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Which Welding Machine for the DIYer?

Which Welding Machine for the DIYer?

Which Welding Machine for the DIYer?

(OP)
Can I learn basic welding from a machine manual or a book with some practice?  I want to make simple repairs and jigs.  I hope to weld iron, mild steel, aluminum, brass etc in plate, sheet, bar and tube form. I am a very    experienced DIYer and have some ancient automotive experience with cutting torches and arc welding on steel. I can't locate any beginner's classes in my area except for career stuff [too long and expensive].  I also haven't found a place to rent a machine.        
        
If you think I could learn by trial and error, what machine should I buy?        
        
Thanks for any suggestions,        
Dale        

RE: Which Welding Machine for the DIYer?

You're asking a lot out of one machine!!

You can weld cast/wrought iron and steel with a small "buzz box", a 180 to 200 amp machine.  Lincoln and others have these at reasonable prices.

If you want to weld aluminum, you'll have to go to a gas metal arc welding (GMAC) process, also known as "MIG" or gas tungsten arc welding process (GTAW) also known as "TIG" (pretty expensive equipment for the DIYer).  The GMAW ("MIG") is a different and more expensive machine than the buzz box, though there are small ones available for the DIY market.

To join brass, you use a process called brazing, not welding.  Brazing is similar to soldering and in the process, the base metal is not melted, but is heated to the point that the filler metal metallurgically bonds to the base metal.

Yes, you can learn by trial and error.

Good luck.
Ron

RE: Which Welding Machine for the DIYer?

(OP)
Ron, thanks for a great answer.  I assume both MIG and TIG machines will do light work in iron and steel.  If so, which is the better DIY unit?

Dale

RE: Which Welding Machine for the DIYer?

MIG is much more versatile and requires less finesse to the technique.

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