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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How viable is it to learn to weld and to do it at home on one's driveway?

Doesn't seem like the equipment is too expensive but whether it's something a complete amateur can do to a semi respectable manner... Obviously can be dangerous if precautions aren't taken, I recall a forum post years ago elsewhere where someone needed to weld near their fuel tank. The advice was to fill it to the brim so there's no air in the tank :eek: So it's less likely to ignite but if it does then the effect would be truly spectacular...
 

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I guess you can, but you just need practice to be able to achieve both a neat and strong job. A weld can be messy and strong, messy and weak, weak and tidy, or tidy and strong. There's a lot of knowledge around welding metals when they vary in thicknesses to prevent unnecessary damage.

Then there are the differences in welding equipment. Tig and Mig is what I know of. Tig offers neater results I think, as mig welding can have a lot more weld splatters etc. Then there's the inert gases that you use when tig welding at least. More things to rent/buy.

People do have accidents when welding, and can die if it's serious enough.

Not sure if there are night school classes, or some course you can take to learn to weld. At least know how to use the equipment properly and know all relevant safety information before you start welding scrap bits together for practice. You can learn so much on youtube, but sometimes with things like these it is beneficial to be able to look someone in the eye and ask them a question.
 

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Mig welding is relatively easy, and I think that you could pick up enough to get you going by watching a few youtube videos or having someone who knows what they are doing show you for an hour or so.

But start practicing on clean regular shapes of metal in a well lit garage away from wind before you attampt to weld up a car. It is a whole different ball game lying on your back trying to weld metal which may have surface rust and contaminants whilst the wind is blowing the shielding gas away.

Make sure you have some fire fighting equipment around, things like underseal are very easy to ignite. Many years ago my uncle lost a Ford Capri 2.0 whilst welding up just a tiny hole in the floor. He was inside and by the time he felt the flames on his feet it was too late, as he had no extinguisher handy.

I worked as a welder making lorry tailifts for a while, I quite enjoyed it apart from the poor wages.
 

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MIG is the easiest way to learn.I have MIG and arc. You can go gas free MIG if you want to keep the running costs down. I followed a few welding tutorials on YT when YT was a new thing!!.....but mainly its getting lots of scrap metal and welding it together at all different angles and elevations.....practice most definitely makes perfect....or perfect-ish in my case!!!
 

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I learned myself and my welding is alright, skip the gas-free mig wire as it's a lot harder to use and spatters more.

A machine mart beginner mig is reasonable enough for the hobbyist - put the change from a better kit into an arc-reactive mask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all, the potential pitfalls are somewhat scary. Internet is filled with welder failure stories... I'm sure there's FB groups dedicated to disgusting welds and magnificent ones.

Wife may have just shot me down however, says I need a proper workshop and shouldn't be doing it on the street :ROFLMAO:
 

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If I wanted to weld I'd enroll myself on a college course to learn the basics, particularly with regard to safety. After that you'd have more of an idea what you need and probably more clout when discussing with your wife... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Doesn't help the guy at work is one of those who used to weld before he did my job.

Said all you need is a steady hand and to know the sound of sizzling steak which apparently is the sound of a good weld!
 

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I'd be weary of doing it if you dont at least have a small shed to practice in or something, since it will really pay off to spend some time just trying to weld random bits of metal together before tackling a serious job.

As for working outside, from what i understand you ideally want either arc or fluxcore (gas-less mig) for that, since with regular mig/mag, the shielding gas will tend to be blown away by even a small breeze.

I have a small flux-core machine i got for my birthday, and some tips from my father in law (dude was a shipyard welder, and still does loads of small jobs ranging from racking to car repair), and while i am in now way capable of making a beautifull weld, i can stick bits of metal together, and then just grind the mess away :p
 

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I am not a fan of gasless mig. It is a right PITA removing the residue, and the actual weld itself is harder to get right. The wire is also a lot more expensive than regular wire and a bottle of gas every now and again.
 

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I agree....but living on the beach and having a completely wind free day about twice a year, welding outside (which is 99 percent of the time for me) is just about impossible. Has to be arc if I just want strong but ugly or gas less MiG for nearly as strong and...erm....not quite as ugly!
Too much splatter on gas less is often caused by too fast a wire speed and/or the earth clamp too far from the weld pool.
 
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