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View Full Version : Welding for props...etc



spookjj
11-09-2012, 01:06 PM
I'm trying to get some info on welding, for doing prop armitures...etc such as preferred process Fluxcore, TIG...etc. then size of steel tubing recommended for small, med and large props. I know you can get a cheap fluxcore mig at harbor freight, but, just looking for some input. What if I want to weld/fix a 20ft trailer... I have oxy/acetylene available for my use, believe though this would be super heavy duty welds... what about aluminum prop amitures...etc

Mike Goff
11-09-2012, 05:43 PM
If the main purpose of the welder is to be welding props, I would get a mig welder, and use 75/25 gas. You will be able to use it to fix things like a trailer as long as you get the metal clean and out of the wind. If not flux core or a stick welder is the way to go. Most fab shops use mig for production work, it's fast, and easy. If you want to weld aluminum there is no better choice than a tig. If you can weld with a torch, you can weld with a tig. Aluminum is tricky, for most people it makes more sense to hire it out.
you can get a spool gun for your mig that will run aluminum wire, but nothing beats a tig.
I have been a welder for years and have owned all of the above, I now only have a mig and a torch, I just couldn't justify keeping the others.

as for the props, most of them that I have bought or built use 1/8" wall 1"x1" square tubing, bigger projects require larger tubing. Based on the fact that you are asking these questions, I would recomend that you not attempt bigger props for a while.

Hope this helps

Mike Goff
11-09-2012, 05:44 PM
My favorite welder is a Miller matic 210 set up with .035 wire. It's big enough, but not too big.

Allen H
11-09-2012, 06:04 PM
great response Mike! Many community colleges offer welding classes- I plan on taking one soon.

spookjj
11-09-2012, 11:21 PM
Thanks Mike.... I was wonder like 1/16th square steel for props structures 2-3ft, 1/8 for everything else... I was wondering about aluminum for the obvious choice of light weight, such as for a armature for a moving dinosaur head... I haven't welded with aluminum so I don't know the strength. There's a few welder such as the Hobart 140, Longevity and Thermal Arc (northern tool), heard the Millermatic 211 autoset is really nice. So you think even for a large 10ft static pneumatic prop 1/8 square would be sufficient? lets so weight of 70-80lbs...etc I have a couple welder models I want to post and see what everyone thinks. For the Mig's you've done is the 115 or 230v? I really think I'll look into the MIG/TIG combo welders so I have the option of stick welding.

austind
11-10-2012, 12:03 AM
I have the bigger brother to that welder and Mike is dead on on this. As far as welding class I would recommend one but you can do the same buy watching online videos and getting some scrap steel and playing around with it. Classes will teach you the basics but welding is a art and you will still need to hone your technique. I have a mig welder that is dual gas and dual spool guns. This work well because I can use same welder for steel and aluminum with out switching a lot of things around. If you are just playing around testing the idea of doing some stuff on your own you may want to start out with a cheep welder like some of the ones at Harbor Freight. Good luck and make sure you get a auto dimming mask, I will help you get better results until you get used to welding.

Mike Goff
11-10-2012, 09:14 AM
Thanks Mike.... I was wonder like 1/16th square steel for props structures 2-3ft, 1/8 for everything else... I was wondering about aluminum for the obvious choice of light weight, such as for a armature for a moving dinosaur head... I haven't welded with aluminum so I don't know the strength. There's a few welder such as the Hobart 140, Longevity and Thermal Arc (northern tool), heard the Millermatic 211 autoset is really nice. So you think even for a large 10ft static pneumatic prop 1/8 square would be sufficient? lets so weight of 70-80lbs...etc I have a couple welder models I want to post and see what everyone thinks. For the Mig's you've done is the 115 or 230v? I really think I'll look into the MIG/TIG combo welders so I have the option of stick welding.

I personally don't use 1/16 wall tubing, unless weight is an issue. There is not a huge difference in price between 1/16 and 1/8th but there is quite a difference in strength. 1/8 is easier to weld without blowing through, and it is not as prone to warp when you apply heat. Everytime you weld something the material will pull at the weld and it is not uncommon for a piece to move several degrees of angle. It's important to remember this when you are trying to make something square. use lots of clamps and tack everything before you start to weld a pass.

It cannot be overstated, aluminum is not a beginners task. I have trained newbees to weld reasonably proficient with a mig in about 4 hours. I have spent days training seasoned welders to weld aluminum. Some get it, some don't.

110 vs. 220, that is an excellent question. 110 is a handy tool, I have been threatening to get a new one, ever since mine burnt up. You can take them anywhere as long as you don't use a really long or light extension cord. No cord is recommended. As handy as they are, they cannot compete with a good 220 unit in the shop. A 110 welder limits you to about 1/8th material. I know that someone will say that you can weld 1/4 inch with it, and you can, and I have, but it is not recomended, and it does not penetrate as well. With my MM210 I can weld anything that I can pick up. I built my welding table with it. My welding table has a 3/4 inch top and 4x4 1/4 wall tubing legs. I can switch the liner and tip to run .023 wire to weld things as delicate as sheet metal for a car or I can switch out to .045 and co2 to spray weld anything that I want.

The combos are great, but If I had only one choice I would own a millermatic 210, 250, or 251.

As far as brands go, some people like red welders some like blue. It's kind of like chevy and ford. I would find out what your local weld shops sell and service, because when you are days away from opening and you need a new liner, or tips, you don't want to wait on the mail man. I have used hobarts, millers, and Lincolns. I don't have any experience with any other brands. If you get one of these three, you will probably have it for the rest of your life, unless you buy a 110 unit and try to do the work that a 220 should be doing.

I have never used the autoset, but if it is like everything else, I don't like my machines making my decisions for me. I hate these new cars with traction control. I'm a grown man, I can think for myself. (sorry, just old fashioned)

Mike Goff
11-10-2012, 09:23 AM
I keep a healthy stock of 1"x1" 1/8 wall square tubing
1 1/2" X 1 1/2" 1/8" wall square tubing
1"x1" 1/8" wall angle
1 1/2" x 1 1/2" 1/8" wall angle
1 1/2" x 1/8" flat bar
1/2 " round stock

I use all of these quite a bit. If I need something else for a special project, I buy it as needed.