Not sure how I missed this thread… I’ll have to get pictures or find my pictures at some point.
I learned how to weld with oxy/acetylene. Dad gave me his old torch set years ago and a couple books and a little guidance and off I went. First attempt wasn’t right, but the beauty of torch welding is that you can go back and re-work it. Kept the heat on it longer and when the metal flowed together I finally understand exactly what was needed. I don’t do much torch work these days as far as welding just because of convenience, but once in awhile I do. I also have a big oxy/propane cutting rig (100# propane tank). The oxy/acetylene is mounted on a 2 wheel dolly.
My second welder is a Lincoln “tombstone/doghouse” AC-225 stick welder. I’ve burned a decent bit of rod with it, and I’ve had plenty of success with it holding, but I’ve had a hard time mastering stick. I’d say the welder just has too coarse of settings or that because it doesn’t have DC it makes things harder, but I’ve seen guys run textbook welds with these machines so I know it’s possible.
My third welder is a Lincoln PowerMig 200 if I remember right. Big monster, 230v, 44# spool of .035 wire inside and 70/30 gas bottle on the back. I’ve burned most of that spool. Awesome welder in my opinion and when I’m patient with it, I can lay some nice welds. Heck, even when I don’t take the time to perfectly dial it in and get comfortable I can still do decent welds.
Ok, sidebar time. My mechanic buddy has a Craftsman 110 wire feed. He bought it before he met me because his cousin said if he got the welder, he would teach him to weld but never did. My buddy said he tried figuring it out on his own but it was no good. I looked it over and discovered it was set up for .030 wire and loaded with .025 (Sears sold him the welder and accessories and the wire that they got everything together for him and still sold him the wrong wire), which naturally doesn’t work. I got it set up correctly and it’s not a bad little unit and fine for light stuff. The frustration is that sometimes low is too low and high is too high which makes things difficult to dial in. I also got to use a couple times from someone else a Harbor Freight 110v wire feed that was really similar and not any better.
Sidebar #2, dad bought a Harbor Freight Titanium, forget the model, but it’s the inverter 110v wire feed. He was going to try using it for some stuff around the house, but I ended up using it the most. Was really nice to use, super compact and light and very adjustable, ran a nice bead with .030 wire, but stopped feeding hot shortly after burning the first 1# spool of wire. Feeds cold all day long but not hot. Tried digging into it a little (out of warranty of course) and so far haven’t found the problem.
Because of being annoyed with those 110v welders, I bought a used Lincoln Weld-Pak 100 I believe it is. Didn’t work really great when I got it, but a new liner (it was badly kinked right out of the machine and had another like 5 lesser kinks) and some cleaning and new gun parts and it’s really nice. Running .035 flux core in it, got a 10# spool in it because I got the 10# spool for what a pair of 2# spools would have cost. Being it has a dial for voltage control instead of a high/low switch, it’s a lot easier to fine tune.