Welders ready to try. Ask for a testdrive before you buy. Most stores will work with you to meet your needs.
Welders ready to try. Ask for a testdrive before you buy. Most stores will work with you t
The local vocational schools may offer classes. We've found it pays to shop vocational schools. The school closest to us offers a basic welding class with 76 hours of training in gas and arc welding for $732 plus textbook. This school also has a Level II class with 100 hours of training for $975. That's 176 hours of training for $1,707.
The vocational school in the next county has welding classes broken out by process that gives the student Gas: 48 hours of training for $285, MIG: 32 hours for $216, Stick: 64 hours for $374, and TIG: 48 hours for $285. That's 192 hours of training for $1,160. The benefit here, besides cost, is you pick the processes you want to learn.
Also there are schools that cater to the welding professional. One of the oldest and largest is the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Troy, Ohio. With 143 welding booths and 18 full-time instructors, it is one of the best training facilities in the country. Its classes average two weeks for about $800 and are process or career specific.
Another is the Lincoln Electric Welding School in Cleveland. Its classes average one to two weeks and cost about $350 per week.
There are a number of very good books that provide a basic understanding of welding. Two of our favorites are both by Richard Finch, Welder's Handbook and Performance Welding. Both of these are very good reads and for referencing, when you haven't welded something in a while.
Get to know the guys at your local store. They can be a valuable resource when starting to weld.
Get to know the guys at your local store. They can be a valuable resource when starting to
Buying welding equipment is going to take a very serious assessment of your welding needs. If you buy equipment that is underpowered, you'll be frustrated forever. On the other hand, if you buy a welder that is more than you'll ever need, you end up wasting money that could be spent on your projects. Finding a balance gives you the best of both worlds.
Where to buy can be a tough decision. The Internet has bargains galore, but how much follow-up do you get if there's a problem? When buying equipment, we looked at five welding suppliers in the area plus two from the Internet. In the end, we purchased from one of the locals. While its price was slightly higher, the value it provides by being local is well worth the little more spent. This has proven to be a very beneficial relationship. Whenever there is something difficult to weld, they are always ready to help.
In upcoming issues we'll look at the two most popular processes for motorcycle work, TIG and MIG, in greater detail.
A brief comparison of common welding processes-Miller Electric Mfg.
|Type of metal that can be welded
||Steel, stainless and aluminum
||All weldable metals
||24 gauge (.025") and up
||.010" and up
|Practice time required to be proficient
|Purchase price for home-use units