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.

Step 1: 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.
<p>Superb work!!</p>
<p>Hello Tim,</p><p>I enjoyed your article, but I must point out one minor flaw. Acetylene is great for welding not only because of the high heat but also it's shielding properties for the weld puddle. Propane should not be used to weld as it does not have the same shielding characteristics, and will result in porosity in the weld. PS: I use gas welding on darn near everything, especially motorcycle repair and bodywork. It is becoming a lost art but it does work great.</p>
<p>what shielding properties? acetylene has a higher temperature but that's it </p>
Propane is great for cutting. There is a good reason that propane is not used industry wide for welding. Acetylene's flame is not only hotter, but a slightly carburising flame makes for a high quality weld due to the molecular properties of acetylene. You could weld with propane, but with much less quality.
Along with the ventilation system, you should also drink a tall glass of milk after your finished welding,Don't know why but a well known welder told me that milk can be used as an antidote to the fumes.
<p>that's a myth and it reffered to the zinc fumes from welding galvanized material</p>
Something in milk (a quick google doesn't turn up the exact chemistry) helps absorb zinc from the bloodstream- zinc is thought to be the main cause of "welding fever". It seems like it's thought to be a decent treatment for some of the symptoms, but not a good replacement for having adequate ventilation and/or a respirator in the first place. Also, of course, I have no idea if it does anything about other nasties like manganese, chromium, aluminium etc...
Heavy metal salt ions are very reactive in solution, attacking the proteins of your body. The milk gives it proteins to attack and pushes the reaction towards completion lowering the molarity of ions in solution to "attack"(read, react with) the body. You can't breathe milk, however, so a respirator and ventilation system is still a great idea, as stated before.
You <em>could</em> breathe through a hookah or bong, filled with milk. A respirator is probably easier and cheaper, albeit not as weird.<br/>
<p>haha, bong filled with milk. thanks for the funny comment. So many ibles out there with endless safety discussions that add nothing to the ible. There should be a separate section for safety comments. At least that was a good laugh.</p>
That's an interesting idea, but it doesn't make sense. The main protein from milk (casein) should not be crossing over into your blood stream. If it is you have far bigger problems than a case of welder's flu. The first stop is in the stomach, where the acidity causes the casein to curdle (as in cheese). At the same time enzymes (biological chemicals) break down casein into smaller pieces. The next stop is the duodenum where more digestive goo is mixed in causing further digestion. Things are pretty well mixed up and torn apart by then. Further enzymatic digestion occurs in the small intestine (to some extent), and absorption into the body occurs in the same structure. Your body pretty much maintain the same molarity of proteins, ions and other goodies at all times. There are exceptions to this, but they are rare. Your kidneys remove excess ions, waste products and some proteins. They also can remove water to maintain a constant osmotic pressure. In the end who knows why milk is said to help welding fever? Most of the welders I know tend to favor beer as a post work beverage. Perhaps the fact that they are NOT drinking beer is more important than drinking milk. Alcohol is a diuretic (which means that it causes your body to remove water than normal). Maybe it is because you are not out with your friends drinking away and rather resting is more important (not too many bars sell large glasses of milk.) Maybe it is more important to maintain hydration? Working in areas with poor ventilation suggests cramped quarters that may be hot. This is the great thing about science. We can (well theoretically, poisoning people isn't exactly an ethical thing to do) test all of this scenarios and find an answer.
Not 100% sure if you were responding to me or not, but I felt obliged to point out that I mean milk drank specifically after ingesting heavy metal. They are in the same physical location, and don't need to travel anywhere.
I was writing in response to you. The various metals you are describing are inhaled, as they are in fume form. Some may dissolve in the saliva during the brief time it is in the nasal/mouth system in the way to the lungs. But as a whole, you'll breathe it in and that's the real problem. So...unless you breathe milk I'd say it wouldn't work :-)
Seriously, are you kidding? Did you not read my initial post before you replied? Because that is exactly what I said.
<strong>Dec 9, 2008. 1:49 PM</strong><br/><em>You can't breathe milk, however, so a respirator and ventilation system is still a great idea, as stated before.</em><br/><br/>Yes...I saw that post. I did think it was funny.<br/><br/><strong>Dec 12, 2008. 11:38 AM</strong><br/><em>Not 100% sure if you were responding to me or not, but I felt obliged to point out that I mean milk drank specifically after ingesting heavy metal. They are in the same physical location, and don't need to travel anywhere.</em><br/><br/>This is what I was responding to in the follow up post. That's why I placed it underneath your drinking milk to stop welder's flu bit. You specifically stated that the metal salts are in the same location as your digestive tract. I was trying to point out that's not where you find them (in your digestive tract.)<br/><br/><strong>Dec 13, 2008. 4:04 PM</strong><br/><em>Seriously, are you kidding? Did you not read my initial post before you replied? Because that is exactly what I said.</em><br/><br/>Yes, I was kidding. Yes, I did read your previous posts. I was responding to you saying that there was a specific answer to why the drink milk business might work.<br/><br/><strong>Why I answered this question</strong><br/>I thought it was a good idea to offer a counterpoint. I would hate to think anyone might try to weld some metal that off-gassed a zinc compound AND then drink milk to prevent sickness. I doubt that it would work.<br/><br/>I wanted to encourage people to use proper equipment, and why folk treatments are a bad idea in this case. I can see in some bizarre situations how drinking milk might help, but it is far more likely that your kidneys would handle clean up. Heavy metals are secreted in urine, not through the digestive track. Your kidneys have to deal with the effects of osmotic changes AND high concentrations of toxic metals.<br/>
I will happily play the unwitting windmill to your Quixote in this strange, online morality play, as long as the moral at the end is "be safe". *("Be excellent to each other" was also an acceptable answer. -Alex T.)
sigh... I agree, let's be safe. Use a mask. Have the milk for cookies, not for welding maladies. "Weld unto others as you would weld unto them" - Iron Jesus Gospel of Alchemy
I am wondering why no one ever told me that welding fumes are dangerous. I used to work assembly and packaging at a metal shop, and over time I started operating a welding robotic arm full time and doing some small welding jobs from time to time within the company. So I never took any official classes or training, but over time just started being around the welding constantly. I learned quickly to keep my helmet down to protect my eyes and skin from sunburn, but no one ever told me the fumes were dangerous. Are all welding fumes dangerous, or only certain types?
YOU ARE GOING TO DIE! Well, it depends on a lot of things, but the best guess is sometime in your 80s at this point. You had a crappy health and safety program at your work. They should of supplied proper safety training and products. That said, Republican administrations tend to "relax" regulations on employee safety. It's the whole "small government" philosophy. This isn't a political statement of mine, but one that is platform of the Republican Party. One of the most infamous cases was the mine collapses in the last couple of years. You don't have to rescind the rules. Instead you cut the number of inspectors to an area. The other thing an administration can do is make it less expensive to appeal an infraction (lower fines, more time for compliance, etc.) Economics can be a really neat thing to study. I don't wear a tie (hate them) and I drive a beat up car. There are a lot of real world consequences from elections and political ideology.
I know stainless if overheated will put out zinc oxide, which shouldn't be breathed. I just bought a small book on welding, as I'm just learning, but haven't had time to read it, as I've just finished finals yesterday. If I turn anything up, I'll share.
I took a couple welding classes, and I don't recall ever being warned about it. Certainly I never wore a respirator in class or saw a welder wearing one.<br/>Stick and fluxcore fumes are bad, and some others. I think gas on steel is fine.<br/>My metal comes from junk, so there's always some finish to grind off or get burned in the weld, either way there's crap in the air. I'm really glad to know how to <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.instructables.com/id/GasMask/">make my own gas mask</a> now.<br/><br/>
Thats why is said "along with", I never intended someone to think differentley.
Good point- it was just your phrase "an antidote to the fumes" sounded a bit general.
Even better is to not let that stuff get into you in the first place. A decent respirator is not that expensive.
Had i not seen the posts from stasterisk, the king of random and your posts i would not have went ahead and build my ac stick welder. I am continiously improving it also. It has given me ideas to continously improve on the design. Since then i have been welding as much as possible. Had i not seen this article i wouldnt have tried.
<p>Thumbs down, 1 for the name of your article and two for the way you wrote it. If you can't come off like a nice person then get off.</p>
<p>I think the punks part was referring to steampunks, so it might not have been as negative as it seems.</p>
hey man. chill.
<p>Great work.</p>
<p>Nice work.</p>
<p>Extra ordinary Work.</p>
<p>Very nice</p>
<p>Fabulous work.</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of www.zcorp.com, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
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