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Old 16-02-2021, 07:20   #31
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

When I built my boat I bought a used Miller 225 amp stick welder....it was AC only and I used mostly 6013 and 6011 welding rods, 3/16" dia.....I was very happy with it. You will need a 220v power source. It was a workhorse, and I could weld all day with it.

These days I have a small DC 115 amp welder that can run off 110 v or 220 v. It does not have the duty cycle of the Miller, but you can set the machine for different current polarities. I use the machine on 115 v and I still use 6013 and 6011 rods, but 1/8" dia or 3/32 dia. It works great, but the smaller rods may require a second or third pass...I havn't had any problem welding for 30 minutes or so, and it's a remarkable welder. mine is an Amico brand, but there are many others.

You can buy these small welders off Amazon, they have a huge selection to pick from and are relatively inexpensive. You can get the helmet and gloves while you are at it.

A stick welder is pretty basic, but if you know what you're doing, you can do most anything with it. It takes practice is all.
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Old 18-02-2021, 11:04   #32
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

Miller Inverter TIG. Period.
Aluminum Argon cylinders.
Quality Gas lenses. Super clean all your aluminum.
Watch Welding Tips and Tricks with Jody. Do exactly what he does.
Any shortcut from above will just waste your time and money.
The cost of quality equipment is worth the investment.
Just that simple.
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Old 01-03-2021, 07:05   #33
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

TIG is ideal for superior quality welds on a variety of materials in a non-production setting. It's not terribly difficult to learn.
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Old 01-03-2021, 07:14   #34
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

I am planning on doing some stainless welding on my davits, adding a redundant support strut and adding a mount plate for a self tailing winch. I was thinking of using Blue Demon 316LFC flux core wire with a Forney Easy Weld 140MP. I had considered a tig setup, but I don't want to deal with gas and was trying to keep things as simple as possible.
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Old 01-03-2021, 08:21   #35
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

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Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
I have a similar small inverter stick welder (80A, 110v AC), from Canada's answer to Harbor Freight. I've only started to learn how to weld. Do you have any advice for how to start doing small welds in stainless steel - eg what rods, technique, limitations? thanks.
I'm really not qualified to give advice on this subject as my experience is limited to a community college class 40 years ago. In this case YouTube is a great resource. Not much info about welding stainless but it's out there if you dig. I had no luck sourcing stainless rod locally but was able to get it easily on Amazon.
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Old 01-03-2021, 11:02   #36
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

I have all three weld sets stick MIG and TIG , just cheap sets but since I don’t need to do much ... I’d recommend TIG for the boat for stainless u need argon gas’s for that . It’s a bit like soldering addict weld metal from a rod and using the TIG electrode to heat up the metal . Preparation is key , clean material and make sure you keep sharp the electrode especially if u dip it in the molten pool, which I will regularly to begin with . It doesn’t take long to learn once you’ve set machine up for thickness of material . Good luck 👍
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Old 01-03-2021, 17:41   #37
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

For use on boats I definitely recommend torch handle power controls. Many times you will be way out of position for a foot pedal. Foot pedals are the go if you do your work on a nice bench, but not on a boat.
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Old 02-03-2021, 00:36   #38
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

Quote:
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.
Get an inverter DC TIG/Stick welder 140 to 180 Amp. They are cheap and light, all you need is TIG hand piece and a bottle of Argon.
The beauty is you can use stainless and steel electrodes as well.
If you want to TIG weld Aluminium you need an AC capable TIG welder..they are not cheap
Either one you need the right technique and a steady hand.
Forget MIG for weding small fittings.
Hope it helps
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Old 02-03-2021, 06:41   #39
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

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Originally Posted by jimbojonesbos View Post
Thats kind of what I am thinking but "the internet" has me worried that unless I spend years training or go to welding school that I will not be able to TIG.

In my case however I would not be keeping the welder onboard, it would be in my garage.



thanks!
If you have ever sweat soldered tubing or electrical connections, you can TIG.
The key is to keep the flow going with the filler rod. Do not stick the tungston to the work surface. It makes a mess and you will start over.
Finished weld should look like a stack of dimes laid sideways. Practice.
And you can TIG anything made of metal.
And get a real good welding hood, the kind that automatically dims when you begin to weld. Bright welding lights help too.
Enjoy. Keep it on the boat and you'll get a lot of bartering jobs.
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Old 02-03-2021, 06:46   #40
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Splashman237 View Post
I have all three weld sets stick MIG and TIG , just cheap sets but since I don’t need to do much ... I’d recommend TIG for the boat for stainless u need argon gas’s for that . It’s a bit like soldering addict weld metal from a rod and using the TIG electrode to heat up the metal . Preparation is key , clean material and make sure you keep sharp the electrode especially if u dip it in the molten pool, which I will regularly to begin with . It doesn’t take long to learn once you’ve set machine up for thickness of material . Good luck 👍
Spot on, but I'd recomend stargon. NIce mixed gas and less expensive. But now we get to the size of the gas bottle.
I've done this for decades, but don't recall small bottles in the shop.
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Old 10-03-2021, 13:42   #41
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

Spent almost two decades Tig welding aluminium bikes frames. Most guys who applied themselves could learn to lay down a nice bead after a few months (our standards were pretty high, and the tubes pretty thin).
Stainless different animal, more fussy, but you should be able to do serviceable welds with practice.
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Old 10-03-2021, 15:07   #42
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

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Originally Posted by Drinky Crow View Post
Spent almost two decades Tig welding aluminium bikes frames. Most guys who applied themselves could learn to lay down a nice bead after a few months (our standards were pretty high, and the tubes pretty thin).
Stainless different animal, more fussy, but you should be able to do serviceable welds with practice.

Thanks! That is interesting, most folks have told me aluminum is particularly tricky. I bought a small DC inverter machine that does stick and tig to get the ball rolling on stainless. The first project will be a bracket to better secure my fuel tank.
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Old 10-03-2021, 20:29   #43
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

A couple of the posts on this thread have suggested to stay away from “P.O.S.” Harbor Freight welders. Now I’ll be the first in line to warn about some of the low quality Chinese crap at HF. Example, I bought an aluminum yardstick for my shop for pennies and was cleaning off some grease with acetone when suddenly all the painted markings vanished. Now it’s just a smooth blank piece of aluminum. Although I have to admit, it is now the cheapest weldable aluminum rectangular bar stock I could ever buy (Home Depot charges twice the price for the same aluminum bar). Anyway, to put things in perspective, I am not a certified welder by profession but I have been welding as a “hobby” since I was 12 years old (I’m now 60). Started in my fathers body shop as a kid after school. I currently have a high end 350 amp Miller Pulse MIG welder (Millermatic 350P) coupled with an XR Alumapro push-pull feed gun for aluminum (~$8,000 setup). It MIG welds aluminum and stainless steel like a high speed TIG (stack of dimes look). I also have an “old school” Lincoln Square Wave Precision TIG transformer type welder which I learned to TIG on decades ago. Unlike stainless, TIG welding aluminum on an older technology transformer type welder takes a lot of practice. However, inverter technology has changed all that. Although I was happy with my aluminum welds on the old Lincoln, I became fascinated with the YouTube videos from Jody on Welding Tips and Tricks. His aluminum welds using inverter technology were mind blowing. I decided to finally invest in inverter technology. I was ready to purchase a new Miller Dynasty 210 DX but wanted to read reviews of everything else out there first. One of the last reviews I read was of the Harbor Freight Vulcan ProTig 205 for $999. It had rave reviews. Although it does not have all the bells and whistles and the extremely advanced wave technology that the Miller has, it’s technology is plenty good for 99.9% of the welding most people would need. The three year warranty (same as Miller) plus the additional HF warranty will allow you to return it anytime within the 3 year period if “broken” no questions asked and walk out with a brand new one. Ok, all sounds good but how does it weld? All I can say is Holy Crap! It’s phenomenal! TIG welding stainless - a dream, it is equal to my Lincoln. TIG welding aluminum - childs play, couldn’t be easier and the welds come out perfect with the recommended presets on the machine. The Vulcan ProTig 205 welds like the big boys for under $1000. The duty cycle is fine for anyone not running a high volume fab shop. And if it breaks, go in and exchange it for a new one. They don’t repair them, they give you a new one. And when you take it out of the box, the first thing you notice is it is solid and rugged. It doesn’t feel cheap. It is AC/DC TIG and will also stick weld. And a big plus is it will run on 120v or 240v. In fact the only gripe I have with it is that the cooling fan is “constant on” rather than “on demand”. The fan blows like a hurricane which is great for cooling and long life but I have to make sure the unit is not blowing toward the welding area and displacing the argon in the weld. Not a big deal. As far as size and portability, it weighs about 50 pounds and is a little larger than my Sailrite sewing machine in its case. Yes, you could take it on most cruising sailboats and run it on 120v but I don’t for other reasons such post-processing of welds like passivating and polishing etc. I’d rather be in my shop for that. As for quality of weld, see the picture where I welded my stainless steel bowsprit. In particular the 3/4” thick stainless steel samson post welded to its 1/4” thick base plate. This was done with the Harbor Freight welder and then passivated and polished to a mirror finish. This Vulcan welder is the bomb especially for the price and warranty. HF has 2 other brands of welders that I definitely cannot vouch for.
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Old 19-03-2021, 05:17   #44
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

Stick would be my choice. Cheap equipment....very versatile...can weld almost any metal if you get the right electrodes. Not a problem to weld in wind were gas flux is. And you dont have to carry roles of each tipe of rod . You can have 5 castiron rods and be fine fore some time. Here in south africa its hard to find mig wire of any thing other than basig steel, ally and stainless. Where stick alows you hundreds of operations. The machines are also smaller and less fidly.
Just my 2sents worth.
Quote:
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.
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Old 19-03-2021, 05:35   #45
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Re: another 1st time welder for a boat question

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Originally Posted by VChild View Post
A couple of the posts on this thread have suggested to stay away from “P.O.S.” Harbor Freight welders. ...
One of the last reviews I read was of the Harbor Freight Vulcan ProTig 205 for $999. It had rave reviews.
... but how does it weld? All I can say is Holy Crap! It’s phenomenal! ...the Vulcan ProTig 205 welds like the big boys for under $1000. The duty cycle is fine for anyone not running a high volume fab shop.
I just wanted to point out that much of the world can't afford the top brand-name tools, machines, etc; they usually make do with more basic but usually durable and repairable items from China or India. In many cases, the stuff that shows up at Harbor Freight (or Princess Auto, for my Canadian homies) are rebadged versions of these workhorse tools. Some of their welders could fit into this category.

It's getting warmer; I should really start practicing again with my little inverter stick welder.
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