Ok here we go. Starting this thread to document my foray into welding and to post pics and get advice.
I got my MigWeld 140 this week and I am pretty excited about it. I have not drawn an arc since high school welding class some 30 ish years ago. But hey, I got an A in the class and maybe its like riding a bike?
Spent yesterday hunting for metal, finally found the local scrap yard that has ferrous metals but got there just in time to watch them lock the doors and close shop. So now what? I cant just let the whole weekend go by and not get to try out the new toy. Then it hits me, some of the guys on the welding forums say that bed frame rails are pretty good to work with and I have a set in my garage! (shhh, the wife will never know its gone).
I stopped by Harbor Freight to pick up some cheap supplies and they have this cool little rolling welding cart with 3 drawers and room for a gas tank in back COOL, but I dont have the money they want for one. Well am I learning to weld or not? I can make that! So popping on down to the local thrift store and they have a 2 drawer filing cabinet, not quite what I wanted but ok, I can make it work. Turns out they also had 4 sets of bed frame rails without headboards sitting out in the rain, SCORE! So on "55% off Saturday" I go home with 48 feet of 12 gage angle iron and a filing cabinet for $30. I'm feeling pretty good about things.
Got it all home and spent a couple hours grinding rivets, taking off end pieces and cleaning some pieces up to start practicing. Actually got to fire up the MW 140 on Sunday and give it a try.
The upside of bed frames is the give you lots of little pieces to practice with.
Figureing out how to start an arc and then blowing through the metal
Various other attempts to figure out voltage, wire speed and hand movements
There are several more, but no point in getting too boring. I tried a few attempts to butt weld, most of which I could break with my hands like a graham cracker.
By the end of the evening though I finally had a pretty strong weld going. I did both sides and I could not break it with my body weight or with a hammer and vice. Not the prettiest, but better than what I started out with and reasonably strong. A little more practice and I think I can start on the welding cart.
Oh I also figured out a use for the filing cabinet. Can you say poor mans welding table? (Just for now)