Here we go again

  1. Dieseldave New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Somerset
    Hi all. New to this forum and have no experience whatsoever with any type of welder/welding, i am just some oap looking for a little info, I have some metal drive gates that could do with a little TLC and perhaps a few odd bits of scrap to play around with, very tight budget for now, choices for me could be inverter arc 20 - 140A or maybe gasless flux core mig 40 - 90A. I am sure there will be some strong opinions here but as I say budget is sub £100 not a great amount I know (please be gentle)
    Dave
     
  2. Jlg

    Jlg Member

    Messages:
    855
    Location:
    Cumbria
    For that budget go for ark
     
  3. Dieseldave New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Somerset
    Thanks for that, I know £100 is a paltry budget but at the moment it's that or nothing. What would be the thinnest metal I would be able to work with on a 20a setting if that's a practical question.
    Dave
     
  4. aguycalledsteve

    aguycalledsteve Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Mansfield
    As above. I'd try and borrow or rent a mig setup before buying a gasless. I've got one sat gathering dust and it's my absolute last choice.

    20a is suitable for car body/panel thickness metal.
     
  5. Dieseldave New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Somerset
    Is that 20A mig or arc or is 20A much the same for both, excuse my ignorance.
    Dave
     
  6. KMP Member

    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    UK South Wales
    Hi Dieseldave, it really depends on what you want to do and how much you want to spend on consumables when you weld. If you are welding mostly over 2mm thick steel and up for gates, fences, trailers and stands etc then the Arc process will serve you well. If however you are looking to build things out of sheet metal say 0.8 to 3mm then the Mig would be better.

    Don't forget that there are more expenses than the machine and the rods/wire to think about. Your eyes are extremely important and you do need a decent welding shield/mask not the cheap cardboard thing that comes with most cheap welders. Proper gloves are also essential as is a chipping hammer wire brushes etc.

    Both systems have advantages of course as well as the opposite, Arc is good for thicker material and cheaper to run a machine and a packet of 2.5mm rods plus the safety stuff and you are away. As an impoverished youngster my first machine was a SIP140A machine and despite the detractors it is still working well in the hands of a good friend. We build many gates/trailers and repaired countless garden furniture etc with it to supplement our income at the time. When I started to weld cars then I bought a Sealey100XT 90Amp Gas Mig system, while it was better the very thin (<1mm) rusty panels required a lot of practise and stitch welding which I found frustrating. We used O/A gas as it was much more easily available at the time. The Mig after a few repairs and upgrades is still working and about to start a Landrover rebuild in the hands of a friends son. I haven't used No Gas Mig so can't really comment on those except the wire seems expensive and one thing I have learnt is that cheap consumables can be a mistake.

    I presently have a small Inverter Arc system which welds well and is my go to system for general garden repairs etc. It is much easier to use than the old transformer one I first bought but I doubt will last as long. I also have an inverter Mig and find it much easier to control at lower settings (30A) that I typically use for thinner materials. I guess that is progress.

    The major lesson I have learnt is that any welder is better than none and no matter how much you spend someone will have a better one?? I agree with Jig given your budget.

    Good luck, Regards

    Keith
     
  7. Dieseldave New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Somerset
    Thanks all, obviously I have a long way to go but have a bit of time on my hands now that I have retired and have always wanted a welder, dont ask me why, but will see where it leads, obviously ppe will need to be a priority.
     
  8. KMP Member

    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    UK South Wales
    Sorry DD, I missed Steve's post and your question. Using Arc 20A it is possible to in effect spot thin metal, the trick is to put a small "tack" say every inch or so along the length you want to weld. Then remove the slag and repeat the series just touching your first tacks repeat until you have joined the tacks together. This works once you have developed the knack but I never mastered it and didn't like the results. With Mig you will find few cheap machines that go down to 20A most will be about 30-40A minimum. Running a complete bead down a length of thin metal with either system will be prone to causing distortion and burn through in the early stages of your learning process, if you are like me (impatient) it may never come.

    Keith
     
  9. Dieseldave New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Somerset
    Thanks for that tip, just waiting for the right bargain to come along and I will be away burning holes in everything for sure, got a lot to learn I know
    Dave
     
  10. cumbriasteve

    cumbriasteve Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,117
    Location:
    Cumbria UK
    If budget is really tight then arc is the way to go but don't even consider it for thin metal, yes it can be done with lots of experience and tricks of the trade but even then it's a nightmare.

    Either a 2nd hand inverter arc (seen working) or a cheap transformer (buzz box) which can be bought often for as little as £20 used, they are not as nice as an inverter but many of us used them for years making trailers, gates and the like, they often get fobbed off too easily when in reality they can do the job...so

    A used buzz box...say £30
    An ebay auto helmet £25
    Box of rods £15
    Gloves £5

    Keeps you well under budget and if you don't take to it you should be able to recoup most the cost.
     
  11. Dieseldave New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Somerset
    Was planning budget £100 just for the welder, still not a graet ammount i know, have a budget plan for the extras i:e gloves helmet and tools etc
    Dave
     
  12. aguycalledsteve

    aguycalledsteve Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Mansfield
    just a thought, if you could stretch to 150 quid will get you a used Clarke 150. I've seen a few on Facebook's market place. Theres one currently for sale near me in Mansfield.
     
  13. Dieseldave New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Somerset
    Will have a look at the second hand market but always a bit wary of used goods l do like a guarantee just for peace of mind, would want something local I suppose just in case.

    Dave
     
  14. aguycalledsteve

    aguycalledsteve Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Mansfield
    Any decent seller of a would be in position to demo the unit to you. If they can't, walk away.
     
  15. Dieseldave New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Somerset
    Good advice ta.

    Dave
     
  16. Wozzaaah

    Wozzaaah The wizard of woz Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,408
    Wiltshire, UK
    You won’t find any rods that are usable at 20a so your question is pretty much irrelevant.
    To run it at 20a you’d need to hook up a tig torch and a bottle of pure argon and learn to tig weld.
    Arc welding thin metal is almost impossible, we've had members try and tell us it can be done but their idea of welding is clearly quite different to most of the rest of us.
     
    rtbcomp likes this.
  17. Dieseldave New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Somerset
    Irrelevant it may be, that's why I turned to this forum in the first place, was thinking if a welder could be Turned to 20a setting and can't be used why would it be there, this is no way intended to sound sarcastic I, bow to everyone's superior knowledge

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  18. Matrixx

    Matrixx Member

    Messages:
    166
    Location:
    York
    It sounds like you need a MIG welder, but you would spend £100 only to realise you need to spend more, if you want to take it up as a hobby then realistically you need to increase your budget, I started of with a £60 MIG now have over 1.5k's worth of kit, MIG and TIG.
     
  19. Wozzaaah

    Wozzaaah The wizard of woz Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,408
    Wiltshire, UK
    It’s because it can be used as a tig welder as well as an arc welder.
    MMA rods have a usable range for their diameter.
    A 1.6mm one might say it’s suitable for say 20-50a but actually using it at 20a is a different matter.
    It can probably be done with s bit of experience but won’t be easy for a relative beginner.
     
  20. Dieseldave New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Somerset
    Thank you very much for that, probably wanting to run before I can walk, will sit back for a while I think perhaps take up fishing instead.

    Dave
     
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