Learning to Weld
I grew up around welding. My Grandfather had a welding shop where he built bulldozer blades. My dad worked his way through college as a welder. And as Plant Engineer, I supervised welders. However, I have done very little welding myself.
I know a lot of the theory and I know how to set the welder to the specs for the material being welded. But the actual physical skill of making and holding an arc and forming a puddle, I am just learning.
I have three welders to choose from. I have a small flux core wire feed welder. I have a large Lincoln MIG wire feed machine. And I have an old Hobart gasoline powered DC ARC welder.
The little wire feed is great for tacking stuff and welding exhaust. Because it is small and portable, it is great for working under the car. It makes ugly welds however. And with minimal control, it often does not hold very well.
I have learned to make pretty nice weld with my MIG. The Lincoln has continuously variable controls for voltage and wire speed. As long as I keep good tips in the nozzle, it makes nice smooth welds.
Only recently I go the old Hobart running again. It has sat dormant for at least five years. It took a bit of work to get the engine running again. But after the twigs and acorns flew out of the generator, it is making good power.
I have begun learning to use the stick welder. It turns out that the current setting has a much narrower range than I expected. If it is too hot, it blows holes in the metal instead of welding. If it is not hot enough, then the rod will not strike or it will stick. Also, the arc length seems to be critical. If it is too long, then the weld just splatters. If it is too short, then the rod sticks.
Getting the hand coordination right has been the most challenging part for me. I now understand why people say that the only way top learn to weld is to practice. I have been practicing on some simple projects that allow me to grind away my mistakes and try again.
While you can’t learn how to weld by reading a book, you can get some valuable tips. Luckily I have my dad and a good friend to ask when I have a problem. But there is a great reference that tells you all the things you need to know to learn to weld. Get a copy of Welding Secrets Revealed to learn more. Sign up for their newsletter to get timely tips in your inbox. Welding E Book