Beginner's welding equipment

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Well-Known Member
Sep 22, 2010
Victoria, Australia.
Haunt the sunday flea market for an old single phase, shunt wound arc welder for about $35 max.
You'll never break it, it'll weld forever.
Be careful for these all in one Ch1ne$e welders with mosfets, arrrgh, i'm living a nightmare with that peice of cr@p!!!!:dis:


Well-Known Member
Dec 31, 2009
Barcelona, Spain.

I would highly recommend you, before becoming saturated with more info about the multiple types of welding machines and techniques, to spend and afternoon with someone who can let you use his machine/s and explain you a bit what is it all about.

You sure have near you an EAA chapter, a car paint shop or a blacksmith who can give you a two hours class for very little well spent money. It will give you the necessary first hand experience to make the right choice if you decide to buy something.

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Oct 31, 2014
Deep South
Knowing next to nothing about welding, I am considering to set up a modest welding workshop but have very basic questions.
The goal is NOT to weld primary aircraft parts, at the very most some non-essential components.
Rather, I want to weld mild steel profiles, U's and L's and all that, like for an aircraft trailer.

Do I go for electric or gas?
Is there a website with very elementary descriptions of the various technologies? I did search the www but there was simply too much.

Thanks in advance,
Jan, you have had a chance to read thru many opinions, so here is one more way to look at deciding what
you need. First , consider that if you tip toe around the choice and try to buy a cheap starter setup, you are just wasting that portion of
what you can afford to spend later.

40 years ago, everyone learned to weld with a little Lincoln stick welder. Today they are virtually extinct and the Mig welder has replaced
it. The reason for that is ease of welding and cleaner (less spatter)welds. You can weld very thin and pretty thick metal depending on what
machine you buy. Everyone who buys a flux core wire machine regrets it and wishes they had bought a machine with a gas bottle. 95% (a
guess) of all mig welders do NOT use flux core wire. There are reasons why the majority of welders have all gravitated to Mig welding with
a gas bottle supplied machine. So when you make your decision, I'd suggest that you follow the lead set by people who have experience.
Basically, No experienced welder would ever choose a flux wire machine or a stick welder over a mig welder for home/hobby welding.
Check out utube and watch some welding videos to educate yourself some more before spending money. Save a little longer and get a
good welder and you will have a tool you can use for the rest of your life instead of something that sits in a corner gathering dust because
its not very good or broke shortly after you got it. Check out these videos
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Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2010
VA or NoDak
Although the advice on the flux-core is popular, I’m going to gently disagree – circumstance depending… HOWEVER, I certainly agree it has little or no place in actual airframe welding…

Nonetheless, I love mine (paid a whole $89 brand new) and it is my go-to machine for quick-jigs, fences, patching the lawn-mower, odds and ends… it is a bit dirty, some spatter, and usually needs a tad of clean up if esthetics are important, but its welds haven’t failed yet… no gas to turn on, easier to use than a soldering gun, just flip the switch and pull the trigger…

Aircraft building, like many backyard hobbies, seems to take on an inertia all its own, but I’ve been (and still dabble in) motorcycle repair, boat building-repair, off the wall composites, not to mention light construction and homeowner electric – and, no, despite lore to the contrary one doesn’t always need the all equipment the pros use, unless the pro you’re refereeing to is Steve Wittman or Mory Hummel, etc. – by the time I spend the money, it is usually cheaper just to hire the pro and be done with it… It is nice when one can find professional level equipment at back-yard prices, but in general with welders or screwdrivers, the weekender just needs to shop wisely…

But, the advice to shop for quality (as may be needed…) is right on the money… my little made in china TIG doesn’t have all the doodads of the big Lincolns, etc., nor would it be the best choice for production work, but for me it works very well (yes, I have a modestly priced O/A as well – tips and handles are 90% of the battle for the weekend hack I’ve discovered…).

Buy what you can afford and learn to use it… almost anything on the market today is superior to what the used to build just thirty years ago, let alone sixty years ago when many of the legendary tomes were written…