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RE: [T3] welding and UN-welding

<x-charset iso-8859-1>Everyone has done a good job about MIGs so there's nothing much I can add.

For versatility reasons, get one that has the functionality to weld
stainless steel and steel (mine can do aluminum if I buy a kit) and one that
can be used with or without gas.  The different metal welding abilities is
for gas selection and wire type selection, both in material used and
diameter.  This doesn't mean that you will be able to weld those extra
metals just as easily and with such versatility like steel but you will be
able to weld at least within a certain thickness range of those metals.  A
'nice to have when the need arises' type of thing.  Such metals require
different welding techniques so you REALLY need to get a book on welding
and, of course, hands-on training is best.  If you want aluminum welding and
Ducati-looking welds then a TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welder is what you
need...along with good hand-eye-FOOT coordination :)  I think Peter Parker
knows about TIG welding w/the bike shop he works in...

The gas is a shield, protecting the weld from atmospheric contamination.
Kind of like ship shields used in Star Trek when a Klingon attacks :)  In a
garage or very calm day outside you can weld with gas.  But in windy/breezy
conditions that blanket of gas will get blown away so you would then want to
use a 'gas-less' weld.  The gas-less MIG is very similar to your stick
welder.  Both have a metal core with a blanket of flux around it.  The flux
melts under the heat of the arc and flows around the weld, thus protecting
it.  As mentioned previously, the gas-less welds need to have the flux
chipped off, just like your arc welds, and it tends to produce more

Oh, speaking of gases, make sure your work place has adequate ventilation.
You may want to install a bathroom fan in the ceiling of your garage, along
with an air source near the ground and opposite the fan.  Don't inhale the

Power.  Well, the more the better! :)  For hobbyist use, 110V @ 20A is as
high as you can safely get.  Then next best thing is 220V, like what your
electric clothes dryer or electric stove uses.  I rewired 1/2 my garage
w/the 20A breakered circuit along with a GFI as most older garages are 15A
(if they even have more than one outlet).  The GFI is for my peace of mind
since my work puts me in contact with metal and sometimes less than dry
conditions.  The load rating, given as a percent, is how long you can use
the welder and how long it has to 'rest' (cool down).  For example, if it
has a duty cycle of 10% then in a one minute time period it can weld
continuously for six seconds and take the remainder 54 seconds to cool down.
If you go by the book :)  Depending upon the welder and it's cooling
abilities you can sometimes push the weld time or cooling time.  With sheet
metal welding you will be performing more tack welding than continuous
welding (otherwise you'll warp the heck out of the sheet metal).  I've found
with my (limited) welding that I've yet to have the welder shut-down on me
for a proper cool-down.  Tack welding/hole filling is so brief that the
welder has enough time to cool between welds.

This is the welder that I have (well, darn close to it):

The infinitely variable heat (and wire feed) control is VERY nice and
something you definitely want in a unit.

    Toby Erkson --> air_cooled_nut@pobox.com

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