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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2024 9:49 am 
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Hi

Now I have been let down one too many times to get someone to do some welding so gonna teach myself. Got a good budget of 1500 to spend on a MiG welder for myself.

Other than sticking some gates together with a Lidl ARC welder I will be learning from Youtube and trial and error so easy of use is a must.

Any recommendations from personal use? There does seem to be an issue with getting big gas bottles if your not a business but not sure if its an issue...

Regards

Barry

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2024 11:24 am 
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My mate went on a welding night course at the local Tech, think it was for four weeks and he was surprised at how good it was, so much so like you, he's now looking at buying a welder to do welding to our cars in the workshop. It covered car welding and how to tackle problems arriving from inappropriate current or inconsistent gas supply - stuff you wouldn't experience from watching a youtube video for instance....

In total, the entire course was £35.

You'd be mad not to go on it at that price!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2024 11:38 am 
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I bought a R-Tech Inverter Mig Welder, think is was around £400, it is totally adjustable for voltage etc so is very good at thin materials like bodywork.
I use Hobbyweld Gas, usually available locally at a welding supplier or suppliers who stock Calor gas bottles sometimes have it too.
If you want to do it well I think an evening course as Shaun suggests will get you there quicker than self teaching trial & error.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2024 11:39 am 
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1500 isa VERY good budget.
I bought an Oxford mig (exactky the same as tec arc and portamig, g=different colour/label) and it was night and day compared to clarke, which in turn was way better than SIP.
A local chap who is a retired bodywork man and lots of high end experience has just bought an R tech mig, and he is absolutely delighted with it. Nice and light too being an inverter welder.

Saying all that, if just doing car bodywork, I was really impressed by a snap on mig 130. Bit ancient, but really nice quality.I have seen the occasional NOS one up for sale.

Gas bottles are no problem, I get mine from a local supplier, and there is Hobbyweld, Adams and others.

Best bet is to visit the Mig Welding forum. https://www.mig-welding.co.uk/forum/

As well as a mig, you need at least one, better 2, angle grinders. A decent self darkening helmet. A selection of clamps, and a joddler/hole punch (don't skimp here, cheap ones are naff, Tama are excellent, had mine 30 years.)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2024 11:58 am 
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Location: Aberdeen
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My mate went on a welding night course at the local Tech, think it was for four weeks and he was surprised at how good it was, so much so like you, he's now looking at buying a welder to do welding to our cars in the workshop. It covered car welding and how to tackle problems arriving from inappropriate current or inconsistent gas supply - stuff you wouldn't experience from watching a youtube video for instance....

In total, the entire course was £35.

You'd be mad not to go on it at that price!
Hi, Thanks, So 40 miles from me collage does run one, but its been cancelled twice due to low numbers, I hope to get set up and try and get someone local to show me if I am stuck.

Thanks for all the suggestions, I did see the Oxford units mentioned but with an issue with availability and lead time but I will email them. I am also planning on popping into a local welding supplier in Aberdeen next week and see if they can assist.

Already have the other gear and set up a 35amp plug in the garage when I built it but might get a better self darkening helmet as my cheap one I have is not very good!
Regards

Barry

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2024 9:06 pm 
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I've had great service from used MiG welders. My first was a Murex 140 amp which I bought used from the Snap on rep for £180 somewhere around 1988 which lasted and gave faithful service in workshop conditions till 2019. I replaced that with an ebay used Oxford bargain for £78 a 180amp job this time. I took a gamble with it as it it hadn't been used for 10 years and I had to remove, clean and lube the Amp rotary switch and fit a new lance, but other than that, it runs a lovely seam, maybe even better than the Murex.

This, to me, is the point! It's better to buy a used, good, or very good quality welder than a cheaper new one.

By the way, the Murex I couldn't persuade to run any more myself, I gave to a neighbour and friend, a retired washing machine engineer, he got it going again and is still using it to this day!

I wouldn't worry about only getting a small bottle of gas, used correctly it will still last ages. Just make sure to turn the bottle off every time you use it! Welders LEAK!

Mig Welders are like people, no 2 are exactly the same! So there is no real formula for juggling amps, wire speed and gas feed. You just have to get a feel for it.

Way back when MiGs were a new thing, I worked in Avis' body shop. One of the lads gave me lunchtime lesson in how to do it by putting a strut mount plate on my MkI Cortina estate. Then left me to do the other one! That's all the tuition I had! I've just practised a lot since then!

Steve

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'72 Triumph 1500FWD in Slate Grey, Now with RWD and Carledo powertrain!

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2024 10:46 am 
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I agree with Steve on the point about secondhand machines.
Old transformer machines are simple devices and run for years. I bought an 170A ERFI spares or repair for £70, the owner had knocked the wirespeed knob off and been quoted silly money for a new PCB, I got a new potentiometer from RS and did a component level repair and ended up with a welder BOC were selling for £750 new.
That said £1500 is strong money, you should be able to get a fully synergic machine, possibly with TIG capability for that from a reputable supplier.
I recently did a course at Brooklands college and they were kitted out with Rtech machines and they were very user friendly.
Sean

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2024 11:31 am 
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£1500? I budget I could only dream of.
I started out with one of these (not mine, but same model in similar condition) second hand off ebay for about £80 many many many years ago.
It's done a lot of faithful service but is a b1tch to use on thin body panels.
Image
So, having bought a load of panels for both the Spitfire AND the Dolomite I decided an upgrade was in order.
For £500 I managed to pick this up from a local(ish) dealer who got it from a local technical college who were replacing all their kit.
Image

I use rent free gas from here: https://www.rentfreegas.uk/ the 9l "Hobby" size lasts me ages, but as @Carledo says - always close the valve!
Also support other people's recommendations for a decent auto darkening mask and would add that a good set of SOFT welding gloves are a big plus for me.

0.6mm wire for thin panels 0.8mm for bigger stuff.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2024 2:58 pm 
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Quote:
£1500? I budget I could only dream of.
I started out with one of these (not mine, but same model in similar condition) second hand off ebay for about £80 many many many years ago.
It's done a lot of faithful service but is a b1tch to use on thin body panels.
Image
So, having bought a load of panels for both the Spitfire AND the Dolomite I decided an upgrade was in order.
For £500 I managed to pick this up from a local(ish) dealer who got it from a local technical college who were replacing all their kit.
Image

I use rent free gas from here: https://www.rentfreegas.uk/ the 9l "Hobby" size lasts me ages, but as @Carledo says - always close the valve!
Also support other people's recommendations for a decent auto darkening mask and would add that a good set of SOFT welding gloves are a big plus for me.

0.6mm wire for thin panels 0.8mm for bigger stuff.
I use 0.8mm as its cheaper :D :D
If your only going to be welding small bits and not using it 24/7 a second hand machine will work out better just my opinion ,

Dave


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2024 5:33 pm 
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I would highly recommend doing an evening class on welding tech; I was part of a small group from work who enrolled a few years back at Farnborough ( Hampshire ) technical college. It was 2 hours a week for 10 weeks and the lecturer was a very experienced guy from the local army camp.
The first session was safety and safety gear. We were not allowed on the course unless we had the heavy boots and gloves; we could bring our own welding masks.
* Then we did TIG welding. The professionals and apprentices to welding were given first choice on the TIG machines.
* MIG Welding . We could bring in our own machines and try them.
* Arc welding.
* Gas oxy-acetylene welding.
* Bronze welding for cast iron, I think it was.
* Brazing
I did like the oxy-acetylene welding . Very neat provided you took your time.

I tried my own SIP MIG mate on the course and I found it gave good results in the warm of the workshop with new metal. Results in my garage with old metal were never as good.
Excellent value for money and good fun.

Tony.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2024 11:19 am 
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I would highly recommend doing an evening class on welding tech; I was part of a small group from work who enrolled a few years back at Farnborough ( Hampshire ) technical college. It was 2 hours a week for 10 weeks and the lecturer was a very experienced guy from the local army camp.
It's a really good recommendation and I've been keeping my eye out for something for years (I'm curious about what I'm doing wrong with the MIG and would love to see how bad I am at TIG/OxyAcet)
Snag is I've never found a course at an FE college, the only ones I found in West/North/East Yorkshire anywhere close to me were commercial courses full time during the working week at prices that made my eyes water. :-(

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 Post subject: Welding is an art
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2024 10:36 pm 
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Barry has been very open in admitting that aside from some experience of using an ARC welder he has had no experience in other forms of welding.

Several have suggested that Barry should see if he can enrol in a class where the art of welding is demonstrated and where the participants learn how to weld.

I concur with the advice given by them, that the first step, given that Barry is prepared to commit quite a lot of money to the project, that he seek the guidance of some professionals who can show him and then guide and teach him in what he wants to do. In doing so he will then identify what sort of equipment he will need.

In the courses run in this part of the world the tutors invariably start with teaching people to gas weld. For in using heat to weld two pieces of metal together the metal will move and distort. It is understanding where and how to overcome that distortion that is the first step to welding successfully.

The tutors here explain that if you can master the art of gas welding then it is a relatively easy step to undertake TIG and or MIG welding.

The sort of money which Barry is prepared to commit to buying some sort of welder would in this part of the world buy him something like 80 hours of professional tuition at our local Polytech and still have the money to buy not only a good MIG welder but all the tools he will need to weld successfully.

Many of the course participants, and we had both men and women attending, brought along the welders they purchased, often purchased after familiarising themselves with the range of equipment at the Polytech and then the tutors helped them to set them up for their individual styles.

Best of luck

Robert


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 10:15 am 
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Quote:
Quote:
I would highly recommend doing an evening class on welding tech; I was part of a small group from work who enrolled a few years back at Farnborough ( Hampshire ) technical college. It was 2 hours a week for 10 weeks and the lecturer was a very experienced guy from the local army camp.
It's a really good recommendation and I've been keeping my eye out for something for years (I'm curious about what I'm doing wrong with the MIG and would love to see how bad I am at TIG/OxyAcet)
Snag is I've never found a course at an FE college, the only ones I found in West/North/East Yorkshire anywhere close to me were commercial courses full time during the working week at prices that made my eyes water. :-(
I'm not a million miles away from you (Guisborough) I'm by no means an expert but have learned to successfully weld using MIG and TIG, I'd be happy to come over and show you what works for me if we can align diaries.

Sean

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2024 12:03 am 
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Just as an aside, on the gas thing, I used to have the BIG (50l?) bottles on account from BOC. When I had the business to offset it, it wasn't too bad, but the prices were ridiculous, it was over £200 a year, just to have the empty bottle in the shop, refills were exorbitant, BOC wouldn't deliver single bottles to my premises so I had to drive a 40 mile round trip to exchange bottles and the theiving so-and-so's STILL charged me a "delivery charge" when I had to pick it up! Prices went further skyward twice a year. A huge con from start to finish.

A lot of my local colleagues used "pub gas" AKA C02, which is so cold you have to crank the amps up to make up for it, so I never did, though it does make it easier when using a big welder on very thin steel. And pubs these days are a lot tighter with their bottles than they used to be!

But switching to the little "Hobbyweld" bottles was the best thing I ever did, I get 5 years worth of Hobbyweld Argoshield for the price of a single year's bottle rental from BOC! Though I still have the same 40 mile round trip to collect it, just from a different site!

Steve

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'73 2 door Toledo with Vauxhall Carlton 2.0 8v engine (The Carledo)
'78 Sprint Auto with Vauxhall Omega 2.2 16v engine (The Dolomega)
'72 Triumph 1500FWD in Slate Grey, Now with RWD and Carledo powertrain!

Maverick Triumph, Servicing, Repairs, Electrical, Recomissioning, MOT prep, Trackerjack brake fitting service.
Apprentice served Triumph Specialist for 50 years. PM for more info or quotes.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2024 3:57 pm 
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I've used Hobbyweld bottles for quite a number of years but recently my local stockist has become erratic and not had refills when I needed them so I've switched to SGS which is stocked by a local motor factor, they're happy to deliver via their regular rounds too. Price wise there's not much in it. Like Steve I used to have a BOC bottle but rental charges were a killer.

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