Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
Welding, as with anything else is a skill. A person does not have to be perfect or good at it, but everyone should have a basic understanding of the welding operation. Welding is the operation of joining pieces of material together. Metals as well as plastics can be welded.
When reading an article, one of the first items that must be taken into consideration, how reliable is this information. Another consideration, how well does the author know this material and is the author qualified to write the article?
For my qualification's – My name is Kevin, for 16 years I worked as a first class Heat Exchanger Fitter and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Certified Welder. To become a certified welder, the person has to pass a welding test. I was certified on welding carbon steel to carbon steel up to 1 and a half inchs thick, carbon steel to stainless, carbon to chrome and chrome to chrome. My experience covers Stick, MIG, Flux-core, Sub-arc and TIG welding. I was certified on MIG, Sub-arc and Stick welding. Working as a fitter I tacked with TIG very often. Now. onto the article.
For the beginner, MIG or Flux-core is the easiest way to learn how to weld. Stick welding can be frustrating, even for a regular welder, much less for the beginner. TIG should not even be considered by the beginner until that person has the basics understood.
All welding operations must use some form of “shielding.” This is to protect the molten metal from Oxygen and Hydrogen entering the “puddle,” which is the molten melt directly behind the welding rod or wire.
Stick rods have a coating on them called “flux.” This flux is brittle, can break off, and can absorb moisture from the air.
MIG welding uses a gas shielding of 75% Argon and 25% Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
TIG welding uses a pure Argon gas as its shielding. TIG welding will not be discussed in this article.
Flux-cure has the flux inside the wire and sometimes uses a gas shielding. With the flux inside the wire, it can not absorb moisture, but makes the wire brittle; meaning if the wire is bent too far, it might break.
Sub-arc will not be discussed in this article, as it takes a lot of equipment.
The difference between MIG and Flux-core:
MIG stands of Metallic Inert Gas. Most MIG welders use a gas mixture of 75% Argon and 25% Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as the shielding. Because of MIGS dependence on three components, power supply, wire and gas a MIG welder should not be the first consideration for a survivalist.
Stick welders are dependent on just two components, power supply and rods - making them a better choice then a MIG welder.
The Flux-core welder uses just two components, power supply and wire. Because of of just using these two components, this makes it an ideal choice for the beginner welder, as well as the advanced welder.
Please be aware that both the MIG and Flux-core welder use a piece called a “tip.” Just buy a few extra if you decide to buy one of these welders.
The first recommendation for the survivalist welder is a flux core welding machine. One of the first temptations is to go out an buy an all-in-one welder, please do not do that. As a survivalist, you should already have a good generator on hand – right? Lets save some money by not buying a second generator – the one that will come in the welder. With an all-in-one unit, if the power supply goes out, the welder is down. By using a separate power supply, separate from the welder, if the power supply (the generator) goes out – just find another source of power. Having the welder separate from the power supply makes it more portable. Instead of having to pull a trailer with a welding machine on it, the separate pieces can be loaded into a truck bed or even the back of a SUV. This would be almost impossible with an all in one unit. When buying the Flux-core wire, look for wire with E70 or E71 marked on it. This wire will hold 70,000 lbs per square inch, that is a lot of pressure.
If you are going to spend the money for a welder, get a “DC” or a “AC-DC” The second recommendation for a survivalist is a stick rod weldingwelding machine, not just an “AC.” This advice, if followed will save the end user a lot of misery later on.
502 and 505: First, unless you have a reason to do so, NEVER use a welding rod marked 502 or 505 on anything. These welding rods have a high chromium content. If the base metal is not preheated to at least 400 degrees F., the weld will be brittle and will break. Welding rods marked with this 502 and 505 must be used in a controlled environment, they are not for home or farm use. If you have nothing else but these 500 series rods and you have to use them, consider the welds weak and do not trust them.
6011 and 6010: The 60 series rods are the bottom of the bucket. Welds with these rods are weaker then the 70XX series. However, if the welding machine is just “AC” these rods are good for tacking.
7018: This section also covers 7018, 7018-1, and 7018-HX where X is a number. This family of welding rods will handle 70,000 lbs per square inch. Consider the 70 series rod to be top of the line. For the survivalist welder, rod size should not exceed 1/8. 3/32 is a good all around rod size, but 1/8 is optimal. Both the 3/32 and 1/8 are good for flat, vertical and overhead welding. Rod size of 5/32 and above are not good for vertical welding. Since the survivalist can not know what situations they will be exposed to, expect to have to weld in any position. With buying the bigger rods, the user eliminates being able to weld vertical.
8018: This rod contains a higher level of chromium then the 7018 series. After the welder uses all of their 7018 rods, the 8018 should be the next choice. Cooling MOST be controlled if a 8018 rod was used. The metal can NOT cool off too fast or the metal will crack. The base metal should be preheated to 250+, but should not exceed 400 degrees before welding with an 8018 rod. The weld and base metal should be wrapped with blankets or rags so the metal does not cool too fast. The faster the weld and metal cools, the more likely that cracks will appear.
9018: This rod should not be considered for welding on carbon steel base metal. The 9018 rod falls in between the the 502 and the 8018 series. This rod has a higher chromium content then the 8018 series, but lower then the 502 and 505 family.
308 and 308L: The 308 rod is for welding stainless to stainless. Only use this rod as a last resort. The “L” stands for low carbon content.
309 and 309L: 309 is used to weld carbon to stainless. If this is all you have, its ok to weld carbon to carbon. The “L” stands for low carbon content.
316 and 316L: These are the top of the line in stainless rods. Only use these rods to weld stainless to stainless.
Stainless rods can not be used to weld vertical. Professional welders know tricks to be able to weld stainless uphill. For the beginner, please do not expect to weld stainless uphill or vertical.
In the picture below you can see the generator in the bed of the truck and the wire feeder on the ground. If need be, this set up can be loaded in the back of a SUV and in some cases the trunk of a large car. In rough terrain, this 4 wheel drive can go places by itself where it would be almost impossible to pull a trailer.
The difference between a MIG welder and a FLUX core welder.
MIG stands for metallic inert gas. In other words, to have a true MIG welder, compressed gas will be used to cover the weld puddle. Usually MIG gas will be composed of 75 percent argon and 25 percent carbon dioxide. Because compressed gas can dangerous it is not recommended for a survival situation. Plus, when your gas runs out, your welding will have to stop. Even if the person has 100 pounds of MIG wire, with no gas all that mig wire is useless.
Flux core welding does not require a compressed gas as the shield to cover the weld puddle. Instead flux core wire has a "flux" in the middle of the wire, thus the name "Flux core". Unlike MIG welding, if the user has 100 pounds of flux core wire, the welder can lay down 100 pounds of weld.
In the picture below is a Craftsman Flux core welding machine. This unit plugs into a standard 120 volt household plug. A welding machine with a 220 plug will be able to put out more weld. HOWEVER, before everyone goes out and buys a 220 volt welding machine, keep in mind there are several different types of plugs for 220. Unlike 120 volt, which has just the one kind - a three prong plug. The 220 voltage plugs come in a wide range of configurations. If the decision is made to buy a welding machine with a 220 volt plug - make sure to purchase some adapters to match up with the different configurations.
The Flux core wire comes in one pound spools. These spools fit onto a spindle in the welding machine, as in the picture below. A set of rollers pulls the wire and feeds it into the welding lead.
There is about 8 feet of lead, with this "gun" or " welding head" on the other end. All the wleder has to do is pull the red trigger to start welding. Pulling the trigger is what makes Flux core welding so much easier for the beginner welder. As compared to "tapping" a welding rod to start the arch, with the Flux core welder, just get into a ready position and pull the trigger.
This flux core wire is in the 70,000 lb class. This means that one square inch of weld will hold about 70,000 pounds. The end of this weld has pen holes in it, pen holes will make the weld weak. So this weld will not hold its full rating. This is 3 passes with the flux core wire - one down and two showing. Welds come in sizes - this is about a 5/16 weld.
To get the beginner welder started on their search for a flux core welding by craftsman and is a 120 volt welder. This is the same machine: The first welder I suggest is something along the lines of the welder int his article.
Here is a link to the Lincoln Welding MIG and Flux core section. Take a look at the SP-135T and the SP-135 Plus as starters.