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Old 11-25-2010, 12:23 PM   #15
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Hi ,I'm not a welder ,but worked in a bus repair Bodyshop!!
If our bodyman were welding the frame from stress cracks etc.
They would stick weld rather than using a mig welder. The Mig welder we had would weld almost 1/2 inch thick metal. They used stick welding because it had a more flexable composition. The frame would flex more rather than crack. Mig welding produces a very ridgid weld more prone to cracking.
Once again this was what I was told by an experienced truck/ coach bodyman.
I hope this helps, some-one else might have a different opinion!!!
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Old 11-25-2010, 12:50 PM   #16
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If you are welding outside, you would be better off with a stick welder. Stick welding is easier in windy conditions and dirty metal.
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:04 PM   #17
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More good info

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Originally Posted by Kosm1o View Post
I am experienced in tig and mig and stick. A decent stick welder will be the cheapest for you but will be very awkward welding if you are under the work area. that will definately take some practice. But, you can buy a decent used one or even a new one cheap. Tig is for experienced welders and would be the most difficult to learn , and really not necessary for regular steel welding like you are doing. Best for aluminum and stainless, but will require an expensive machine and lots of time practicing with an instructor. Mig is the easiest of all three to learn and to use. You can produce great welds with a minumum of practice. No flux is necessary as the welding gas does what flux on welding rod does, but you need gas tanks and usually you would need to rent them on an annual basis. and a decent machine that will produce good results will cost plenty, so you are not going to want to buy one for just one job.
I need to add, that I think you should go to a real welding supply shop, not a Tractor supply or similar store , and talk to some real welding experts. If you buy a machine from them, they will most likely have an area you can practice with demonstration equipment. They will also tell you what the minimum machine size is for the work you want to do.
I will check this out come Monday. I know we have welding gas suppliers in town and now to find a place besides the ones you mention to check on a welder. Thanks for your help.
Sandy
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:09 PM   #18
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Plenty O' Farmers

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Sandy,

Something to consider-- Check around for farmers in the area who weld. Some of the most innovative and talented people I've known in my 75 years on earth have been farmers. Surely it wouldn't be too hard to find a farmer around Bismarck who could meet your need.

Gene
Funny when you mention farmers...we have a lot of farmers for sure. To know if you have a farmer that has the time, expertise, and interest in helping a couple of AS crazy people is the next question. I can ask around....
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:15 PM   #19
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The flux core wire is an inexpensive method to provide a flux to wire feed welding without the expense of a gas bottle, regulator and the feed to get the gas to the weld point. You can weld with it but it is very limiting compared to a conventional MIG. Once you use the bottle gas you will never consider using flux core. By the way welding is a great skill to have. If you enjoy tinkering in the garage you will find lots of things to weld.

Cheers, Dan

Hey Dan,
I have been threatening to take a welding class for the last ten years because I can always think of lots of stuff I want to make. A garden gate, a set of tools for the garden, boot scrapers, etc. Everyone laughs but I really would like to learn to do this. My husband is going to do it I think because he knows I won't have the time this winter. I am knee deep in another graduate degree and that seems to take way, way too much of my free time outside of work
Sandy
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:24 PM   #20
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The frame on an Airstream is quite thin, and is also mild steel, as many of us have seen when repairing the slot for the steps in the outriggers. This is ideal material for MIG welding; there isn't the concern with cold starts and rapid cooling that can occur on thicker sections. MIG welding is a common technique used to fabricate production motorcycle frames and some race cars. TIG welding is used for carefully notched and fitted tubular frames in Indy cars, aircraft and the like, since the welds can reach 100% of the base strength of the material. Examining the intermittent welds on our Airstream, MIG is entirely sufficient and appropriate technique.

For structural welds in thicker steel sections, a stick welder is the tool of choice.... but no welder I know would refer to an Airstream frame as thick . I generally weld anything 3/16" thick or over with a stick; my MIG welder is relatively small.

The concerns relating to wind are correct; MIG welders require relative calm in the weld area to avoid disturbing the shield gas. However, with steel this is much less of an issue than when welding aluminum; in the latter case even minor air currents cause porosity problems. Waiting for calm weather, or arranging suitable wind shields will be sufficient when welding steel.

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Old 11-25-2010, 01:33 PM   #21
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If you are welding outside in North Dakota a MIG welder with gas is not going to work. I lived in South Dakota for 15 years and the wind does not blow...it howls! The gas sheilded Mig will not produce a ussable weld in the wind. A gas sheilded MIG is a shop tool only. Also the level of corrosion & rust you are talking about is very MIG unfreindly. Producing a consistant strong weld will be almost impossible. The best most reliable weld under these conditions will be a stick weld. Stick weld is harder to learn but not impossible. Practice with 6011 or 6013 rod. These will be the best for the out of position work you will be doing. If you are over a certain age, you will find a magnifing lens in your hement will be a big help. A a/c d/c stick welder is more costly than a straight a/c machine but will be easier to weld with. For your frame and outrigger repair I would use a 3/32" dia. rod size. 1/8" is a more commen size but is heavier than needed and will contribute to you blowing holes in the base metel which you will then have to weld shut. Good luck & happy welding. Adios, John
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:51 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by ND10CentCan View Post
Hey Dan,
I have been threatening to take a welding class for the last ten years because I can always think of lots of stuff I want to make. A garden gate, a set of tools for the garden, boot scrapers, etc. Everyone laughs but I really would like to learn to do this. My husband is going to do it I think because he knows I won't have the time this winter. I am knee deep in another graduate degree and that seems to take way, way too much of my free time outside of work
Sandy
Be careful Sandy, like Airstreams tinkering in steel can secome addictive. I speak from experience.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:26 PM   #23
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I...What are the advantages and disadvantages of "gasless" MIG (gas produced from the wire) as opposed to MIG plus gas bottles?...

Hey Nick,

MIG is an abbreviation for Metal Inert Gas which is sometimes referred to as GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding). The same equipment is also used for FCAW (Flux Core Arc Welding) with the wire (electorde) being the primary difference. There are two primary wire types used for these applications:

Solid Wire = As the name implies this is a solid metal wire.

Cored Wire = Cored wires fall into two categories: Flux, and metal core.

Gas is used for solid wire and certain cored wire applications. Some cored wires are self shielding and therefore do not require gas.

Gas is used as a cleansing/wetting agent and serves the same purpose of the coating seen on SMAW (aka Stick) electrode. The gas may be a single, or multiple gas mix, with common gases being Argon, CO2, and Helium.

A good 225 to 250 amp wire feed welding machine will nicely fit most home use welding needs. Welding materials 3/16" thick or less (common frame materials) can be readily done using either GMAW, or FCAW processes. For steel I would typically use an 0.035" diameter solid wire such as ER70S-X and an Argon/CO2 shielding gas combo. This would allow me to weld most steels in all positions.

GMAW is a versatile process that can be used for all position welding in spray, globular, or short circuit transfer modes. There are also some welding machines that operate in a pulsed mode.

Successful welding consists of two primary components:

Equipment Setup/Process Knowledge: Knowing how to select consumables and dialing in the equipment for your particular application.

Hand Control: Steady hands are a prerequisite requirement. (Helpful Hint= If you can place a good bead of sealant using a caulk gun then chances are you have the hand control).

Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions.

Regards,

Kevin
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:36 PM   #24
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For 500 something dollars this is best.
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:43 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by nickcrowhurst View Post
I'm planning to learn MIG welding next spring to repair my Land Rover. What are the advantages and disadvantages of "gasless" MIG (gas produced from the wire) as opposed to MIG plus gas bottles? I'm probably never going to do any more welding, so sensibly I should pay a skilled person to do the jobs, but I'd just like to gain the skill. I have a pal who will teach me.
Nick.
I have an old Lincoln 225amp AC 220V stick welder I have owned for many years, and more recently bought a Lincoln 140 amp 115 volt MIG welder that I can use with or without gas.

I don't use either very much - used to restore old Brit sports cars years ago, but now I just like to have the capability of welding for odd repair jobs and projects.

I'm very happy with the performance of the Lincoln MIG, both using fluxcore and using solid wire/gas.

There is no doubt that the solid wire/gas makes a much nicer looking weld, with no slag and virtually no splatter, but flux core is cheaper to use - no gas/gas bottle needed, is maybe easier, and I seem to find is more aggressive and assures good penetration.

A big advantage to the flux core is that you can use it outdoors without worrying about drafts or breezes. With solid wire/gas, you may need to put up wind screens to stop the gas being blown away. Not sure, but I think that may have been part of the reason for the development of flux core.

I have found that the 140 amp is quite large enough for the handyman type work I do.

Even with my 225 amp machine, I don't think I ever needed to use it at higher than a 100 amps or so on 3/16 or 1/4" material.


You won't be able to do body metal on your Land Rover with flux core though - you will need solid wire/gas.

Another option for body metal - which is what I used to do, is oxy-acet and brazing rod. Easy to do and doesn't cause much heat distortion.

Just don't breathe in the fumes too much in a closed garage! Made myself sick a couple of times!!

If you enjoy the hobby, I think it is more satisfying to learn and do your own welding than pay someone - plus you then have the equipment /skills for other uses.


Brian
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Old 11-25-2010, 03:06 PM   #26
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Many thanks, Kevin and Brian, that's just the information I need. Nick.
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Old 11-25-2010, 03:08 PM   #27
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Excuse my stupidity BUT

If your frame is really bad, and there are no local welders available...

Then why not have a new frame with axle(s) and tires built and go pick it up or have it delivered to you? Perhaps P & S Trailer, or even the factory could furnish you with a replacement trailer.

Of course Iowa or Minnesota might be possibilities too.

You end up with a frame and suspension in first class condition and you're ready to start the reconstruction within weeks instead of months.

Paula
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Old 11-25-2010, 03:57 PM   #28
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The first thing I bought when I got out of high school in 1962 was a Lincoln 180 stick welder. I paid to bring 220 volt electric to my dad's single car garage and he helped dig the trench and wire it up. Later I bought a 220 amp DC stick welder and an acetylene torch. I use them to do all sorts of things. We had a welding class as a part of wood shop in high school. I started welding when I was 14.

When I needed a small utility trailer in 1972, I made it. I sold it at one time and I was sorry, so I bought it back after three years. I could make a new frame from scratch if I wanted to but I don't plan on getting into a trailer that deep. If I built a new frame or a section of a frame, I'd use the template method. That is, I'd lay the new frame on top of the old frame and built it off the template of the old frame. If the original frame is true and sitting level, the template method would net a duplicate frame. I've seen posts here showing how that's done. I don't know where those are right now.

The things I appreciate the most of this Airstream project of mine are the challenges and the chances to develop new skills. I encourage that as a part of the process. I was welding gas tanks my second year, so it's not that hard to learn. I had some extremely good teachers. My best friend was a machinist in the US Navy and he could make any part and weld anything in any position. He taught me much more about welding and mechanics when we built hot rods together. Later he worked for me in my shop for 10 years. He died young from liver cancer. He built the coal burning stove in my current shop for me before he died. I think of him every time I go to my shop or see a 1952 Ford.

Gary
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