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Old 06-16-2013, 11:05 AM   #43
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The hardest part about welding when you get old is that your arms aren't long enough to see the arc clearly.
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:49 AM   #44
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The hardest part about welding when you get old is that your arms aren't long enough to see the arc clearly.
. . . and if you use a longer rod, the puddle just gets too big.
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Old 06-16-2013, 12:17 PM   #45
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One thing that I find helps a lot is to wear inexpensive reading glasses underneath the (auto-darkening) welding helmet. I use progressive glasses for driving, etc. but when welding you cannot always choose which part of the lens to look through - so having lenses that will allow you to see properly regardless of the relative orientation of the work, your helmet and your head helps a lot.

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Old 06-01-2015, 10:59 PM   #46
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Millermatic 211...

Well over a year has passed since I last posted regarding my "welding prowess"...and still no welder. I did have my garage wired for 230V service. So now I'm looking to pick up a MIG welder. Have looked at the Lincoln 180 and the Millermatic 211. What is the thickness of the 70's Airstream frames? I am leaning towards the 211 at this point. Do any forum members have any experience with this machine? Thanks!

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Old 06-01-2015, 11:26 PM   #47
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Lincolns are good,,, Millers are better.

My opinion of course, but I will stick by it.

The frames are not very thick, 1/8" maybe, 3/16" max.

Either of those welders are more than enough.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:39 PM   #48
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Not sure how thick the frames are, but my ~20 year old Miller Challenger 135 had no problem welding the frames/out riggers on our '71 Tradewind.

For thicker sections, I'd need more current - but since I also have an heavy duty AC/DC stick welder, I use that instead. I trust a properly prepared weld of 7018 way more than a MIG weld; when I did some welding on the tongue (w/ the weight off of it, of course) I used the stick and a flapper wheel to smooth things out.

One of these days I'm buying a plasma cutter.

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Old 06-02-2015, 05:34 AM   #49
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Miller Mobile

Miller has some pretty good sales going on now and the Miller Mobile training/demo truck showed up at our local dealer. Tomorrow I'll grab my helmet and demo some of their units. The Millermatic 211 even comes with a free spool gun and there are some nice rebates. Plasma cutter would be nice to have also. I can see some outrigger replacements in my future, some framework, new rear bumper...thanks for your thoughts!

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Old 06-02-2015, 06:04 AM   #50
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I do my own with JB Weld.
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:21 PM   #51
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Love my Miller MIG ... it's a 110VAC machine.. but it works pretty well... I welded some 3/16" Plate to 1/2" Plate, then 3/16" angle iron to the 1/2" to make a 'cooktop' for our Knights of Columbus cook shed.. I had some 'voids' using the MIG.. so, I used my 'rosebud' torch tip to 'preheat' and it worked perfectly.. Don't let 'thickness' stop you...with proper techniques you can weld pretty thick material.. may require a couple 'passes'...
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:46 PM   #52
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I took the class at the local Vo-Tech and it was about worthless. Well, I did get to see how good the instructor could weld And, I learned all the theory.

I bought a Lincoln Precision TIG 225 which is a 225 amp TIG machine as well as a stick welder. I'm terrible at both, but can manage to make steel stick together with the stick although it looks bad.

I got more out of watching the EAA TIG welding DVD than I did the entire semester course. I know you were talking MIG, but they are similar processes only with MIG you get the squirt gun and with TIG you feed the rod in by hand.

One thing with MIG that I found is that I could make a beautiful looking weld but it wasn't sound. Then you had guys like a friend of mine (who just passed away a few weeks ago sadly) that could stick weld to where it looked as surgical as a properly done TIG job. I think the key is to get somebody who is good with the process you want and have them spend some quality time with you. Then practice practice practice.

I'm still looking for somebody who can TIG beautifully to spend quality time with me

The Miller/Lincoln debate is about like Ford/Chevy. They're both great machines. Hobart isn't bad either. You won't go wrong with any of them. Miller is typically known for MIG and Lincoln is typically known for TIG. Hey, it's the Honda/Yamaha debate again. Do you like Red or Blue??
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:52 PM   #53
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Help!

I just went back and reread this entire thread. Some of you guys sound like really awesome welders!

Does anyone reading this live anywhere near Berkeley Springs, WV, and be an expert on TIG? I would love to get some lessons from somebody good at it.

I've got a really nice machine, but can barely scratch the surface of what it can do. Would really really appreciate some wisdom.

See ya on the road,
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:41 PM   #54
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So True...

Jim my experience with my class was similar to yours. Lots of theory, and lots of unsupervised welding time. We had a young man who never taught before...but he could lay down some nice welds. I really enjoyed the TIG welding. Something about aluminum with a nice bead...but then isn't that why we love our Airstreams.

I'm still leaning towards a MIG unit but also know most of the frames we work on are rusted and not in the best condition...so isn't that where stick welding comes in? I think there are multi-purpose units that will do several types of welding. One that does MIG, TIG, and Stick. Some are pretty portable as well.

Funny you mentioned the red vs. blue...I went through that when I picked out my generator. Come to think of it, I ended up with blue there (Yamaha). I'm not that far from Berkely Springs but sure couldn't show you anything when it comes to TIG. But you are spot on with the practice...practice...practice.

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Old 06-03-2015, 06:07 AM   #55
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I was at this decision point a few years back and picked up a Hobart 210 (Consumer Grade Miller 211). One of the best tools I've purchased in my life. Once I got my skills up on scrap material I ended up building a new frame for the airstream using 11-gauge material. Lots of good tips embedded in this thread, also lots of good videos on You-Tube. If you are a good self-study and can criticize your own work welding with modern welders is within your capability.

My advice is get a welder with capabilities beyond your needs. The Hobart 210 accepts a spool gun which allows welding of aluminum. I picked one of these up with a Christmas gift card. I really like the challenge of welding aluminum. Have used it for several projects and capability is real handy.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:08 AM   #56
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I'm still leaning towards a MIG unit but also know most of the frames we work on are rusted and not in the best condition...so isn't that where stick welding comes in? I think there are multi-purpose units that will do several types of welding. One that does MIG, TIG, and Stick. Some are pretty portable as well.
Proper preparation of the weld area is important... yes, you can weld rusty metal w/ stick welder and 6011 rod, but why do so? You're not quickly repairing a piece of broken farm equipment so you can get the harvest in before it rains - you're getting your Airstream back into proper shape, and you should take the extra time to clean the base metal, fill holes, etc.

My experience with repair work is that MIG can save some considerable time since one doesn't need to clear the flux residue between welds. It's easier to fill holes & replace missing metal w/ a MIG unit. On the other hand, for thicker material a stick welder w/ proper rod selection and joint angles really can't be beat, at least for repair in the home shop.

I used my MIG welder to weld up holes and cracks in a friend's Model A's fenders; that's not really a job for a stick welder.

A real advantage of stick welders is that they are significantly cheaper (esp, used) and more robust that MIG welders; there are just far fewer moving parts.

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