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KC10Chief 06-08-2006 01:01 AM

Which welder should I get?
I'm wanting to pick up some tools for my upcoming skoolie project and figure I'll need a welder. Has anybody ever bought one of the Lincoln welders they use at Home Depot? I would imagine that most of the welding I would be doing would be sheet metal type stuff and bed rails. On a bus, is most of the metal steel, or are there aluminum buses? Thanks! Matt

westport_wayne 06-08-2006 10:47 AM

well matt, i dont know much about the welder but most convetional skoolies are metal. the crown coach skoolies are probably, oh id say 75 to 80 pecent aluminum. i got a 1984 crown and most of it is aluminum. then you got your g.m.- mci- type old grey hound buses and they are stainless and alunium. but i am sure your run of the mill skoolies are metal. i got a 1964 20 foot international skoolie and the metal on that thing is like a tank. good luck and welcome to the forum. john in oregon

elkoskoolie 06-08-2006 11:06 AM

I bought a Lincoln Weldpak 100 or 110 (can't remember model) over 10 years ago. It is awesome for home workshop use. I welded my Jeep frame after about 10 min. practice. For sheet metal, you need to set it up for MIG. Down side of this is it (according to the manual) reduces the max thickness the unit will weld. I haven't set mine up for MIG, so I can't comment on how it will work for heavier welding. I know that sheet metal is a PITA for me. I prob should have someone show me....If one had lots of money and lots of welding to do, buy 2 and dedicate 1 to MIG!!

sportyrick 06-08-2006 04:45 PM

Buy a mig welder for sheet metal, something with a gas valve only! The flux core welders are not good for anything except for looking inexpensive, they weld like crap. I have been using a Miller 110V model to do my welding and it has been GREAT! Name brands are good too, Miller, Lincoln, ESAB, etc. 110V makes it easy to use anywhere but be sure to get a 12 gauge extension cord, matching the 12 gauge wire in your house or garage you are using to power the outlet. I tried .030 welding wire on mine and changed to .023 and it made a world of difference. I use CO2 for my gas, look around and find a resturaunt type CO2 bottle that puts the fizz in the soft drinks to keep the costs down (silver). Look at garage sales, antique stores, etc., beware, a new one will cost you $180 but one consolation is they are cheap to fill and refill. Remember to stay away from any gases that are created by welding, especially if you are welding galvanized, it puts off a poison gas that will hospitalize you. SportyRick, welder for 30 years.

bdavis441 06-08-2006 09:07 PM

for 110v welders, my favorite is the millermatic 135.

sportyrick 06-09-2006 09:39 AM

The dual welder at Harbor Freight will do the job but remember you get what you pay for. When you need parts it may be hard to find them, that's why I recommended a name brand. If you ever want to sell it you may have a hard time getting a descent price for it. Remember you have to pay freight on it and they aren't light. Orsceln Farm and Home sells one for $300 and it's already there and they have some consumables for it too
(a consumable is something that gets used up in the normal course of welding; wire, cups, tips etc) It will weld tubing, channel, angle, most anything under a 1/4 inch, anything on a bus except the frame, I wouldn't recommend it for anything thicker unless you are very experienced, especially with .023 wire. I jokingly tell people give me a monkey in the morning and I can have him MIG welding by the end of the day.
Personally I have been using an auto darkening helmet for 6 years and love them. Of course I bought the most expensive one I could find and never had a problem with it, Sellstrom Phantom, $300. SportyRick

frank-id 06-09-2006 09:13 PM

Welding and welders are tough subjects to discuss
The most important part of welding is having some exposure and hopefully some talent. Many years past, I was a welding instructor for a vocational school. Before buying any welder, some basic understanding is required. All the cheap 120volt AC welders are not good for much especially in the hands of a new wanna be welder. There is more to welding than making sparks. The best place to get a good welder is used, pawn shop, welding supply store welding shop or the newspaper. I have 5 types of welders. Each machine can do a particular job better than another. The 240voltAC mig welders tat use CO2/Argon gas are a great tool for a beginner with some instruction.
Just because ya buy a welder, does not make ya a welder. Do lots of homework before any purchase. Do not buy a welder just because it is "cheap". Many welded parts have been the cause for catastropic failures and sometimes loss of life. Talk to lots of folks who are welders and discover welding... Frank

the_experience03 06-09-2006 10:55 PM

Amen on the 120v AC welders being a chore for a newbie. I have one that I bought for $65 with some missing parts from one of those roving tool shows, but called the company and called it a warranty issue. I got a brand new one delivered to my door. :D It's a Craftsman branded welder, but I'm not sure who actually made it.

I'm finally starting to get better on it (I won't say good yet), but it's not quite the big lincoln mig we had at the college. For the price, I would buy one again in a heartbeat. It does most anything I need it to do.

frank-id 06-10-2006 09:49 AM

Welding is a serious persuit
All newbie wannabe welders must buy a few welding reference books. Occasionally it is necessary to review forgotten welding techniques. An old saying is that if welding looks bad, it is bad. One good thing about welding is, the welding can be removed with a grinder and a new attempt can bemade.
Welding is not a skill learned while sleeping./ Not many folks go to bed thinking about uniting metals and awake knowing how to weld. Welding is a long time learning process and skill and talent are discovered with dedication and some training. Welding information is available everywhere. Ya gotta give something to get something. Welding skill can be lost with longperiods of inactivity.There are many types of welding and each method has a specific application. Go to a local welding shop and give some time for some instruction. The introduction to welding is very interesting. Welding has limitations too. As is said by the Army, "Be all you can be".. Frank

Mr Luchman 06-11-2006 04:56 PM

to a welder!
u got it Frank..... u get what u put in... So KC10 if u are serious about
puting a second story to your shoolie or just a dancing plankform...
u got to keep in mind that this thing is going to be rolling down the highway at 55 miles a hour.....
it can do a real good mess and even hurt people if any of those weld comes apart....they give night welding course in every community
u just have to look around.....
and after u have burn about 25lbs of stick's a 25 lbs roll of wire....
i would buy a trailler that u have welded.....
there is basecally no theory in to in basic mild steel welding just practice

That is my 2 cents on the matter

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