newbie with a bit of a story

in my previous job, I learned how to weld with a gas MIG welder, and did quite a few projects with them (some being load bearing carts with load
ratings in 1000s of lbs in glass) not offcial training, no certification, but I was sure fo the welds i made.
my primary hobby is model rocketry, NOT welding. try to keep this in mind for the following.....
we are getting into hybrid engines that use liquid nitrous oxide. shopping around for nox has found that the cheapest setup is a 200lb tank. one of the other projects we want is a large launch pad that would be towed on a trailer.
another rocket club is upgrading to a different trailer, and has offered their old one to us. it is a converted pop up camper that they gutted and used to store their launch gear in.
a distant friend of mine gave me an arc welder. a bit more on that later, but i got it for free.
ok, so I will be getting a trailer that i can convert to a large launch tower trailer, plus i need a way to transport a 200lb nox tank, plus i know how to weld with MIG. also i'd rather spend money on rocket gear than welding gear.
so, I'd like to weld a rack to hold the nox tank to the trailer, plus do the welding for the launch rail assemblies that will be worked up, plus maybe a framework or two for strorage cabinets.
my father has an arc welder, but he does not have welding for a hobby either. but he gives me some tips and concludes the welder should do the work i need of it.
So i crank up that freebie arc welder i got. it is a montgomery ward 120V 110A stick welder that must have been the cheapest welder ever sold. the ground and electrode clamps were made out of real cheap battery clamps, which had rusted out over time. I grabbed my dads old helmet, got some gloves and some 6011 rod and tried to burn some holes in an old box spring angle i had.
lots of sparks, but no sustainable arc.
I figgured this was because of poor connections, bad clamps, rusty metal, and all other sorts of nusiances. so next paychek i grabbed myself a cheap angle grinder(needed one anyway) a 200amp ground clamp and 200amp electrode holder (cheapest i could find, still good quality i think)
so, i get things set up, get me a good connection, and try to draw some beads in the limited time i had left. still couldnt get anything to work great, but with much frustration i did get a bead 1 inch long with lots of snot and spatter nearby.
so a few simple questions.
what should i use to build the rack with? I was thinking 2x2x1/8 angle. the reason i ask this question first is.......
will this welder handle the material i want to use?
I have two months before the trailer arives. I dont think i can get a class in time, what do you suggest i do to improve my skills?
should i stick with this, or try to find a rentable gas MIG *OR* farm this out to a shop *OR* find a rentable fluxcore and try that. money is tight.
When i was welding at my previous job, I was accused of making my welds too strong. I'd rather have my welds too strong instead of getting someone hurt, and this goes double for a gas bottle that is going to be traveling the roads on atrailer that will get next to zero in maintenance(ideally)
looking for any and all suggestions, I got two months to decide. will probably play with this arc welder anyway, as i got rods for it and it does apear to work right.
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oh, before someone screams that I should Google the archives, I am in the process of doing so now.

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oh and other limitations
no workshop. just room enough to stash the little welder. plenty of outdoor space tho. hence the trailer with the bottle rack is going to be "all weather"
no 240v outlet.

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A newbie will not like the 120 volt stick welders. Not that you can't do decent work with one (with LOTS of limitations!) but they generally have a very low OCV (Open Circuit Voltage) that makes it tough to start and hold an arc. With practice it is an irritation, a newbie may find it a roadblock.
Pop for some NEW welding rod, I'd suggest a couple pounds of 3/32" 6011. I hope your welder has enough amps to run the 3/32" if not you might as well try something different. The 6011 is fairly harsh rod that will give you good penetration on old/rusty/painted steel at the expense of nice looking welds. 3/32" rod is fine for 1/8" thick angle, you can do 3/16" with some practice. If you want some nicer looking welds, try 6013 in the 3/32" size.
Tater Schuld wrote:

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SNIP-Snip-snip
The first welder I ever bought for use at home was a Monkey Wards 110v welder. Man that was a long long time ago. It didn't even have cheap battery clamps. The ground had to be clamped to the work by vise grips, "C" clamp or have a heavy rock set on top of it. The electrode holder was a piece of partially flattened 1/2 inch tubing that had a 1/4 inch hole drilled through it from side to side with a thumb screw. You put the welding rod through this hole and tightened the thumb screw in place to hold it. Or you could put a single 1/4 inch carbon rod in it for brazing or heating things.
The first thing I built was a heavy duty folding tow bar, for towing a 1956 Jaguar from Oceanside Calif. to Raleigh NC. Next I build a boat trailer for a 16 foot wooden boat. It was barely adequate.
I found that if I did a lot of preparation work, beveling edges and making multiple passes it would get the job done, but it was slow. And it took some practice and a real steady hand to get good a it. Later on I bought a "tombstone" welder (Lincoln AC225) but kept the little one around as a spare.
I finally gave it to my son about 10 years ago and he used it to put a long tongue and a storage box on the back half of a 80 Chevy pickup to make a trailer to haul a large cab-over camper. He hauled a large cab over camper around for several years and actually lived in the camper for a while. Today the camper and the trailer both se behind my shop waiting for the next trip. I added a lift cylinder to make the pickup bed on it into a dump bed. We have 3000 lbs of gravel in the trailer when we redid our driveway a few years ago. he point being hat he tongue my son welded on with the 110v welder hasn't broken yet. And my son has some Liberal Arts degrees, and is not a welder by any means.
Yes it can be done. In fact you as a beginner will probably get better welds (penetration and strength) with it, than you would with a 110v MIG welder. Of course the MIG welder is easier for a beginner to make pretty welds with. But I prefer strong welds.
What happened to the welder? Well the case finally had more rust holes in it than Swiss cheese, it got wet and fried itself a couple of years ago. I definitely got my money out of I.
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wrote:

Ive got a very elderly Marquette 110vt buzzbox, with 3 outputs...25/50/90 amps. It will run on a 20 amp breaker and produce moderatly decent welds...but it likes to stick the rod to the work piece if you are not careful.
I broke out welding with that old beast...using 3/32 6011. I still drag it out once in a while and fire it up, just to see if it still works. I think it will be working long after Im gone. Gods know how many owners its had before me. When I got my first tombstone..I was in hog heaven.
Gunner
"I think this is because of your belief in biological Marxism. As a genetic communist you feel that noticing behavioural patterns relating to race would cause a conflict with your belief in biological Marxism." Big Pete, famous Usenet Racist
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in
OK - 'When I was a lad' time again!
My first welder was based on a big transformer I bought for scrap from the firm I worked for. I kept the mains primary but unwound the secondary and wound one with the heaviest cable I could find. First job was to weld a new floor pan in my Austin Healey Frog Eyed Sprite (this was 1968-9). Not pretty, but it got through it's MOT ! Totally unsuitable welder for the job but needs must when the devil drives <G>
AWEM
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sounds about right, I was having a heck of a time keeping an arc. glad to know it is the welders limitations and not mine. I thought maybe the welder was broke.
I have a pound of 1/8" 6011 and 3/32" 6011 that i need to use up regardless what i do about the launch trailer. so i'll be practicing and experimenting with settings and stuff.
I got an angle grinder with cup brush and grinding wheels, and should be able to clean parts down to real good metal. any suggestions besides 6013? It looks like getting and keeping the arc are my problems (and could be atributed to poor MIG habits)
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If there is any chance you could get some time on a bigger welder to get your technique improved, that would help a lot. 6011 and 6013 were designed for low OCV buzz box welders, not much else to reccomend. I suspect your 1/8" rod will sit for a while, use the 3/32" first.
Tater wrote:

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Tater Schuld wrote:

thanks for the other replies everyone. can someone point me to place to determine a layout for the above? I'd like to start shopping for steel. the rack will be part of the trailer and not removeable. I'd like it sturdy enough for launch field bumps and highway potholes. anyone have designs that implement a 2nd change backup failsafe in case a weld or two did fail (I plan on designing so all the welds could fail and the bottle wont come off, but want to see others plans)
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