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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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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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Old 11-25-2010, 05:18 PM   #29
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Good Luck Nick,

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickcrowhurst View Post
Many thanks, Kevin and Brian, that's just the information I need. Nick.
Quote:
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GMAW is a versatile process that can be used for all position welding in spray, globular, or short circuit transfer modes.
On Edit...I need to clarify the statement above. All transfer methods will work for flat position welding, but only short circuit will work for all positions.
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Old 11-25-2010, 05:50 PM   #30
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(snip) . . 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. . .
In my case, I just keep blowing the hole bigger until I need to use a fish plate to cover it up.
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Old 11-25-2010, 06:05 PM   #31
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If money was no object....

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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
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
Thanks Paula,
I think this would be a good option if we were 100% sure of the quality of 66% of the frame. The back 33% looks pretty bad and the rest is "okay" maybe (?). If we were absolutely sure it junk 100% ,we could/would go that route. The other issue is when you live in the middle of ND, not all the options that are available in other areas are available here. Creativity and different options are a must. I must say, I am learning so much from all of the great sharing on these posts. Thanks for your help.
Sandy
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Old 11-25-2010, 06:09 PM   #32
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Gee, can you come to visit ND?

I am thinking a nice trip to ND is in your future.... Let us know when you are coming up and I will make sure we have all of the necessary requirements....If it was only that easy I appreciate the wisdom you shared and I will pass it along to the man behind the curtain. Thanks!
Sandy
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Old 11-25-2010, 08:49 PM   #33
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Thanks Paula,
I think this would be a good option if we were 100% sure of the quality of 66% of the frame. The back 33% looks pretty bad and the rest is "okay" maybe (?). If we were absolutely sure it junk 100% ,we could/would go that route. The other issue is when you live in the middle of ND, not all the options that are available in other areas are available here. Creativity and different options are a must. I must say, I am learning so much from all of the great sharing on these posts. Thanks for your help.
Sandy

If money were no object...

Well, your experience may differ... but generally it costs me far more every time I try to do something for a bargain price. In my case simply because I have to do it all over again. I've thrown away more "bargains" or had to spend more money maintaining them constantly than I care to admit. You're considering buying a welder and taking a welding class - both things that could make you some serious money if you have the time and inclination to pursue them. (Which would leave less time for Airstreaming.) I simply maintain the for the cost of said welder and all the accoutrements, the steel, the outriggers, the bits and pieces, plus the tuition for the class... you've got 80% or more of the cost of a new frame. Oh, and then you still have to build the frame or repair the old one.

You're in N. Dakota - but a frame on wheels with brake lights rigged up could easily be towed 500 miles. A 2 day trip and two tanks of gas, then you put down your floor and start assembling. Time IS money.

There was a time when our business was so poor that every counter that got built, every carpet that got scrubbed and every office that got painted was done by us. If I had to, I could do it again. Now I enjoy saying "do it" and paying for painless! I still do it myself IF it's a hobby I enjoy or IF I can't find someone who is a real artisan to do it for me, and I know I'm able to do a better job myself. I've also forced myself to be a "selective" perfectionist. I could have done a better job painting the operator's bathroom myself. But 25 people us it without caring how well it's done. It ain't the Sistine Chapel. I have plenty of projects with higher priorities. I don't care about a perfectly painted pissoire! (A really GREAT frame for an Airstream... structurally, functionally and long term survival all say that is important to have it done WELL.)

It always comes down to "can I afford it?" Sometimes you CAN if you think creatively. Go through your possessions looking for anything you've collected that has sat in a dusty box or storage space for 5 years. You CAN afford to sell that! Can you work a temporary job between now ans Christmas? A new frame wouldn't fit under the tree but...

Happy trails whichever way you get there! Paula
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:57 PM   #34
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Must ask.....

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In my case, I just keep blowing the hole bigger until I need to use a fish plate to cover it up.
What is a fish plate? I can imagine but need the real answer....Thanks.
Sandy
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Old 11-25-2010, 10:56 PM   #35
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There are good and bad aspects to getting a welder and fixing the frame yourself,
Good: the experience and knowledge gained, probably save some money, you will have the welding equipment and probably more expertise than most hobby welders, personal satisfaction of knowing YOU did it, the welding equipment can be sold if you no longer need it.
Bad: work area, inside on a concrete floor would be best, sizable tool expense particularly if buying quality equipment, You won't get what you paid for it if re-sold, sizable expense for the steel and possibly hard to find locally, finally and this is the big one, the welds must be structurally good and this takes practice and usually someone to teach you.
My best advice is don't be afraid of the job but do get some training first. The welding class would be a perfect start and will teach you what you will need in a welding machine too. It sounds like the weather won't let you work outside right now anyway. You may also find that once you get your foot in the door there, you will have more help than you expected, possibly even from the instructor.
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:23 AM   #36
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What is a fish plate? I can imagine but need the real answer....Thanks.
Sandy
It's a plate that reinforces a butt welded frame repair. It's called that because the shape resembles a fish in the way the weld beads are finished.

But in the case I mentioned above, it would be purely decorative.
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Old 11-26-2010, 03:39 PM   #37
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Carp diem!

Make sure the fish plate is welded in the correct plaice. You won't need the dexterity of a brain sturgeon, and fish plates are a fine solution when used for their proper porpoise.
Nick.
P.S Sorry, Don, but fins aren't what they used to be....
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Old 11-26-2010, 04:58 PM   #38
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I guess if your trailer is in pisces, and you bream of getting it back togarther, you sometimes need to throw a tarpon it until the spring.

Nick, that was a very finny post.
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:28 PM   #39
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Something smells fishy to me. Adios, John
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Old 11-26-2010, 09:38 PM   #40
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Uffda

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I guess if your trailer is in pisces, and you bream of getting it back togarther, you sometimes need to throw a tarpon it until the spring.

Nick, that was a very finny post.
Uffda times two!
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