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Table is zinc coated to help with rust, so the manual states. I will open the garage door next time to maximize cross ventilation!
Honestly, my "welding table" was an old aluminum router table. I never did rely on the connection from the part to the table for the ground connection, I'd always clamp off directly to the part, and sometimes run a secondary cable to the other part if I was concerned about poor contact to either side of the joint, though usually my clamping mechanism was good for the ground connection.

Especially since you are working indoors, I'd consider bolting a 1/2" steel plate to the top of the table.
What I liked about my aluminum table was I was absolutely not going to stick my work to it, and any spatter easily brushed off.
 

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Honestly, my "welding table" was an old aluminum router table. I never did rely on the connection from the part to the table for the ground connection, I'd always clamp off directly to the part, and sometimes run a secondary cable to the other part if I was concerned about poor contact to either side of the joint, though usually my clamping mechanism was good for the ground connection.

Especially since you are working indoors, I'd consider bolting a 1/2" steel plate to the top of the table.
What I liked about my aluminum table was I was absolutely not going to stick my work to it, and any spatter easily brushed off.

Yup, my home built TIG table has 2 pieces of 1/4 inch aluminum screwed to the top, and can be swap-able so you have a nice clean surface IF needed. Lately due to all of the crap I have on it, I've been using my plastic saw horses, and a piece of 3/4 inch plywood with a piece of aluminum sheet for a welding surface. Works just fine for me, and my son used it to do some TIG welding on a couple of months ago to weld some flanges on his stainless steel exhaust.



I agree, in that I don't like the idea of a zinc coated table top, or even a galvanized one. Looking at your first "test" spot weld, you can see the zinc from the table burned off. The white "dust" from the spot weld is what you really want to watch for, as once that gets into your lungs, it doesn't come out. It's basically zinc, which is what your table top is covered in.


What ever you do, don't add any fabric softener to that shirt, unless you want it catch fire. I can't tell you how many shirts I've burned up over the years to having fabric softener added in the washer or the drier.


Brad G made some very good points, like the fire extinguisher, getting small drops from a local fab shop, and things like that. Lowe's and HD also sell thin metal sheets
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Picked up this little tool:



Good reviews, and it was cheap. Sturdy piece, not flimsy. I can say with certainty now (lol) that the steel I am playing with is 1/8". Yeah, I knew that, but now my gauge told me so too!

And I think I can say with some confidence that the power was too low on those first attempts. That glob of wire sure seems like it, especially considering I was on the MIN setting and it is 1/8" steel. This is my off Friday so I will make another pass at it, this time on MAX, and try the 1 and 2 to see what happens. May trip the fuse when set to MAX and 2. We shall see.
 

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I went to the home improvement thread but couldn't find any info on the welder you got. Dad has a big Hobart at his shop but there are times that I have little jobs (or on equipment too difficult to take to his shop) that something like that would be handy to have at home. I'm following with interest how you like that (and brand/where you purchased it).


I've been looking at some of the HF offerings so just trying to see how this compares.


Thanks!
 

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I've been looking at some of the HF offerings so just trying to see how this compares.
Most of the small 110v budget units are rebadged Clark. I'm happy with my "Sears" unit, as long as I work within its limitations.
If you do a lot of prep work up front and clamp up a large project, you will VERY quickly run up against the thermal limiter, and at that point, there is so much heat in the transformer that you may as well pack it up for the day.
25% duty cycle means 15 minutes out of every hour, but if you burn it without more than enough of a break to reposition, it's probably going to shut down in less than 10 minutes., and after that, you'll be doing good to get 3-4 minutes out of it until you let it cool for a few hours.

That's the biggest problem with budget home units and why they are completely unsuitable for any kind of production or business use.
The 2nd problem is there's only so much heat you can pull from a 15-20a household circuit. Stick welding, you're limited to about 80 amps on 3/32 rod. You MIGHT get lucky with careful torch preheating and be able to weld 1/4", but really, 1/8" is a practical limit, and even then it's tough.

Gasless wirefeed is a lot more forgiving since fluxcore tends to burn hotter, as you don't have the cooling effect of the shielding gas.
 

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Most of the small 110v budget units are rebadged Clark. I'm happy with my "Sears" unit, as long as I work within its limitations.
If you do a lot of prep work up front and clamp up a large project, you will VERY quickly run up against the thermal limiter, and at that point, there is so much heat in the transformer that you may as well pack it up for the day.
25% duty cycle means 15 minutes out of every hour, but if you burn it without more than enough of a break to reposition, it's probably going to shut down in less than 10 minutes., and after that, you'll be doing good to get 3-4 minutes out of it until you let it cool for a few hours.

That's the biggest problem with budget home units and why they are completely unsuitable for any kind of production or business use.
The 2nd problem is there's only so much heat you can pull from a 15-20a household circuit. Stick welding, you're limited to about 80 amps on 3/32 rod. You MIGHT get lucky with careful torch preheating and be able to weld 1/4", but really, 1/8" is a practical limit, and even then it's tough.

Gasless wirefeed is a lot more forgiving since fluxcore tends to burn hotter, as you don't have the cooling effect of the shielding gas.

A friend of mine used a HF portable welder for doing a bunch of welding on a custom car project he was working on. He added a 6 inch computer fan to it to help cool the transformer down, and extend his weld times. He eventually got a Lincoln 135 that he loves. Said he wished he had gotten it first, as his welding made that much of an improvement with a "real" welder. ;) He's been slowing working on his project for about 15 years now (changed houses too), and he's almost done with his welding on it. He's usually got 5 or 6 irons in the fire, along with doing volunteer stuff, plus working at Ford in the R&D division.



My 31 year Century Welder (Snap On) requires a 30 amp circuit to weld with. I've taken it to friends houses and have popped many breakers over the years. It comes with it's own 20 foot power cord, so I can reach quite a bit in the shop. I just recently replaced the whip after 30 years, due to the contact switch wiring coming apart. I do have to admit is was partly my own fault, but then it got used quite over the years.
 

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I went to the home improvement thread but couldn't find any info on the welder you got. Dad has a big Hobart at his shop but there are times that I have little jobs (or on equipment too difficult to take to his shop) that something like that would be handy to have at home. I'm following with interest how you like that (and brand/where you purchased it).


I've been looking at some of the HF offerings so just trying to see how this compares.


Thanks!

Spend a little more and get a Hobart Handler 140 from Tractor Supply or off Craig's List. You'll be happier in the long run.Get it was the gas set up, and get the bottle from TSC IF they offer refilling services. Otherwise get your bottle thru a local welding supply. I got my tank thru a local welding supply (I bought the tank from them), but I'm on an exchange deal with them, where I take the empty tank in, and they give me a full tank on the spot, no questions asked. The little CO2 tank is good for about 8 hours on my welder. I stepped up to the next size tank (a "D" tank with 75-25 in it), that's got 3 times as much gas in it, and lasts close to using a full 11 pound roll of wire. Those little 2 pound rolls don't last long, and I call them an emergency roll. :D I also get my Oxy and acet gas, plus my straight argon from my local welding supply.


By the way, today's Hobart Mig welders are built by Lincoln/Miller company. Yes, they are 1 company now, and the Hobart line is the low cost offering from them.
 

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Discussion Starter #30 (Edited)
This unit only has a 10% duty cycle (!!!!). But hey, I can learn on it just as good as a more expensive unit. And once I have it down I am pretty certain I will go 220V true MIG (as opposed to this FCAW unit). I will keep this unit as there are some advantages to small quick projects that are gas less, but yeah, a true MIG rig will be in my future. Lincoln, Hobart, something in the sub $1,000 range. I'll probably look for a gentle used unit. And then I am sure I will jump into TIG. I can't help myself :)

I am dialing into the groove:





These are short passes where I dragged the slag a bit, stopped and assessed, then hit it again. Not anywhere near to lining up the runs/seams, but here I was just trying to avoid the same as the first runs prior.

I definitely had it on too low a voltage setting for the 1/8" steel. I set it to MAX and 1, which is the High-Mid setting. Set the wire feed to 6, and took off the cap as I am not running gas; it has no function on flux core other than to help block your view a bit. My issue now is lighting. The garage does not have enough direct light, so I will setup a directed source. Once I get the arc going I can see where things are much better, but with the helmet on I am a bit shaded from really getting precise until that arc is lit. As such I don't always hit the seam right and have to walk it into it. But the power was definitely right on. The tack welds held the pieces perfectly. One pass I was on the side of the table where the overhead light was behind the piece. Really shady work. I flipped around and was able to see the seam better to line up.

Look at the difference between those first attempts early in this thread and now! Night and Day. Going to hit it a lot this weekend and really work on laying a good seam down. Have to continue to tweak the settings to minimize some of that splatter.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
I went to the home improvement thread but couldn't find any info on the welder you got. Dad has a big Hobart at his shop but there are times that I have little jobs (or on equipment too difficult to take to his shop) that something like that would be handy to have at home. I'm following with interest how you like that (and brand/where you purchased it).


I've been looking at some of the HF offerings so just trying to see how this compares.


Thanks!
I got this off eBay. It is the same unit you can get off Amazon. I think it has different names associated to it, same rig. This is essenytialy it, same pic as was on eBay, but was a tad cheaper there. https://smile.amazon.com/Commercial-Automatic-Welder-Welding-Machine/dp/B00XXVFH2Y/ref=sr_1_11?crid=ZLLE6PDCC***&keywords=fcaw+welder&qid=1551409045&s=gateway&sprefix=FCAW+%2Caps%2C193&sr=8-11 No real name on it of any note, but $95 so something I could swing without any real worry and give a go at. Search for MIG welder on Amazon or eBay and look for the sub $100 units. 110V unit (as opposed to 220V), FCAW (gas less MIG so you don't need a tank). I have a dedicated 20A run for this with nothing else on the feed so I have the full 20A (well, you know) to play with. Absolutely no other draw on the leg.
 

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You have a source on the Lincoln and Miller merging?
Not right off hand, but it was in either the mid to late 90's, or early to mid 2000's.They each have their own product lines, just the profits feed into 1 company. My local welding supplier Is a Miller dealer with Lincoln stuff on the store floor and in the window. I've been dealing with him since 1989.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
A friend of mine used a HF portable welder for doing a bunch of welding on a custom car project he was working on. He added a 6 inch computer fan to it to help cool the transformer down, and extend his weld times. He eventually got a Lincoln 135 that he loves. Said he wished he had gotten it first, as his welding made that much of an improvement with a "real" welder. ;) He's been slowing working on his project for about 15 years now (changed houses too), and he's almost done with his welding on it. He's usually got 5 or 6 irons in the fire, along with doing volunteer stuff, plus working at Ford in the R&D division.



My 31 year Century Welder (Snap On) requires a 30 amp circuit to weld with. I've taken it to friends houses and have popped many breakers over the years. It comes with it's own 20 foot power cord, so I can reach quite a bit in the shop. I just recently replaced the whip after 30 years, due to the contact switch wiring coming apart. I do have to admit is was partly my own fault, but then it got used quite over the years.
No reason I can think of to not just take the sides off and run a fan directly onto it. I have a nice 16" shop fan I was using tonight to really blow fumes away. I could take the sides off and put that fan hitting it directly and it would really help dissipate heat build up. I see no safety switches on the unit to keep it from running without the sides. And the wire feed is on top, so the sides do nothing other than keep crap from poking into the unit. Hell, I could slot it heavily for extra cooling really.

And I just might pop in a 30A breaker in my garage and run a "project" 30A line to a "project" outlet box and use that - if I start tripping.
 

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This unit only has a 10% duty cycle (!!!!). But hey, I can learn on it just as good as a more expensive unit. And once I have it down I am pretty certain I will go 220V true MIG (as opposed to this FCAW unit). I will keep this unit as there are some advantages to small quick projects that are gas less, but yeah, a true MIG rig will be in my future. Lincoln, Hobart, something in the sub $1,000 range. I'll probably look for a gentle used unit. And then I am sure I will jump into TIG. I can't help myself :)

I am dialing into the groove:





These are short passes where I dragged the slag a bit, stopped and assessed, then hit it again. Not anywhere near to lining up the runs/seams, but here I was just trying to avoid the same as the first runs prior.

I definitely had it on too low a voltage setting for the 1/8" steel. I set it to MAX and 1, which is the High-Mid setting. Set the wire feed to 6, and took off the cap as I am not running gas; it has no function on flux core other than to help block your view a bit. My issue now is lighting. The garage does not have enough direct light, so I will setup a directed source. Once I get the arc going I can see where things are much better, but with the helmet on I am a bit shaded from really getting precise until that arc is lit. As such I don't always hit the seam right and have to walk it into it. But the power was definitely right on. The tack welds held the pieces perfectly. One pass I was on the side of the table where the overhead light was behind the piece. Really shady work. I flipped around and was able to see the seam better to line up.

Look at the difference between those first attempts early in this thread and now! Night and Day. Going to hit it a lot this weekend and really work on laying a good seam down. Have to continue to tweak the settings to minimize some of that splatter.
Definitely an improvement. That thicker metal likes the heat. Get you lighting sorted so you can see, then get your work set up so you're comfortable. The practice practice practice.
 

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Definitely an improvement. That thicker metal likes the heat. Get you lighting sorted so you can see, then get your work set up so you're comfortable. The practice practice practice.
I gotta tell ya bud, I am sooo excited from this run. I have several bench lights laying around (I seem to have a lot of stuff!) so will put one on the table and get a good beam on the work area. Already secured one of my vices to the table. I am going to sand down the zinc top this weekend. I worked at a bio-research company eons ago, and was able to keep a few choice things, like a really good full face shield respirator mask. The rubber on it is still pristine, and I think the cartridges are fine, but I will grab some new ones for this kind of work and use it when I sand down the table top. It is just a very light zinc coating. Eliminate the whole zinc concern. If this top gets whacked, I will just grind it and put another metal plate over it.
 

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Yeah, a lot of it is practice, and getting comfortable. Being able to see is part of comfort.
Play around with the settings, that will help you dial it in.

Yup, get the zinc off the table, as you really don't want to breathe that shit. It's really bad for you, and stays in your body forever. Your vitamin supplement might have it in it, but not at that concentration level.
 

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Looking forward to firing it up again this weekend. I will do one more fillet weld, then will do a lap weld or two, and will get a square tube piece and play around with that. I have an idea in my head to design and build a rack for the coat, gloves, boots, etc. Do a floor pan that has casters, run two square tubes up the sides and top them with a cross piece (tying them together), and put in a wooden dowel rod to act as a place to hang the jacket, apron, shirt, all that. The boots can go on the floor pan, and maybe weld some stubs at an upwards angle on the sides to fit the gloves onto. Maybe hang the helmet, UV glasses (oh yeah! I bought a pair of 3M UV safety glasses to wear behind the mask, just in case), blah blah blah. Be a fun project to layout and try some weld techniques, that gives me something practical at the end. If I don't screw it up. Which is likely to do being as noob as I am.
 

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You can tell that guy works at a supply company.At my old shop, they'd just roll them across the shop floor like that without issue. Me, I handle them 1 at a time. I've seen a valve get knocked off a full tank before. It flew like a damn missile across the building, and out a "new door" it made.:wowza:
 

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Looking forward to firing it up again this weekend. I will do one more fillet weld, then will do a lap weld or two, and will get a square tube piece and play around with that. I have an idea in my head to design and build a rack for the coat, gloves, boots, etc. Do a floor pan that has casters, run two square tubes up the sides and top them with a cross piece (tying them together), and put in a wooden dowel rod to act as a place to hang the jacket, apron, shirt, all that. The boots can go on the floor pan, and maybe weld some stubs at an upwards angle on the sides to fit the gloves onto. Maybe hang the helmet, UV glasses (oh yeah! I bought a pair of 3M UV safety glasses to wear behind the mask, just in case), blah blah blah. Be a fun project to layout and try some weld techniques, that gives me something practical at the end. If I don't screw it up. Which is likely to do being as noob as I am.
Actually, that might not be such a bad idea. It'll give you some different shapes to weld around, and get you out of a locked position. Sometimes you need to challenge yourself. This would be a great way to do it.
 
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