quite an art to it....welding straight down....up...sideways...etc..etc...etc.....100 other things no book can teach you...
short and simple....go to welding school !!!
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Old 14-02-2021, 18:46   #26
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

About 10 years ago I wanted to learn some welding. We lived in Philadelphia at the time. I looked into night schools and also processional schools. Philadelphia has NO, zero, zilch, nada night time adult education for anything useful you do with your hands. Carpentry, welding, electrical, auto, NOTHING. I could find theses classes at suburban schools but that required an hour or more drive out and again back and was tight on my schedule. So I just bought some stuff and started.

A pretty rough way to go and I would have been better off taking a class.

2019 I went to my 50 year HS reunion, a NJ suburban school. We took a tour of our old school, now much enlarged. But the shops had not been enlarged. Night school for hands on stuff had been discontinued in 2017.
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Old 14-02-2021, 22:55   #27
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

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Originally Posted by tradrockrat View Post
Get the TIG. I'm a formerly certified plate and pipe welder, and I have used MIG, TIG, Stick, and Oxy-fuel to weld.

Learning TIG isn't hard - it's just different. You can learn to TIG a decent bead in a few weeks.

I highly suggest you buy an inexpensive AC/DC TIG setup because, despite the fact that they simply are not as good or robust as a Lincoln / miller, you don't seem to need that.

I've got a LOTOS 200 amp cheapo that's going with me on my boat. It can run off of 240 and 115 V power and while you better be a damn good welder if you're going to hit anything 1/4" thick, for small stuff it works fantastically.

Now - another note - welding stainless ruins the stainless in the heat affected zone - just be aware that as a tinkerer, any stainless you weld will need to be polished WAY beyond what you imagine, or the welds will rust. But it can be done.
I agree, I've used oxy, stick, mig and Tig. For small stainless parts there can only be one. Tig.

The annoying side is regularly having to sharpen the tungsten, as you get better you need to less but on a moving boat you need to often. Getting a nice puddle is easy, just learn to manage the filler rod.

I pickle all my welds, brush on wipe and wash off and have no issue with rust at the welds, it's nasty stuff so follow the cautions.
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Old 14-02-2021, 23:25   #28
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

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Originally Posted by jimbojonesbos View Post
Hi All,
I have read numerous threads on welders but didn't feel like any hit the exact target for this question.


I have some experience with a fluxcore wire welder. I am generally handy and good with detail oriented work. I would like to buy a welder for boat projects. All the first time welder advice I see is geared toward steel with most suggesting a MIG or stick welder for a beginner with MIG being easiest to learn and stick being best from a weld strength and skill building perspective. I don't want to become a pro welder, nor do I want to get into welding as a hobby on its own, just repair 316 stainless and make small brackets and whatnot. I don't ever expect to welding large seams, just an inch here and there.


So here is the question; am I crazy to consider buying a TIG setup to teach myself? Everything I read says TIG takes forever to learn, but tig seems ideal for small marine jobs and low power inverter TIG machines are cheap and can do stick as well. Clean precise welds and only one gas bottle are appealing. I have also heard some folks proclaim that they picked tiging up pretty quickly on their own.



Is a small mig machine a better idea? This gives the option of aluminum but then the need for multiple gas mixes comes into play. MIG welds also don't seem appropriate for small boat projects and I have been told it is easy to make a pretty mig weld that is weak.



My grandfather was a welder and machinist, I only wish I had been old enough for him to teach me before he died :-(



Thanks in advance for any thought or advice you might have for me.
Just an inch here or there? Way cheaper to get someone else to do it.
Buying a Tig welder + consumables (filler rods, gas, rent on bottle etc) isn’t cheap
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Old 15-02-2021, 04:46   #29
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

The local High School where I built my boat offered evening classes for welding, wood working, etc. I was pretty amazed, the school was outfitted with the latest of everything and I ended up spending a lot of time there so I could avail myself of all the tools and expertise. I learned a lot there and having all that big equipment available made my life immeasurably easier, so check around.
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Old 16-02-2021, 05:47   #30
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

Thanks everyone for all the feedback and advice. This would be for shop use not onboard so that reduces some of the challenges. I have had several people pm me with recommendations for small inverter machines that do stick and tig and I may pick one up as they are pretty cheap. If I don't get the hang of it I can tack things and bring them to a pro as was suggested in this thread.
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