Picture of Cheap Welding for Punks
Cheap homemade welders compared: AC stick, DC stick, DC spoolgun. Oxyfuel discussion.

Welding is usually the easiest and quickest way to build something.
You just put the parts next to each other and weld them.
You don't have to drill bolt holes and go to the hardware store for bolts.
Metal doesn't split like wood. It doesn't have grain and knots that make every piece different.
You can get all kinds of scrap metal for free. Bed frames, parts of old cars, etc etc.
And you can make your own welder for free or close to it.

Don't have access to a welder? LIAR!! All it takes is some junk car batteries and a welding rod.
Or some dead microwave ovens to butcher for the transformers.
Make your own industrial revolution!

Make these welders yourself!
AC stick welder,
DC stick welding with car batteries
wirefeed spoolgun with car batteries
Solar powered battery welder

This instructable is my "table of contents" for welding projects. When I do more projects I'll add more steps here to link to them.
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Step 1: Welding With Books!

Picture of Welding With Books!
The most important welding tool is... INFORMATION.
Whenever I screw up a weld, I go look up how I should have done it. Sure enough, there's a proper polarity, current, feed rate, shielding gas/flow rate, flux etc for the weld. I do it that way, and suddenly I'm a great welder.

No matter how many welding books I get, I need them all. There's some kind of Japanese-style collusion between publishers to distribute the information between all the books. None of them have all the information you need. Every book will add a lot of information the others don't have. They also tend to devote a lot of space to info you'll never need, like how to weld train tracks using an automated submerged-arc machine.

The Miller online welding calculators are really good, especially for something like TIG that has 5 or 6 different parameters.
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johnsonpaul17 hours ago

nice collectin dude

GrahamAbbey24 days ago

i totally love this work....

Rejanblink2 months ago

cant get the solar powered battery shipped to my place :-(

Cringojames2 months ago

This is amazingly useful and affordable

Davementor2 months ago

great stuff

StevenMccan2 months ago

This looks affordable

KanwarSingh2 months ago

awesome work buddy .........keep it up :)

HarryLaine3 months ago

just one word-epic :)!!!!!!!!

indiadumbells3 months ago

Great tut sir

awesome stufff

Alexisanchez4 months ago


Alexisanchez4 months ago


nice 1

this is really cool

Clint Dempey4 months ago


etcmn6 months ago

Nice, thanks for the comparison of the different types.

bettina-sisr10 months ago
Hi I got 7 different sized welding tips, 2 cutting torches, 2 sets of hoses all for under $30 at various garage sales, thrift stores and from friends done with 'em. (Mostly from yard sales). A lot of the time the Mrs. is running the sale and the Mr. put some stuff out and as I am a woman too there is usually some gabbing, then a sale for them, and welding equip for me! Everyone's happy! It just takes looking around. The hoses I got at Habitat for Humanity Resale store and 1 at Good Will. Oh and Tim have you tried guitar strings yet (for filler rod)? I love your experimentation and your obvious love of creativity!
Krimm2 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
chip123 Krimm2 years ago
Is it called glue, by any chance? :P
pdub77 chip1231 year ago
^that guy^
cherze2 years ago
aluminum welding produces a very harmful smoke for your lungs. You must use a respiratory mask that brings pushed air from at least a few feets away.
1 lung full of hydrogen + 1 electric arc = many pieces of TimAnderson scattered around the countryside ... love the instructable though.
DeanGPotts1 year ago
i genuinely fear for your life!! ... but i love this project and may give it a try real soon.
skaar2 years ago
i have a mig welder, 120v plug in thing, takes more amps than the circuits in my apartment allows, so it's sitting there. it's dc output, and i've got plans to bypass the transformers to make it dc input. finding a schematic has been a tad less than easy, and i'm not up enough on electronics to figure out all the details, mostly being chicken to break something, can't afford to replace much.
so, maybe there's a generic method for finding out where the dc output is from the power supply, the heavy duty stuff is unfamiliar, and i'd guess these things are generic enough that all are familiar.
intended power source is car battery with small charger motor/windmill through alternator, that i'm more comfy with.
eric m5 years ago
Gas welding costs too much. I really don't understand the reason that torches and regulators cost at least $150. Don't forget tanks that cost another $200. And it seems less and less people are gas welding. Someone needs to make a cheap torch and rig for like $50 but i haven't seen them. Maybe someone from instructables could make a cheaper alternative homemade torch. Need less costly regulators too.
skrubol eric m3 years ago
Tanks are expensive as well because of the pressure the O2 tank has to deal with and storing Acetylene isn't as simple as just compressing it and putting it in a tank (I believe there is a liquid in acetylene tanks usually for the acetylene to absorb into.) This, I assume, is why I've never seen disposable acetylene tanks.

You can get an oxy-mapp welding setup for around $50. It's utter crap, but it can be used to weld. The regulators are.. not, they're just needle valves and it uses disposable o2 and mapp tanks. Disposable o2 tanks get expensive really quickly though, as they aren't as high pressure as the refillable kind. It's a false economy unless you only use it for a few minutes (how long an o2 tank lasts) per year.
yeah, acetylene tanks are full of cardboard soaked in acetone. another useless fact courtesy yours truly.
I know im really late posting. sorry.
its not cardboard, but close. i have an acetylene tank that my welding teacher cut in half without dying somehow (i havent asked him how he did it, and he did it before i joined the class) but inside the tank is a chalky white substance that you can poke with a bit of force using your finger nail and it will leave a permanent indentation, and if you drag your finger on it it feels like really textured drywall. the acetylene absorbs into this material to provide stability (acetylene is EXTREMELY unstable and wants to explode when disturbed).
Jake-off eric m3 years ago
Actually I was watching a tv show recently called stuck with hackett, this hobo looking man goes around building amazing things out of complete junk. One invention was a make shift gas torch out of an old water filter, and surgical tubing. Its not exactly safe but if you're still interested I'd look into it
I know I am almost 3 years late, But today I bought an Oxy/Acetylene Kit for $89.00 + 20% off, From HF. It is ofcourse chinese, but it honestly works the same as my Victor Oxy/Acetylene. It came with Hoses, Regulators, Cutting, and Soldering Tips. Plus a Striker ans a pair of welding goggles, and a few rods. Total was $71.90
I am not trying to give a free commercial to them, but they have very cheap stuff, otherwise offensively expensive.
pfred2 eric m5 years ago
Cheap gas rigs are in a word, cheap! Nothing worse than gauges that creep, and when I am playing with explosive gasses the last thing I want to think about is equipment failure. I like my Smiths gas welding equipment myself. My rig cost a couple grand. I've had the cheap stuff too.
benner81 eric m5 years ago
The regulators are the big cost, mostly because they have to reduce oxygen pressure from 3000 psi on a full tank to something like 30 psi for cutting. However, if you want to save money, you can buy a pretty decent gas setup at Harbor Freight for around $100 (on sale, which is like every five weeks or so) and some gas companies will let you rent tanks for less than 50 cents a day (plus the cost of gas).
Dr Qui2 years ago
Do these methods work for thrash metalers goths and emos or just for punks?
piper12343 years ago
mm you never know when you gonna need to weld rail tracks with a submarined arc weld.... or how was it? :P haha ;) thanks for the info, blessings
gold034 years ago
The battery welding technique is used in the field by guys who are four wheeling, and break stuff off their truck like shocks or springs. I have seen a drive shaft repaired in the field using exhaust tubing and batteries. 

This is an emergency fix to get you back to civilization where a nice, neat, strong repair can be made.

Everyone who wanders the earth, should know this particular skill.
abadfart gold034 years ago
iv seen it done with a spare alternator for work on remote areas 
skaar abadfart3 years ago here's a setup that uses an alternator...
reinlar3 years ago
I have a Lincoln flux core welder too. My wire feed can be set to zero, so I'm planing to skip the over-ride switch you call for and just make a thick rubberband from a bicycle tire tube (about 1" wide) to hold the standard hand switch to the "on" position. One less step to do, then add a single standard welding lead attaching plug to the cabinet, to stick my cable and electrode holder into (that came from an old Lincoln Buzz-box welder). So, rubber-band, one extra outlet on the cabinet, = combo stick and wire-feed welder ! TAAA-DAAH !!!

Now I'm wondering if I could attach a cheap TIG hand-grip and gas cable, use the accessory MIG (gas-shielded) kit which I bought to turn this flux-core into a real gas MIG, and do some TIG welding??? Could this be possible??? Anyone out there done it before??? I suppose the only real challenge would be heat control, but maybe a by-pass circuit could allow use of a standard foot pedal. Ideas anybody???

Thanks, for the great instructable Tim. You may have inspired my to build the worlds cheapest FLUX-MIG-TIG-Stick Welder !!!

BTW- I'm also working on a cheap wire-feed gun using a standard battery-powered drill
chuckyd3 years ago
The discussion about the number of days required to pay for a helment is irrelevant. The real question is how many days will be spent in the hosptial recovering from a burned face received from the newspaper, and will he ever see again after burning his eyeballs?
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