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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know theres a few threads along these lines, but non suited to my situation.

The bug I just bought needs some welding, one floor pan, both channels, rear bumper hangers and a few patches on the rear bulkhead. Now Ive had some quotes for this, and im looking between £300 and £500 I think (If I do the prep, ive already got all the panels)

Ive noticed that for about £200 I can get a half decent mig welder, and then maybe teach myself to weld? Has anyone on here taught themselves and how easy is it? Im pretty good with my hands, mechanically minded and im tempted to go for it!

Advice either way would be appreciated, im torn between coughing up the cash to get a good job done, or do it myself and maybe not be as good a job but save some cash.....
I do go for it, which small mig welders are good for a beginner? Ive seen a few threads on here saying steer clear of SIP ones, and other people say the Clarke ones are rubbish?

cheers guys.
 

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Pretty straightforward to MIG weld, I taught myself as, no doubt, many others on here have done.

The more practice, the better, and my recommendation would be buy a Clarke 135 or 151 from here - http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/categories/search/diy-mig-welders
A pub size CO2 bottle will be a great help, and you'll need an angle grinder if you haven't already got one.

Plenty of help on here to get you going.

My advice (from personal experience) - only cut out the rust, then trim the replacement panels down to suit. Leave as much sound original metal in the car as possible. Try to butt weld if possible (takes more practice) but overlaps are future rust traps no matter how well you try and seam seal them.

I've had a SIP welder in the past and it was a real pig compared to the Clarke that I have now. Of course you will get the professional welders and restorers rubbishing the Clarke welders but professional kit is a darn sight more expensive than those, which are aimed at the DIY market and are very good for the price.

Dave.
 

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personally i'd buy a snap mig 130 as a first machine, i had mine for 15 years before i could afford to upgrade
it's a very very good machine, it never let me down in 15 years and countless reels of wire
many people use pub gas, it's OK to start off, if you want better welds, go for an argon/ co2 mix
my bottle rental from BOC is i think is £50 a year and £50 for a refill
my refill lasts 2 or 3 years
 

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rubba.... im looking at going through BOC - so is the first £50 for the hire of the bottle for a year plus one full bottle of Gas? how bit id the bottle??

Ive been using HSS but to be honnest they are a pain in the fucking arse!

they charge £35 per bottle, plus £5 per week bottle rental hire!
 

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Should be getting my first welder this week, Clarke 175TE. I decided it was about time so i dont have to pay others to weld for me.
Its an investment in your future! ;)
Just need to sort some gas from somewhere? :(
 

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I have done lots of mig work with some very good welders
but when it came to buy my own i didnt have tons of cash
I ended up with a clarke 150.
took it out the box and was welding within 10 minutes
cant reccomend it highly enough
There are better but for 200 quid you cant go wrong
 

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for learning to weld i'd say get as much scrap as you can (scrapyard or the freecycle board) and chop it into squares and basically... do as many butt joints as you can ^_^ I had the adv of learning @ college, but that is esentially what they did with us for all the different types of welding. just be patient and practice, practice practice...


oh and an auto dim helmet is very handy, you will end up tacking miles away from where you want to otherwise
 

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Pretty easy to MIG weld, I taught myself .

ive got a Clarke 135
with the small gas bottles altohugh they run out quickly so bigger is better
 

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rubba.... im looking at going through BOC - so is the first £50 for the hire of the bottle for a year plus one full bottle of Gas? how bit id the bottle??

Ive been using HSS but to be honnest they are a pain in the fucking arse!

they charge £35 per bottle, plus £5 per week bottle rental hire!
bottle is 900mm high'ish and 150mm diameter'ish
£50 for the first and every year, and about £50 for each refil
i have it on a direct debit so i don't notice it
i do think they're a bit of a bunch of cheating bastards as the rental seems to go up almost every year
if you can find a BOC bottleof the right sort and know someone who has a contract with the same bottle you can split the cost of the rental
they used to do that when i did my apprenticeship
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Cheers guys, thats exatly what I needed to hear! I had my eye on the clarke turbo weld 150 already, cant really complain, the whole package for £200! And I work in a pub, so can source a nice big bottle pretty easy. Is there somewhere I could get a big empty pub bottle filled with a better mixture of gas? Ive got loads of old scrap beetle panels lying around and a rusty old renault van to practise on too, looks like Im getting myself a welder then!

My uncle used to be a welder, so Im thinking of heading up to his for a lesson or two. hmmm.
 

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bottle is 900mm high'ish and 150mm diameter'ish
£50 for the first and every year, and about £50 for each refil
i have it on a direct debit so i don't notice it
i do think they're a bit of a bunch of cheating bastards as the rental seems to go up almost every year
if you can find a BOC bottleof the right sort and know someone who has a contract with the same bottle you can split the cost of the rental
they used to do that when i did my apprenticeship
hmm doesnt sounds smaller that the bottle from HSS, think il pop down to my local outlet and see what they offer :)
 

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rubba.... im looking at going through BOC - so is the first £50 for the hire of the bottle for a year plus one full bottle of Gas? how bit id the bottle??

Ive been using HSS but to be honnest they are a pain in the fucking arse!

they charge £35 per bottle, plus £5 per week bottle rental hire!
bottle is 900mm high'ish and 150mm diameter'ish
£50 for the first and every year, and about £50 for each refil
i have it on a direct debit so i don't notice it
i do think they're a bit of a bunch of cheating bastards as the rental seems to go up almost every year
if you can find a BOC bottleof the right sort and know someone who has a contract with the same bottle you can split the cost of the rental
they used to do that when i did my apprenticeship
hmm doesnt sounds smaller that the bottle from HSS, think il pop down to my local outlet and see what they offer :)
if your local HSS wants £5 a week for rental, that'd be £250 a year, an i thought £50 a year was bad enough :eek:
 

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I have done lots of mig work with some very good welders
but when it came to buy my own i didnt have tons of cash
I ended up with a clarke 150.
took it out the box and was welding within 10 minutes
cant reccomend it highly enough
There are better but for 200 quid you cant go wrong
Same here, I got mine new on ebay for £163.99, was using disposable bottles until I found a gas supplier - €60pa rental and €25 refill for a small bottle. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
100 Amp?

I know people say buy as big as you can, but someone told me today that 100 Amp is about as big as you can go with a regular, 13amp plug socket.

If I'm only doing bodywork though, would 100 amp would be big enough? I literally only need it for body panels and heater channels, no heavy structural stuff.

If I can get away with a 100 amp one would also save me some cash. anyone help??? :D
 

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I've got a 170amp that runs on a 13amp plug. True if you're welding on high for a while it'll pop a fuse from time to time but there isn't anything on a bug that needs that high power but if you buy a big machine the duty cycle for the 80-100amps you'll probably be welding at will be near 100% but with a little 100amp machine it could be as low as 20% which means it'll constantly be turning itself off to cool down
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok, thanks for the info guys. I think I'm gonna go for the Clarke 130 Turboweld. Its only £30 more than the 100 Amp one and should give me more welding time/better duty cycle? Machine mart here I come! Also, one last question, I work in a pub, so I can blag a big bottle, but will the standard pub gas (CO2 and nitrogen I think?) be ok or do I need to get it filled with argon or an argon/CO2 mix?

cheers guys, youve been a massive help!
 
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