Learn to Weld and Make a Few Bucks

Both you and your neighbors can reap the benefits when you obtain the proper equipment and learn to weld.


| November/December 1981



072 learn to weld - welding equipment

A selection of equipment you'll need when you're learning to weld.


PHOTO: ADRIAN B. DeBEE

It's the busiest time of the year, and (wouldn't you know it?) the lift arm on your tractor just snapped in the middle. The welding shop is (as always) booked solid for a week, and (naturally) the spare parts aren't available at the tractor store.

Sound familiar? Probably so, because such problems beset most farmers and homesteaders all too often. However, if you learn to weld you can eliminate some hassles from your life, cut down on the amount of waiting your neighbors have to put up with, and fatten your wallet in the bargain!

First, Buy a Buzz Box

Though the name always makes me think of a mysterious movie serial invention, "buzz box" is actually the slightly unflattering term for the tool properly called an electric arc welder. Now I'm not talking about the 110-volt "toys" you can buy through auto stores. Nor do I mean the high-powered expensive outfits you see at the professional welding shop. Instead, a buzz box is a compact, 230-volt unit that's just the right size for the farmer and the medium-duty user.

When buying such a tool, it's usually best to steer clear of store brands, because they're often made by the least expensive bidder. Six months from now another manufacturer may be making the same brand but with different specs, meaning that spare parts for your model won't necessarily be available for long. Rather, purchase a brand name (consider Lincoln, Hobart, or Miller, among others) welder from a company that's been in the business for many years.

With those thoughts in mind, then, put about $200 in your pocket and head to a welding supply dealer. You could probably save a couple of bucks by going to a tractor sales place or a discount operation, but the folks at a specialized welding supply store will be able to give you tips on the art of welding. Their advice will usually be worth the few extra greenbacks. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Many county technical schools and adult education programs offer inexpensive courses in welding.]  

It seems that almost every welder manufacturer has its own way of varying the amperage on the machine it makes. All of the various techniques work well, though, so just make sure your unit can operate at a high of around 200 amps and is variable to at least as low as 70. (As an example, my welder's capability ranges from 40 to 224 amps.)





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