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Old 09-17-2020, 08:56 AM   #1
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Welding Advice?

I have a lot of rust on my bus, and some big dreams. It seems like I will need to weld on some patches on cross beams at the very least and I have ideas to weld storage boxes and patch holes in leaky doors. So I wonder if it is better to hire a welder to work with me on this project, or to invest in a welding machine and do it myself. I have lots of time and elbow grease so I would rather spend that than money. I am a very handy person but I have no experience welding. How difficult would it be to get my welding skills to a place where it would be safe to do my own welding on my bus? Anyone have any experience learning to weld for their bus build?
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:04 AM   #2
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[QUOTE=livinginlimbo;406132 So I wonder if it is better to hire a welder to work with me on this project, or to invest in a welding machine and do it myself. I have lots of time and elbow grease so I would rather spend that than money.[/QUOTE]


If you got real deep pockets then go ahead and hire a welder!
If your like me, by a harbor freight welder, I use the 240v 170amp Mig welder that I got off the clearance shelf for $75 bucks.
For the entire project so far I have only used it with rosin core wire, no shielding gas.
Welds come out a little dirty, some I have to grind down but no one is even gonna see them but me!

Watch some you tube videos to get the general idea of what you need to do then practice with some scrap.

If you know a welder, ask him if they are willing to give you some pointers.

It is not rocket science, it is not hard to learn!
Just make sure you learn the safety aspects first so you don't get hurt and oh yeah, I always disconnect the batteries and pull the ECM fuse whenever I weld on the bus....
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:58 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice! I’ve been wanting to learn for a while anyways, so this seems like the right time! Did you buy a helmet as well? I heard those can get pretty pricey
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Old 09-17-2020, 10:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by livinginlimbo View Post
Thanks for the advice! Iíve been wanting to learn for a while anyways, so this seems like the right time! Did you buy a helmet as well? I heard those can get pretty pricey
Yes, NOW is always the right time!

The HF helmets I found that they do not last.
I went to a welding supply store and bought an entry level Miller helmet, I am very happy with it, cost $100 bucks.
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Old 09-17-2020, 10:26 AM   #5
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I want to learn welding skills on my bus also. I bought a book on welding years ago but cannot find it. These days thereís so many videos so Iíll try that. Good idea to disconnect the electrical while welding. Iíd suggest to always have a fire extinguisher nearby also.
I bought a harbor freight helmet but have not tried it yet.
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Old 09-17-2020, 10:41 AM   #6
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Look into taking an accredited welding course on line. Might as well learn how to do it right (and safely). Generally speaking, if you need to grind a weld to make it look good the weld is not good. Weld up a few practice runs and take them to a local certified welding shop and ask for an honest critique--who knows, you may be one of the natural born welders. I know I wasn't. I took an adult ed welding course at the local JC and can now lay down a pretty good weld.
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Old 09-17-2020, 10:58 AM   #7
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If you hire a welder, you will blow through whatever money you would have spent on a welding machine and gear for yourself in no time, and you still won't know how to weld yourself. Based on my personal experience, the welder might also not be any good at welding or fabrication, and a pathological liar to boot.
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Old 09-17-2020, 11:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
If you hire a welder, you will blow through whatever money you would have spent on a welding machine and gear for yourself in no time, and you still won't know how to weld yourself. Based on my personal experience, the welder might also not be any good at welding or fabrication, and a pathological liar to boot.
This is what Iíve been thinking! Also Iíve been speed reading through your posts about your build, and I think I might have a similar situation on my hands... looking forward to rebuilding a section of the frame!
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Old 09-18-2020, 03:41 AM   #9
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Yeah, Musigenesis' build thread is a great success story about learning how to build ... with what could have been an exceedingly expensive lesson from the start. I think he made lemonaide out of the lemon that "welder" gave him!
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Old 09-18-2020, 11:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livinginlimbo View Post
This is what Iíve been thinking! Also Iíve been speed reading through your posts about your build, and I think I might have a similar situation on my hands... looking forward to rebuilding a section of the frame!
I hired a welder for part of my build. Found a local "mobile welder" who charged $45/hr. Got a lot more welding done in 2 hours than I could possibly have done. Was well worth it in piece of mind knowing it won't fall apart.
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Old 10-03-2020, 06:47 PM   #11
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Update and More Questions

Iím committed to learning how to weld! I donít think Iíll be satisfied until I do. Iím thinking of heading to a local welding supply store and getting their advice on the best machine for beginners, but if anyone has any opinions I would love to hear them!

The biggest issues with my frame are the cross members, so Iím thinking Iíll just get some steel tubing and welding some new beams in conjunction with the old ones (keeping the strength from the old beams and gaining the strength from the new ones). Just confirming, anything that is attached to the chassis should be bolted, not welded, but itís okay to weld to the crossmembers?
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