Wanna-Be Weld needs help!!!

Well, first let me say that I have enjoyed reading all of the posts over the past week. I have learned so much from many of you. However, there is one question that I just can't see to figure out, which is the reason that I came here to begin with. Here is my senario of what I would like to do. I am sure that it requires more than one welder...but I would like to get away with just one for now...so which one?

I had taken a welding class many years ago...about 20, in arc welding, mig and tig (which I never could do effectively (tig)) so I am a tad familar with at the very least....the type of welding. Here is what I would like to do:

My end goal is to be able to weld anodized aluminum (at least thats what I think it is called). I envision myself making marine products such as rod holders, leaning posts, wading platforms, poling platforms and towers.

From what I have read, this is very difficult to do and requires a

really good machine. I understand that tig is the way to go, but it can be done successfully with a good mig machine and a spool gun. I went to a local welding supply company and they recommended a Lincoln 255 with a spool gun for a whopping 2500.00. Well, I don't think I am quite there yet! That is way too much money for a beginner with no market or talent in welding aluminum. So, what I thought was that I could by a much cheaper machine and weld some metal projects to sell and build up enough money to buy a good machine. I was thinking that I could make some coffee tables, speaker stands, coat racks, southwest designs and etc.... I would imagine that I need to weld as small as 1/16 and up to

1/4 inch. So now the real question? What do I buy?

I have been looking at a Lincoln AC/DC 225 and a Lincoln pro mig 140. Which would be my best choice from what I have described? Could I do aluminum without forking out another 500 bucks? Is there a better welder that would meet my needs in the same price range? I am really confused on what I need to get started. Please help.


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Speaking from real recent experience, it can be very hard to get product liability insurance on a small one-man fabrication company especially if it's right in your house. It also may be quite difficult to find a market to sell the products you imagine.

I have not found a cheap way to tool up to weld aluminum. You might be able to get a cheap old stick welder and use a Readywelder (readywelder.com). Most yacht guys with money want stainless, not anodized aluminum anyway.

I suggest you really sharpen your pencil on this whole proposition. If you want to make money, you'd better know what you're doing *exactly*.


Reply to
Grant Erwin

Real world experience here- A lot of you know this drill, I know it. To be honest, If you want to make Al. parts or anything close you are going to need a high-end GTAW machine. Nothing else is going to be your companion except consistent output and having the machine do it's work; properly at that. The rest will lay in your hands and a lot of mistakes and a lot of practice. To put it in perspective, A few years ago I "learned" GTAW and had average SMAW/GMAW and the gas. You can, and can learn to TIG well, it's mind over matter. Before I started my work looked like it went through a shredder after I blew holes all over. Today, I make Al. intakes for dragsters, blower manifolds, conventional intakes, and exhaust for dragsters and funny-cars. I did it out of an apartment when I ended a relationship. I now have a 5000' shop in the works. Before throwing in the towel. You don't need a top- end to learn but you will thankyourself for it in production. Or outsource the welding, patent the part and as mentioned- Insure the crap out of yourself! We are the prey the suit-scum feed upon. I started with a Miller SD180 and a AeroWave (500) I just bought two Syncrowave 350's to keep up with demand. Also a GREAT welder is the Miller Maxstar line.

Hope some of this helps,

Rob Fraser

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Robert Ball

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