The Welding and Metalworking Thread

Aug 21, 2012
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Chicagostan
#1
I've always been mesmerized by metal being worked, whether as "simple" as cutting with Oxy/Fuel, all the way to TIG welding or being precision machined. Welding and blacksmithing have long been up there on shit I wanted to better understand, so I'm currently a little past halfway through a Maritime Welding course.

I know a bunch of y'all are talented manipulators of metals across a variety of trades and figured a place to post up projects, Q&A, etc may be cool. Hell, it may even serve as a heads-up for hiring opportunities around the country,

The thread in the Pit from Strykervet needing some welding brought this to light again recently, and I know that I'm learning more after class drinking with old welders and diagnosing my problems than I'm getting in the actual class.

I'll happily throw some "failure" pics up from class projects as a counterpoint for folks who look at beautiful welds and have no blessed idea how much skill is required to produce them.
 

Waorani

Back to the Island
Feb 14, 2017
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Auburn, AL
#2
Good idea. I can do ok on mig but really need to get going on learning to use that new Miller Tig machine that's been sitting for a couple of years now.
 
Aug 21, 2012
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Chicagostan
#3
I'm currently that idiot student dreaming of the stars looking at welding machines while having to acknowledge that I'll probably end up with a Lincoln "tombstone" in the shop for near future. It doesn't stop the dreams of a welder/generator and/or multi-process machine though
 

Bradu

Full Member
Aug 24, 2011
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IL
#5
A friend and I built this in my garage. That wasn't completely done, it had a sink installed on the backside for washing up. We had a lot of time in building it, I did most of the welding. We built the retailer as well and used the stock wheels off my jeep wrangler.
 

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EGwhisper

Full Member
Feb 14, 2017
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#6
Built alot of shit out of desire, some for money when I'm bored. Sweet 6x8' aluminum ice fishing shanty on wheels, welding tables, tool benches/boxes, insulated and heated, rusty gm rocker panel replacement, scissor pontoon trailer, Al, Ti, cast, solid copper welds,welding tables, tool benches/boxes, farm equipment.


Few photos: Tandem dovetail equipment trailer 19', mailbox (heavy duty), 40' roll in pier, buffer guards for a customer, table base for a restored bowling alley top for a customer.

Upcoming: shooting target trailer, small that I can just hook on to the ATV and pull out into the corn field however far I want, Another 4x8' welding table for a friend.
 

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Waorani

Back to the Island
Feb 14, 2017
608
229
43
Auburn, AL
#7
Started with a Lincoln tombstone but never could get the hang of stick. Tried a small Hobart flux core mig and that was a waste of time. Got a Millermatic 251 years ago and was able to get that down pretty easily. Also got an older Miller plasma cutter and a new Dynasty 200 Tig I bought a couple of years ago while away on a project. Easing into retirement now so finally have some time to start playing with it. Tried a wire gun with the 251 on some aluminum and was able to get acceptable results but man you gotta go fast.

IMG_0007.jpg
 
Feb 11, 2017
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#19
I'm currently that idiot student dreaming of the stars looking at welding machines while having to acknowledge that I'll probably end up with a Lincoln "tombstone" in the shop for near future. It doesn't stop the dreams of a welder/generator and/or multi-process machine though
Lot of money to be made with a mobile welding truck! My dad was a welder and pipe fitter who retired from gm as skilled trade!
 
May 20, 2006
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Winnipeg, Mb.
#20
Just the fact that you're ACTUALLY starting out and doing it is the most impressive. So many don't, and don't know of what others actually speak. You're out there, and you're doing it. Awesome. Now, you also understand the adage of:

"It takes 10 minutes to learn how to weld. And it takes 10 years to get good at it."

As a Millwright, I know how to weld. I have done soldering (soft and silver) brazing, oxy/acetylene, stick (mild & stainless) MIG (mild & aluminum) and TIG (stainless and aluminum)

When it comes to cutting, using the brass axe, plasma, oxygen lance, burning bars, or air-arc.... that is always fun.

And I'll be the first to profess, that just because I know how to do all that, and have done so in the Trades for many years.... that don't mean I don't appreciate someone else who's actually GOOD at it.
 
Aug 21, 2012
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Chicagostan
#21
Damn gents, those are some motivational projects. I knew @sirhrmechanic would have some militaria to drool over but I can't wrap my head around that trailer that @Geno C. fabbed. With today's steel prices a lot of the "normal" backyard projects are basically cheaper to buy, which sucks. I can't imagine doing that riveted trailer in today's market.

@timesublime , do we even want to ask how sick of a deal you got on a full rod oven?

@Snipe260 , @oneshot86 has talked to me about the mobile rig. He used to make a nice living with one down in FL. I'm a ways from being good enough to show up on "any" job and being able to handle it, but it's in the mental pipeline. Also, down here just about every other person is, was, or knows a welder so there's a fair bit of competition to do it commercially. However, momma is on board with the idea of working towards a pipeliner rig and 5th wheel so we can go on the road. We're looking at doing a pipefitting program together while I continue to build my welding skills. It's a long shot at this point, but she's excited about having an even bigger truck with lots of machines on it regardless.

@Sean the Nailer , you couldn't have summed it up better. I've put the word out to all my buddies with machines that I am donating as much time as I can possibly make available to anyone working on backyard and side commercial projects. If they come through I should be working on a number of smokers and cooking trailers, and another guy has offered to start teaching me stick and TIG pipe on his drops from an XRay job he's working on.

All in all I've been pretty fucking frustrated with the class I'm in and all the things they've consciously decided I don't need to know. I have never before asked how to do so many things only to be told that I "won't need to know that". It's fucking ludicrous. The instructor that runs the Fitting program has seen my frustration and has been awesome answering the questions that others dismiss. He's even extended me an invitation out to his personal shop on the weekends to work with him which was a huge and apparently very rare honor for a beginner-level student.
 

Sieg

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 14, 2018
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#27
I took up welding as a hobby, started with a Lincoln 135 plus MIG, then a Jet horizontal dry bandsaw, then an HTP 200 MIG, then an HTP 220 Invertig, then a HTP plasma cutter, then a Baileigh coolant fed mitering bandsaw, then a Jet 12" disc sander, then a coolant fed cold saw, then a Grizzly 704 manual mill, then a Sieg benchtop lathe...….

What I wanted to do initially was weld, I didn't realize that 90+ percent of welding is layout, cutting, and prep. LOL!

I have a great time tinkering with all of my shop toys and occasionally produce a few things that make it worthwhile.

Finished this yesterday


Brother needed a can adapter/brake pinned on a barrel, made the barrel clamp then drilled for the tungsten pin.


Need a wrench to torque the brake with


Then butchered the weld LOL!


Beer fridge door handle for a friends performance engine machine shop..... man's got to have his priorities straight.


I have zero regrets taking up fabrication and welding as a hobby, it's very challenging and rewarding..... even though I suck compared to the real fabricators and certified welders I know. I haven't taken one class, just self taught via the internet and experimentation. (y)
 
Nov 6, 2013
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Southern, IN
#28
Looking to get into "Machining", basically what I would need to know in order to build a rifle. Chamber, Thread, etc. Pretty much lathe work, maybe some milling.

Been trying to look at local VoTech Programs, not really having any luck.

Could anyone please advise how & where you got your education & training?
 

Geno C.

Dirty Carnie
Oct 24, 2007
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Wautoma, WI
#29
Looking to get into "Machining", basically what I would need to know in order to build a rifle. Chamber, Thread, etc. Pretty much lathe work, maybe some milling.

Been trying to look at local VoTech Programs, not really having any luck.

Could anyone please advise how & where you got your education & training?
Made friends with my grandpas friends when I was a kid. Old timers like nothing better than a young guy with a desire to learn.
 
Aug 21, 2012
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Chicagostan
#34
Damn @PAYDIRT , that's a sweet rig and one helluva fence project. Is that your own property or a job for someone else? Either way that's one pricey fence.

@timesublime , I think I speak for all of us in saying that we hate you for scoring such a screaming find on that oven.

@Geno C. , as soon as this holiday weekend is over I will definitely be taking him up on his offer to work in his shop. I would've checked if he was working this Saturday but I haven't seen momma in about 6 weeks and she's flying in on Friday so a drunken pool party is in the works.
 
May 20, 2006
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Winnipeg, Mb.
#35
Bogey, spend as much time with him on the weekends. Your career will pay DIVIDENDS from that opportunity. Not to mention, who knows what 'networking' is going to happen when HIS friends come over for something to get done.

Deep, that.
 
Likes: barneybdb
Feb 19, 2012
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Marshall area, MN
#39
Watching..

My contributions will be limited. I work in a job shop and posting designs online would be pushing my luck. It's frustrating because some of the projects I've worked on are fairly high profile.

Maybe I'll try to snap a couple pics if an interesting repair job comes my way.
 

mtrmn

Sergeant
Oct 7, 2009
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Louisiana
#40
Hi,

Well when you make the day rate an offshore motorman makes you can afford for a pretty big shed lolol.

Sincerely,
Theis
Yeah that was before I got laid off. But I had enough foresight to get prepared for eventual unemployment and built my shop while I was still making decent money. Now retired and doing automotive repair in my shop. Not nearly as lucrative, but much more freedom and (almost) zero paperwork. Me likey.
 

mcfred

Sergeant
Feb 17, 2011
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SW USA
#42
It ain't much, but having to replace the screws and nuts on your old lathe's compound/carriage is a chore. You have to disassemble everything twice since you need to have a running lathe to make/modify new lathe parts. There is no manual or parts diagram, so I have to reverse-engineer everything before I can fix things. I figured that > .080" backlash was a bit much. Now it's about .005".




I can turkey-shit some steel together welding but never got very good at it. I'm a lot better as a machinist making littler parts from bigger parts, but even still just an amateur who knows enough to be dangerous. :D It's not my day job.
 

mcfred

Sergeant
Feb 17, 2011
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SW USA
#43
Could anyone please advise how & where you got your education & training?
I got in a local Prototype/Aerospace CNC shop part time as their QA/QC inspector making hardly anything. When I had spare time they'd have me feed machines and finish, deburr parts, install hardware and put together assemblies. They let me have free-run of the shop on weekends to f$%k around. Because I showed a desire to learn they put me on CNC vertical milling machines now and again and do odd jobs on lathes/mills. Too bad the part-time wage was not liveable, I learned a s*&t load and know that there was a LOT more to know. I'm no longer with them, but am proud to have been involved manufacturing parts that are currently on Mars. Making things instead of pushing paper is rewarding, but low-pay as a machinist IME.
 

Sieg

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 14, 2018
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#44
Lots of good fabrication going on here (y)

Then there's the fun side...... I made this about five years ago and still giggle every time I touch it off.



415 grains of Fg hammer tamped with five lifts of damp beach sand. Ka f'n BOOM!
The little baby signal cannon is an attention getter. :eek:
 

Sledge1

Sergeant
Apr 18, 2008
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Freakshow Illinois
#45
As far as education goes, I started building these in my Dad's shop a couple years outta high school. He would tack them up at night and I'd weld all day. 300 amp Airco mig running wide open. 1/16" solid core wire. Ran through a 60# spool every day for 5 years. We started out just building buckets, then I moved into the big shop and we were building everything else.
grapple.jpg shear.jpg crusher.jpg disk.jpg drum.jpg
 

c1steve

Sergeant
May 16, 2010
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WA
#47
Mcfred talked about low pay for as a machinist. Around here, in California, machinists make quite a bit of money. $100,000 a year, etc. Sometimes much more.

Otherwise, as to welding, I built a 36' sailboat out of steel. That was a huge project, trying to do it in my spare time. However I learned a lot and it was super rewarding.
 

mcfred

Sergeant
Feb 17, 2011
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SW USA
#48
Sure, there are good machinist gigs out there. A guy fresh out of apprenticeship can get $60k a year starting as a Classified Shop machinist for the National Labs. I also know a guy that was a production machinist for Boeing in the PNW clearing $150k in the late '90s with perks and overtime, but I think those wages/positions are not the norm.

Cost of living means a lot too. $100,000 in Kalifornia is not really that much money, compared to say $100,000 in Iowa. I've got a friend in Northeastern Massachusetts making $60k/year (up from $35k starting out :eek:) and is living hand-to-mouth in a 3rd-story apartment paying down student loans; no car, no kids, no pets, no 'real' vices. That same wage would be pretty decent in the Southwest.

'Round here, mobile welders/pipefitters with certs get ~$80/hour and with oil/gas/coal power they're in demand. Not too shabby.
 
Likes: Bradu
Jun 3, 2009
1,483
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Colorado Springs, CO
#49
Built alot of shit out of desire, some for money when I'm bored. Sweet 6x8' aluminum ice fishing shanty on wheels, welding tables, tool benches/boxes, insulated and heated, rusty gm rocker panel replacement, scissor pontoon trailer, Al, Ti, cast, solid copper welds,welding tables, tool benches/boxes, farm equipment
I like the trailer! That is going to be my next project once I finish my welding table. What is it rated to?
 

EGwhisper

Full Member
Feb 14, 2017
340
53
28
#50
I like the trailer! That is going to be my next project once I finish my welding table. What is it rated to?
Thanks! Originally wanted a tilt-deck design, but didn't have enough c-channel ordered to go that far, and a tilt really needs drop axles; I had 6,000lb spring available. Budget was $2k, spent $2200. Wish I would have put the axles about a foot further toward the front.

The axles are the lowest rated, so I call it a 12k rating.
 
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