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Discussion Starter #1
How did you learn to weld? (Taught by friends and family, went to school for it, taught yourself, etc...)
At what age did you learn and how long have you been welding?
What processes have you used?
Is it just for hobby or a career?

My dad taught me some when I was in high school with an old Lincoln AC-225 stick welder. I'm currently a student at the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in their 9 month program. I'll be graduating in August with 3 AWS-QC7 certs in combination, structural, and pipe. When I'm done here, I'll have experience with oxy, stick, MIG, TIG (stainless and aluminum), and flux-core. I love doing this stuff and hope to make a career of it. I plan to be back here at Hobart in 4-5 years to get my CWI.
 

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I took a course at my local community college. It was among the best $65 I have ever spent in my life. Learned a ton, had a great time and EASILY burned through that much in consumables. I could have learned TIG if I wanted to, but I concentrated on SMAW and MIG. I would like to go back and learned TIG too, although a TIG machine is outside my budget.

I have been welding for about 5 years.
 

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I learned how to weld as part of my auto tech degree at community college. Then, I pretty much completely forgot how in the time between then and getting a mechanical engineering degree and getting the job I have now, which I do welding occasionally. In a matter of an hour, I relearned how to mig, and even learned how to tig. I'm not as good at tig as some of the other guys, but mig welding is so unbelievable easy it's almost ridiculous.
 

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I'm trying to learn. I just bought a cheap flux 120v welder and still figuring out wire speeds and amp outputs. I have a lot of projects in mind and it's hard to not rush into them. Gotta practice on scrap and figure out proper penetration first. I'd love any tips, advice or tricks! Youtube has been my teacher so far haha
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm trying to learn. I just bought a cheap flux 120v welder and still figuring out wire speeds and amp outputs. I have a lot of projects in mind and it's hard to not rush into them. Gotta practice on scrap and figure out proper penetration first. I'd love any tips, advice or tricks! Youtube has been my teacher so far haha
Check out ChuckE2009's videos on youtube. He's a friend of mine that I met at Hobart.
 

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I'm trying to learn. I just bought a cheap flux 120v welder
I find flux welding more difficult. I understand that it can be more budget friendly, and there is no reason that you cannot become a competent welder by using it, but it does make things slightly harder. Also, in my experience, when it comes to welders, you get what you pay for. The difference in quality between a Miller, Hobart or Lincoln and a cheap store-brand special is quite large.

This is why I think going to your local community college is such a good idea. You get to use high dollar equipment for just a small amount of money. The school I went to had half-a-dozen $2000+ TIG machines. And when you buggered up the tip, it wasn't your dime on the line.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
HIWT uses Miller XMT 304 multi-process welders. These things cost $4k.

Thermal Arc and Longevity also make good quality welders for the hobbyist on a budget.
 

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I took a course at a community college with my dad back when I was 15 or so. We only worked with stick welders, but it was good enough to get the idea.

After that I've had my dad's Cebora 110V MIG on loan for quite some time, which worked okay. I had it set up with .032 wire. It had infinite wire speed controls but only four power settings. More recently I bought a Lincoln 140C with infinite power and wire speed. I've got that one set up with .023" so it is much happier with sheet metal.

I'm an okay welder, but I don't have an artist's brush stroke, so everything I weld is definitely function over form.

I'm currently desperate to do aluminum. I'm not sure if I should waste time with a spool gun on my MIG or just jump right into TIG.
 

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If you want to do aluminum correctly, there's no other way but TIG.
I have seen some old-timers with a gas setup that would disagree with you, but for those of us who weren't alive to Like Ike, I have to agree! The MIG setups work, but they just aren't as flexible.

I really want to learn how to TIG.
 

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I'm self-taught on MIG....I watched a few people do it here and there and then just jumped in and bought a used lincoln 110 MIG box. It's served me extremely well for the $75 I paid for it almost 6yrs ago. Prior to that, I had a part-time off the books job for a close friend's dad....he owns an industrial installations company, specializing in dock/load levelers and dock locks. "Pops" as he liked to be called taught me how to stick weld.....mostly by screaming at me when I didn't do it PERFECT. to this day with a little fine tuning and a couple of passes I can peel a bead with a stick. I built my own turn manifold using butt-weld mild steel fittings (as sold on JGS tools) and he let me use his stick rig to put it together. Now me and my dad share a ThermalArc welder/generator combo, currently only setup for stick.....but it has provisions for MIG and TIG add-ons.....I've yet to look into the TIG add-on....
 

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Learned to solder when i was 10 or 11 (applicable to TIG welding).
Bought my first welder (Hobart Handler 135) 9 years ago, started to MIG quite a bit; got my first TIG 3 years ago. Self taught with input from professional welders.

I do mostly TIG now - i use my MIG for outside work and projects that just need to be zippedup. No formal education. Enjoy working with aluminum and filler-rodless stainless tubing.

It's all hobby work - if it became necessary to pay the bills i dont think i'd enjoy it as much. I go thru 3 or so 100 cu ft tanks of argon / year for the TIG and about 1 60cu ft c25 on the mig / year.
 

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My first time welding was with a small 110v MIG with gas in a friends garage when I was 20. I wrote my name in weld bead on a piece of flat stock.
During my senior year of college (Business school/accounting) I managed to be added into the tractor mechanics class of our Ag department. First half of the class was welding so I learned stick, MIG, TIG, Oxy fuel, and brazing. After my father bought a small Hobart 140, I was able to practice more when I visited. My father is a welder by trade and has been welding for over 30 years. He was able to teach me a lot with flux core since that's wasn't available in the class I took. He still amazes me with his solid core MIG work.

I know some very basic soldering techniques, mostly learned from Ray (above). I can tackle most simple wiring, but have only done very minimal PCB repair. My goal is to eventually work up to a full PCB and upgrade the MegaSquirt in the Merkur.

Everything I do is for myself or to occasionally help a friend. I try not to weld for friends, especially if money is involved because it just leads to headaches.
 

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Im a soldering CHAMP thanks to an avionics job in the marines, however believe it or not but in highschool we had a "metal shop" class as an elective and the guy taught us how to mig, tig, cutting using acetylene(however you spell it)torch, and stick welding. About the ONLY actual useful class in the damn place. Of course i havent welded really since so id need to relearn. It was so much fun though(class was free and we did TONS of welding,cutting,grinding,polishing etc..).
 

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started welding in highschool welding class, liked it and decided at that moment to go for welding as a career. been doing that for 7 years plus now. still enjoying it. i love being able to look at things things and say to others I made that.
 

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I'm going to be enrolling in a community college class this year. As it is I've been jumping to fix hand-trucks, handles on the tire machines that broke, and any other metal thing in a shop that needs patching. The foreman has a gung-ho attitude about me jumping on it: "Just play around with it, you'll learn more. Any questions, grab me..."

But they zing the terminology past me pretty quick and I know if I get some formal education that I'll excel that much faster.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Someone was arguing with me the other day about how welding is mindless, low salary, blue collar work with little reward. I responded with "Mindless... ok, you have to weld an open root butt joint with two 1/8" stainless steel plates with TIG. Please tell me what size and type of tungsten you would use, how big of a root opening, what shielding gas you would use, what voltage, what amperage, type and size of filler rod, and what CFH on the shielding gas. Also, start thinking about your pre and post flow on the shielding gas, the cooling system for the TIG torch, and pre and post heat treatment." He just gave me a blank stare and said "well, I mean simple stick welding." To which I responded... "Ok, then you have to weld a 1/2" 70* v-groove with backing strip on mild steel in the vertical position. What size and type of electrodes would you use, what amperage, and what direction of travel. Also, start thinking about how you're going to control the heat in the base metal to prevent distortion." Again, I got kind of a blank stare.

A lot of people don't realize that there is a lot going on when you're welding and you have to know how to control it. It's just running a weld bead. You have to know about weld bead placement for optimum penetration and strength, how to read the puddle to adjust speed and heat input, and then there's the work and travel angles. It gets complicated.
 

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Not to mention that people with their own truck mounted rigs building pipelines in northern Canada make over 100$ an hour, 12 hour shifts, plus 300$ a day for the rig...

that's not blue collar money...
 
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