What to use for this small project...

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Old 06-10-05, 12:38 PM
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What to use for this small project...

I am wanting to make a charcoal basket for my new smoker...it will consist of getting a 4'x4' sheet of expanded metal, cutting out the corners and folding it into a cube (minus the top). If it were sheet metal i would just pop rivet it together but with expanded metal I don't think that's possible.

I have been wanting to get a welder but don't have the $$$ to get a real expensive Lincoln/Hobart/Miller quite yet. The only welding I have done was back in high school, both acetylene and arc welding (is arc the same as stick welding?)...anyway...what would be the easiest method to weld the corners if the expanded metal together...here's what I've come to think from reading previous posts:

MIG - easiest for first timers, ranging in the $300-500 for an average one.
STICK - harder to learn but stronger and can weld thicker metals ~$250 for these.
Acetylene - haven't found many threads on this type...but if i'm just 'tacking' the corners together where the points of expanded metal meet, would this be better? (welding/cutting outfit kits run $250)

Thanks for your help and sorry for the long post.
 
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Old 06-10-05, 08:19 PM
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If you don't mind the color of brass or silver, you can use a propane or MAP gas torch and braze your metal.
Get some steel wire and weave it together.
Use angle plate for the corners with pop rivets and washers.

For that job, I would use my Acetylene torch and angle plates for the corners.
One welder is never enough, you need to know what's the majority of metals and thickness your going to weld for your first welder.
 
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Old 06-10-05, 09:13 PM
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I would think that an acetylene torch would be pretty easy since you're basically just tack welding where the steel points meet...never thought of wiring it together, makes sense. Anybody know how much it costs to get one of those tanks filled that come with the acetylene cutting/welding outfit? Is there a certain guideline for how long those tanks last (ball park figure)...
 
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Old 06-11-05, 12:40 AM
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I have made a lot of machine belt guards out of expanded metal. I cut the metal with an Oxy/Acetylene torch and then tacked the metal together with the same torch turned down a bit using (of all things) a metal coat hanger as the welding rod. You can rent a torch outfit if now is not a good time to buy one. Good luck.
 
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Old 06-11-05, 06:23 AM
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i didn't know that you could rent one...that would probably be the best thing to do then, where can i find them? Lowes/Home Depot/Nations Rent or would I have to go to a welding shop.
 
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Old 06-11-05, 10:57 AM
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You will probably have to make some phone calls. Every area is different as far as what they rent. Start with the Big Box stores and then go to the welding/gas supply places. Good luck.
If you have a Vocational school near, you may be able to rent a booth by the hour.
 
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Old 06-11-05, 02:57 PM
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Since it's been so long since i've used a torch would it do me any good to go to a shop that does some welding (muffler shop but the guy there can fab pretty much anything out of metal) ask him to spend an hour at his shop just watching and asking questions?
 
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Old 06-11-05, 06:23 PM
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You could do that. Otherwise, take a couple pieces of scrap and practice. All you have to do is heat the expanded metal until it is red and hold the hanger wire against it until it melts and you see the two metals flow together.
 
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Old 06-11-05, 08:11 PM
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Yea i'm gonna have to practice a little before i actually weld it together...the actual welding part i can pretty much pick up on kinda quick because i did it a while back, but another question i had is what do i need to look for as far as bottle pressure on they oxy and actelyene...i read that the acet shouldn't go over 15psi???

If i remember correctly you start up the acetylene then add the oxygen until you get a nice blue tip on it..am i right? Sorry if this sounds like a dumb question but it's been a while and i don't wanna mess anything up.
 
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Old 06-12-05, 10:42 AM
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I usually set the oxygen on 30 and the acetylene on 8 for normal cutting of steel 3/8" or less. It can be fine tuned if you have a problem. As far as lighting the torch, since I don't like those "Carbon paratroopers" flying all over, I just crack the oxygen valve and the open the acetylene an 1/8th to 1/4 turn and light it. You can then adjust the oxygen for the blue flame you mentioned.
 
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Old 06-12-05, 02:21 PM
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I have a 50 cubic ft oxygen and a 35 cu ft acetylene bottles. about 3 ft tall.
my opinion that's the smallest size any one should get, which works for me.
its been about 5 years sense I had them filled it was about $25.00 each tank.
I fill the oxygen twice to one acetylene bottle.

One thing about acetylene, the rule is not to exceed a flow rate over 1/7 of the cylinder's rated capacity.
The bottle has a liquid in side if you withdraw more then that 1/7, the liquid and not gas comes out.
The liquid melts the rubber in the regulators and hoses.

That 1/7 law will limit the size of material you can weld or cut with a small acetylene bottle.

" ...i read that the acet shouldn't go over 15psi??? "
Yes.
My acetylene regulator is red lined 15 psi and over.

" If i remember correctly you start up the acetylene then add the oxygen until you get a nice blue tip on it..am i right? "
Yes.
And you turn off the acety first.

I set the oxy at 10 psi, and the acetylene at 5 psi. some people set them at 5 psi and 5 psi.
 
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Old 06-12-05, 08:05 PM
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than you guys for the help...got a question...you said you have two tanks and that they've lasted you for 5 years without refils...i understand it depends on how often you use it, but i would have thought that after a while you would have to replace the gas in the tanks so they wouldn't go "bad" or something. If they last that long with no ill effects then that's great, i don't think i would use it that much so that is why i kinda shyed away from the acetylene. Any other useful info? For this project i don't think i would be able to get the mig welder i want but could probably get either an acetylene setup or a stick welder...which would you choose and why...
 
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Old 06-13-05, 11:42 AM
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I cant say.
It has to do with your personality.
If your impatient, don't have the time to practice, have people looking over your shoulder. don't get a stick welder.
Your project material is to thin for a beginner with a stick welder.

For that project any stick welder will be frustrating that includes that miller stick welder you want.
When you crank the current lower the voltage goes lower that makes it very hard to start an arc for thin metal.

I like the stick welder, I just pick it up and start welding, in its fast.
======================
Acetylene is Ok it takes longer to heat metal and you get a lot of distortion and bending which is a big problem, just trying to make a table.
I have about 25 C-clamps and clamp every thing to prevent distortion for any welding, stick, mig or Gas.

A big advantage with the acetylene.
I used it to cut the ball joints off a car, cut other bolts off cars, heated drain pipes red hot to unscrew them.
I have used it to silver solder copper plumbing and brass, steel.
=======================
Mig, is good for production and if you need a good looking weld, I don't like moving the Gas bottle and all the cables.
A mig should be able to use Gas and Flux wire.

I think its a law that on cars you can only use a MIG welder.
has to do with the thinner HI strength metal they use, if you over heat the metal it will get weak.
=======================
" you said you have two tanks and that they've lasted you for 5 years without refils...i understand it depends on how often you use it "
Yes. After I purchased the acetylene setup, I purchased a 100 amp AC 120 volt stick welder back in 1982 about.
I had other smaller stick welders that were dangerous in junk.

For most of my things, I like my 100 amp stick, that's why I don't use the acetylene for welding.
I also have a Century 225 amp AC/DC that I used only twice.
======
" but i would have thought that after a while you would have to replace the gas in the tanks so they wouldn't go "bad" or something."
The hydro date on my oxy bottle is 2/99 that's the last time I had them filled.
I don't remember about every 4 or 5 years you need to have the oxygen bottle checked for cracks about $20.00 then they stamp a new hydro date so you can get the bottle filled up any time, up to the next 5 years.

I just used them last week, worked fine.
The only thing I heard about bad gas, is the mixed gas I use for my mig welders will go bad argon/Co2.
====================
After typing this up I did not realized that the heating and cutting with acetylene makes it may first choice
just heating nuts up to remove them saved me a lot of pain.
Its more universal then any arc welder. if you have kids then you should lock then up.

Then for the-the beginner an American made Not LESS then 100 amp AC, 120 volt, Used stick welder for $100.00
The current must be adjustable say 30 amps to 100 amps.
I seen the same 100 amp welders with the names, Lincoln, Century, Craftsman, and my power craft Montgomery wards.
But you need to change the ground clamp and the stinger with good ones.

That's just my Opinion.
 
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Old 06-13-05, 07:56 PM
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where could i find a halfway-decent used mig welder? The only thing I could think of would be ebay but how do i know they are any good...
 
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Old 06-13-05, 09:13 PM
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Anybody know how much of a "burn" time i could get from this setup:

10 CF MC acetylene cylinder
20 CF type "R" oxygen cylinder

I don't think I can afford the big cylinders right now and i don't think i'll use the torch that much (at least to begin with) so I'm thinking this one would be ok???

Complete outfit handles everything from sweat-soldering copper pipes to welding and cutting steel. Includes torch handle, gas/air adapter, cutting attachment, welding tip, cutting tip, air/gas tip, oxygen regulator, MC acetylene regulator, 12 ft. 3/16'' hose, goggles, striker, rugged poly carrier, 10CF MC acetylene cylinder, 20 CF type "R" oxygen cylinder, torch end-check valves.

Cut steel up to 1/2''
Weld steel up to 1/8''
Braze copper tubes up to 1''
 
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Old 06-13-05, 10:45 PM
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To answer a few questions for you. MIG, TIG and stick are all arc welding.
Stick welds aren't necessarily stronger than other processes. A bad weld is a bad weld and will fail regardless of what process put it on. Critical welds can be made with all 3 processes, nowadays TIG seems to be the choice for critical structural stuff like racing car frames and precision stainless stuff etc. A stick welder will handle bigger jobs than a MIG will for the same or lower price, but isn't as flexible with thickness or other metals like aluminum. As you said MIG is much easier to learn, basically if you can stick weld you can MIG weld and once you run a few beads on a MIG you might never look back to stick. If it were me I'd use a MIG for your project with .025 flux core wire. But I understand that might not be an option for you. A local welding shop would probably tack that together for you for like 5 or 10 dollars, but I suspect you're like me and want to do it yourself.
 
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Old 06-14-05, 05:56 AM
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I would really like to do it myself, never had a real "reason" to get a welder but now i can justify it with my wife I looked at ebay to see if i can find a used welder but the ones on there that i found are those huge shop welders that would be overkill for me. I guess I'm gonna have to just save up for a good one or something...would a 115v be ok for little projects around the house or does the jump to 230v really make that huge a difference?
 
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Old 06-14-05, 08:42 PM
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I assume your asking about a MIG ?

" would a 115v be ok for little projects around the house "
Yes, If you get the right one.

================
" does the jump to 230v really make that huge a difference? "
Yes and No.

For small projects, No.

If you get a good one it can. Yes.
It appears that some company's are now making 240 volt welders that are no better then getting one that runs on 120 volts.
mainly the cheap welders.
Some company's have rewired 120 volt welders for 240 volt operation with out any benefits.

People have been misinformed that a higher input voltage makes a better welder. So people thinking that, they pay more money for a 120 volt welder that plugs into a 240 volt outlet.

You need to compare the OUTPUT current/amps to know if your getting any benefits from one welder to the next.
And compare the output voltage.

-----------
What I don't understand some welders have two output amps listed on the machine.
The machine may state 130 amps output, But a smaller label may state Rated output 95 amps.
I can only assume that 130 amps is a surge current may be for the first seconds of welding from a charged capacitor inside the welder.
I have seen this label on the big name welders.

My opinion. I would go by the smaller Rated label.
Or if any one has good explanation I would like to hear it.
=================
 
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Old 06-16-05, 10:45 PM
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The chief drawback of the 115v units is the duty cycle. It's around 20% on max output which is 2 mins of welding and 8 mins of cooling. I have a Lincoln Pro Mig 135 that runs on 115v and it does everything I want it to. If you'll be working mostly with small steel projects a 115v unit will probably be fine. 5/16" steel is the listed max on mine but more realistically it's 1/4 " which is fine for me, it all depends on what you want to do. 220v units cost more as well so that's another consideration. And if you plan to do aluminum thicker than say 1/8" you'll probably want 220v. The used welders I've seen on ebay haven't really been that much cheaper than a new unit would be but I'm sure if you look enough you might find a good deal. Stick will Miller, Lincoln or Hobart you really do get what you pay for.
 
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Old 06-18-05, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by phillyguy
If it were me I'd use a MIG for your project with .025 flux core wire.
I did not know they make .025 Flex core wire.
Where did you get it ?
I looked on the net, and did not find any.
 

Last edited by GWIZ; 06-18-05 at 12:54 AM.
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