What do I need to bring?” I asked. A tourist asked him, “Say, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The answer: “Practice. For years traditional welding helmets had a permanently darkened viewing shade, but that meant you had to flip your mask up whenever you weren't welding. Small wire welding machines are fine for infrequent jobs. She’s using it to build her Christavia. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Take it nice and easy.”. For some reason I flashed back to evening classes I used to teach in calligraphy and lettering. Yet another hose runs into the torch handle, connected to a large tank a few feet away. Actual welding takes very little time. You can pick up a reusable tank of gas from your local welding supplier. The tungsten of the “tungsten inert gas” is in the torch. When grinding, put on safety glasses and a full-face shield. A large welding shop over our hangar has stations for three full-time welders. Remember when you pulled the positive cable away from the terminal with the ground strap still connected? In my home, we eat off of a wood trestle dining table I built using only sharp hand tools. For DIY welding, many people don’t have the correct electrical outlets installed to run a stick welder or TIG welder because many of those machines run on 220 volt outlets. They worked as well as anybody’s. If you don't care how your weld looks, or if it's on a piece of metal that won't be visible when your project is completed, you can skip this step, because you are done. He also permanently damaged his eyesight brazing and welding on the project.) They are necessary to block the ultraviolet rays, which are produced in quantities and wavelengths that will quickly “sunburn” any exposed skin. Sitting back and massaging my neck, regarding the various bits of damaged metal strewn across the bench and the slowly increasing number of acceptable stretches of welding bead that appeared on some of them, I was reminded of the guy with the violin case standing on the street corner in New York City. Becky Breckenridge bought a small TIG outfit, and learned to weld. Gloves serve the same function, as well as protecting the hands from burns while handling hot metal. Really. When the operator touches the wire against the base metal, the arc melts the wire and partially melts the base. The author, fully equipped to waste metal. KITPLANES Virtual Round Table: Shops and Shop Spaces, Building a Tunable Carbon Fiber Induction Plenum. There are different types of arc welding, but we're going to concentrate on MIG (metal inert gas). I’d need all of these for virtually any welding I would be doing. On with the helmet, deep breath, and lower the torch. Torches, like engines, can be either air- or water-cooled. This is called chamfering. “OK, Donnie. A power cable with a large clothespin-like clamp on the end, and another cable with a foot pedal emerge from the welder. Congratulations—you've made your first welds. Learn to Weld With Project Kits From JFLF. Each contained four rectangles that had to be tacked and then welded, sometimes to an inside corner, sometimes to an outside one. Students invariably concentrated so hard on the line that they lost the idea of form. “In a couple of seconds the arc will melt a puddle in the metal, and you want to push the puddle ahead of the torch to make a bead. This creates a space for the filler and provides greater structural integrity to your weld. (There are lots of photographs showing welders wearing simple dark goggles, but that won’t work for TIG welding. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The inert argon gas is stored in heavy-duty steel bottles. The pedal is much like the gas pedal in a car, letting welders regulate power with their feet while working with both hands. If you need to cut the metal, mark a line with your awl or carbide scribe, and cut along it with a metal-cutting chop saw, a hacksaw, or a grinder with a cutoff wheel. You can probably get away with welding pieces of 1/8 inch steel together without making a chamfer on the edges to be joined as you see in the graphic. In the hopes of saving money and shortening the learning curve, I chose to beg. Nervously, I stab the pedal to full power. Even though TIG welding requires some expensive equipment, it was the most accessible to me, simply because the company I work for does a lot of it. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, Two Big Ways Cordless Power Tools Will Get Even Better, Build This Bench Out of Nothing But 2 x 4s, 11 New Year's Resolutions for Old House Owners, 5 Pieces of Safety Gear Every DIYer Should Own, Homebuilt Lego Flamethrower Spews Actual Flames, Magnetize Any Screwdriver With This Simple Trick, How to Use Hot Glue to Fasten Christmas Lights to Brick or Stucco. Prepping your weld… I quickly decided I didn’t need to know anything other than what I needed to know. It's a 120-v wire-feed welder that can be used to weld thin aluminum and steel between 24-gauge and 3/16-inch. The Lincoln Electric Power MIG 210 (above) is new technology for a great price: At 120-v or 230-v, it allows an ambitious beginner to MIG-, TIG-, and stick-weld. If you want to save money, a good-quality long-sleeve cotton work shirt can stand in for a welding jacket. Working with bifocals inside the helmet was a real pain. Tip: Your welder also has a work lead coming out of it. Ken Scott is a longtime employee of Van's Aircraft and also a multi-airframe builder (RV-6, KK-1, RV-12) whose quest for new skills remains unabated. Each helmet also has controls to personalize settings. I do this quite a few times over the next half hour as I learn that the truth contained in a passage in the Miller Electric TIG Handbook (we’re using Miller equipment, and in preparation, I’ve read the well-written and organized handbook that came with the welding machine) that reads “(A) disadvantage is that the hand-eye coordination necessary to accomplish the weld is difficult to learn.”. It’s a small T-shaped wand that fits comfortably in the hand. (Both TIG and arc welding require lots of electric current, usually at 220 volts.) The arc is extremely hot, up to 35,000 F. By controlling the size of the gap and the power of the current, the welder can melt the edges of the metal pieces to be joined, making them flow together like water. Traditionally, community college or high school extension classes have filled the need. Even 1/8 inch stock should be welded from both sides for penetration and strength. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Its strange, the things that stop a person. I put the helmet back down, started the arc, and realized that when I really looked at the puddle, particularly the leading edge of it (in other words, the left edge as I moved the torch from right to left), I became aware of the metal becoming molten and flowing into the puddle, and I could time the movement and power of the arc to move the weld along. It wasn’t a matter of seeing-it was seeing the right thing. American industry has anticipated the needs of people like me, and affordable alternatives abound. Lesson No. I certainly cannot maintain enough consciousness to learn anything at such ungodly hours. A skilled welder produces work like this…over and over. Wire-feed arc welding. I headed down to the local welding supply shop and asked for some advice. Donovan McMartin, welding instructor and taskmaster. I found the most difficult part was not the hand, nor hand-to-eye, coordination; it was the eye itself. Tip: You are dealing with sparks, fire, and molten metal, so don't start welding before putting on a welding jacket or apron, leather gloves, and a helmet. We built dozens of little square steel tubes, about an inch across and 2 or 3 inches long. The tip is the business end of the machine, the point where the arc forms, so there’s an electric cable that runs between it and the welder. He lives with his wife, Camilla, on a residential airpark near Canby, Oregon. Our lead welder, Donovan, succumbed to my pleading (and the lure of a bit of beer money) and agreed to stay after work one day a week and provide some one-on-one instruction. As for the gas mixture, a home hobbyist with a wire-feed welder can usually get by with 100 percent CO2 shielding gas. Beginning welders don’t need to know everything it does. This laser cut, packaged and designed in the USA kit is an inexpensive and easy way to get straight to the good stuff - welding. Chemistry, metallurgy and for all I could tell from books and Internet sites, voodoo, were all part of the mysterious technique of sticking two pieces of metal together. Learn how your comment data is processed. In MIG welding, as long as the trigger is down, the gun keeps feeding wire and gas. *The FCAW process is offered through Miller® MIG machines.