Getting Back Into Welding

   #1  

jaydee325

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Last time I struck an arc was at least 40 years ago. I'm retired now and would like to get back into it as a hobby. Planning on staying with stick as that is what I know.

Anyone been in the same position? What was your experience striking that first arc again? I'm hoping it's a lot like riding a bike in that you don't forget!
 
   #2  

dirttoys

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Last time I struck an arc was at least 40 years ago. I'm retired now and would like to get back into it as a hobby. Planning on staying with stick as that is what I know.

Anyone been in the same position? What was your experience striking that first arc again? I'm hoping it's a lot like riding a bike in that you don't forget!
It was a little like riding a bike:) My eyes aren't as good, but lots of light and cheater glasses help. Happy to report I am still as bad as I was in high school, I have gotten a little more patient, so probably a little better grinder..........

Best,

ed
 
   #3  

Underdog57

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Last time I struck an arc was at least 40 years ago. I'm retired now and would like to get back into it as a hobby. Planning on staying with stick as that is what I know.

Anyone been in the same position? What was your experience striking that first arc again? I'm hoping it's a lot like riding a bike in that you don't forget!
I too started stick welding after about a 40 year gap. Bought my tractor 8 years ago and bought a stick welder soon after.
I got a lot of great advice right here on TBN , especially from Shield Arc (RIP.....sure do miss him!) Also welding tips & tricks on YouTube is good. Get some scrap and start burning rod, you'll get it
 
   #5  

BravoXray

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After I bought a Miller 211 MIG machine, my Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC macine just collected dust. A friend borrowed it a couple times when his buzz box died, but a year ago I sold it on CL. I have a Eastwood TIG 200 that will do stick welding if I would need a stick machine, but I don't see the need anytime soon.
 
   #6  

Teachu2

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It's hard to beat AC/DC stick for versatility. I don't use mine often, but it's a real asset when I do. I own several welding machines - Mig, Tig, stick, and an engine-driven Bobcat 250. but I'm not a pro. I'm just a guy who likes to build and modify stuff. I also like having the right tools for the job. If I'm doing a lot of lighter-duty welds, I'll grab my MM210 Mig every time. For repair work on heavier steel, it's usually stick. In the field, it's almost always stick, but the Bobcat can power the MM210 if needed.
 
   #7  

big bubba

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OP: cool we can revisit a skill we've known in our youth. have you looked at equipment possibilities yet for your return to arc?
 
  
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#8  
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jaydee325

jaydee325

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OP: cool we can revisit a skill we've known in our youth. have you looked at equipment possibilities yet for your return to arc?
I have been looking at equipment. A ways off from a purchase yet. The nice thing about the current equipment is that it has multiple options for expandability. I can work my stick skills back to the high standard I possessed (well, hopefully!), then I can buy the add-on's to delve into MIG or TIG.

TIG and welding aluminum always intrigued me, so this could be something I'd try down the road.

This is all going to start at a basic hobby level.
 
   #9  

big bubba

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good plan. lots out there for multiple options on a single machine. am sure you'll get useful responses
strictly arc here, well pleased with my Hobart upgrade from Lincoln tombstone. keep the forum informed along the way, best regards
 
   #10  

Teachu2

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I recently bought a https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084PY4C5...=NUgU8&ref_=sbx_be_s_sparkle_mcd_asin_0_title to use as a dedicated Tig unit, but it also does stick. I'll never use it for stick, but it was the best-reviewed offshore brand I could find for Tig. Called and spoke with the importer. If you want one, get on the waiting list early - he sells out a shipment very quickly. Impressive machine, and will probably last me the rest of my life. NOT a lightweight, though - but fits on the better Harbor Freight Vulcan cart like it was made for it. 350 lb. Capacity Welding Cart
 
   #11  

Locoweed

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I enjoy learning something new, so a few years ago I bought one of the multipurpose machines so I could dabble with MIG. I think I have used stick a couple of times since I have had the new machine, but I could probably do with out stick welding altogether without much trouble.
 
   #12  

MinnesotaEric

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If you get back into it, consider looking for a used engine-based stick welder so you can bring the welder to the job, rather than the job to the welder. Just used an older Miller Blue Star yesterday to weld chain hooks on a bucket using 7018 rods.
 
   #13  

dirttoys

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If you get back into it, consider looking for a used engine-based stick welder so you can bring the welder to the job, rather than the job to the welder. Just used an older Miller Blue Star yesterday to weld chain hooks on a bucket using 7018 rods.
Second this with a twist. I got back into welding because the best generator I could find for my needs was miller 300 that doubles as a welder.

Worked out great and doesn't sit for months at a time waiting for the lights to go out.

Best,

ed
 

Jchonline

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I have been looking at this one for a combined welder/generator. It will be stick until I get bored or need something else. This will also double as a back up house generator. As I understand its almost the same as the Miller but $2000 less.

 

Teachu2

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That's a great unit, and will do fine for most fabrication and repair tasks. I bought my Miller Bobcat 250 about twenty years ago, and looked hard at the Hobart at the time. I decided to buy the Miller, and never regretted it. Probably would have been just as happy with the Hobart for welding, but the generator on the Bobcat was cleaner output. I don't know if that's still true on current models.

Regardless of which one you get, buy an extra fuel pump. They're the weakest link, thanks to the ethanol in most gasoline. I get 3-5 years out of mine, then they fail. The cheap ones out of China seem to hold up about the same as the ones that cost 5x as much. Takes about ten minutes to swap one out, if you go slow and have one on hand.
 

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About 10 years ago I stopped using the crap-ahol gas on everything but road machines - about a buck more a gallon, and I pay it GLEEFULLY, 'cause I know I'll probably NEVER have to replace a carb or fuel pump in my lifetime - only thing I don't use no-E gas in is tractors and backhoe, 'cause they'd EXPLODE if I did (Diesels tend to do that if you forget) o_O... Steve
 

etpm

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Last time I struck an arc was at least 40 years ago. I'm retired now and would like to get back into it as a hobby. Planning on staying with stick as that is what I know.

Anyone been in the same position? What was your experience striking that first arc again? I'm hoping it's a lot like riding a bike in that you don't forget!
I am proficient in stick, MIG, & TIG. I mostly TIG weld, next is MIG, and then way down the list is stick. That said, stick is the most versatile for the least money when it comes to welding iron alloys. And yes, you will pick it up fast. You can usually buy just a pound of rod for stick welding when there is some special need. Like welding cast iron or stainless steel. Your stainless stick welds won't be as pretty as TIG welds but will be way cheaper. One thing has changed greatly since you first welded. Hoods. You absolutely should buy an auto-darken hood. These days you can buy an excellent auto-darken hood, with the shade adjustable from what would be comparable to light sunglasses, so you can do work like grinding with your hood down, to the darkest of shades. And you get all this versatility, plus a larger viewing area than your old hood, plus being lighter than your old hood, for about $120.00. Tomorrow I will post the name of a great hood, the one I use most. I would do it now but my old brain can't remember the name of the company.
Eric
 

deereman75

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I'm going to be the one guy who doesn't like auto darks.... I've had probably 5 of them (miller/Lincoln, not even cheap ones) and they've all been nothing but trouble. Even the ones that didn't break were just a pain in the neck for what I do.
I would agree that for typically hobby use they are great. Welding things on a bench, ect

My issue is largely working on equipment in awkward places and blocking the sensors with pieces of the machine, hydraulic hoses, ect.

And then the constant running out of batteries when you are not at the shop, ect.

I finally went and bought a few of the old flip-down fibre metal pipeliner hoods, and keep a different shade lens in each one. A side benefit is I've found you have better clarity with a gold coated glass lens than with the auto dark filter.

Now a cheap flip down hood is going to be infuriating. And those fibremetal ones cost the same as or more than an autodark. But they are comfortable, and they work effortlessly and reliably. Once you get used to the slight nod before striking an arc it's really no less user friendly than an auto dark.
 

sea2summit

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Second this with a twist. I got back into welding because the best generator I could find for my needs was miller 300 that doubles as a welder.

Worked out great and doesn't sit for months at a time waiting for the lights to go out.

Best,

ed
Exactly what I did, was looking for a generator and welder during the same time period. Found I could get a much bigger quality generator for the same money that doubled as a welder. It was a no brainer.
 

etpm

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etpm

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I'm going to be the one guy who doesn't like auto darks.... I've had probably 5 of them (miller/Lincoln, not even cheap ones) and they've all been nothing but trouble. Even the ones that didn't break were just a pain in the neck for what I do.
I would agree that for typically hobby use they are great. Welding things on a bench, ect

My issue is largely working on equipment in awkward places and blocking the sensors with pieces of the machine, hydraulic hoses, ect.

And then the constant running out of batteries when you are not at the shop, ect.

I finally went and bought a few of the old flip-down fibre metal pipeliner hoods, and keep a different shade lens in each one. A side benefit is I've found you have better clarity with a gold coated glass lens than with the auto dark filter.

Now a cheap flip down hood is going to be infuriating. And those fibremetal ones cost the same as or more than an autodark. But they are comfortable, and they work effortlessly and reliably. Once you get used to the slight nod before striking an arc it's really no less user friendly than an auto da

I'm going to be the one guy who doesn't like auto darks.... I've had probably 5 of them (miller/Lincoln, not even cheap ones) and they've all been nothing but trouble. Even the ones that didn't break were just a pain in the neck for what I do.
I would agree that for typically hobby use they are great. Welding things on a bench, ect

My issue is largely working on equipment in awkward places and blocking the sensors with pieces of the machine, hydraulic hoses, ect.

And then the constant running out of batteries when you are not at the shop, ect.

I finally went and bought a few of the old flip-down fibre metal pipeliner hoods, and keep a different shade lens in each one. A side benefit is I've found you have better clarity with a gold coated glass lens than with the auto dark filter.

Now a cheap flip down hood is going to be infuriating. And those fibremetal ones cost the same as or more than an autodark. But they are comfortable, and they work effortlessly and reliably. Once you get used to the slight nod before striking an arc it's really no less user friendly than an auto dark.
Well, it's unfortunate you have had so much trouble. My HTP hood is very good on batteries, has solar cells that also power it, multiple sensors so that I never block them all, excellent, and I mean excellent, clarity, just as good as the plain lens types, and is lightweight. I too had trouble with early auto-dark hoods and would often switch to a plain lens hood, but no more. and even though I learned to arc weld over 30 years ago using the old style hoods, like everyone else, when I teach others how to weld I can see just how much easier it is for them using auto-dark hoods.
Eric
 

deereman75

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Now that I would agree about. For someone starting out an autodark gives you less to worry about at once and that will certainly make it easier.
 
   #23  

Sberry

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I enjoy learning something new, so a few years ago I bought one of the multipurpose machines so I could dabble with MIG. I think I have used stick a couple of times since I have had the new machine, but I could probably do with out stick welding altogether without much trouble.
My neighbor is a master. At home fits the diy/hobby profile like a poster child and hasnt been over to weld something in 15 yrs since he got a 175.
 
   #24  

MoArk Willy

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Last time I struck an arc was at least 40 years ago. I'm retired now and would like to get back into it as a hobby. Planning on staying with stick as that is what I know.

Anyone been in the same position? What was your experience striking that first arc again? I'm hoping it's a lot like riding a bike in that you don't forget!
I'm not sure if the OP is still following this post.
I was in the exact same position. I moved away to a larger property that needed more landscape equipment and more maintenance.
So I bought an inexpensive DC inverter arc welder, a Amico 160. It is absolutely great.
Then I bought an inexpensive DC inviter wire welder, a Titanium from Harbor Freight tools. It too is absolutely great.
You don't need to spend a great deal to get a functioning machine.
 
 
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