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What type of welding do you prefer?

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Joined: 19 Sep 2009
Posts: 6
Location: Normal, IL

PostPosted: Sep 19 2009    Post subject: What type of welding do you prefer? Reply with quote

Hello all-

I've been lurking for some time and figured now would be a good time to post.

By trade I am a technical writer, but for the last 5 weeks I've been taking a general welding course at the local community college to get some basic experience in welding. My hope is to someday soon build a smoker and trailer large enough to do a pig roast. We'll see how "soon" that happens.

My question is: What type of welding do you all prefer when building your pits?

My class just finished oxyfuel welding and I can tell you that I WILL NOT be choosing that type to build my pit. We've just moved on to Stick welding and that may be a possibility. MIG would be my next choice (we don't start that for a few weeks). Any thoughts?
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Black Pearl

Joined: 20 Dec 2008
Posts: 94

PostPosted: Sep 19 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

logjammin - welcome to the ring, always good to have a new guy around.

As far as welding, here are my opinions. If your working outside your more then likely going to want to work with stick welding however you could use flux core mig if you desire. Stick is not something you want to do in your garage if your working in a confined space unless you have a strong high volume air circulation device. A large fan on low speed should work. You dont want a 90mph breeze in your shop the key is high volume air exchange. If you have the luxury of having a shop to work in, go for traditional mig. and if your really lucky and you have time and really good fitup skills go for tig!

When building my cookers, I use about 35% stick (6010 and 7018) and then I alternate between fluxcore and solid wire mig depending on how windy it is. And for the parts where I know people are going to analyze it, I tig the stuff (hinges and handle tabs mostly)

Now, if I could only have one machine, get a stick machine hands down. If it were me it would be one of the small engine drive machines like a miller bluestar or a lincoln powerarc. Most cookie cutter homes like mine aren't setup for having a 60-80 amp socket wired in. I had to have a subpanel added and a bunch of garbage done to run my big welders. In hindsight I should have saved the grand I put into wiring it and just get a engine drive and then I would have gotten a free generator since all the engine drives have a generator.
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Hell Fire Grill
BBQ Super Pro

Joined: 17 Mar 2007
Posts: 3921
Location: Pickler's Puragatory!!

PostPosted: Sep 20 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

My preference is a MIG welder because of the versatility and the ablity to fill large gaps and holes, usually when fixing someone elses work. Most Mig welders can be adapted to hard wire, flux core and aluminum wire as well as very thick or thin materials. The skill level required to operate one is minimal after the basics are covered.

As black pearl stated the power supply can be a challenge, if you want to use good highly capable machine.
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BBQ Mega Star

Joined: 12 Dec 2007
Posts: 26019
Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Sep 20 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

logjammin, first I would like to say welcome to the ring and I look forward to seeing some pics of your cooks and pics of your upcoming cooker build. Smile
As far as welders go, I am a stick welder and find no reason to have a wire feed. But I will say this, I believe a well rounded shop will have both machines at their disposal. Many can and probably will argue which is a better choice, but the bottom line is that they both have their place in a shop. I will always recommend wire feed over stick to a beginner as they are easier to learn on. But the versatility of stick far out ways the ones of wire feed to me. The rod selection alone says it all. You can weld aluminum with a wire feed but you better have a pretty high amperage machine or you are wasting your time. When I got out of the Oilfield truck fabrication business I wired my home shop for my stick welders, it is not that hard if you have the load coming to your home. Congrats on taking your welding course, I recommend taking one to a lot of members if possible. Welding is a great career or hobby.
Always remember slow and steady wins the race.

Hybrid Cooker
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Bob M

Joined: 31 May 2006
Posts: 72
Location: Meridian Miss.

PostPosted: Sep 20 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi log, and welcome,
I use both mig, and stick. For the heavier pieces of pipe, I use stick with 7018 rods. For the lighter tubing, angle iron, and expanded metal, I use a 135 Lincoln mig. I always use gas, never flux core. I use it outside all the time. Takes a pretty good breeze to get it to start to splatter. Go to smokers of the smokering and go down to the 4 th entry. Thats one I built a couple of years ago using both. Your best friend will be your angle grinder. Good luck in your class. Bob
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Joined: 28 Oct 2008
Posts: 573
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Sep 20 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been welding for nearly 40 years. The big issue with stick welders as related to building pits is the extreme difficulty welding sheet metal. I know some guys will build pits containing no metal less than 1/4" thick, but most homebuilt pits have a fair amount of sheet metal content, and if you start like I did, modifying commercial pits like the New Braunfels Black Diamond or Bandera, you will absolutely have to be able to weld sheet metal. Which you will have an enormously hard time doing on a stick machine.

I suggest either a MillerMatic 180 or the Lincoln SP-180. Both are high quality 220 volt machines you will be happy with.

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Joined: 09 Sep 2009
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Sep 21 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

"What type of welding do you prefer"

Well... that would depend on what metal im welding, what thickness, and what the project or particular part that im welding is.

For almost all aluminum jobs i prefer TIG, I have used a Miller 330 Pulse machine with the push/pull gun for aluminum, its VERY nice and can lay down beads that look like tig.

For stainless i like TIG when im welding stainless manifolds for turbo cars. I dont work with a whole lot of heavy stainless its expensive and most people dont want to pay for it.

For mild steel... Mig or TIG really depends on what im welding.

I havent done stick welding in a long time, im on the opposite end of K.A.M i have a Mig welder so ive never had a need for stick. Im sure if i was a Pipe welder id feel diffrent!

Oxy ace welding is great for thin wall exhaust tubing, tig is also good for that as well. Other then that its a time consuming process that is unnecessary and is not very cost efficient per inch of weld vs cost of gas.

If your going to build a smoker and you dont own a plasma cutter, i would consider investing in a oxyace set and learn to cut with it.

Your probably going to find that Mig will be your welding choice, you can get a nice inexpensive mig welder and the learning curve is very low. Anyone can make a weld stick with a mig, it takes skill to get good penetration and make it look nice Smile
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