Learning to weld isn't as scary as you might think with the right machine and a couple of basic tips to get you started pretty much anyone can weld.
Today we're going to be asking an industry expert about the right welders and some basic techniques, so you can go from never welding with anything in your life before to being able to lay okay welds all within five minutes.
There are several different types of welding but the three most common this machine can do them all ARC, MIG and of course TIG welding
First up we've got the old ARC welder now you probably saw your old man well with this is the first thing I welded with way back in the day stick welding is good for welding outdoors or in the wind as you don't need gas it's also very portable and easy to take to a job without needing to lug around a lot of gear but it can be hard to strike an arc and the quality of the weld depends heavily on the experience of the operator so they can be a bit trickier to get right.
Next up you've got MIG welding now this is a great all-around and probably the best way to get a nice neat weld especially when you set your machine upright MIG automatically adds the metal wire itself it's the best for beginners and most things your weld on your 4WD and DIY projects you'll use a mix you can also use a MIG in a gasless setup with gasless MIG wire in the machine which is handy if you don't have a gas bottle except for some entry-level machines most MIGs can also do alloy and stainless but it requires some skill and practice to get right.
Lastly, we've got tig welding now out of the other couple of methods I’ve just talked about tig is no doubt the hardest tig is excellent for controlling the heat you're putting to the job.
Tig is ideal for a neat strong weld and is often used on thin materials or where appearance is critical a lot of big or stick inverter machines these days are available with DC TIG capabilities as well which allow you to tig weld steel or stainless you'd also tig weld aluminum but for this, you need an AC DC machine all those three different types of welding have their place but without a doubt MIG welding is going to be the best all-rounder. Once you set your machine upright it is the easiest way to get good welds so you can start tackling your projects back home in your shed.
SETTING UP YOUR WELDING MACHINE
When it comes to a MIG welder you're typically going to have a couple of dials at the front of the machine that controls your amperage your voltage and your wire speed now these are all the fine-tuning you need to set the welder up to do the job that you're welding so this, in my opinion, is the hardest bit of welding trying to set your machine up so it's perfectly right you get this wrong your welding will not be good there are no two ways about it now a lot of machines including this one here once you open the side panel up you have a bit of a cheat sheet which will give you a rough guide on what to set the parameters to so you can weld the right thickness of the steel.
So most MIG welders will have two main dials in the front of the machine one is volts which essentially controls heat and the other one is wire-speed or amps which regulates how fast the wire travels out of the gun and in doing so we'll also adjust the amperage output now this welder here is Italian motor one thing I love about it is it's got one main dial which you pre-set the thickness of steel you're working with so in this case if I was to weld this bit of steel it's 5mm I’d just simply dial in 5mm and it would automatically set all the pre-sets of the welder up so you're ready to weld 5mm steel it can't be any easier and I reckon that's one of the biggest benefits of machine like this because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of it.
One of the most important things to consider with any welding you're doing is that the cleanliness of the job has a massive impact on the result of your weld things like dirt and grease on the base metal paint corrosion all affect how the filler can penetrate the base metal so spend the time preparing the surface and make sure it's clean before you start.
One handy tip is to also prep the surface that your earth clamp is connected to so you can ensure a strong connection make sure the surface is clean and always try to connect your earth clamp as close as possible to the job you're working on if you have a metal workbench you can also use this as an option if you can't connect your clamp to the job.
It is important to get the angle of your torch right the angle of the torch makes a huge difference to the quality of your welds.
Ideally, you want the end of the torch as close to 90 degrees to the weld as possible and it's also important to know the difference when you're welding between MIG with shielding gas or using gasless wire with MIG and shielding gas you want to be pushing the torch so that the gas is aimed directly at the new weld and with your gasless, it's the opposite so you want to be dragging the torch in the opposite direction.
There's a bit of a saying gases wire creates a bit of a slag so if there's slag you drag a push angle of 10 to 15 degrees is okay so it's easier to see the weld pool and also allow for optimum gas coverage it's another big question a lot of people have is a question regarding polarity now obviously when you're welding you're completing a circuit how do you know whether to have the torch and the positive or the negative and when you're running gas or gasless how do you get the polarity right.
The easiest way is to just start with your torch and just think with the torch if I’m using gas it needs to be positive and if I’m using gasless it needs to be negative so if you start with that and then you can put your earth clamp into the alternate one okay that makes it pretty easy to remember and I suppose if you get stuck in also just have a quick look inside the welder there is a bit of a cheat sheet in there
I refer to that a fair bit and you can get started I suppose tacking is important to remember that you're heating things a lot so the job can move around so tacking helps sets things in position before you fully weld it.
It also gives you a chance to check everything is correct and sitting nicely before you weld another handy trick is to bolt things in place when possible, for example, the pony canopy was a budget DIY job but we tacked it all in place and then bolted it to the vehicle so it didn't move while welding and it also meant that when we bolted it back up after painting everything lined up nicely.
Another little tip you want to keep in mind is if you are welding onto a vehicle make sure you take the negative terminal off your battery before you start welding because at the end of the day using electricity to fuse two bits of metal so sending an electrical current through your vehicle can mess up all those expensive computers or on 12-volt systems you might have on your vehicle.
We want to go through some of the problems you might incur now some of those problems might be because you've got a few impurities you might not have prepared the surface correctly or even the settings on the weld that might not be right so we're going to try and show you what the problems are we're going to troubleshoot them and more importantly we're going to show you how to fix them.
Too hot versus too cold - with the weld too hot it almost looks undercut on the edges adjust this by turning down your voltage whereas too cold you can see that the welds look like it's just sitting on top of the surface and the zero penetration turn up your voltage wire speed too much or too little having too much wire spool from the gun means you'll get all this excess, and if you can't keep a nice weld puddle easily reduce your wire speed to suit the voltage and thickness of the metal you're welding travel speed too fast or too slow here the settings are pretty close but the travel speed is too quick slow down with your hand.
A handy tip is before you pull the trigger run the gun along where you're well into practice before you pull the trigger with the travel speed too slow you can see the weld is bulging a lot also on thinner metals you can start blowing holes in the surface as there's too much heat, the angle of the gun can it look a bit messy. With the gun at a slight angle but not too much is a nice weld you can hear it sounds like sizzling bacon in a frying pan which is exactly what you want to listen out for that means you've got your settings pretty close.
I want to give you a couple of other hot tips as well when you're working at home what you want to do is get a bit of scrap metal so you can play with the settings on the weld that's what I do just run a few welds until you get it right before you tackle your project.
As you start to get better practice well in maybe uncomfortable positions because anyone can sort of weld on a bench like this but some of the projects when you're working on especially on a 4WD you might be well enough over your head or in tight hard to reach places, so all that sort of practice is going to make those projects a lot better.
High Quality Welding Machines
Now we've had a good look at the big welder with the traditional analog dials I want to show you my beast here now this one is the weld-class 210 mst now I’ve just been playing this one for probably only a few weeks and what shocks me is as soon as you get out of the box it's got a bunch of pre-set settings, so it makes it easy to weld.
When you're trying to choose the right welder for you, it can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you walk into a store and see all those options available, so we've made this simple guide to help you out with one thing you need to consider when buying a welder is the maximum amp output of the unit as you can see in the table below the higher the amps the thicker the steel you'll be able to weld for the type of work you would typically do on your average 4WD you'd want a big well around the 160-200AMP mark or maybe up to 250AMP if you want to tackle heavier welding in your workshop the good thing is most machines in this range run on single-phase power so you can use it in a standard 10AMP power point in your shed.
If you want a portable welder you can take out in the field something like a 180 MST would be good for welding mild steel there are two main types of wire gas shielded solid MIG wire or gaseous flux-cored big wire gases wires become very popular because you don't need a gas bottle which means less complication and more portability gases wire has certainly become the most popular for the home DIY mainly because you don't need a gas bottle so there are less consumable fewer parts also means if you choose to take your welder remotely even out in the scrub you don't need a gas bottle you can still weld.
Of course, you're going to need some other bits and pieces when it comes to welding number one get yourself some extra tips, you'll go through a few of those they are consumables to make them last a bit longer probably some nozzle dip gel that'll make your consumables last a bit longer.
You better get yourself a good couple of wire brushes come very handy as well as a couple of good clamps like I’ve got here just to hold that job down this one will also help you weld a lot better as well these are little arrow clamps I’ve got a couple of these they give you a perfect 90 or a 45 good for getting two bits of metal together hold them exactly 90 degrees and be able to tack that together also, of course, I find a pair of side cutters comes in very handy.
Now we’re going to run through some of the key safety gear you need to have in the shed when you attempt your projects now first things first a good quality welding helmet a quality helmet is one of the most important bits of gear you need to get an auto-darkening helmet with a decent viewing area and also look for something really clear because ultimately that's what delivers you the best welding results the good thing is a really good helmet won't break the bank.
Next up you want to get yourself a good set of welding gloves now everything you touch when your weld is going to be super-hot so good quality welding gloves are the go and if you like a bit of camping like me well, they work out to grab like a hot camp oven out of the campfire so great to take away with you when you're camping as well.
The next thing get yourself a welding jacket now a good long-sleeve t-shirt works something heavy-duty but a lot of splatters will happen when you start welding which means hot bits of metal will go everywhere they'll burn holes in your clothes I was having a little weld just the other day just before I was supposed to go to dinner with the missus and got holes all through my brand new t-shirt she wasn't impressed and it's good wells though.
Lastly, you're going to be doing a fair bit of prep work with the grinder so it pays to have a good set of ear muffs some hearing protection some good goggles as well but if you get yourself a good grinding mask it's got a grinding mode so you can click a little switch inside here set it to grinding and it's a lot quicker as well you can grind and weld with the same mask.
Now when it comes to kitting yourself out with all the safety gear you need, I mean you can get away with it pretty cheaply for between about $200 to $400 you can get everything you need but my little tip is to get the best gear that you can afford because at the end of the day it is safety gear you want a good quality safety gear and that way it'll last for ages as well.
TRY IT YOURSELF
There you go guys today we covered the basics of welding and hopefully you got something out of this video now if you're like me a couple of years ago who thought welding basically was a bit of a dark art biggest suggestion I can give you is to get yourself the best welder you can afford now, in this case, this one does make it a lot easier because one of the biggest things I found that that sort of held me back from welding is I couldn't set the machine up correctly now these days with a cheat sheet inside the welder and also a welder that gets the pre-sets just right for you it actually makes welding quite easy and even a novice like me can lay some half-decent welds.
The best suggestion I can give you is just go ahead and get a welder and start welding now this little table behind me here the very first DIY project I made. I’m going to start to make projects that help me save a few bucks as well as make repairs or even upgrades to my 4WD.