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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    coffs harbour
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    3

    Default Nut & Bolt figures

    Hi all,
    I am wanting to start making little nut and bolt figures but I have never welded anything in my life! From what research I have done, it seems like the only way to make these things is with a welder (please correct me if Im wrong!)
    So I need advice...what sort of welder do I need? Im only expecting to use this thing MAYBE once a month so don't want to buy anything expensive, but if that is the only choice, then I will consider making something else that does not require a welder! I've seen something at Bunnings for like $90, not sure if that would even do what I want it to.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Near Bendigo, Victoria, AUS
    Age
    72
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    3,119

    Default

    The question of "which welder?" is actually quite secondary. You see, if you have learnt how to weld, then you have a better idea of which machine suits YOU best.
    So I would actully suggest that you enrol in a welding course somewhere - or convince someone who's a welder (or a good hobby welder) to teach you first.
    Every other approach will be VERY VERY frustrating!
    I have one of the very cheap gasless MIG welders. I have done several welding courses over the years and it took me two full rolls of wiore to get the hang if it- and I still don't like it as a general purpose welder. A gas MIG welder is probably the easiest to learn,but significantly more expensive and needs gas bottle hire and gas (forget the throw-away bottles - they don't last long enough - a couple of minutes).
    I also have a transformer arc welder - and have used it regularly for the past nearly 40 years. It's been a great welder.
    Recently I purchased a good inverter welder - and it makes welding a delight in comparison to either.
    My personal preference is oxy acetylene - but I can no longer afford the bottle rental and gas prices. TIG is the closest electric process to oxy-acetylene but it too needs bottled gas (argon).
    There is a personal view of welding....

    Have you considered making your figures with either brass or very clean steel nuts and bolts? You could SOLDER them. A nice large soldering iron or a butane gas iron would work well. Soldering is easier to learn than welding.
    Cheers, Joe
    retired - less energy, more time to contemplate projects and more shed time....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Bunya Mountains, Australia
    Age
    70
    Posts
    182

    Default

    Hi Shaunno,

    what Jhovel says above is good advice. Welding nuts and bolts into figurines with a stick welder is gunna frustrate the hell out of your creativity.

    your best option for stick welding is a small inverter welder and even that is not really suitable for what your planning.

    oxy Acetalene welding or brazing would be the best way to do this and allow you the freedom of flexibilty in your art.

    before you spend any money find someone with a stick welder who will let you have a go ... Video it if you can I would love to see ...

    Nuts and bolts are not cheap .. A 25 mm nut and bolt will cost you between 5 and 10 dollars.

    Brazing is relatively simple and easy to learn and is excellent for small fiddly objects. This is probably your best option. Welders are mainly used for reasonably long runs of weld and fabricating structural objects which will bear great weight or need significant strength.


    good luck ... But have a go at each method before you spend a dollar.

    cool bananas ... Greg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Gold Coast
    Age
    63
    Posts
    70

    Default

    Maybe this place should be your first port of call.
    Coffs Harbour Mens Shed

    My local Shed has welding and offers "training" to novices.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ballina, NSW
    Posts
    901

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutawintji View Post
    Nuts and bolts are not cheap .. A 25 mm nut and bolt will cost you between 5 and 10 dollars.
    Find a industrial shed auction or mechanic that's moving on. You will find buckets, trays and ice cream containers full of nuts and bolts as well as springs, brackets, etc. as well. Then you need some degreaser.
    I would imagine a nicely tuned mig welder would be the go. If you are trying to make money from this, gas will be a big expense, so you might want to look at a mig welder but running on CO2 gas instead of an argon based mix. Some of the guys here have threads on converting over to CO2 (maybe rustyarc, doctor wu ??)
    Cheers
    - Mick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Near Bendigo, Victoria, AUS
    Age
    72
    Posts
    3,119

    Default

    I've thought of another option that might give your creative juices first priority - and gives you time to learn better metal joining skills:
    You cvould try something like a hotmelt gluegun to rough out what you want to achieve, then do the same with 5 minute Araldite. both glues will come off the metal relatovely easily with mechanical means (like a wire wheel on a bench grinder). With Epoxy, once painted, your figures will look no different to welded and will be reasonably solid.
    That will also give you some sense of what you need to consider for workholding for welding, brazing or soldering.

    By the way, no-one has mentioned silver soldering yet.
    Low-silver (plumber's silver solder) will be as strong as brazing or welding in your application and you only need a decent propane or MAP gas torch to suit the size of your bolts. You need to get them 'almost' red hot for the silver solder to flow. The solder and flux is not very expensive. Once you get the technique down pat, you use very little of each actually.
    Cheers, Joe
    retired - less energy, more time to contemplate projects and more shed time....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    1,322

    Default

    A ~$900 Inverter MIG welder running on CO2 would do the job fine - it's essentially a metal glue gun. I glue little bits of metal like nails to bolts and nuts all the time to make up custom fasteners and tools. I just fit up the bits, hold them with one gloved hand, aim the wire at the joint and pull the trigger for a second or so and get the glove off quick before the heat from the weld comes through.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    coffs harbour
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Thank you all for your very helpful responses! I guess I should have mentioned that I'm talking small scale, maybe like 15-20 cm tall (max! Something like this: http://www.boltpeople.com/html/slideshows/paintball.jpg). I had considered solder AND hot glue but wasn't sure if either would be strong enough. Perhaps I should just give it a try, if it falls apart, whatever least I gave it a crack thank you all again!
    oh, and this is just something creative for me to do, I don't plan on selling any

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Near Bendigo, Victoria, AUS
    Age
    72
    Posts
    3,119

    Default

    You are welcome!
    Very nice idea for a ceative hobby.
    By the way, you will be able to get that size ball bearings (for the heads) for free at any CV joint reconditioning place by the handfulls - in 3 or 4 different sizes. Have a look in the yellow pages for one near you.
    Cheers, Joe
    retired - less energy, more time to contemplate projects and more shed time....

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ballina, NSW
    Posts
    901

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    coffs harbour
    Posts
    3

    Default

    wow! that table is amazing!!

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