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Welding Experts (I need your advice)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have a stick burner project in process, and I need to finish or fix the previous owners flaws. I have good to very good mechanical skills, but basically no welding experiance. My father in law just gave me an old Lincoln electric AC-225 stick welder. 2 questions. Will this be good enough to weld on up to 1/4 steel, and is it easy enough to use that a beginner can learn on a few scraps then have a prayer of making some decent welds?
post #2 of 15
It is not as easy to use as a wire welder but it will handle the 1/4 steel with no problem. They were some good old welders. got that coffin shaped top if I remember right. I use a stick welder by choice because U get good penetration with it. Practice ... Hemi..PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #3 of 15


First of all you are saying "up to" 1/4 inch steel. The problem with stick is that you can only turn your amps down so far and depending on the thickness you may strike an arc and burn through at that point. My suggestion is to get a mig (wire) welder if possible. Wire welding are easy to learn also. I purchased a little 140 Lincoln welder for the stuff that I do here at the house (like building and/or modifying my smoker.) Not knowing what type or size of welder you have I can't give you any suggestions. Hope this helps. If you have any more info let me know. I've welded for 20 years.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
The welder is a Lincoln AC-225.

It is variable from 40 amps to 225 amps. Right now funds prevent me from buying or renting anything. It's been a big hold up for me with this project. I dont have the money to hire someone to do it either. This is why when my father inlaw piped up he had one of these that he never used and wanted to give it to me that I was pretty excited. Getting the metal to practice and fix this thing will be hard enough. I need to put 2 inch strips around the firebox door and top hatch to seal it up. The firebox is 1/4 steel. The barrel is a 55 gallon drum, and also needs a seal around the door. I could just get tin and rivet that piece on if this will be too hot of a weld for it. The last project will be to weld the exhaust stack on to the drum.
post #5 of 15

stick welder

If your strap is 1/4 inch and you are welding to barrel, you may want to go to a local auto store or welding supply place and get the smallest 6013 rod you can get a hold of. The 6013 is a mild steel rod for all-around-use. What you want to do is try to practice on metal that is relatively the same that you are going to weld. If you can find some 1/4 scrap and maybe some scrap sheet metal that would be great. If you can't, I hate to say this but, I foresee alot of burn holes through your barrel. Start out with your welder turned down low. If you stick a lot then turn it up a notch until you can run a puddle but not chicken turds. Next you want to focus most of your puddle on the thicker metal and slowly work it in to the metal of the barrel. Be very careful to watch the puddle cause it won't take much to burn through the barrel. I hope this helps.
That welder is nice; I used to have one till a flood destroyed it.
I fully understand about the money being tight. I'm just got my unemployment extended with no call back or any other jobs in sight.

Oh yea, try and make sure that your metal is clean. For a new welder, this will make things a little easier
post #6 of 15
Few suggestions from a novice welder myself....orientate your work so that your welding on a flat horizontal if possible. Welding vertical beads are a lot tougher. Also a good starting point for selecting amperage is 1 amp for each thousandth thick the rod is. In other words a 1/8 rod is .125" thick, start at 125 amps and go from there. Also select a rod half the thickness of the material your trying to weld, for 1/4" plate use 1/8" rod at 125 amps. Keep the bead width to twice the rod thickness. If you want to weld thinner metal go 3/32 rod and 90 amps to start. For thinner metals I used the 3/32" 6013, for the 1/4 stuff I went with 1/8". I liked the 1/8" 7018 AC rod, lays a nice bead, almost like cheating, just practically drag it and look like a pro. Just is a bitch to re-strike once you stop unless you scratch the tip on a rough surface to clear the flux.

Oh yeah...watch a few youtube welding vids..LOL. I think I watched them all biggrin.gif.

This is just a few things that helped me get started. Really enjoyed my welding project.

Oh yeah again...go to harbor freight and get yourself a cheap auto darkening helmet, worth its weight in gold and works awesome for $49.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well we are in the same pickle finance wise that is for sure. Right now it sucks to have to much experiance. Get the "your over qualified" speech yet? I have had one decent interview in the last 6 months and it's been 4 weeks since then. Anyhow. Not looking good.

I wasn't clear I guess as to my plan. I am going to weld 1/4 by 2 stock to 1/4 steel plate. For the Barrel, I am going to try and find the same gauge steel, or find myself a junked barrel and cut myself some pieces out of it to make my gap seals. probably the better plan. Need to find my self a bunch of scrap metal and start playing with this thing I guess.

Any hints or tricks that will help me?
post #8 of 15
Got a local high school with an ag or votech program? maybe a community college?

A well placed case of beer or a nice bbq feed earns alot of goodwill with instructors and students alike..might can find one who will teach for Q!

Welding is an art and science which is best taught one on one..it's tough to learn from a book..
post #9 of 15
You can hit up some metal salvage/recyclers for scrap stuff, usually some odds and ends laying around. Also call a few local metal fabricators and ask them if they have any scrap cutoffs you can buy. It's scrap to them and they will just take a few bucks for some nice new steel. Good luck.
post #10 of 15
I learned on one of those and have used them for 20 years. Nothing worng with that welder but where you will have trouble is ihinner stuff. As recomended get the smallest rod you can for that barrell.

I have never welded anything that small because I have a mig in the shop as well so 1/4 and under I usually use it, but 1/8 is doable but you are gonna have to tack and move, come back and tack again till you have her filled in,,, it isin't that hard, You can always back thin up with a smashed copper pipe to absorb the heat and hep fill in holes,,, But that is not an easy thing to do,,,
post #11 of 15
As others have mentioned, practice, practice, practice. I've been stick welding off & on for some 30 years or more & I still find it tough.
Concentrate on holding the stick perpendicular to the work whether you are welding butt joints or pieces that are at a 90° angle & move at an even speed.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, I think this will work for me for now. I have always wanted to learn and it looks like this is a good as place and time as any. I am going to start asking my neigbors if they know how to weld, and see who I can entice with good eats. The Youtube hint was good too. Their are quite a few good quality video's that give you a good visual. When the job issue's clear up, I hope to get some better equipment so I can start my own custom build on a trailer.
post #13 of 15
Been welding a lot of years. Follow DavidNH suggestions, position where you are welding flat if at all possible. I recommend to clamp your straps and as you see the drum glow, pina track it to a different location and repeat back and forth until you meet in the middle. Good luck and keep us posted.
post #14 of 15
As for practice material check out your favorite mechanic or transmission rebuilder. We scrap many auto parts about 1/4 " thick so you could get some and weld them together. Make sure you pick up only the steel pieces, much harder to weld steel to aluminum icon_rolleyes.gif.

This will give you the "feel" of welding for little or no money. Pick up some scrap exhaust tubing to simulate welding on thinner material.

Just an idea.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Great idea on the car exhaust and the auto shop scrap.. I think I know where I can get that. I have found a guy that is supposedly an experianced ARC welder that is going to come over and show me the ropes here in the next couple weeks. Time to start gathering up everything I can. I can't wait to start learning..
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