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Old 11-14-2014, 05:38 AM   #1
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Acetylene Torch?

It's time for me to learn how to weld, so I have to figure out what sort of torch is right for me.
After watching youtube tutorials on mig welders, tig welders, plasma torches, etc, until my brain started to bleed, I began to wonder why I shouldn't just get a cheap simple acetylene rig like my dad always used.
I seem to need a college degree in welding to fully understand all the other torches, which cost a fortune btw.
And they have enough dials, settings and accessories to reanimate a corpse.
An good old fashioned acetylene torch just has two valves and a couple different tips.
I heard they take a bit more finesse, but as a fairly good artist I'm not daunted.
So why not?
What would be my limitations with only a cheap simple acetylene rig?
All my welding would probably just be customizing my bus (if I get one) and light tinkering around the house.
thanks for your time.
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:39 AM   #2
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Re: Acetylene Torch?

I think I can shed some light on your issue.

For a torch…. specifically acetylene torch…. that is more for brazing (type of welding mostly with pipes) and possible metal cutting (requires cutting tip) although useful for certain things I would imagine this is not what you need.

Most people with the needs of conversion will get the most out of a mig welder. They make them in 220v and 120v versions. This is used to weld 2 pieces of metal together. Very easy to use and the cost isn't super bad to get in to but keep in mind bigger/thicker the metal the larger amperage you may need.

Simular to above is a arc welder aka stick welder. unlike the mig that feeds its wire automatically this welder has a electrode you stick in and as you weld it melts to the metal and gets shorter. Although this is a good choice for some things its learning curve to make good welds with it takes a bit more time and experience. It is VERY difficult to weld on sheet metal with but can be done.

A tig welder is a very precision type welder. the cost of this will not be reasonable for what i think you would need.


If you just doing some simple fabricating the mig welder is the one for you. I would suggest the 220 voltage one if you can get and or have a electrical outlet for it. The 120 volt version has a lower duty cycle (this is how long you can weld with it continuously) as bigger welders usually have longer and higher duty cycles.

Not sure where your located but I know home depot and lowes both have mig and stick welders. Here is what most entry level people look at http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lincoln-E...1vZc8lsZ25egxh

That should do pretty much all you need unless your building things like trailer hitch mount

If you have any more question let me know. I am not the best welder but I have my moments.

I have all these types of goodies…. 2 mig welders, stick welder, plasma cutter, acetylene cutting torch


Let me know if I can help you any more
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:16 AM   #3
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Re: Acetylene Torch?

I agree with what bapos said.
I've worked in steel and fabrication for most of my life. I'm ok at welding never actually did a ton of it by hand. I ran a huge plasma cutting table and a bank of robotic welding machines. Also have a lot of experience with saws, torches, iron-workers, and shearing.
I'd definitely agree that a mig is really your best bet. Don't let the dials and settings be discouraging. They're easy to fine tune and figure out with just a little practice on some scrap. Once you get things dialed in you wont need to change things too often anyhow.
Look on Craigslist for a good used Lincoln or Hobart and find some scrap steel to practice on would be my advice.
Stick with it- fabrication skill will be something that you will always be able to use, and it feels great to build your own stuff.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:00 AM   #4
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Re: Acetylene Torch?

Check your local community college or trade schools. Most community colleges offer welding courses and it's not hard to learn. And it's not as mind boggling as you think, there are really only 3 main types of welders: Stick, Mig and Tig. If you get lucky you can get a machine that will power all 3 types with the correct attachments. This is if you are hard core and want the ability to weld pretty much anything.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:27 AM   #5
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Re: Acetylene Torch?

Holy Snot you guys! You all just taught me exactly what I wanted to know, but couldn't find online. And I looked hard.
THANK YOU! I now feel totally confidant about what to look for on Craigslist, down to the brand name.
Also, I remembered later, my dad didn't do ALL his welding with acytolene. He had this big old arc welder too that he would roll out sometimes. That sucker looked like it was army surplus from the frickin' Third Reich. It may have caused the great blackout of 2003. It will still be welding after my bones have turned to dust, I'm sure.
I just have one more question though, if you don't mind.
My main reason for finally getting a welder is because I need to replace a small body panel on my VW bus before I can sell it to buy a real bus.
The seam is probably only about 2ft long.
I've read how to do it with acytolene. Weld a bit and hammer it flat while its still red hot, weld a bit more, and so on.
Or I'll just try a mig.
Or do you think it would be best if I just let a pro handle it?
Thanks again.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:20 AM   #6
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Re: Acetylene Torch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OylinMcGashole
Holy Snot you guys! You all just taught me exactly what I wanted to know, but couldn't find online. And I looked hard.
THANK YOU! I now feel totally confidant about what to look for on Craigslist, down to the brand name.
Also, I remembered later, my dad didn't do ALL his welding with acytolene. He had this big old arc welder too that he would roll out sometimes. That sucker looked like it was army surplus from the frickin' Third Reich. It may have caused the great blackout of 2003. It will still be welding after my bones have turned to dust, I'm sure.
I just have one more question though, if you don't mind.
My main reason for finally getting a welder is because I need to replace a small body panel on my VW bus before I can sell it to buy a real bus.
The seam is probably only about 2ft long.
I've read how to do it with acytolene. Weld a bit and hammer it flat while its still red hot, weld a bit more, and so on.
Or I'll just try a mig.
Or do you think it would be best if I just let a pro handle it?
Thanks again.
I was welding up VW's in my teens using mig welders at the high school vocational shop and friends' garages. If you're in a hurry to get the job done I'd shop around let someone do the welding if its not expensive. What panel are you replacing? most are just spot welded. Spot welds are easy.
The shop I worked in for 12 years had lots of old govt surplus equipment and tools. we even had a 30 foot long lathe off a navy ship. We used a 50 year old surplus unit for stud welding. One ironworker for cutting up scrap rebar is a suplus unit from ww2 made by Buffalo Forge. It sits uncovered in a field and is used every day with virtually no maintenance. I love old surplus stuff.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:50 AM   #7
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Re: Acetylene Torch?

i learned on an acetylene torch in high school 30 years ago and that was the first one i bought, almost as long ago. the mig is is the way to go, i picked up a used mig and i havent pulled that torch out in years, not even for cutting. chop saw and a mig will do your job easier, faster, stronger, better.
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Old 11-14-2014, 12:36 PM   #8
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Re: Acetylene Torch?

Get a 120 volt mig welder with a gas bottle. Don't buy a flux core only machine.

A hobart will do great:
http://www.amazon.com/Hobart-500549-Aut ... art+welder

Then, find a local welding supply store and buy a small argon/co2 tank.
Pick up a cart for your welder and tank from harbor freight.
Get an auto-darkening helmet. HF will do just fine for beginners as well.

You'll lay out approximately 6-700 bucks for the setup, but with practice you can build so many different things I can't even list them all. That welder would be the correct tool to replace the VW panel, all the way to raising the roof on a skoolie.
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Old 11-14-2014, 04:31 PM   #9
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Re: Acetylene Torch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronsb
Get a 120 volt mig welder with a gas bottle. Don't buy a flux core only machine.

A hobart will do great:
http://www.amazon.com/Hobart-500549-Aut ... art+welder

Then, find a local welding supply store and buy a small argon/co2 tank.
Pick up a cart for your welder and tank from harbor freight.
Get an auto-darkening helmet. HF will do just fine for beginners as well.

You'll lay out approximately 6-700 bucks for the setup, but with practice you can build so many different things I can't even list them all. That welder would be the correct tool to replace the VW panel, all the way to raising the roof on a skoolie.
Yes this would be what I'd go with.
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:56 PM   #10
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Re: Acetylene Torch?

Hey thanks again everyone.
I'd love to shell out $700 for a welder but that money would come out of my bus budget. I may need that $700 for oh, say,... a tire. I'm shooting for something under $200 from Craigslist. (It could happen)
Yeah my VW is in great shape except I had a blow-out that tore the hell outta the back of the rear quarter.
So I have that and a cracked windshield to deal with before I can sell it.
It's so weird. Buses like mine can go for over $20,000, but if they need $2500 worth of work you're lucky to get $9000.
What kinda math is that?!
Whatever.
I sure wish I could keep it. It has the deluxe Westfalia camper conversion with a side tent, but it has no climate control or generator and it was made for people much smaller than me.
It's sad. I always wanted an old beetle. When I finally bought one, I sat in it and my knees hit the steering wheel. I could LITERALLY reach out and adjust both side mirrors at the same time without even stretching.
I owned it for about 12 minutes and it had to go.
So I thought I'd try a '79 bus.
Nope.
I don't even fit in their bus.
Come on! It's a VAN for crap sake!
So yeah.
I figure a school bus aughtta 'bout do it.
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