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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Melbourne
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    Default Practicing MIG (lots of newbie questions inside)

    What is the best way to get confident with mig and make some half decent welds?

    I know the obvious answer is just start welding some scrap together and go from there.

    But Being completely new to metal work I unfortunately have no scrap lying around whatsoever. Should I head down to bunnings and grab some stuff? What should I get?

    Also because I have never really done much metalwork at all the only cutting tool I have is a 115mm grinder for now so I wonít be doing anything precise until I get a decent saw. I Am looking at getting a cold cut saw or band saw very soon (What would be better? The first projects Iíll be tackling is building some work benches for the shed and a welding table.)

    Should add that my welder is a Unimig Viper 185 (so I probably wonít be welding anything over 6mm with this machine from what Iíve read). I have a size D argon/co2 cylinder and have 0.8mm mild steel wire in the machine.

    I will have a heap more questions Iím sure and will provide pics of me very substandard beginner welds soon 😂

  2. #2
    BobL is offline Member: Blue and white apron brigade
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    Default

    Unless you know what it is welding any old scrap (eg bed frames from the side of the road) can lead to frustration as you never know what it is made off and this can drastically affect the weld.

    Forget Bunnings as you have better things to spend your $ on, most metal merchants have scrap bins of mild steel that sell this for very little - the one I go to sells it for $1/kg.
    That way it won't be too rusty and require less prep.

    As far as cold saw versus band saws go, do you mean a real cold saw that are slow revving (ie 100 rpm), quiet and very sturdy, and not one that just call themselves a cold saw but runs at 1400 - 2000 rpm?.
    Real Cold saws are faster and more expensive but if you have the $$ then I would definite go for one of those.
    Pretend cold saws are noisy and send hot sparks everywhere.
    Bandsaws are quiet don't make sparks and although they are slower will cut away by themselves and turn themselves off when finished.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Melbourne
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    Default

    Thanks bob I will have to find a metal merchant near me and have a look.

    As far as the saw is concerned I have no idea I just want something that will make nice straight cuts and 45 degree cuts. Anything you could recommend? It has to be under $1000 (I know itís a tight budget but the missus will murder me otherwise) closer to $500 would be ideal.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Bunnings is 2-4times more expensive than a metal merchant for the same material. You pay for the bunnings convenience.
    Grab some clean and strip discs, some flat bar around 50x 3mm thickness, and chop it into coupons about 150mm long.
    Prep the mill scale off the weld area, dial the gas to approx 15lpm, set the machine up around 18V (or check the manual / weld parameter table for that machine) and let her rip.
    You'll be able to practice a range of welds in various positions and learn the muscle memory of welding. Then actually spark up once you can handle the welding gun properly.
    Tafe kids will often just run likes on flat plate in the horizontal position to get a hand of the movement of welding before they are let anywhere near a job.

    As for coldsaw/bandsaw, nice to have, not necessary. At your skill level, it'd be a good exercise to focus on the planning and marking out of the job, and making some precise cuts with that grinder. Your MIG will be a lot more forgiving than other weld processes for fit-up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    NSW
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    Default

    When you are comfortable with it you can cut quite accurately with 1mm blades in your grinder.
    No need to get anything else at this stage

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Default

    Thankyou for the replies.

    What would you all recommend as some must have clamps?

    And what are the best things for marking 45 degree cuts etc?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    sydney ( st marys )
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    Scribe,chalk,fine tip marking pen.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    NSW
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    Default

    A speed square is my go to- quick and accurate 90's and 45's in no time. Use the 3,4,5 rule for larger angles if you are squaring up workbench legs for example.
    Scribes and a compass are great for detail work, but a nicely sharpened piece of soapstone wins out for most jobs, mainly from the visibility.

  9. #9
    BobL is offline Member: Blue and white apron brigade
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    Quote Originally Posted by creesy View Post
    What would you all recommend as some must have clamps?
    It depends what you are doing.
    I weld a lot of small stuff so I use multi grips a fair bit and have several pairs, but got myself half a dozen of each of plain 50, 75, 100 and 150 mm G- clamps and probably use these more than anything else
    I just bought a few super cheap ones to start with but over time bought better ones.
    I have some all-metal F-Clamps like these https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/W1028
    Clamping pliers are pretty handy as are corner clamps and magnetic clamps
    I use sash and adjustable pipe clamps up to 3m long for wood working that come in handy when making things like bench frames etc.

    And what are the best things for marking 45 degree cuts etc?
    I use a budget version of one of these for marking stuff out.
    https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/Q200
    The centre finder is very useful.

    A pair of long nose pliers comes in hand for picking up stuff that's too hot even for gloves.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Melbourne
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    Default

    I appreciate all the replies.

    After work on Friday Iíll pick up some flat bar, 1mm cutting discs, a strip and clean disc, speed square and scribe and maybe some assorted clamps.

    Then Iíll get to work doing a few different types of welds and post pics up here for critiquing, stay tuned it might be good for a laugh

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Melbourne
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    Default

    So I took everyones advice and went and got some flat bar etc. and put down my first welds today....they aren't pretty but I'm here for advice to improve.

    Number one

    IMG_2222.jpg
    Started out ok but then something happened and I lost gas....

    Number two

    IMG_2223.jpg

    IMG_2224.jpg

    Number Three

    IMG_2225.jpg

    Number four

    IMG_2226.jpg

    So there they are my first attempts....I think I need to manipulate the gun less and just concentrate on being even across both plates.

    What do you all think I should try on the next couple to improve my welding?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Ningi Qld Australia
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    34

    Default

    They look like quite cold beads, up the voltage and possibly the wire speed as well. That pic with the contamination, at a guess it looks like you forgot to open the valve on the regulator, so once the pressure in the reg was used up you ended up with that. I think we are all guilty of doing the same or something similar at some point!

  13. #13
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    Jun 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed.. View Post
    They look like quite cold beads, up the voltage and possibly the wire speed as well. That pic with the contamination, at a guess it looks like you forgot to open the valve on the regulator, so once the pressure in the reg was used up you ended up with that. I think we are all guilty of doing the same or something similar at some point!

    Thanks for the feedback ed. I think you might be right about not opening the valve lol

    You mentioned the welds look cold. How do you identify that so that I can identify it myself in the future?

  14. #14
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    When welding are you pulling ( welding wire being dragged along material ) or pushing ( welding wire being pushed into material )?

  15. #15
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    Jun 2019
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pipeclay View Post
    When welding are you pulling ( welding wire being dragged along material ) or pushing ( welding wire being pushed into material )?
    Those welds were all pushing

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