artist needs welding help!

I want to try the world of sculpting with metal-- primarily sculpting human
figures and abstract stuff less than 3 feet tall using wire or wire rods(1/8
to 1/2inch), scrap metal, etc. What type of welder or torch or whatever
would be best for me to use for getting started in this? Arc welder? MAPP
torch? Acetylene torch (explosive gas kinds of scares me though!)? Wire
feeder welder? Other?
I already do pretty good sculpting with clay, I do oil paintings, drawings,
etc. I just want to explore metal sculpture. Would like to keep the cost of
the equipment low if possible.
Reply to
Beowulf
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I vote for a small mig welder. Something that runs off 110V is easy to use, and sounds plenty strong for what you are asking. Get something that uses gas, it will leave a cleaner weld. It is wire fed, you pull the trigger, and it gives you arc, wire, and gas all at the same time. Very easy to use. Here is a link to what I am talking about, other companies make very comparable and competitive products
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Reply to
Rusted
Check out your local Community College and see if they have a beginning welding class.
I wouldn't recommend just going & buying a welder. You need skills & knowledge on how to achieve proper weld penetration for your work to be structurally sound. You will likely end up going with a MIG welder, though the ability of a 110v to weld 1/2" is questionable. I had originally planned to buy a 110, but am now realizing that a 110 is definitely not enough power and am trying to find a good deal on a used 220v.
Gas welding is completely safe, given that you know how to do it, either by reading, watching a video, or taking a class, and follwing safety guidelines.
-Tom
Reply to
TT
I question whether he really wants to weld half inch rod, or does he want to weld half inch tube. I suspect the latter, in which case the 110v should be just fine, unless there is some 1/2 inch tube with truly obscene wall thickness.
I would suggest a welding course that shows a broad range of types (MIG, stick, TIG, maybe gas) so that the OP has more than one 'brush in his pallet".
The only reason why 110v might not really be enough is in case the OP eventually wants to start making really big things.
Reply to
George Howell
"George Howell" wrote: (clip) I question whether he really wants to weld half inch rod, (clip) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ A lot of somewhat semi-serious work is made from re-bar. I have done it myself, and I used a 120 v flux-core MIG setup for some of it. Sculpture does not require full penetration, structural quality in most cases. Here comes my disclaimer: you have to know what to do and what to avoid--let's not have anything break and fall on someone.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
Exactly. As an artist, I just want to join metal together-- stronger than using epoxy glue, but no need for the strength of welded metal that must house people or support concrete, etc. I only plan on doing figurative metal sculptures under 36", so any welding/brazing that can join the metal part together should suffice.
Reply to
Beowulf
110mig welder will do fine. Flux core would be a good start.
Beowulf wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
This is where playing with both MIG and FCAW would be helpful for the artist. Does he want to clean flux off?
And I thought a little more about the 1/2" issue: couldn't you just go around it like you were doing pipe, but without the worry of blowout? Seems the worst thing that would happen is that the joint would be a little cold, but if you got at least 1/8" or so of penetration all the way 'round, it should stick quite well.
Reply to
George Howell
Sure, a gas Mig would be nice . But I doubt that the slag would be a big issue, flux core doesn't leave the big slag piles of stick rod. The big advantage is that it is much cheaper for the typical starving artist to get up and running. I'd also suspect that flux core would be easier for the typical lousy fitup, out of position, out in the wind, rusty or painted metal, etc artist welding. The only time I'd stick to a gas MIG is if the work area does not have proper ventelation. (Also quite common)
As for 1/2" stock, the typical artist type is looking to stick some 1/2" bar or whtever onto a piece of thin tube or plate. Non structural.
George Howell wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
I think the "find a local college course" suggestion earlier in the thread is a good one. It would be very satisfying to know what oxy-acet, MIG, stick and TIG handle like. Think it's going to come down to oxy-acet or MIG. Many go for MIG. MIG manageable for sculpture these days because of auto-darkening helmets. So can see, line up everything, holding some stuff in place with one hand, line up the torch THEN press the trigger to weld. When I were a lad, a long time ago, oxy-acet won because you could see what you were doing in ordinary light with the only slightly tinted oxy-acet goggles - and there is no "kick" as the wire first touches to work. Being able to see through auto-darkening helmet solves both - you can see, and you have hand free to hold things seeing as you don't have to use it to guide the torch to stay in the same place as close/flip-down your visor.
RS
RoyJ wrote:
'round,
Reply to
richard.smith.met
My conclusion also. I decided I should take a welding class at my college, then decide what will work best for me. Perhaps the teaching will let me play with metals and welders in an artistic way, realizing I am not pursuing an art career. I am a college teacher, so I get free tuition and am not pursuing a degree.
Reply to
Beowulf
You might even find an art class that teaches how to weld.
Dan
Reply to
dcaster
Beo,
Your question comes up with astounding frequency although your particular application - art sculpture - not as much.
The majority answer is nearly always "MIG welder".
However, I beg to differ.
I got interested in welding about 5 years ago. And at the time I asked "the question" on this same group: "MIG welder".
So, I went out and bought the biggest, finest MIG welder available at that time that would run on single phase 220v power.
This was a Millermatic 250X mig welder.
Since then, I have acquired enough welders to open a fair sized fab shop.
I have acquired oxyacetylene torches from the teeny weeny (Smith "Little Torch") the merely teeny (Meco Midget) to the exotic (Henrob/Dillon) to the smallish (Meco Aviator Jets)(my favorites) on up to medium and large Smith and Victor conventional torches.
I have acquired two huge square wave TIG welders (Miller Syncrowave 500s).
And I've bought "stick" welders. One is an old "round top" Lincoln 250 "Idealarc". Another is a Miller Maxstar 140.
I bought the Maxstar last. If I'd bought it first I might well have never bought any of the others.
But I don't regret owning any of 'em, including the Millermatic 250X MIG WELDER which I bought first - and use the least.
"Stick" welding has emerged as my personal favorite process. The Miller Maxstar 140 has emerged as my favorite machine.
But if I could only pick two these would be the Maxstar and the Meco Aviator Jet torch.
Stick welding is not hard to learn.
So them's my two cents.
Regards, Vern> snipped-for-privacy@ntlworld.com wrote:
Reply to
Vernon
I agree that stick welding is just not that hard to learn, takes perhaps a couple hours longer than the MIG, but try and sell that in today's world. For artistic work, I think I'd rather have the stick welder. Any one for a good old 'tombstone'?
Vern> Beo,
Reply to
RoyJ
I know someone who does this. If you get serious into it you will probably need all you have mentioned. Just like you get different effect with different brushes the same is true of the different welders. The welds are part of the art too.
Reply to
Jimmie

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