Can a beginner get into this?

Thanks to Wayne and Chris for setting up this site as a great resource. I’m finding this all very fascinating.

Here’s my question: Is this something that a someone with no background in welding or auto mechanicing can get into?

Basically, I’m not a welder or a mechanic. My background of more of computer programming. I have some carpentry skills, but I’ve never spent much time on cars other than general maintenance (changing oil, pumping tires, adding windshield washer fluid. However, I’m really liking the idea of driving on wood. I want to get involved in this movement, but don’t know if I have the skills.

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Having a desire to learn is the most important thing. Motivation to continue, and not being afraid to make some mistakes, that is also important. People here at all skill levels are friendly and eager to answer questions. With practice, the skills will come! Welcome, Aaron!

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Hi Aaron, Welcome to DOW Driving on wood requires a lot of work/fabrication for even experienced metal workers. May I suggest you start out with a very simple charcoal gasifier to run a small engine such as a lawnmower. Cut your teeth on an easier project and learn as you go.
Gary in PA

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Aaron,
I came into this with mechanical, wood working, writing, musical skills as well as some computer skills, but no welding or automotive skills. With the guidance of these folks on DOW, I got my Toyota Corolla to run on charcoal. Although I was raised in a family of auto mechanics, I never took an interest in auto mechanics until this project. The 1989 model car itself needed a lot of small repairs which I have managed to do by myself with great effort. Nearly all those repairs have been first time experiences for me. In my instance, keeping the car running has been over half of the work. The charcoal gasifier was simple by comparison. As Thomas Edison is quoted as saying, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Many will tell you that this is a website of DOERS. If you are determined enough to do this, and are committed to making it happen, I expect you will be successful.

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Desire and persistence is key.

I would suggest the Gilmore charcoal design.

Keep on swinging!

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Welcome aboard Aaron_y.

Welding, and metal working in general are good skills to have in life. If you look around, you might be able to find evening classes somewhere. I know there are a couple of career training centers near me with classes a couple nights a week at a price way lower than going to a year or more of a trade school. Here’s one in my area to give you an idea.
https://www.rctcerie.org/programs/welding/

But if you want to dive right into gasification, check this thread out.

As for working on engines, start with a small motor that’s easier to tinker with, and cheaper to replace if you gum it up with tar. Predator engines at harbor freight are nice and cheap, or keep your eyes peeled for push mowers being thrown out. 9 times out of 10 they only need a new spark plug.

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Good morning Aaron and welcome to the DOW.

If you learn welding skills it will be a skill you will never regret learning regardless if you build a gasifier or not .

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Thanks for that idea, I’m really looking into this. I read Steve Bowmans thread on his Corolla and it looks amazing and do-able and I’m considering starting with a project like this. However, what’s the advantage of building a charcoal gasifier over a wood-gasifier? It seems to me that running on wood would be less work than running on charcoal because you don’t have to go through the work of making charcoal. Forgive me if this information is already posted somewhere.

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You got to start somewhere, might as well be here!! Intimidation is the hardest part. YouTube has some great tutorials on welding start there.

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This is a great place to start. Thanks!

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Charcoal builds are often much simpler than wood builds because you don’t have to deal with tar and most of the condensate. Those are cooked out when you turn the wood to charcoal. That was where I started glad I did it helped with solidifying the basics.

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A number of people start on woodgas, however some give up because of the complexity. If you start with a basic charcoal rig to run a small engine, you will make it to the finish line. Then you will approach woodgas with experience and know how. On the other hand, people do start with woodgas and cross the finish line. Your choice, we just offer options.

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Yup, ya gotta start starting somewhere.

I had lots of desire when I started. Didn’t know how to weld. Bought myself a inexpensive Flux core welder and didn’t look back.

Take your time, read a lot, ask questions. There will be people here that will answer as you progress.

Figure out what you want to build and go from there. I wish you well on your journey… you’re going to find out building can be very addictive.

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Welding can be addictive too.:grin:
But skip the gasless flux core. It works, but so does single ply toilet paper. Get a mig if you’re going to invest in equipment. It’ll still run gasless flux core out of the box, and you can get the gas cylinder later. Upgrade to two ply.

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Good morning Nathaniel , That is a good one , I will remember it :smiley:

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WELL worth the expense!

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I don’t like flux core all I use is gas.

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Back in 2012 Chris came down and stayed with me a couple of weeks while we built his gasifier . He brought his flux core welder to help with the build but after just an hour or so he abandon it and we used my gas welder :smiley:

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I always go back to stick welding. Shows how old I am, at heart!

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Hi jeff im, with you at stick welding, my second job was stick welding 250 gallon fuel oil drums, all the way around both tops, weld on legs, weld in the 3 or4 pipe conectors for the plumming.Buisy job 6 an hour wanted, i problly got about 4 an hour, took welding in high school welding classes called vocational. first job 16 years old, local welding shop building winobago motorhome steering coulom bracket washer like spacers for bolt holes.And spot welding on a few other jobs same shop. All mig at first welding job. All that said i would not trade my welding skills for just building things like gasifiers and many other things,welding enjoyment for any other worlds posessions.

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