World's worst welder

Hi Gang, I think I’m world’s worst welder. I prefer to bronze braze things or use auto body putty and stuff like that. I own a really great welder(s) and some times can run a perfect bead but usually I’m laying globs of stuff that bubble up holes that I have to fill with bronze later. Either way I still get things built. I’m getting old and tired but it’s still worth the bother … I hate building cyclones but this latest one is just about done !!! TG … Mike
pictures to be posted after installed …

The great thing about brazing is the edge of the bead is well sealed. I haven’t brazed myself in a decade, but this past weekend I repaired just my WK drop box heat exchanger with my employer’s powerful TIG welder. After around 10 hours with back and forth 20 psi checking with soap suds, I have a possible portable air tank. So Mike, think of yourself as an artist.

Doug, You are one of my best friends now … I met you the first time in Akron after NO, and I mean NO sleep at Dave C’s house. I drove around 8 hours to get there. His son, Alex, who is A—c kept me up the whole night and Dave’s couch sucked and my truck had many air leaks. I apologize. I think I slept 10 hours last night but I’m 60 now and slowly recovering from gbs … I’m really looking forward to the reports of your first dives !!! When I was in Akron, all I heard about from the folks there was their medicinal MJ permits … Pissed me off !!! Old hippy … I don’t recall if you were there Sunday but everybody but me and DaveC stayed put when the cops showed up to shut us down … What a crazy place Michigan is … I hope you guys can get your industrial base back up … So much talent going to waste… I even met a guy on the way home hauling a a truck full of brass castings to to be machined … He was a self absorbed a-hole but he looked at my truck and gave me a card … I suppose he didn’t believe me … I was sicker than hell from the fungus in the “corexit / BP spill” so I stopped at the Hinsdale Oasis and slept a couple of hours … I was perfect when I hit the sunshine here and the “cyclone” that is on my longer trailer that I pulled out of a scrap pile at your university near Kalamzoo / Lansing has been thousands of miles now … Stay well amigo !!! Looking forward, Mike

Are you using a stick welder or a wire feed? If the metal is clean and your using a small wire feed welder it should be as easy as spreading toothpaste on your toothbrush, if it bubbling up and stuff something isn’t right, days are long gone that it takes much skill to weld, I don’t think you have the right gas or something, it takes more talent/knowledge to braze then it ever has to wire feed weld, something isn’t right!!!

Has anyone heard from Dave C?
I remember Mike A and he had it out a few years back. I enjoyed talking to him at Akron

Hey Mike ,

I’m with Herb.

I could weld two sardine cans together with the MIG but just don’t have the skills to braze .


Hey Terry. When I talked to Dave C. at Akron, MI, He told me that as a product testing engineer at Ford Motor, he had access to any past company records and blueprints available for the subject area that they were looking into at the lab. He saw written parts that the company made for their European divisions such as woodgas add ons. 1930’s and 1940’s. He wished that he could bring home copies of them but that was a terminating offence.
Wayne, I have structural welded for almost 3 decades, and it’s a whole different discipline to tank seal weld with any MIG welding. You can teach an old dog new tricks :slight_smile:

Hey Mike; No offense but you said it. I am with you; give a torch and brazing rod and I’m as happy as a calf in deep clover. When I took welding 35+ years ago, the instructor said that it was illegal to weld anything int the construction of a building–even stair rails and such , with wire feed. After hearing that I thought why wast my time learning to mig weld. It hasn’t been only recently that I bought a mig welder. Besides clean material etc, the thing I have learned is to make SMALL adjustments at a time. I kind of a guy who gives it a crank one way and if it doesn’t work I crank the other. I’ve learned to take my time setting up the gages and with little changes sneak up on the sweet spot. Then for that size wire and gas you should be able to leave it alone.TomC

Hi guys, I am always trying to weld through paint and rust. I know if I took the time to grind everything off it would be a lot better but working the grinder is tough right now. I do get some great welds with the Millermatic 211 autoset. I have 0.25 wire in it … It’s a great welder but I’m a bit crippled up this year. When I braze, I always get things cherry red and all the paint is gone so the bronze flows real nice. I had to put a lot of “newskin” on the holes I’ve burned my pants before Sue washed them this morning … Dave C is fine … I talked with him a week or two ago for a couple of hours … I have to get some friggin auto body putty hardener !! I have gallons of autobody putty but the hardener tubes have rotted … bio-degradable plastic like my hernia patches and my friend’s heart stints … Keep building … Thanks, Mike

Hi Tom, Still a lot of variables … I hope to see you again soon … I’ll figure it out some time hopefully … It’s really fun the first time you smoke up and carmelize that auto body putty but I don’t want even a pinhole on this system … Mike

Mike yes welding is one of those things you have to focus on doing your best to get decent results. Getting in a hurry will not help you at all. I have had torches for a long time and never brazed until I started playing with gasifiers this year. I found it real easy and very cool watching it flow and make air tight joints with ease. Fun stuff.

your wire welder doesn’t work good for you, the bubbling up can be caused from a couple of things. One is not getting enough shielding gas to where it comes out of the nozzle, the other is paint, rust, dirt on your work. Wind will blow the gas away, your gage should read about 10psi but that doesn’t mean it’s getting out to where you want it, put gun up to your ear and pull trigger, if you can hear it it’s ok. Keep a small grinder close with a small wire brush on it, you can get work clean with a couple of fast swipps, if that doesn’t make that little wire welder work give me a call!

For what its worth-
When I purchased my Lincoln weld pak it came with the std flux core wire. When I got the gas kit I also has to change the polarity for it to work right.

I’ve been a welder for 50 plus years and I still can’t weld rebar to break rotors with mig. With a stick welder and alloy rods it will weld fine. The right welder and filler makes all the differance.

Dave , do you use a nickel based alloy rod on the brake rotors ? I also would suspect a little pre heat would be your friend. Cast can be tricky they tell me I don’t think I ever tried welding it. I do know it cracks if heated or cooled to fast. A camp fire is best to pre heat and cool after welding , place welded cast in fire and let the fire burn out. this will slowly cool to avoid cracking on delicate items such as cast iron kettles.

If I have a good set of welding torches (blue point). and I know how to use them, do I need to buy a MIG welder?

Hi Herb, On the stuff I weld the settings vary. I can’t lift my welder and move it right now. My cables reach out to the landing of this trailer house and I set up there. I usually leave the storm door open and tied to the railing to keep my shielding gas from getting blown away. On some things I get a perfect bead. I usually try to grind off any paint but lately I make a few tack brazes and then burn the paint off and then wire brush it back to near clean. Of course there usually some zinc in the mix … On my cyclone I’m at the point where I should just pressurize it and bubble test it and spot where the problem holes are and just pack RTV in them. I did buy some auto body putty hardener today so I can just smear the whole works but one time down to the coals could could smoke that when the temps go up too high … Hope you are doing OK … My legs are coming back good but I have overworked my thumbs and wrists and they feel like they want to be snapped off … Are you still headed out the end of the week ??? Mike

If it welds good for you sometimes that proves you are doing it right, welding outside you can always crank up pressure on the gas, indoors no wind 7-10, outside whatever it takes, that thing should run a good bead ever time, remember what gage reads doesn’t mean you’re getting that at nozzle, can have bad hose, next time it doesn’t weld right turn pressure up and see if that helps.
Suppose to be back in Nashville Monday, had PET scan today, results back Wed and on and on and on it goes!

Good luck Herb, I’ll be thinkin about you !! Looking forward to the meet sometime … I got my large vacuum gauge on the filter housing tonight … Lots of brazing … I need to put my stainless mesh on the inlet and outlet inside of it and fill it up with hay … The stainless screen is more a fire arrestor than anything on those backfires. Maybe tomorrow. I will wrap one layer of duct tape around the lock on ring so if it decides to blow some time it will just distort the lid and send it flying. The lock ring I have won’t work if there is anything in the space between the drum and lid lip. I knocked an extra hole in the bottom of the drum a couple of weeks ago to drain 4 inches of water out of it so I have to put another steel roofing screw in that hole. Eventually all the aluminum will be welded steel but that 2005 aluminum has no corrosion in it after probably 3000 miles so I may leave it on ??? Hang in there !!! Mike
PS, I took the old feed line off the old garbage can filter lid and I had that all duct taped to a tin can and to a hole in the lid cut with tin snips … No welding driving !!! I really don’t remember it with all the medical stuff and age but pretty cool …

Jim L Yes, I use nickel based alloy rod on the brake rotors and other cast iron also pre heat and pien the welds as they cool. I use propane for heating and cool down in a fire brick box (AKA oven).