Could I teach myself welding?

I want to learn to weld metal - OK, the first reponse to this from anyone that knows how is probably going to be “what kind of welding?”

Well, I don’t know; all I know is what I want to make, but perhaps that will define the parameters for me.

I want to make a Surrey Bike, or something like it; a four-seater, pedal-powered vehicle, probably from cannibalised bike parts (plus some new materials, of course).

Obviously that’s a bit of an ambitious project, so I might start with something smaller, but it’s all impossible without welding skills.

So… what sort of welding do I need to learn and can I realistically teach myself?

I would venture to say that you cannot realisticly teach yourself to weld.
Too many variables.
I took a welding course in high school but have not persued it since.
Oh there have been some cases where I used the welder at work to repair something --with mixed results–
The welds definately look amateurish.
I would suggest checking with your local junior college for welding classes.
Another possibility , at least for info, might be your local welding supply store.
best of luck

90% of welding is practice. That first 10% I can’t see without somebody to show you the basics.

justwannano has good advice where to look.

Good luck, and always wear the eye protection. Flash burns on the eyes really f-ing hurt.

Yes you can teach yourself how to weld. You know hwo to read right? I taught myself a few years back and have been doing odd jobs ever since. I’ve got an old ARCPRO 175 (AC/DC) and since I got it I’ve been making steel drum BBQ’s, a go-cart etc etc…
Have fun Mangetout once you learn the basics you’ll speed up to bigger and better things before you know it.

I tought myself how to weld when I was about 10. I learned on a old AC stick machine, just about the bottom of the barrel. I built go karts, mini bikes, bicycles with side hacks, trailers, you name it. Stick is referred to as SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding)

Now days, I’d recommend a MIG (Metal Inert Gas)welder for around the house. A lot easier to use, except you’ll need shielding gas for regular hard wire GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding). You need shielding gas for some FCAW (Flux Cored Arc Welding), the FCAW without shielding gas is not too spiffy. MIG welding makes attractive welds and is really easy compared to stick. Watch Junk Yard Wars, they use MIG most all of the time.

It’s really not that hard to learn, not any harder than say woodworking. And just like woodworking, you probably won’t start out making fine furniture. Build a bird house, then a bench, before you know it you are going. Same with welding.

It’s definitely not something one can be home-schooled on. Using or storing oxy-acetylene tanks in, on, or near your residence is a major violation of local safety regulations in my neck of the woods.

It’s the flash dancing afterwards that is the hardest part to learn.

Arc welding doesn’t require oxy-acetylene. If you want to use a cutting torch, you may want to use oxy-acetylene, but you can also use regular propane just like on a gas grill (you’ll still need oxygen). Brazing would require an oxy-acetylene torch, however. And as I said, I was home schooled in it. I’ve never welded professionally, but I work in the industry (I write welding procedures for ASME certified welding, among other things) and can surprise the welders in the shop when it comes time to demonstrate.

The only thing I’d still like to learn is TIG welding (Tungsten Inert Gas, some people call it heli-arc).

I taught myself TIG welding.

The industrial controls company where I used to work had an old, unused TIG welding setup under a tarp in the back. Nobody was using it, so I asked the boss if I could stay after hours and see if I could get it working. Through trial and error I learned how to use it and how to make welds that would hold together. I’m pretty good at it now without any formal training, although I still only weld for hobby projects, not professionally.

I wasn’t starting from nothing; I had several friends and aquaintances who could weld to ask for specific advice on technique, and had watched some of them weld (with eye protection, of course) so I knew what was involved.

I still have no experience with MIG, stick or torch welding.

I did…sort of. My younger brother is a jouneyman welder. He bought himself a little crap welder from Canadian Tire for some project. I had a week off and I practiced welding things and having him look at them. I also got him to set me up some exercises. After a while I got to be pretty decent at welding simple things. It’s nice to have someone to point you in the right direction or at least confirm that what you’re doing is correct; I imagine that a decent “Welding for Dummies” would provide at least some of that.

My neighbor puts out a well regarded series of welding video/DVD’s on all types of welding.

I’m not a welder, and don’t need to be as long as he’s still my neighbor, but I know most high school welding classes in the country use his videos for instruction.

You can order directly from them here

or I’ve seen them in the Northern Tool catalog.

I have never welded anything before, but I do know this:
Never, under any circumstances, catch ANYTHING a welder tosses to you or in your general direction!

That goes double if the welder specifically asks you to catch it.

Bought a Miller 251 Mig welder and bottle about 3 months ago, watched the video then spent an hours playing with scrap metal and wallah…welding heaven!

If Mig welding mild steel is on your radar screen you’ll be amazed at how easy it is.

Happened to me once. The pain is indescribably excruciating, and lasts for hours and hours.
I wasn’t even the one welding, and just caught the reflection off of a concrete patio. Never let anybody get near without goggles!

I’ve had a Lincoln Electric MIG for a couple of years now, and have gotten pretty good at it. As was mentioned, you can make really nice welds with it, none have busted so far, and some are under pretty extreme conditions. With MIG, you will have trouble welding things of drastically different thicknesses (I presume that same can be said of most types of welding), and without extra stuff, you will be limited to steel. I understand that aluminum is problematic to weld, and I suspect that magnesium alloy bike frames and other more exotic metals would be downright nasty.

That said, yes, you can teach yourself. I did, and although there are probably some things I am missing, I’ve found it very handy, and it has always met my needs.

Get to it.

I was the best in my shop class, for welding… Back in High School.

I bought a wire feed, cheepo welder a few years ago. Sometimes the weld looks great, sometimes it looks like ‘so you melted it together and it works?’

Welding is great fun. And plenty dangerous. Fire is a great concern. Be careful.

Oh, and don’t practice over any thing you would like to keep. Like tile in an entry way on a rainy day.

I knew the tile was crap and was out of here. But I thought that it would be tough enough to stand up to a few splaters.

Heh. Glad that wasn’t new tile.

You might find this quarter’s issue of Make Magazine interesting. It has a short tutorial on wire-feed arc-welding that shows some very basic but useful technique. I’d try it myself, but I live in a tiny apartment and would probably set it on fire.

You guys ain’t gonna believe this.

My dear wife just told me that she was at the local Orschelns farm store and happened to hear the store employees talking .A Lincoln stick welder was going on sale.
Guess what she bought me for my birthday. Guess I’ll have to take some classes.

Does your wife have a sister?

welding is fun. saftey first and always. Post photos of stuff you build.