So, as if I already dont have enough things going on, between a new baby in the home, bbq endeavors, working on cars, racing, etc. I have decided to pick up another hobby… Welding.
Welding is a skill that Ive always been intrigued with. It can be extremely useful, and enables to manufacture a variety of different parts for automotive, bbq equipment, etc. Matt and I also have big plans to convert a 500 or 1,000 gallon propane tank into a massive stick burner for catering and whatnot. So learning how to weld will enable us to build it entirely on our own, and it will have paid for itself by then. But before we attempt to tackle that behemoth of a project, Ive got a handful of other things that I would like to build.
First on the list is a mobile equipment cart/welding table. Then a shelving system for the GMG, new legs/base for the GMG, and a few other misc projects for the cars.
That all being said, on to the equipment. I chose to go with the Hobart Handler 140.
Hobart, now owned by Miller, is a reputable company that has been making welders for a very long time. The thing that I like about the 140 is that it runs off of a standard 110V outlet, and can weld both flux and solid wire + gas. MIG welding in general is supposed to be the easiest to learn, and easiest to make look half good.
You can weld mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum with the 140. Depending on which metal you are working with, you choose your wire and gas. The majority of what I plan to work with is mild steel, and will likely use a 75/25 Argon/CO2 gas.
Out of the box, the Hobart Handler 140 welder comes with everything that you need to get started, with a small sample spool of flux wire. Flux wire does not require the use of separate shielding gas, but instead the wire gives off a “shielding gas” when heated. Its better for use outdoors in windy conditions, but in controlled environments using a shielding gas is the way to go. The welds will be cleaner with less spatter, and you can control the bead to look a lot nicer on the finished weld.
Safety when welding is extremely important. Youre essentially melting metal and fusing it together using heat and electricity. Probably the most important safety tool for welding, is the helmet. I knew that I wanted to get an auto-darkening helmet, but I was unsure of which one to get. So the research began. There is a very wide range of helmets, with the low-end costing around $70 and the high end costing $700+.
I will do a more thorough “unboxing” of the model that I chose, but I wound up going with the 3M Speedglas 9100X. They have 3 lens sizes in the 9100 series, with the X-model being the medium size.
3M’s optics are supposed to be phenomenal, and the sensors extremely accurate and reliable. And looks-wise, there is something very badass mortal kombat-like about it.
The 9100 also has a really cool feature with the peripheral side windows. While the side windows do not autodarken, they expand your field of view when working and enable you to see any potential hazards outside of the area that you are welding on.
For gloves, I went to a Praxair welding supply store and tried on several different pairs. I wound up going with a pair of Miller Arc Armor gloves, which retailed for about $30. As with the helmet, there are both lower cost and higher cost options. One of the big things that I found with MIG gloves is that they are bulky since you are working with very high heat relative to TIG. TIG gloves tend to be much thinner. So when choosing a MIG glove, they can get really bulky and thick. I wanted a comfortable glove that had good protection, but didnt feel too big.
Additional PPE for welding includes a flame resistant shirt, leather boots, welding cap, and safety glasses.
Much more to follow.