1. #1
    Hey all, so the process of building my own cnc ignited the spark for all things related to making parts/fabrication etc.

    I have an opportunity to purchase new equipment and was wondering if it is possible to self learn it? I'm mainly interested in being able to join metal tubes and make frames and such, nothing too fancy.

    if it is possible, what do I need exactly? from what I understand so far is that there is TIG,MIG and Arc ( I heard MMA here on the forum but don't know anything about that) do they all use the same gear? if not which one should I go for ?

    I see multiple shops here have the machine but they all look the same just different sizes and colors, from what I understand I will need the machine, the helmet/mask protection thing, welding rod, some form of gas maybe?

    If it is too dangerous let me know and I will not pursue further :p am just doing it all as a hobby, already used a CNC router,angle grinder,jigsaw,mitresaw and have a safety mentality and will read up on safety before doing anything ( I work in a alu smelter so safety is big here but I'm not involved in operations just IT support )

    thank you very much!

  2. #2
    As with all things engineering, safety is always a concern. If you cut corners in welding though, the dangers are more direct as you basically have a great big zapping thing in your hands.

    The best advice I can give you is: if you are keen to learn to weld, take a course in it. Some colleges here in the UK offer night courses running for 10 weeks or so. Not sure what the state of play is in Qatar but you may find something that helps. They will talk you through safety, what you need and show you techniques live.

    You can watch all the youtube videos in the world but you will still benefit from an instructor looking over your shoulder.

    You could of course just buy equipment and try yourself but you will probably learn things the hard way (setting bits on fire, arcing your eyes.....)

    Stocking more goodies than just Smoothsteppers

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  4. #3
    For structural work on materials with 2mm wall and upwards the best bang for your buck is MMA, otherwise known as stick or arc but MMA (Manual Metallic Arc) is the correct technical term.
    MMA uses flux coated rods so no gas or additional consumables are required, just clean your work, clamp it together, weld it up and clean up.
    Ideally get someone who can weld to show you the ropes, if you can't produce good welds with an hour's tuition consider a course, alternatively read around the subject, join welding forums (fora?) watch any tuition videos you can find then ask questions.
    Remember that you should never strike an arc without a welding shield in front of your eyes you will not get "arc eye" (hard UV cooking your eye tissue) if you never expose your eyes to the arc.
    Wear standard eye protection under your welding shield as the slag is glass-like in composition and will shrink, shatter and fly off whilst still hot enough to stick to your cornea.
    Do not expose skin to the arc light as the resulting UV exposure is very unwise and potentially very harmful to long term skin health, wear gloves, long sleeves & long trousers or overalls etc.

    - Nick

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  6. #4
    Personaly I'd say go with MIG for more flexabilty in material thickness it can weld. It's less forgiving than MMA and TIG. Easier to learn than MMA and MUCH MUCH easier than TIG.
    Doesn't have some of the hassles MMA can give regards Rod choice and quality. (thou in Qatar don't think damp will be problem.!)

    Like Nick says doesn't quite give the Bang for Buck MMA does on thicker materials but with a decent Amp Mig you'll still weld fairly thick material ok. Duty cycle (time you can weld for in one Go) will be lower unless industrial strength machine but in DIY enviroment then it's fine and you'll just keep the weld beads shorter or take a littel longer to do.

    With just a small amount of practice you'll be producing welds that are fine for most needs at DIY level.

    If you can find someone near by that can weld then maybe they will let you try your hand and pass on some tips. Can't beat learning on the Job with little guidence for experienced welders.

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