Questions about MIG and sheet metal

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Old 06-06-05, 05:57 PM
allpronto
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Questions about MIG and sheet metal

Hello guys, My name is Chris and I am new to welding. I will try to make this short. I want to start welding for a hobby that I can later turn into some profit. I am going to buy a Millermatic 210 mig setup. I want to get into sheet metal work, shaping and using english wheels, pan and box breaks, planishing hammer, etc.. you get it. I would also like to be able to build and or change motorcycle frames. My questions are, how long has it taken some of you to feel comfortable in your welding (misc..) I find myself to be a fast learner and quite mech. inclined. How long might it take to learn to weld good enough to build frames and by doing so taking someones life into my hands?? Also I would love any information that anyone my have on learning the sheet metal work. Using the tools above possibly with out just buying and learning myself. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Chris

VA Beach, VA
 
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Old 06-06-05, 09:54 PM
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i guess the first project that had the possiblity of taking somebodies life if i screwed up was a 64 foot long lake dock. there was two sections at 32 feet long. i would have been welding for about 5 years. in those 5 years i was certified in 17 different types of joints using different processes and passed each one with my instructor looking over my shoulder at the bend test or the x-ray. the guy that i built it for was a mechanical engineer and he drew up formal blue prints. so he did his part and i did mine.

welds can turn out good in a short amount of time but as far as building a motorcyle frame there is the engineering part that i don't know. i could always copy a frame but i wound't do anything radically different from an example frame.

the biggest thing that i see is someone that has been welding for say a year or two and they think that there weld is good and there is very little room for improvement. then they see a weld made by me or someone else who has been doing it alot longer and they still don't see the difference. welding is not hard to do to get metal to stick together. most welds out there, INMO, are not good quality welds. if you doubt my opinion, go look under your truck and check out the frame welds. they look like sh**. so most the time a weld will hold even if it is not perfect. but it is those imperfections that you can see and can not see that causes problems that once in a lifetime moment.

all i can say is be careful and know what you are doing when building trailers, or deer stands or the motorcycle frame that you are sitting on.

rob "redlight"

ps. i remember big dog motorcycle company having problems with some of their frames not that long ago. something about welds cracking. happens to the best of them. even a million dollar company.
 
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Old 06-07-05, 12:05 AM
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Redlight brought up some very good points. Just let me add one BIG one. Get real good insurance. You are responsible if something happens because of your welds. Even if it is agreed in advance that they won't sue you. Good luck with your projects.
 
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Old 06-07-05, 02:54 PM
allpronto
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thanks for the info guys. I don't plan on messing with frames any time so of course, but maybe in the future. I dont have anywhere near enough skill or time in to feel comfortable. Mostly I want to learn sheet metal shaping and welding. One more question.. Does anyone have any experiance with cc/cv machines , is it worth getting a MIG,TIG,stick welder in one machine. I would also like to learn TIG. Also any comments on the Millermatic 210, thinking of this one for MIG. Thanks again for the information, it greatly appreciated. Chris
 
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Old 06-08-05, 11:48 AM
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there is advantages to cc\cv machines. first off wire is a cv process. where as tig is a cc process. if doing the kind of work that you talked about in your earlier posts then you could use both. most of the time the cc\cv machines are pretty expensive for just a hobby welder or even a person starting a side business. both have their advantages and it seems like when you have one you need the other.

for the tig that you are talking about you could get by with a machine that only puts under 100 amps. machines like this are available from lincoln and miller (maxstars, invertecs). all of them as far as i know are inverters that run off of 120 volts. and they are not that bad in price, considering what they do.

i like the millermatic 210. it has a good range of amps and can handle alot in the garage. i would not think twice about using a machine like that to build a skid steer trailer or anything else that is going to use some thicker metal.

nice to see that you are considering quality machines. i know that it can be hard to spend that kind of money, but they do last a lifetime. i still work with a machine at work, a linde, from 1970's era. it's unbelievable how stout they can be.

i would suggest that you start out with the millermatic 210 and get comfortable with it. wire is the easiest process to learn. then consider a second machine for tig, if you think you need it.

rob "redlight"
 
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Old 06-08-05, 02:15 PM
allpronto
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Thank you for all the information Rob. I really appreciate all the advice and help. I have to say, I have received far more information from this group of forums than anywhere else so far. Keep up the good work and i'm sure I will have all new questions soon. Thanks again, Chris.
 
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