Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Learning to weld

This weekend I decided to get off my rear and start using that little 110 welder I have had sitting for years. In the last couple weeks I bought some 1 in square tube and a tank of Starr gas for my MIG. his weekend wasn’t too bad, mid 50’s not too much wind. So I decided to get started.
My first attempt at tacking was bad ( it helps to turn on the gas). I blew spatter everywhere on my metal. I tried to just make a frame for one of the shelves. Working on the ground SUCKS! Here are some pics of my first frame.
Not enough gas, too hot, too fast wire speed. You name it I did it. The first shelf turned out not square and not very well welded. My second attempt wasn’t as bad. I turned down the wire speed, watched where I was welding and made sure to measure twice cut or weld once. The welds still stunk but at least it was square.
By this time it was getting dark and the temperature had dropped, so I packed up and promised I would get out on Sunday after church.
Sunday arrived and I looked at my first attempt and decided before I did anything I was going to grind it apart and reweld it. I also set up a table to work at a more comfortable height.
I also had to cut my sheet metal. I tried to use pneumatic shears but they had been sitting so long that they didn’t work too well. I will probably need to take them in to get repaired. I ended cutting it with a cutoff disc. I also really need a bigger compressor.
I drilled some holes in the sheet metal and tried to spot weld them to the frames. I blew some hole in the metal and really did not get a good spot weld. I don’t know if the tube wall is too thick or what but I really am not satisfied with my welding. Overall everything is square and won’t come apart but it really isn’t pretty. Here’s the finished product. I priced out wheels at Harbor Freight but the were 4.99 a piece for the cheap ones. They had a moving dolly on sale for 14.99 with 4 wheels just the right size.
As you can see I welded a bracket on the side to hang the cables and my helmet from. I will probably paint it eventually. First thing I am going to do (when another nice weekend that I don’t have tooo long a “honey do” List) is to practice welding on some scrap metal.


  1. Mike,

    I noticed you were welding outside. Keep in mind that the sheilding gas flow is very subtle and even a small breeze can disrupt the gas shield a lot, making MIG welding very frustrating to say the least. Try running your gas flow around 25-30 CFH and try welding in your garage if you can. It can make a huge difference in the welding experience. Keep practicing and good luck!

  2. Thanks Sven, the regulator that came with the welded does not have a gage. I was thinking about getting one installing it in line. I also thought about welging in the garage but I was worried about the dangers. I don't have any gas appliances in the garage so I think I should be fine.

  3. Mike,

    One thing I forgot to mention was a web site I refer to often for welding. It's run by an absolute ace welder and he has fantastic information and videos on his site that are invaluable references to welders of all experience levels. Check it out here:


  4. Hey Mike,

    Don't get too frustrated. Your welding skills will increase with practice. Sven's advice is right on and that website has helped me countless times. I'm not sure what wire size you're running but the smaller gauge wire usually needs a tick more wire speed. Again, the website will help you. And a regulator gauge will help you immensely, not to mention save you $$$ on shielding gas. Keep it up. You'll get there soon enough.

    1. Thanks Dennis. I missed your comment ealier. I appreciate the encouragement. I relly enjoy looking at everyones blogs to get motivation as well as tips on my restoration. I am currently building a rotisserie.