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Old 06-17-2016, 06:45 PM   #271
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A little more advice if I may.
You might be having some problems with your test pieces because the 1/4" angle iron is to thick for your machine even turned all the way up.
If I remember right you bought that machine to weld the ribs for your roof raise and the rib metal is I am guessing 10-guage at its thickest and your machine will do that just fine.
I can only reccomend that you practice with that thickness of metal and after comfortable move to welding in the position that you will be in with your roof raise
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Old 06-17-2016, 07:55 PM   #272
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I'm with the gas shielded crowd. Flux core sux. Smelly, smokey and spattery. I have two Miller 140 gas shielded welders and love them both. One is a dual amperage (110/240). The Chinese cheapos are pure caca. These days you can get a gas shielded Hobart for about $600 bucks that is an awesome little machine and worth twice the money. Hobart is the Miller "Value Line" and they are very well made. The only drawback used to be that some parts on the Hobart were plastic (like the drive wheel) where the Millers were metal. That changed a couple of years ago making the Hobart just about equal to the Miller.

And yes...get someone (either a trade school teacher or a real welder) to spend a half hour with you and you will be able to handle most anything. I call'em "Monkey Welders"...they are THAT easy to learn and use.
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Old 06-18-2016, 08:07 AM   #273
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Wow, thank you ALL for the very valuable input. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

Some of it seems to conflict a little bit at least in my head. There is some consistency in going gas mig vs. stick, but I'm still thinking stick? I like no gas (budget), plus they seem strong enough to do the heaviest welding I'll do.

Beyond the ribs which the little cheapo gas-less mig I have apparently will handle, I am planning on building the storage boxes and potable and gray water tanks frames under the deck and that's where I thought I'd use the heavier steel. I've seen guys use bed frame steel in a lot of locations which I have accumulated a pile of, but I also picked up some used 1/4" angle as well since I'm not sure if the bed frame steel will be heavy enough for those boxes.

Maybe I should just turn this whole question around and look at it from the requirements angle?

What is the heaviest steel required by the project? I thought the 1/4" angle could possibly be more than I'd need anywhere, including the new window openings and the angled structural support I'll put throughout the walls and roof. Or not? Is that a wrong assumption? Is 1/4" required or is it overkill? Can I get away with something thinner in these applications?

So, back to the right machine choice, it sounds like the cheapo gas-less mig I have will have it's place when it comes to the thinner material, but on the structural pieces I'll still need a stick or gas mig. Again, I'm still leaning towards a stick welder since it is gas-less and would be strong enough, but I can be talked out of that.
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Old 06-18-2016, 08:17 AM   #274
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thjakits - The "sound" of those test welds was not clean, it was stuttering spattering and not smooth, but once I slowed down and was starting to control the bubble a little better it seemed to smooth out. What I have no idea of is the penetration. I cut them open and just couldn't tell.
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Old 06-18-2016, 01:06 PM   #275
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Originally Posted by Jman6631 View Post
thjakits - The "sound" of those test welds was not clean, it was stuttering spattering and not smooth, but once I slowed down and was starting to control the bubble a little better it seemed to smooth out. What I have no idea of is the penetration. I cut them open and just couldn't tell.

....what un-initiated weldor (?) does not know about is the sound of MIG, when it works as INTENDED!! It is NOT a continuous arc like with stick or TIG, but a serious of starts and interruptions when the wire melts and "drops" into the weld. IF you have a continuous contact it will also melt the wire but things are going way too fast and you will not get the penetration you need - this sounds smoother as there is no cut and "re-strike" - which sounds like bacon!
Mind you - this is with the regualr gas ones!! With a core-wire I think all bets are off!

Your concern about price - I think, you just should bite the lime and buy yourself a used, but good Gas-MIG. Gas is the least of the expenses!!
CORE-wire is a LOT more expensive than regular Mig-wire. Talk to a welding shop, maybe they have a old medium rig for sale (even ask your Lincoln or Miller distributor - though they will not have used ones - maybe some industrial size ones !! BUT they have a long client list and might be able ot guide to a shop that recently upgraded equipment. I am sure they would tell you as you are potential future customer!

As mentioned before - stick works, but for THIN stuff, stick is no less expensive than a MIG and a lot harder to master!!

Nowadays Stick seems to have dropped and gained a "Cheap Spark Box" reputation - there is still a whole industry very dependent on stick!! You get all kinds of sticks and you can run all kinds of currents, BUT that requires quite a sophisticated "spark box" = NOT cheap!

IN ANY CASE - IF you insist on a stick, then get yourself an INVERTER_STICK-BOX!! They use WAY less electricity, are light (you can carry them to the work up a ladder if you need), and can be converted (..usually) to TIG!! The ONLY "detriment" you won't be able to TIG Aluminium with them, as you need AC for that adn the Inverters usually run DC.....but I bet they help a LOT welding thin stuff!! THey also do 110/220 V..... The Miller one I have is the Maxstar 150 STL - check it out on their website!!

Look at it from this angle; You CAN try to muck around with the cheap stuff, but to 99% probability you will waste TIME (...and TIME is money!!), by having to grind out your weld and repeat, waste MONEY on buying new wire and most likely repeat until find out your box is no good and buy the GOOD one anyway!!

So get the good one right away, get NEW wire or sticks and practice until your welds are clean all the way through!! The parts you have you can cut into a million pieces and weld them back up!
Once you get a decent bead with 6011 or 6013 electrodes (sticks) - consider to use 7018 on your bus - they are about twice the price with limited shelf-life, but weld extremely well, there is not enough weld on the whole bus to drive you into poverty with the 7018s....

But - look around, you might get lucky and get a decent used "above basic" Miller or Lincoln Gas-Mig for the price of a new inverter....

'nough said!


Cheers,

thjakits
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Old 06-18-2016, 03:57 PM   #276
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thjakits, very, very appreciated! Thank you for taking all that time and for giving it to me straight.

And of course you're right about the approach of getting the right gear the first time already. I dropped fifty clams opportunistically on the cheapo H.F. gas-less mig knowing I was bottom feeding. I can say for sure that I already can tell a difference in the one I have vs. the nice Miller machines we used in the weekend warrior class. It's very obvious, even to me.

I'm convinced now that a decent gas mig rig is the right choice. I've found several nice ones on craigslist in the $500 range, but, I also have a huge Lowes gift card that will cover most if not all of the cost of a new welder, so the project budget doesn't take a huge hit in buying new. This is the one I'm eyeing:

Shop Lincoln Electric 120-Volt MIG Flux-Cored Wire Feed Welder at Lowes.com

Or this one, the obvious cheaper knock-off:

http://www.lowes.com/pd/Smarter-Tool...der/1000017623

Reviews are pretty good and it comes with the regulator. All I'd have to get is the gas bottle. Then I can resell the H.F. one and recoup a little of the cost.
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Old 06-18-2016, 04:46 PM   #277
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Originally Posted by Jman6631 View Post
thjakits, very, very appreciated! Thank you for taking all that time and for giving it to me straight.

And of course you're right about the approach of getting the right gear the first time already. I dropped fifty clams opportunistically on the cheapo H.F. gas-less mig knowing I was bottom feeding. I can say for sure that I already can tell a difference in the one I have vs. the nice Miller machines we used in the weekend warrior class. It's very obvious, even to me.

I'm convinced now that a decent gas mig rig is the right choice. I've found several nice ones on craigslist in the $500 range, but, I also have a huge Lowes gift card that will cover most if not all of the cost of a new welder, so the project budget doesn't take a huge hit in buying new. This is the one I'm eyeing:

Shop Lincoln Electric 120-Volt MIG Flux-Cored Wire Feed Welder at Lowes.com

Or this one, the obvious cheaper knock-off:

Shop Smarter Tools 120-Volt MIG Flux-Cored Wire Feed Welder at Lowes.com

Reviews are pretty good and it comes with the regulator. All I'd have to get is the gas bottle. Then I can resell the H.F. one and recoup a little of the cost.
Do yourself a favor and do what I did- get the Hobart 140. You won't be sorry. Its the best bargain mig out there for the money. Better than that Lincoln stuff at lowes.

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Old 06-18-2016, 04:54 PM   #278
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Oh definitely, I've read nothing but great reviews of the Hobart's and am convinced they'd be perfect for my needs, but, the budget has to be considered. If I can get a decent Lincoln at Lowes then the budget "saves" a bundle, e.g., the harsh reality of the dollars and sense that I can't avoid, unfortunately...
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Old 06-18-2016, 05:11 PM   #279
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Originally Posted by Jman6631 View Post
Oh definitely, I've read nothing but great reviews of the Hobart's and am convinced they'd be perfect for my needs, but, the budget has to be considered. If I can get a decent Lincoln at Lowes then the budget "saves" a bundle, e.g., the harsh reality of the dollars and sense that I can't avoid, unfortunately...
How much is the lincoln? I got the hobart for 500 and change, IIRC.
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Old 06-18-2016, 05:14 PM   #280
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We just can't seem leave you alone-- so here goes.

Bed frame material is vert strong and will support quite a bit of weight if it is assembled with bolts and nuts or bucked rivets. It is not a satisfactory material if it is welded (unless done with an oven to control temps). The problem stems from the fact that bed frame material is highly crystaline in nature, almost like steel castings. Welding melts the crystals at the site of the weld and produces an interface between the welded and the unwelded portion which is subject to rapid fatigue and complete failure. Using welded bed frame material to support tanks of liquids or under floor compartments is not a safe practice.

Find a metal provider in your area and purchase mild steel materials of the appropriate shape and size and you will be good to go! Jack
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