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Welders.. whats the difference?

Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Welders.. whats the difference?

Hey gang
I know tons of you are clued up on all sorts of technical and engineering stuff so i thought you'd be best to ask!
Whats the difference between all these different welders? - I've done arc welding (scary that lol) and oxy acetaline but I know there are others such as mig, tig, gasless mig (leccy - like arc - whats with that lol) etc.
So anyone care to tell me the difference? - Reason I ask is that I'm thinking of getting into welding for some car repairs and would like to make a reasonably well informed choice as to what to consider buying (that and I've been watching a lot of chop shop today on quest lol). My neighbour uses the gasless mig (which in my mind is an arc welder) but I've really got no clue as to where to start other than getting a good mask to protect my eyes lol.
Pesky cars and their rust.. why can't they all be made out of stainless like the DeLorean?  Crazy
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16 REPLIES
PowerLee
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

Have you checked out the local college courses for welding or car body repair?
You could get some practice & handy advice before spending out money on your own equipment.
For car repairs MIG would be the favourite as its easier to master & pretty cheap to buy the equipment.
TORPC
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

IIRC
You have to have a licence to use / store oxy / acetylene, then there is / was the deposit for the bottle(s), then the bags / torch / correct nozzle(s)
As PowerLee suggests (MIG) is the best way as it is the easiest to pick up
Dont forget to get yourself some gauntlets as well as the mask
Tip
Pop rivet a piece of leather on the mask to prevent sparks going down your neck
Community Veteran
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

Quote from: PowerLee
Have you checked out the local college courses for welding or car body repair?

There isn't one (or rather there was but it closed down and the nearest is now miles away).
Quote from: PowerLee
For car repairs MIG would be the favourite as its easier to master & pretty cheap to buy the equipment.

But you've not answered the question! What is the difference between them?
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TORPC
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

Arc welding uses a stick which current is passed through and the stick vapourises and becomes part of the weld. You are left with a slag on the weld which normally requires chipping off although I vaguely remember some sticks having a coating which can generate the gas but I could be wrong.
MIG uses an inert gas which is fed through the same tube as the wire. The wire is fed at a predetermined speed depending on the current and weld depth etc. Different gasses and wires are used depending on what you are welding.
TIG welding is a bit like ARC welding only the electrode is made of tungsten and you then feed a filler rod in while maintaining the arc. Often used for aluminium.
Oxy acetylene is more like brazing - heat up the materials to melting point then they combine (a bit like soldering with a flame)
MIG without gas (i.e coated wire) is a bit messy and needs a lot of cleaning afterwards. It does have the advantage that it can be used in windier conditions than a normal MIG welder.
Best compromise for car bodywork is gasless MIG if you don't have much welding to do. Gas based MIG if you have lots of welding to do.
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

Ok thanks for that guys, I'll be keeping an eye on ebay ;-)
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

From a City and Guilds qualified welder's point of view.
MAGS (MIG) is a relatively easy process for the untrained. It is also easy to lay down a run which looks ok as it's stuck but has little fusion.
TAGS (TIG) is good for thin plate work. It's actually more like oxy-acetylene welding with the use of a filler rod but the heat source is an arc as opposed to a flame.
All the vehicle welding I have done has been with oxy-acetylene as it's far more controllable on steel sheet of varying thickness as found on used cars with a possibility of rust areas.
Gasless MIG uses a flux cored wire with the flux gassing off and providing the shielding from atmosphere that the gas would normally.
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x47c
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

I concur with all the above
Get yourself an auto-darkening mask if you are a novice - a decent one which will switch instantly rather than thinking about it for milliseconds.
It makes it much easier when learning/starting to orientate yourself, the welding rod and the work piece if you can see what you are doing prior to lighting up the arc.
Oxy-acet is different and uses different lighter grade goggles.
Welding is a whole subject by itself. From my days in engineering we had people there whose whole job was simply science and the specification of welding techniques and materials to comply with the specs/job requirements.  Then there was the business of weld certification and inspection......
It was one of those subjects that you didn't realise how little you knew and how complex it was until you talked to the experts who really did know a lot about every aspect.
nanotm
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

be careful of the storage and handling regs for the different tips as well some require special certificated storage and others don't, also some gear can only be obtained with the relevant permits, I used to do some welding years ago and if your basic idea is to watch some vids online, purchase the gear and have a go, then go to the scrap yard and get a bunch of old junk (bits of old washing machines are favourite) and play about in your yard, don't do it inside a building unless you have breathing apparatus or the proper HVAC system fitted or you might find yourself dying of something unexpected ....
also welders are supposed to undergo regular health check-ups for metal poisoning...
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

Also make sure no parts of your skin are exposed for any length of time as it's fairly easy to get sun burn which you don't realise you have got until later in the day.
Goes without saying you should wear thick clothes and if working on a car make sure you have a fire extinguisher available as there are a number of inflammable things on a car.
Make sure you disconnect the  car battery otherwise damage will occur to the electrics.
You may also need to get some mole grips (various shapes available) to hold stuff in place or / and magnets.
MIG is your best way to go but as suggested you will need to practice a lot on old metal before you get the hang of it.
Again as suggested by others get one of those automatic adjusting welding masks, if you use a non adjusting one it will be almost impossible to see the exact spot where you want to start welding.
I am sure the information about the Gas cylinders is correct but this may only relate to the very large cylinders, using small canisters works out very expensive so visit your local welding supplies shop as I am sure there are small gas cylinders that these regulations do not apply to, but equally you are responsible for their safe storage.
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

Let's not forget the traditional forge-welding. e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXiideiZnZg
chuck a handful of fine white sand as flux on sizzling yellow hot metal before whacking it wiv'n 'ammer.
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nanotm
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

or indeed the even more old fashioned "cell welding"
(although I wouldn't recommend it for vehicles)

although I have to say I preferred dipping the mild steel into a pot of carbon dust before dunking it in a bucket of icy water , the bang was always fun Smiley
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

Not done any welding in years[Mig mostly and some Arc], but one bit of advice, if you wear glasses.  Get a pair of NSH Joe90's for welding, if not you will get your glasses pitted from the sparks when spot welding.
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Re: Welders.. whats the difference?

I think I know what you mean.
The company I worked at provided safety prescription glasses which are quite a bit pricier than standard prescription glasses.
They seemed more capable of deflecting sparks than ordinary glasses and were replaced every year.
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