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Greg Luckett

Welding machines??

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I am wondering which welding machine to buy for my shop, now that I have a 100amp service into my shop.  I stopped by Home Depot last week and there were several to select from.  Since I have no welding experience, but have brazed and soldered, I think the Tig type machines would suit me best.  I would like to be able to weld 1/4 thick steel/iron such as used to build trailers, vehicle body repair, etc. or the thinner sheet metal types of materials.

Any recommendations or experiences as to which machine to buy?



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Greg, for light work you will enjoy a tig/ mig type machine. Just a few pointers (1) Keep the feed cable as straight as possible, a sharp kink or bend will break the wire and cause a sudden loss of power while welding. (2) invest in an instant change hood. It allows you to see your target area clearly then blackens in a 1/1000th of a second as soon as the arc is struck. Depending on your choice of wire, and material a shield gas may be required. Most use argon/nitrogen and helium as shield gasses.Helium is the primary choice of gas for welding aluminum while argon/ nitrogen is good for stainless and carbon steels. Get an assortment of small  plates, from 1/4 down to 18 gauge  to practice welding with. On carbon steel the easiest method is the circle puddle where the molten metal is progressed in a series of overlapping circles. Remember that welding is a skill and will require practice to learn, kind of like cutting out  boat parts to a tight tolerance. Sometimes you will need to grind it all off and start over and others it will burn through but with practice and patience you will learn.

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I read this earlier but need to thank you for the advice, ergo, THANKYOU! :)

I decided to back off the welding things for a bit until I have time to learn and experiment.  I may take a welding class at the local schools if they ever offer it again.  Most of the adult education classes were killed off years ago for budget reasons....go figure  >:(.

Thanks again. :)

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