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Stick/O/A Welding Dying Art?

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  • Stick/O/A Welding Dying Art?

    I was replying to Ben2go and it dawned on me. There are quite a few "welders" that I have run across recently that do not know how to stick weld. They cannot gas weld either. They would be lost trying to follow some of the more "technical" posts here, however, they can MIG like demons, and TIG work from then is hit or miss. I am not talking about hobby guys, I am talking about people who get paid to do this. People who are working on critical parts. Years ago I was taught the basics starting with a real live O/A torch with a welding tip and a coat hanger. Then I got into the ole' tombstone and learned to prep stuff so I could try to stick weld. I just recently started my certs and at 51 am having a blast. This is how I have chosen to spend some of my time and I intend to be responsible about it. I taught myself how to produce ok TIG welds with little difficulty because I could gas weld and I studied the process to the point that I knew what I was doing before I boutght the machine. I would have loved to have hired someone to teach me but at the time could not find anyone near by. MIG seemed to be just an easy different process. I could do this because I read and practiced and read and practiced. I spent time money and effort on something I really wanted to know how to do. I think small MIG welding machines with FC wire is what Windows was to computers. It put the capability in everyones hands without the learning curve. Remember how it was, all of a sudden there were all kinds of computer guys all over, getting paid big bucks. We know what happened when the boss wanted something just beyond thier capabilities or rather canned Windows capability. For those who dont know just think back to the "big scare" of 2000 that was just a load of crap. I do not suggest for a moment that computers and ease of use are not a good thing. I am saying that when used beyond the capability of the user the harm done can be pretty awesome, usually by someone who thought they knew more than they did. I like the idea that simple MIG machines are readily available and I have seen some pretty neat stuff fabbed by people with little or no training. Most of them are smart enough to read the safety precautions and have the common sense to keep it safe. I have read posts on this site that are invaluable and hope that some of my contributions have helped. I have read alot on the web and bought books and videos. You can learn to weld on the web but we all need to be responsible in what we do with the knowledge. I still wince when I see the various builders on Discovery tacking and welding and doing other unsafe practices without eye/skin protection. I thought at one time that this might be accepted safe practice, I know after reading posts here and references that they are being pretty stupid. See what happens at the in-laws miles from home bored to tears.....Sorry if I got too long winded,,,,
    [B]Trail Blazer 302
    Suitcase X-TREME 12VS
    Syncrowave 180SD
    Coolmate 4
    Millermatic 175
    Millermatic 251
    HT Powermax 180
    Victor O/A
    DeWalt DW872 Chop Saw
    Lathe
    Milling Machine
    Bandsaw
    No matter how hard I try, I always hear about the other guy who can do it better, faster and cheaper. Sure would like to meet him someday but no one seems to be able to find him when I ask. [B]

  • #2
    i started the same way you did with O/A.
    many here have expressed there concerns about what the discovery croud is teaching our youth. there safty practises are horifying and with the readily accesable cheap mig's out now its starting to get a bit scary as to just what is rolling past you on the road. its too easy to make a good looking BAD weld with MIG, and thease shows have put welders into many of the wrong hands.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped
    sigpic
    feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
    summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
    JAMES

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    • #3
      I hate it when i see on this board knocking the little red welders are homedepot. I bought a lincoln welder from the depot a couple years back to learn auto body. Since then i stepped up to a mm175 (no place for the mm251). This coming January I will be signing up for the local pipefitter union. Or even look for a welding shop to work for. Where i hope to learn the most i can about welding. But it was that little red welder that got me interested in learning how to weld and to practice. I've even tried stick welding. I'm not the best but i've only about 3 hrs on an very old licoln Ac 225amp machine. I have even O/A welded once with a coat hanger.. man that was ugly.. But I hope when the $$ is free to buy my own set up and try to practice more. So just remember that because of those little home depot welders some people have started an interest in this trade. Sorry about the rant but just seems people pick on the depot welders too much.
      LU 537
      3rd year refrigeration apprentice

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      • #4
        stick dying? no way, it's too versatile- welding, gouging, hardfacing etc

        oxy/fuel? maybe, most i know only use it for heating purposes which is a real shame.

        i think what we're seeing at the moment is distorted from the influx of cheap DIY mig machines. nothing wrong with them (and i'm not knocking anyone that uses them RESPONSIBLY). the problem is that a lot of people have watched TV thought thats cool, i can do that and started welding without really knowing what there doing.

        with mig it's very easy to pull a trigger and stick two pieces of metal together- whats penetration or fusion?

        personally i think O/A should be the first process learnt. it might have fallen from favour in industry (slow, more distortion, etc) but it is the best process for learning to control the behaviour of moulten metal

        unfortunatly it really requires proper tuition which costs money and takes time- why bother when a cheap mig can be bought cheaply and one can be 'welding' the same day. this attitude is what causes problems because the theory side of welding is bypassed.

        i wonder how many people are out there, earning a living welding that have never done bend tests, nick breaks and macroscopic etches?

        merry xmas all

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        • #5
          lowestcerberus
          you obveously missed the point . no one is nocking the lil MIG's. its just that they have the potential to produce welds that look good but infact are not due to being way too cold, used properly they do lots of good stuff. its the people that go out grab a chep MIG and go home and build a trailor the next day without realy lerning how to do it or even doing any testing to see if there welds will even hold.
          no one was knocking the lil welders.
          thanks for the help
          ......or..........
          hope i helped
          sigpic
          feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
          summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
          JAMES

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          • #6
            there's no way that stick is a dying art... now O/A on the other hand probably is.. I learned to O/A weld back in hs... haven't tried since in 16 years. I've been thinking about trying to practice it again. I'm not even sure where my welding tips are for my O/A torch though
            Bobcat 225NT
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            • #7
              I don't think stick is dead yet but it is certainly shrinking. In mfg it died a long time ago for the most part. In repair it is alive in most segments but O/A is another story altogether. It is pretty much dead between the popularity of tig and plasma.
              I believe everyone should learn O/a first. I did, my Daddy did and my 3 boys did. It makes you learn how to control the puddle and once you do that you can do most anything else.
              There is plenty of guys out there that can run a torch but they are retiring out of the industry and they are being replaced by guys that only know the newer processes. In the shop where I work I'm one of the older guys and can do it all but if you need to fire up a cutting torch then there are not that many who really know how. But if we needed to make a O/A weld...HAA I don't think I'd trust any of the jokers I work with! I would like to see that at least one time.
              All things considered with what is commonly used now prolly the first process one should learn today is tig for pretty much the same reasons we learned O/A first...puddle control and penetration and all that good stuff. I really wouldn't have a problem with that. Then teach 'em stick and all the while get them cutting out there parts with the plasma cutter. Oh and then someday when there is nothing else to learn let them learn the mig process so maybe then they might appreciate a good welding job done right.

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              • #8
                O/A in not dead, but also not mandatory to weld with.

                SMAW is alive and well, but is not mandatory to weld with either, that is except when it is mandatory.

                Small mig welders are fine, it's a few of those who use them who need a talking too.

                Tig welders are necessary to life itself, Ho Ho Ho

                Now for cookies and milk ... Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
                Regards, George

                Hobart Handler 210 w/DP3035 - Great 240V small Mig
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                • #9
                  I dont feel stick or o/a is a dying art as much as patience is.Alot of people want the cool rewards of welding without learning much about it.The small machines are great for small or non-critical jobs,or more if in the right hands.I have seen this often with custom cars and trucks.Mini-truckers(not all)have been doing c-notches and rear link set ups with these small machines for a while,in the last few years the 4x4 world has blown up and lots of guys are building dangerous stuff.There is a guy on the pirate4x4 forum who has a roll cage shop and he shouldnt be welding anything that needs integrity.The slower more controlled processes let you focus on the puddle and how everything flows around more,if you are new to the arc, a mig can be fast and fool you with a nice bead that is just sitting on top with hardly no fusion.I'm all for the diy-er but welding is not a situation where a $300.00 machine is all you need.If it needs to be made from metal,it probably needs to be welded correctly.

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                  • #10
                    O/A will never be dead. Even if no one ever welds that way, brazing is here to stay. As a process, brazing is needed in a number of areas including bicycles and the medical industry. If you think O/A is dying, you need only take a look at this site to see that it is alive and well.

                    http://www.tinmantech.com

                    As far as stick goes, it will not be dying anytime soom either. There is too much structural steel welding that must be done outdoors and in less than stellar conditions for it to go away. Many folks may not be learning either of these processes in the way it has been done historically but both processes will most certainly outlive all of us.
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                    • #11
                      Neither is a dying art -- yet.

                      There's some places you just can't be dragging around a 50# plus wire feeder, when you've got to climb up into a maze of beams and machinery to get a weld in, sometimes all you can handle is a stinger and a handful of rod.

                      Those who've been around a while know what I do, mostly portable, a lot of service work, well, more than a few times in the last year I welded oxy/acetylene, when repairing cracked or broke steel hydraulic lines in the field there's no substitute. TIG isn't even close in this situation.

                      That all being said, though, who knows where technology will take us?? It's conceivable that at some point new processes will be invented that will completely obsolete the old processes, however we haven't seen that day yet.

                      ???On a different thread or board???? I think it was KB that mentioned it??? A cordless MIG gun???? That'll do it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by calweld View Post
                        Neither is a dying art -- yet.

                        There's some places you just can't be dragging around a 50# plus wire feeder, when you've got to climb up into a maze of beams and machinery to get a weld in, sometimes all you can handle is a stinger and a handful of rod.

                        Those who've been around a while know what I do, mostly portable, a lot of service work, well, more than a few times in the last year I welded oxy/acetylene, when repairing cracked or broke steel hydraulic lines in the field there's no substitute. TIG isn't even close in this situation.

                        That all being said, though, who knows where technology will take us?? It's conceivable that at some point new processes will be invented that will completely obsolete the old processes, however we haven't seen that day yet.

                        ???On a different thread or board???? I think it was KB that mentioned it??? A cordless MIG gun???? That'll do it.
                        Oh My, Don't joke about such things, I can almost see it forsale in the Home Depot Milwaukee 28V Lithium-Ion Cordless Mig

                        Thanks for the laugh
                        hre

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                        • #13
                          Well I am glad to hear that from you guys...In my realm of doing hardly anything but aluminum anymore I prolly have a somewhat "warped" view of things.
                          If it hadn't been for O/A I would never have been as good with my tig, and only God knows how much I love to run 7018. Nice to know they ain't dead....they just sorta got up and walked out of my world or vice-versa.
                          I learned to weld with an old Dockson (???) torch when I was 13. My dad wrapped his arms around me and held my hands..everytime I'd move he'd make me do it right. I still teach people to weld that way...I just warn 'em that I ain't *** I just got a way to teach 'em how to weld in about 5 minutes

                          Dad is 78 now has bad knees, one eye, a blood clot on his brain and is getting 4 by-pass in a couple weeks but I'd bet he could still lay a good bead down on a piece of stovepipe!!
                          Merry CHRISTmas!!!

                          www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
                          Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                          MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                          Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                          Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                          Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                          Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                          Miller WC-115-A
                          Miller Spectrum 300
                          Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                          Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

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                          • #14
                            I know that I would hate to drag a feeder up a conveyor to weld a broken belt cleaner
                            I carry eight differnt kinds of rod on my truck, I wouldn't want to do that with wire either.
                            And, as Calweld said, without O/A to weld or braze hydraulic lines / air lines/ water lines you would be dead in the water.
                            Jeff

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                            • #15
                              I usually only keep 4 types of rod with me when I'm in welding mode... 7018, 6011, 308 and 309. for the construction side of things it's all 7018, unless it's 12ga or lighter, then it's 211-MP in my little lincoln. if I'm in maintenance/repair mode for my employer's carwashes (I work for the parent company, who's main business for the last 60 years is commercial construction, the carwashes are a side business) it's all 4 kinds of rods, depending on what I'm fixing.
                              Bobcat 225NT
                              Cutmaster 52
                              Lincoln Weld-Pak 100 buzz box
                              Caterpillar TH63
                              '07 Kawasaki ZZR600

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