View Full Version : What kind of Welder ??

05-05-2008, 07:46 PM
I have a small wire feed welder, a very small Mapp/oxygen welding kit, and lots of MAPP brazing/soldering kits...

What about Brazing? Does it have the strength...

Looks like most of the welding was done with a stick welder, I haven't run one of those in 35 years... My little wire welder does everything I needed around our small compound...


05-05-2008, 07:51 PM
The wire welder is your best bet. MAPP by itself won't cut it, Oxy/MAPP costs a fortune. Most of us use stick, mig, or flux core wire. A few braise with O/A.

05-07-2008, 05:10 PM
Oh yeah. Sorry Papa, I forgot about that. If memory serves me, I believe you use medical Oxygen tanks. Much, much cheaper than those litle 1/8 full tanks from the home improvement stores.

05-07-2008, 09:58 PM
OK. So after the initial purchase of the machine and whatever is necessary to operate O/P, the cost is whatever it costs to run it, and the price of a 5 gallon tank of propane. Very economical. I'm sure one tank of propane builds more than one bike.

05-07-2008, 11:11 PM
Excellent. 60 bikes for 30 or 40 bucks, plus the cost of the rods. Maybe a little more if you factor in the cost of running other tools. I get 1 bike for of 1lb. of wire @ $6 /lb. That's $360 bucks, plus the cost of running the welder and the other tools. HUGE difference. How does the strength of O/P compare to welding? Does the wind blow the torch out?

05-08-2008, 12:52 AM
6-7 mph is a calm day around here. I'd have to set up a blind. This is something I'll have to look into, because I'd prefer to use gas. The work is smoother and cleaner, and I don't remember having to sand or grind afterwards. I do remember that it took longer, which I believe is why arc welding was developed. Speed in the workplace, time is money. Could you use Mapp with the torch? I tried propane with oxygen on my little bernzomatic, which was fine for brazing, but it didn't get hot enough if I needed to use welding rods. If I go this route, It would be a plus to be able to use welding rods if I had to.

05-12-2008, 10:58 AM
I fiered up my little wire welder and made a pass or so...

Boy am I rusty... Tried all 4 power/speed combinations... made lots of mess and some LOUSY welds.... I got some pieces from Home Depot to play with before I jump in for real

Are you sure that MAPP won't cut it with a Turbo head? My brazing is a LOT better than my rusty welding.

Part of it is I can't SEE what I am welding all that well as it is covered by the Welding Tip and I know I want "zig-zag" just a bit allong the joint. Well, not zig-zag exactly but more wobble the tip...

With my auto-dark helmet (an older one) I can see just a TINY area arround the weld... I think I need to set up some BRIGHT lights so I can see more arround the arc.... and then PRACTICE some more...

05-12-2008, 01:23 PM
My wire welder is a "Century 80" that I got from northern tools a long time ago and I am using Flux cored wire. It is plugged directly into a 30 shop circuit.

I got my AutoDarkening Helmet about the same time... Solar powered so there are no batteries, and it is either off or dark... nothing inbetween.

I remember long ago that I set up some BRIGHT lights so I could see arround the welds, and they got HOT.

Since I would be brazing mostly 14ga 1.5" square tubing, A Mapp torch should get it cherry red... throw in some OX and no problem... Yes I do have one of those "Homeowner" propane/Oxegen things... never liked it... Mapp did better most of the time...

Again, I am going to experiment and play/practice on lots of scraps for a while before I start on the real thing.

05-12-2008, 03:41 PM
The most intimidating part of wire welding (either MIG or flux core) was just learning how to set the machine. Finally, it sunk in that you first set your voltage tap, then turn the wire speed up or down to get that bacon frying sound WHILE you are doing a quick test weld.

Then, you see if you got adequate penetration. If not you go a voltage step higher (or move slower if you are watching the puddle and it isn't wetting out well). As you change to a different voltage setting, you re-tweak the wire speed dial by listening for the right sound. At least with my Hobart 140, the door settings are usually pretty close and a good place to start.

I think this is a pretty good video of some of it:


05-13-2008, 02:16 PM
Ok,,,went and got a new adjustable auto helmet at Harbor Freight.

That made a difference...

Now, what I HAD be practicing on was a large bolt and washer...the closest I could come to the HUB/Shaft thingy that is the hard weld...

Welds were U G L Y with a capitol Ug...

Thought "in for a penny...

So I got some 1" tubing, cut it, put it in the jig, cleaned up the area and went to it...

NICE WELD first time...

Of course you dumby...the bolts were COATED!

After I played some more, I cut my perfectly good weld in half...

pictures enclosed

Not Bad... need some more practice... and need to get my cuts straight.

I had used my sawsall.... might need to do them by hand or find a metal cutting brade for my chop saw...

I think I might be able to do this...

Still want to find a souce for those Drilled washers for the hubs though...don't really want to make those by hand...

05-13-2008, 04:10 PM
QUESTION: I have two thicknesses of wire...very thin and not as thin...yes yes I can look up the thickness but was just wondering, in 14ga should I be using the thicker?

Oh yes... I have PLENTY of current... burned through a few times going too slow... learned how to build it back up and fill in...

I am on low range and MIN within that range (only have High/low & min/max to play with)

What made the most difference... digging out my BBQ gloves...actually welding gloves...and getting up close and using both hands.

I am looking at that homier cutoff saw...$19 it only has to make a few cuts...my local machine show would charge me more to make the cuts...

05-13-2008, 04:40 PM
Generally at the same wire speed and voltage setting, a smaller wire gives you less heat. I have people express preference for both small and large for thin stock.

There is no way I would ever pay a machine shop to cut steel for my bicycles. Most of us just don't cut that much, and if we had to we could get by nicely with a hacksaw or zip disc in a grinder. I personally don't like things that make a lot of noise and sparks, so sometimes the hack saw is just more relaxing (and probably safer) for me. My neighbors like it better too.

05-13-2008, 04:58 PM
This has been a really good thread, thanks to all who've commented, particularly Papa with the good run-down on how to set wire speed. Very nice!

I'm with Trikeman, don't pay a shop to chop. I get a lot of mileage out of a 4" blade in my DeWalt reciprocator ("Sawzall" is a Milwaukee Tools trademark) for hacking up frames for parts... it makes the job go a LOT faster. Collect your tools as you go, and make them investments.

On that note, I'll go further and say "Listen to TheKid when it comes to Homier..." Bad luck is, IMO, NO luck. Save up a bit and get a decent tool. I have a Makita 4" angle grinder I paid $40 for about oh, ten years ago at Menards. I've rewired it twice and replaced the switch once, but other than that, it's still going strong, and I abuse it on a regular basis. While Makita is on the lean side of that "decent" rating, its performance in my shop has been a vote of confidence enough for me.

05-13-2008, 05:39 PM
No Homier chop saw...
I have a sawsall, but getting staight cuts from that is tough... and straight even cuts is KEY to a good joint..I have learned that much already...

I will check the local pawn shops...
My ryobi chop saw has too much plastic...

Maybe I will build a cutting jig for my welding practice ...
A slot at 45deg a bit thicker than a sawblade...hum....
Supported on both sides so the blade stays straight...

05-13-2008, 07:04 PM
I do own a hacksaw, a reciprocating saw, and a chop saw. The hacksaw is a very good high tension one and cuts nicely. The last two are Harbor Freight. I bought the chop saw to cut up stock quickly for welding practice. I can cut most tubing in the size for bicycles more accurately and about the same speed with my hacksaw and a good blade, than with my reciprocating saw. The chop saw is fast and nasty with sparks and iron filings going everywhere.

With both the chop saw and the reciprocating saw, I find that you have to cut over size and clean up to the line with a grinder when you want really tight fits. I guess the ultimate next step is the bandsaw, but so far I haven't justified the cost.

05-13-2008, 09:10 PM
With practice, you'll find that you could make very accurate cuts with a sawzall and a nice straight blade, and a lot faster than with a hacksaw. However, a good stiff hacksaw with a good quality blade is pretty efficient.

05-14-2008, 07:59 AM
Is a 70amp Arc welder sufficient for this project?

05-14-2008, 08:43 AM
Is a 70amp Arc welder sufficient for this project?

Perhaps if you stick to 1/16" welding rods it may be sufficient to weld the 16 ga tubing together, assuming it will actually put out 70 amps at at least 18-20 volts. Where you will most likely have trouble is when you need to weld a bottom bracket or some other thick piece of metal to something like 1/8" plate. I know my Miller Thunderbolt does a bang up job on tubing with those 1/16" rods from HF at about 62 Amps. You may even get away with a 3/32" rod, if your welder is conservatively rated. I think some of our members have the inexpensive HF buzz boxes and may be able to give your their experiences with them.

Here is an electrode chart that shows what amperages you need for common rod sizes.


If you already have the welder, you don't have much to lose by picking up a set of either 6013 or 7014 1/16" rods from someplace like Harbor Freight (about $6 for 2 pounds) and trying it out on some steel tubing. If you don't want to buy new tubing just to check things out, pick up an old steel bicycle frame somewhere, or get a really cheap exercise machine from your thrift store and cut it up to practice on. And don't forget that you can get a 10' stick of 3/4" EMT from Home Depot for nearly nothing. Cut it up into 2" pieces, grind off the galvanizing near the welds and have at it.

If you don't already have the welder, but want to stay with stick, you can pick up a working 230v arc welder off craigslist for $100 or less and an ac/dc one for $200 or less. Then, you probably will never come up against something you can't weld in your lifetime. A used high quality arc welder, such as a Lincoln, Hobart, or Miller is probably a better deal (IMO) than a new cheap throw away welder for the same price. Brad uses a simple AC arc welder on all his projects, but he has a good 230v one (I believe its a Hobart Stickmate if the picture in his book is any guide). One of those new is only a few hundred dollars. I prefer the AC/DC because I am still learning and DC is easier. I paid $200 for my used Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC off craigslist, but it came with about 75' of copper welding leads as big as your thumb. Those are worth more than the welder at todays copper prices!

Of course, if you don't want a stick welder and want to move to a MIG, then that is a whole nother kettle of fish. I own a Hobart Handler 140 MIG, which I bought first. The main reason I went with it, is because I didn't have a good 230v circuit at my house, except my dryer. If I knew then what I know now, I would have bought a 230v AC/DC stick welder first. I am definitely not in the mainstream, but I find the stick easier to use than my MIG. I use it on a 50 foot #10 (#12 would have been ok) wire extension cord to my dryer's 30 Amp circuit.

05-14-2008, 10:22 AM
I've been blowing off learning how to weld for the last 10 years! Thank you trikeman. How hard is it to learn how to weld without training? I'm definitely interesting in a welder that doesn't need any kind of special outlet.

05-14-2008, 10:34 AM
It isn't the easiest thing I have ever done, nor the hardest. I never had any training, so I can't compare it to that. I am sure training is better, if you can afford it and have the access. I personally am not much for classroom instruction, unless I am teaching. I'd rather spend my tuition on a welder. Millions of people have taught themselves to weld with buzz boxes in garages across the land over the last 50 years. How hard can it be? It does take practice and some coordination, but its not rocket science. I would say an average person can learn to at least do some ugly welding in an hour or so. My 25 year old son, who can see much better than me, and has better coordination picked up my MIG welder and was making beautiful welds in an hour. If you are going to do it for a living, or plan to make critical welds schooling is a good thing. I would not go to self-taught doctor.

Many of the training courses people have told me about go into things you really don't need to know to build bicycles. For example, they may cover oxy-acetylene welding and cutting, arc welding, and mig welding. They may teach you to weld in many positions, such as overhead. In a 10 week course, you might actually get to arc weld only a few hours at best. Get yourself a welder and have at it. If you have questions there are hundreds of good welders who will graciously answer your questions on the internet, both here and on the Hobart welding forum. The magic of digital phoography means you can even post your welds for advice and critique. You might also benefit from one of those how to weld videos. If you know someone that welds, ask them to spend a few minutes or a few hours showing you how for a few beers.

The hardest part of arc welding is learning to strike that first arc and not have it stick or go out. It takes a few minutes of practice. Once you get that, the rest is just reading about it and practicing. Its fun and rewarding.

As the famous TV welder Jesse James is quoted as saying, "There are two kinds of people in the World - those that can weld, and those that can't." Cross over to the bright light man!

05-14-2008, 01:55 PM
That's it. Practice. It's a skill easily learned, but will take time to master.

05-14-2008, 03:37 PM
I agree...I learned to weld in school 30 years ago...

I got more welding time playing last week than I did in that school.

Buy an inexpensive welder from Norther Tools, Harbor Freight, or someone like that, but a LOT of cheep steel, a GOOD auto dark helmet, some good gloves (BBQ gloves work well also) and go to it...

I like the Wire welders as they are more forgiving and intuitive, but not as flexible and can't do heavy stuff easily...

but it does take PRACTICE....


06-05-2008, 08:26 AM
No oxygen tanks at all. It's a machine that takes in atmospheric air (with 21% oxygen), then filters and concentrates the outgoing gas to near 100% oxygen. The fuel, of course, is bottled propane (a 5 gallon barbeque tank to be precise).

I guess I will revive this very old thread by asking a few questions about propane. Since I have both a 120v MIG/wire welder, and a 230v stick, I figure I have the welding pretty well covered. However, I am still interested in learning to braze tubing with a gas torch. Since all I want to do is braze and possibly heat with it, I think propane might fit my needs better than acetylene, which to be honest, I am afraid of.

Last year, I picked up an old Smith Airline torch and cutting head (AW1A) off ebay, and scored a great price on some Cobra low pressure regulators. I also have a very large O2 (225CF) tank and an even bigger (300+CF) Argon tank in my garage that are way out of certification and really too large and heavy for my tastes. I bought the pair off a guy on craigslist for $100, but my LWS may not fill them, since they are too large to be normal owners tanks. I have talked to them and they said to bring them in and they would take a look. They worked with me last year on and old CO2 tank for my MIG that was an old soda fountain rig. For $30 they swapped it out for one that was in certification and made me happy. I was able to adapt the soda fountain regulators to work just fine and saved the new regulator that came with my MIG for another day.

Anyway, since I don't yet have any hoses or tips, and have not set up my gas, I was wondering if I shouldn't just to to oxy-propane if I want to braze and/or cut. I guess I would need to get my O2 tank filled, if they will do it. Then, I will need to get a propane tank, or just use the one off my BBQ grill. I assume I will also need to get a propane regulator? I see the Smith torch has a few tips for brazing with propane, so I would pick a few of those up, as well.

Papa - can you still buy the machine you have that makes oxygen?


06-05-2008, 10:49 AM
It's generally recommended, but I, and many others have taken the liberty of ignoring the 'need' word. I use a Victor VTS 710 (dual stage) 'acetylene' regulator. It does have stainless steel diaphragms, however. The key feature needed is the ability to adjust the line pressure, which most BBQ regs won't permit. The cheaper 'single stage' regs are certainly usable as long as you don't try to pull too much fuel thru them. Single stage regs also have a tendency to require periodic, line pressue 'tweeking' while you use them (caused by the refrigeration effect of propane), but it's not enough to be a nuisance for typical, low volume brazing.

Thanks. My Cobra regulator should work fine then even though its a single state uint, since it is specially built for the Henrob torch, which uses low pressure and volume gas.

Pagan Wizard
06-05-2008, 10:55 AM
No oxygen tanks at all. It's a machine that takes in atmospheric air (with 21% oxygen), then filters and concentrates the outgoing gas to near 100% oxygen. The fuel, of course, is bottled propane (a 5 gallon barbeque tank to be precise).

Got a link?? I would like to check one out. It sounds like this one uses no electricity.

06-05-2008, 02:44 PM
Here is one on the Atlanta Craigslist that even comes with a propane regulator.


and another that is cheaper


06-05-2008, 05:22 PM
Papa - I don't want to start a war of the experts, but I was over on my welding forum asking if anyone had any experience with these concentrators. At least one guy says it will give a very poor flame, since the O2 is not pure enough. (Of course he owns 2 LWS's..so). I am not sure if he has tried it, and we zombies tend to bend the envelope as much as we can get away with. I take it you are happy with yours for brazing. I also notice tons of glass supply stores sell them for bead making. A lot of others seem to also seem to be happily brazing with them.

According to wikipedia, once they are refurbished the medical community doesn't trust them, since their are lives at stake, but glass blowers and metal workers with small gas requirements seem to be making good use of them, as you are. Sounds like another good recycle to me.


The stuff I learn here :)

06-05-2008, 07:28 PM
Just for the sake of argument, I'll give the benefit of the doubt to the LWS owner and assume the flame is poor. If it still melts the rod and heats the parent metal enough to make a solid braise, as evidenced by Papa and others who use this method, what difference does it make?

06-05-2008, 07:53 PM
Just for the sake of argument, I'll give the benefit of the doubt to the LWS owner and assume the flame is poor. If it still melts the rod and heats the parent metal enough to make a solid braise, as evidenced by Papa and others who use this method, what difference does it make?

To me the proof is in the pudding. When I was looking into getting a torch, I researched which torches people that build homebuilt aircraft and bicycles with tubing like. It turns out that the best torches for that are the small "airline" torches. Most of the guys on various welding forums said they were too small to do anything with, since most of them really only use overly large torches to cut and warm big pieces of steel. Welding and brazing thin tubing is sort of a lost art most places. They told me the same thing about the low-flow regulators I ended up buying, except for one guy who actually welds homebuilt aircraft. Most people are trying to be helpful, but speaking only from their own experience. The internet is a great place to gather information, but it all has to be taken with a grain of salt at times. We all see the World through our own filters, which is why its important to me to hear people who are actually doing what I want to do, such as papa.

06-05-2008, 10:04 PM
I agree 100%. Papa has been using his system for several years. If it didn't work, I doubt he'd be still using it, much less praising the benefits.

06-05-2008, 10:35 PM
I bought one of these for automotive work and I still use it occasionally but the wire feed is just more convenient most of the time, not to mention it requires a good bit more skill to use the torch. The old man at the auto show (Daytona turkey rod run) demoed the torch and sold me on it- he welded tin cans, high 20s gauge sheet metal, 1/4" plate, stainless, and cast iron all within 5 minutes with this torch and then grabbed another one that was set up for cutting and cut all the same stuff (the aluminum cuts were crude though). when I got home and got bottles and everything else I needed I found out real quick that old man at the show was highly skilled and made it all look much easier than it seemed to me, but with time I've gotten pretty good at the things I do most with it.

I will say that if you're only going to have one welding/ heating tool for the kind of stuff we do this is easily the most versatile tool you can get. It cuts beautifully (although I suck at that part) and I've removed broken bolts and even broken taps from 1/4 inch holes with it with no damage to the hole. It welds very nicely also.


06-06-2008, 12:09 AM
As I said the proof is in the pudding, and that pudding looks pretty good to me.

Wood Butcher
06-06-2008, 03:26 AM

A few questions about your oxy/propane rig. I'm getting tired of the tank exchange routine...

Got any pics you could share of the connections from the oxygen concentrator to the torch handle?
Any problems with oxygen pressure?
Does the tubing size need to be changed coming out of the machine? Obviously the tubing needs to go up in size at the torch handle. Is this being done with barbed fittings and adapters?
Are you running a check valve at the torch handle on the oxygen side?Thanks


06-06-2008, 05:06 AM
Those certainly don't look like poor flames to me. Sounds like someone who owns a couple of LWS's is speaking from theory, and never actually saw the flame from this type of equipment.

06-06-2008, 06:47 AM
Wood Butcher - you might find some of the glass blower's catalogs helpful to look at when it comes to these oxygen concentrators. Like papa, they seem to be quite happy with them. Here is one with some flow rates and pressure specs. You can download their entire catalog in PDF, which shows a lot of connectors, etc.


By the way, 5 liters/min is roughly equivalent to 11 cubic feet per hour. You can find the volume requirements for the tips you might be interested in in most manufaturer's catalogs. I know the small brazing tips for my Smith Aw1A have very modest requirements and they have a great catalog online at Smithequipment.

I had heard papa mention this last year, but for some reason (perhaps because I didn't want to braze anything at that time), it didn't really register. I know Brad's creations work very well as welded, and he recommends against brazing his designs, but it still looks like a fun and useful thing for a bike builder to be able to do on things like traditional lugged frames and artsy stuff. The thought of doing it without being dependent on my local Airgas (LWS) dealer and heavy dangerous tanks has great appeal to me.

Thanks for posting all that stuff papa.

Wood Butcher
06-06-2008, 05:32 PM
Thanks for the replies, gents. Lots of good info in those brief messages.

Papa--I've got a real clear picture of the connections now. It doesn't look to be a big deal at all.

06-28-2008, 08:32 AM
I use a sears wirefeed for most of the mild steel bikes but for the chromo frames I braze. After going through about a dozen bottles of OX and always having to adjust the flame as the pressure quickly lowered I came up with this. Works great, better flame and pressure stays stable no matter how long I weld.

06-28-2008, 01:40 PM
Timmy, check the threads for Papa's rig. He uses an oxygen concentrator and propane (BBQ tank) to braise his frames. You never run out of O2, and have no O2 tank to refill.

06-28-2008, 04:21 PM
Nice idea but I'll never refill the bottle enough to justify the cost. I braze only chromo projects. The wirefeed does the rest. The mapp gas is much hotter than propane and has lasted me years. I'm only on my 2nd bottle of mapp as of March and I've had the kit since 2001.

06-28-2008, 09:41 PM
We don't need no stinkin welders


06-28-2008, 09:59 PM
So THAT'S where my trees went!

06-29-2008, 03:35 AM
When I exchanged my BBQ tank last week, it was $28, and that was the cheapest price around. I gotta move.

06-29-2008, 09:03 AM
I have a small wire feed welder, a very small Mapp/oxygen welding kit, and lots of MAPP brazing/soldering kits...

What about Brazing? Does it have the strength...

Looks like most of the welding was done with a stick welder, I haven't run one of those in 35 years... My little wire welder does everything I needed around our small compound...


Here is a totally amazing thread on something that was completely welded with a 120v welder by a guy just learning to weld. Wow!!!


06-29-2008, 11:59 AM
I almost bought that oxygen generator I linked to on Craigslist last month, but then decided I had too many other irons in the fire right now. I talked to the guy and he seemed really happy with the setup. He was using it to make glass beads on propane and O2.

06-29-2008, 02:25 PM
Papa, Do you use the same welding kit as for O/A? Or are there specific kits for O/P? I'd like to use gas in the winter especially, since I don't trust all those sparks produced by arc welding in my basement. I foolishly bought the O/MAPP torch some years ago, but it has no guages, and the O2 runs out in a matter of minutes. I did like that I could use it in my basement without fear of sparks igniting the floor joists.

06-29-2008, 05:39 PM
Thanks Papa I'm going to look into this. Hopefully, I could swing it before winter. I find there are times when braising is a better choice than arc welding, i.e. small parts like bosses and cable guides. I also noticed in my LWB that the most expensive bikes are braised. The frames look like they were cast as a unit, rather than separate tubes. He had one frame a customer ordered unpainted, and I would swear it was one piece.
My brother's father in law was in the auto body business, doing mostly restoration work, and he braised panels all the time. He said too many shops rely on Bondo to do repair work.

06-30-2008, 11:17 PM
Sorry Papa, I probably didnít explain that very well. I originally bought a $50 mapp/oxy kit that used those little $7 disposable oxy bottles. Those oxy bottles donít last 10-15 min at best and you constantly have to adjust the output while welding because of the pressure drop. With the help of a local welding shop I did away with the bottles and rigged up a refillable oxy tank, which is what the pics show. That single tank will last well over a dozen disposables with a solid output. I went from year 2000 to 2007 using the disposables. Building bikes is a hobby for me not a religion. Can you give us a link that shows us the plethora of bikes you have built that shows justifying an investment of the equipment you advocate?

06-30-2008, 11:36 PM
It would help to know those little oxy tanks don't last longer than you could blink an eye before you buy them. I was suckered into buying mine because the Home Depot "expert" said it was as good as O/A, and he should know, because he was a retired welder. I even asked why the oxy tanks had such a small amount of gas. He said you don't need much oxygen at all, and one of those tanks will outlast the MAPP gas. When it ran out in less than 5 minutes, I went back and ripped him a new one. I onlt kept it because I needed to get some stuff done in a hurry, then never got a chance to bring it back. At the time, I really didn't need a welding rig, so I never upgraded.
When Papa mentioned his method with the concentrator, I thought it was a good idea, especially since they can be had used for a hundred or two.

07-01-2008, 11:17 PM
Beautiful work, as usual papa. Even though, I decided an oxygen concentrator was another project I didn't need right now, I for one appreciate your sharing your setup with us. When I get ready to plunge into O/A I will probably go that way. Keep up the good work.

07-01-2008, 11:46 PM
Papa l'artiste!


07-02-2008, 12:48 AM
I saw an oxy-propane setup on Northern Tool for a hundred bucks, and an additional 60 for the extra tips. It has the tubing, regulators and one #2 tip. When I find a concentrator cheap enough, I think I'll get that setup to start. I just missed a concentrator on Craigslist for $125.

07-02-2008, 09:23 PM
Very Interesting. An oxy concentrator would pay for itself fairly quickly if one does a lot of welding and braising, especially if bought used at a low price.

07-11-2008, 12:18 AM
So, I guess I need to get started on this project...

I want to stay under $200 for a welder.

Will this work:


07-11-2008, 01:15 AM
Yes. They also sell it refurbished for $80. Search the site. I bought a refurbished stick welder from there that I'm happy with, considering it was $50. Their refurbished welders come with the same warranty as new.
You'll still need a decent helmet, because the rinky **** masks that come with these welders are useless. An auto darkening helmet is highly recommended, and you can find a decent one at Northern tool for a reasonable price. Here are 2 links:



07-11-2008, 10:34 AM
I may have to go get one of those cheapies...I need to get started, the whole family is starting to get anxious for me to start building!!!

07-11-2008, 10:57 AM
I may have to go get one of those cheapies...I need to get started, the whole family is starting to get anxious for me to start building!!!

I can't really give an opinion on that HF 90 Amp wire welder, since I have never owned one. Some of these guys don't think too highly of it, some do, but some of them probably never owned one either.



That said, several of our members have owned the inexpensive HF wire feeders. Maybe zobman can chime in since he owned one, before he moved up, I think.

A good welder will out live you and your kids, but even a cheap welder can be sold when you are ready to move up, so no decision is the last chance you will get.

07-11-2008, 12:42 PM
I have a cheap 90 amp flux core welder that works well for what I use it for. I'm on my third build with it, (Which is more like the 5th build with all the mods I made on the tadpole) and have welded 1/4" steel to the bike frames, as well as the 1/2" axle mounts on the Streetfox. Anyone who says 90 amps is only good for sheet metal obviously hasn't tried it on anything else.
The HF refurbished welder will cost under a hundred bucks with shipping. Even if it only lasts a year, if you put 10 bucks a week on the side, you could buy a good MIG welder in less than half that time. Meanwhile, you'll have a welder to get started, time to research your best option if and when the time to upgrade arrives, and lots of practice.