Is There Such A Thing??

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jttheclockman

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Is there such a thing as a small portable tack welder used for like craft projects and if so do you have a suggestion?? Thanks. Not looking for a solder gun. Something to stick steel parts.
 
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dogcatcher

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The closest thing is a wire feed welder, the ones that use flux core wire are "okay", the ones that use gas are the best. The former are the cheapest, the latter, if you are willing to spend money, I would get a Miller with the gas bottle. If I ever get another i will probably get a Campbell Hausfeld flux core. I regretted selling my Miller, but when I need it the guy lets me use it. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Campbel...mp-with-Welder-Accessories-DW213000/305421788
 

skiprat

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Hi John, As with many things, the price determines the quality of the product and I can assure you it is even more so with welders.
The most basic is the old fashioned arc welder, or stick welder. Probably the most difficult to master and more so on a crappy cheap machine. Best used for big heavy duty stuff. But a good DC stick welder is cool. Once you get it, and are confident, you can do most things. You couldn't easily do car body work though. Never buy an AC machine.
Next is the MIG welder. Actually quite easy to use and learn. Can be a bit spendy when you start to weld different metals. You need different gas and wire. The cheap sets always have crappy wire feed systems. Good ones have neat features like pulsing so you can weld thin stuff without blowing holes in it. Best ones can swap polarity and weld aluminium. You really need to do homework before buying one. Some claim to be able to work without gas, but the wire then needs to have flux in it. Then you may as well go back to a stick welder. Some better ones mitigate the wire feed issues by having a spool of wire on the handpiece.
Next is TIG welding. This is the real art of welding and takes some practice but produces some really beautiful welds. Really pricey kit but you can do most things. Good with car bodywork or small stuff. I don't think its so good with heavy duty stuff though.

Finally there is brazing, . I think technically this is the only one that can be considered 'portable' as it doesn't need power, just gas.
You can weld some pretty thick material with brazing and is also good for joining different metals. I used to use this type for earthing steel switchgear structures in switchyards.

Can you tell us what you want to weld and how often you plan on doing it?
If not so often then consider just hiring the kit now and then. Hire companies generally use good equipment. And like I've said the better kit is far easier to use.
 

leehljp

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Skip, you make me feel good about myself. I learned stick welding when it was the only thing around - back in the late 50's on a farm, fixing farm machinery. Left the farm but didn't forget the techniques. Even did some brazing. Spool fed wire core came in big time while I was living in Japan and I'm still trying to get my mind around the newer developments. You described everything well.

One other thing you mentioned: Cheap machines are the most difficult to use!
 

jttheclockman

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Skip, well explained. I am familar with the stick versions because as an electrician for 43 years we always made our own brackets and stanchions in plants and other commercial and industrial work. Those machines were rather large and either carried in the back of a truck or pulled by one. I am looking for a small hobby type for that quick repair job and also do some metal hobby craft work. Will need to do some homework as you say for sure. Not working on cars. Thanks all.
 

SteveG

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As a teenager, I worked in a factory that produced steel rural-type mail boxes. Part of the process used spot welding to permanently tack metal parts together, and it produced a nice strong weld at, as the name implies, the small spot where the electrodes come together. That might well be the answer for you, depending on the type of work envisioned.
 

rudya7

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jttheclockman

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Everyone seems to need examples of what I want to do so I will give them. You can do google search if you want photos. But interested in making metal whirligigs of various types. They require the ability to weld parts such as nuts and rods and things of that nature in various shapes so those tack welders are out. It needs to be a stick welder of some sort. But want to not have a large unit. Have no storage room. Also other metal art objects. Just want to go down another path and try new things. Have many ideas in my head. Now if that helps narrow the search. Like Skip said I need to do some homework as to what can do what. I am not welding pipes or angle iron or steel beams. Small hobby objects that can fit on a desk top. More tack welding than bead welding.
 

Gary Beasley

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With those constraints you are probably better off with brazing. Brass or silver brazing is easy enough and you can do small parts with a small torch, just be sure to get the right fuel for the temperature you need to braze at.
 

dogcatcher

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Mart

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FWIW, I bought a 110v welder to make a battery box for an old bike. It came with a 20 amp plug so watch out for that. Had to do some rewiring in the garage to keep it to code.
I still have that welder and have used it for small jobs that need strength like repairing a broken hinge on the car trunk, repairing a frame for the neighbour, but nothing big.
But there were times when brazing was the only option such as fixing the wife’s favourite espresso maker or a bronze statue for a friend.
The thing about welding is without getting into gas and the gauges and regulators you can’t get a nice weld.
Brazing took some time to learn to do nicely but it’s a lot less expensive and for me it works better than welding.
Mart
 

jttheclockman

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FWIW, I bought a 110v welder to make a battery box for an old bike. It came with a 20 amp plug so watch out for that. Had to do some rewiring in the garage to keep it to code.
I still have that welder and have used it for small jobs that need strength like repairing a broken hinge on the car trunk, repairing a frame for the neighbour, but nothing big.
But there were times when brazing was the only option such as fixing the wife’s favourite espresso maker or a bronze statue for a friend.
The thing about welding is without getting into gas and the gauges and regulators you can’t get a nice weld.
Brazing took some time to learn to do nicely but it’s a lot less expensive and for me it works better than welding.
Mart
Well now that throws more fuel on the fire. May have to look at that type welding too. I need to study this more and I thank everyone for their inputs. That is what makes this a great place. Any topic or question there is people out there that have been there seen it or know how to get the answers. It is a well rounded group here and that is what makes this place my #1 visit. No matter how off the wall the question it gets attention here. Thanks again. I am sure when the time comes I will be able to post some of my work from this adventure.
 

Sylvanite

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...interested in making metal whirligigs of various types. They require the ability to weld parts such as nuts and rods and things of that nature in various shapes ... Also other metal art objects.
I second the comments that metal sculpture of that sort often employs brazing rather than welding. It also involves a fair amount of cutting, so you may be interested in an oxy-acetylene rig. It is portable, and capable of brazing, welding, and cutting. Small setups are available at the big box stores. I have a set with larger tanks and a wheeled cart. The important part is to find a local gas supplier and see what tanks they will fill.

Regards,
Eric
 
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