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omegagamer89

Cost Of Renting A Welder? (USA)

18 posts in this topic

Ok, so Ive obtained a used power chair, and Im debating whether to just strip off as much of the non-motor stuff as I can via just removing nuts & bolts, vs using an angle grinder to cut off all the non-essentials and then welding a frame to the motor.

Basically, if I go with the cutting and welding Im looking to do something similar to what Dragonlord did, as seen in this post.

The main issue is, I cant seem to find any info on where to rent a welder, or how much it would cost.

I thought that Home Depot had welders in their tool rental section, but Im looking on their website and dont see them. Im going to call the store after work to check with the rental clerk to be sure.

In the mean time, does anyone know where else I might be able to rent a basic welder in the US? More specifically, Im in Pennsylvania.

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Update: Called Home depot and they do indeed rent welders. Something like $29 for 4 hours with a $125 deposit. They said it is an electrical wire-feed welder.

So, I just want to make sure I understand what Im dealing with before I try any welding; My understanding is that the difference between TIG and MIG is that MIG welders use a filler or wire fed through the welding stick that acts sort of like glue or solder to bond two pieces of metal, whereas TIG usually just create a spark that is cleaner and hotter, and it actually melts the pieces of metal themselves together, is that correct?

Would TIG or MIG be better for this? I would imagine MIG, but I could easily be wrong so Id rather ask.

For the frame, I would just use something along the lines of this? Would aluminum or steel be better? Galvanized? Stainless?

Any general tips or hints for welding in general?

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Mig is easier for a novice to use. TIG requires the arc to melt both sides and then you have to feed filler rod in. It is not that easy to get a nice weld without practice. Mig, you just aim, pull ther trigger and the filler feeds itself. All you have to do is ensure clean metal and adjust teh voltage and wire feed speed to get a nice weld. I'd just go with steel. Once again, aluminium requires a different gas and filler and is more difficult. Kep away from Gal and stainless. Gal will cause nasty fules and crappy welds, and stainless needs TIG and different gas.

Hope that helps.

As for welding tips, cleanliness is next to godliness. Adjust the wire feed speed until it starts to force your handpiece back, tehn back it off a little. Adjust the voltage so it melts nicely but doesn't burn right through. Listen for a nice sizzling sound like frying bacon in a hot pan.

All the best,

Glenn.

Edited by Trackhappy
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I don't know much about welding but stainless and aluminium are very specialised and galvanised would mean a lot of cleaning before you start just stick with good fashioned steel

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Why necessarily rent? Have you checked local shops and sites like Craigslist? You can find an used welder for pretty cheap; probably cheaper than what renting one for a day would be.

MIG needs an Argon mix gas in order to work properly. This comes in canisters and is relatively expensive. You also need regulators, filters, hoses, etc. There is also Flux Core, which IS NOT MIG. However, it might work for you because it only requires a MIG welder and no Shielding Gas (but you can run it "Double Shielded" using gas anyway ;) ); on the other hand, it runs hotter.

If you have no welding experience you should better stay away from rented equipment and just buy an used welder. If you break it, you have no explaining to do. Some welding training is also a good idea. Check out WeldingTipsAndTricks and ChuckE2009 at YouTube.

Now, if you do not know even the basics about the electricity involved, you should stay away until you have a good understanding on them. Otherwise you might damage thing, damage yourself or set things ablaze.

TIG is harder and more expensive than MIG and you don't really need it. MIG will work nicely for steel.

You can also Stick weld with 6013 electrodes, however, I would not recommend it because it would be a pain at the back of your casing. ;)



Some Tips:
-The Galvanization can be sanded or grinned off.
-Small parts can be de-Galvanized by means of Vinegar. Leave over night.
-Zinc fumes from burning the galvanization will not kill you unless you burn too much of it. Exposure to small amounts may result in "Heavy Metal Fever". In any case, remove the damn thing and use a good respirator and good ventilation. ;)
-Use plain steel. It is cheaper and far sturdier that Aluminium and also much easier to work with as well as more forgiving.
-MIG is not just "Point And Shoot", it has it's learning curve.

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what ever you decide to use. do not use the metal for you frame for practice welding. get some scrap or use cutoffs for that. get comfortable using the equipment befor you atempt your final welding. Scinzon is correct, mig has a learning curve. Just remember, if you can't see the puddle you cant see the weld. Use a forhand, or push technique, this way you can see where you are going with the weld.

mig gun setup, contact tip 1/4 inch recessed in the gas nozzle, with 3/8 to 5/8 inch wire stickout. standoff while welding should be as close as you can get without dragging the nozzle. for mild steel you can use CO2 as you shielding gas, or if you want a hotter arc you can use mixed gas, Argon/CO2 mix 75/25 if it is available.

If you decide to use fluxcore, there are 2 types. Self shielding and dual shield. Self shielding tends to be a lot dirtier and messy than self shielding.

Aluminum can be welded using the mig process, it takes pure argon as the shielding gas. and has a steep learning curve.

USE YOUR PPE. I cant stress this enough. arc burn is bad enough on bare skin, you don't want it on your eyes. use a shade 10 lens to start with for welding anything. you can go up or down in shade if you have trouble seeing while welding. Also if you need reading glasses. you should get a diopter of the same strength for your welding helmet. Safety glasses should be worn at all times, even under your hood.

Paul

Adjunct welding instructor

Edited by Dalek-Mechtech
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Ok, so some weirdness; I just double checked with Home Depot, and they said that the welders they have to rent dont use any gas. They said they are electrical plug-in types similar to a MIG, but they dont use any gas. o_0

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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Its a gassless MIG, aka the flux cored stuff mentioned above. They work ok, produce a lot of smoke and it can be difficult to see your weld pool through the haze. Doesn't surprise me as gas hire is quite expensive and throw away bottles cost megabucks and last about 10 minutes.

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Gotcha. Ill have to have a big box fan blowing behind me to blow the smoke away from the work area. XD

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Just don't point the fan directly at the weld site, that gas is what keeps the oxygen away from the weld pool and makes a nice weld possible. After you have welded and let it cool, grab a wire brush to clean the covering (slag?) off before you condemn your work, the slag makes it look crap. Sounds like Paul has lots of good experienced advice. I always pull, not push, will have to give that technique a try.

And to reiterate what Paul said... COVER UP!!!. 5 minutes of MIG welding will give exposed skin a nasty sunburn.

Edited by Trackhappy
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Are there any maker spaces or Technical or Vocational colleges in your area where you could take a few classes and get your bearings about welding types, helmets, gloves and other safety equipment and welding techniques before you rent or buy something and start melting metal?

If you can afford it, look into the auto darkening helmets. Although they are pricy, vision is a really important sense. Protecting your eyes is a very good idea. With auto darkening, the visor is always between you and the arc. You see normally when not welding and don't have to worry about forgetting to bump your visor down before pulling the trigger.

Whether you rent or buy a welder, when you start practicing, remember that you cannot see regular flames, such as from wood burning, through a lens dark enough to protect your eyes from the brightness of the welding process. The tubes you are welding together get very hot for quite a distance from the joint and can burn skin or any flammable object with which they come into contact. Try not to start any fires, but be ready to put one out.

Be well,

Kathy

Former welding student

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There's a maker shop nearby, but they want $150 a month for a membership o_0

My dad was a mechanic for 20-odd years so he knows a few people who do welding, so he's going to see if he can get one of his buddies to help out. I think Ill also look up some youtube tutorials on the subject. I realize its not the same as taking a course, but its better than nothing.

Im definitely going to get an auto darkening mask. Also, what type of clothing would you recommend for this? I have some old long-sleeve work shirts that I dont mind if they get dirty or messed up, would that be good? I also have a leather jacket thats fairly beat up that Id be willing to use for this, if that would be better.

Edited by omegagamer89
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If you are only doing the odd welding job it doesn't really matter as long as it covers your skin and is a non-flammable material. I'd recommend welding gloves though, heavy leather with long cuffs as that part of you body is very near the pool.

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MIG = Metal Inert Gas (Argon mix gas would be the "Inert Gas" part)

Flux Core is not MIG. Flux Core is FCAW (Flux Cored Arc Wire)
The Flux is inside the wire, just like with Electronics Solder.

Sure, you do FCAW with a MIG welder and and a dedicated FCAW welder is just a MIG without the gas hose fitting (and thus a waste of money), but if someone says "MIG" people will tell givem advise about MIG, so we end up with messed up projects and frustration and money will most probably be wasted and all that. :)

Double Shielded FCAW is still no MIG even if Inert Gas is used. There are quite a lot of difference between Flux Core and and MIG. See here for information about MIG, FCAW, SMAW and TIG welding:




For the record, dedicated FCAW welders are not that bad but only because you can find used ones for cheaper than used MIG welders, so if you see that you are not going to need MIG in the near future, then then a cheap, used FCAW welder would do nicely. It is also more portable and will do nicely for outdoors projects.

Personally I would prefer to spent a few more money and get an actual MIG welder.


Skin protection should not be taken lightly but it does not have to be expensive. Get out of your closet your old clothes and pick the ones that are made by cotton or real leather. Hold them against a bright light and if you cannot see the light through them, then they will do fine. Jeans are great. Also wear boots. Real manly man work boots, with steel toe if possible. And gloves! Gloves can save you from nasty burns, and when the steel contacts your glove and you hear that hissing sound, you will be glad that you did spent the 4-5$ for that pair of gloves and your finger is just warm and not burned to the bone.

Auto-Darkening helmets are not expensive. You can get them for 40-50$. No need to go for professional grade stuff because you are not going to weld like seven hours every day, for years. Also grab a dozen replacement shields because the helmet will most probably last for more than the shields will be available.
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Tip for you.. If you go to buy a cheap welder, check out the size of the motor that drivers the rollers that feeds the wire. Often on the cheaper ones it is not much more than a cheap toy motor with a plastic gearbox, the slightly better ones have a motor more akin to a car wiper motor. That drive mechanism is critical to getting a nice even feed. Check out a few and you will soon get to spot the difference.

Other differences are the (torch?) (handpiece?). Some will be brand names for which you can obtain parts, and some just cheap junk. Most likely a better quality unit will have a large socket on the front of the welder that allows the whole torch/hose/cable assembly to be removed and worked on. One other tip, you need to keep the liner clean (the wire feeds through and inner liner to the tip) or it will stick. Every now and then you have to pull it out and blow air through. I also use an aerosol can of brake cleaner when it gets recalcitrant, and air to blow it through after cleaner treatment. Amazing how a little bit of crap can cause it issues.

Sounds like we have an expert in our midst above so you are lucky to have his advice. I am but a hobbyist.

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