I want to weld boat docks and trailers

Steel and aluminum boatbuilding. See: "Boatbuilding Methods", in left-hand column of the Home page, for information about alloys.

Moderator: billy c

Post Reply
Chrisrog

I want to weld boat docks and trailers

Post by Chrisrog »

I have no welding experience, but I would like to learn to weld so I can build a boat trailer and floating dock. What is the best way for me to learn, and how do I select a machine?

TIG? Spool fed? Amperage?

User avatar
DavidMcA
Posts: 557
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 4:49 pm
Location: Co. Monaghan, Ireland
Contact:

Post by DavidMcA »

Personally, I like arc welding. It takes a bit of practice to get a nice smooth weld. My experience with spool-fed machines (MIG) has not been good, the wire got stuck in the plastic liner and I had to replace the whole feed-tube.
Arc welding is more simple IMO. You don't need any gas cylinders and there are no complicated moving parts to go wrong. The only thing that can go wrong with arc welding is that you blow a hole in the steel if you have the power set too high, or if you have it set too low, the parts won't be fused together properly.
TIG welding...I have no experience with that, but I would think it would be more difficult since you have to co-ordinate both your hands to hold the electrode in one hand and a welding rod in another.
On the other hand, if you want to weld aluminium, TIG would be the best option.

If you are getting an arc welder, you can get air-cooled and oil-cooled ones....we've used air-cooled ones on our farm for years and never had a problem. I use a SIP turboweld 260 amp.
Last edited by DavidMcA on Sun Jun 06, 2004 4:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
David McAdam
Squirt Gallery - Its BACK!!
http://one.xthost.info/boatbuilder/boat/
BOAT IS NOW SOLD

User avatar
Dave Grason
Posts: 3762
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 5:19 am
Location: Lake Barkley, KY

Post by Dave Grason »

I guess it's all in what you get used to, because I've never been able to get satisfactory results with an arc welder but I've seen others that turned out absolutely beautiful work with them. But I'm a madman with a MIG welder. I have a Lincoln 225 MIG and I love it. It's about 15 years old though and I'm sure the new ones are even slicker. It does require 220 volts and I'm not sold on the little 110 volt wire feed welders. The real problem with those little machines is that the duty cycle is way too short. If you have a project that requires you to go past the duty cycle, it starts permanently damaging the welder. I started with a little Lincoln 110v and kept burning it up. Lincoln kept repairing it for me, but the down time was killing me. So I had them fix it one last time and I traded it to a guy that needed a 110v to carry to the dragstrip on weekends. There were times when he needed to repair his race car and 220 volts just weren't available. If that's the case, you may not have much choice, but to me, it's worth it to wire my garage for 220.

But with my MIG and an autodarkening helmet, I can see exactly where I need to go before I strike the arc and I've been able to place my welds right on target and with good penetration. I'm NOT a certified weldor, but I started tinkering with them years ago when I was working in a body shop. In later years, I built a number of utility trailers of various shapes and sizes and that gave me the opportunity to become proficient. And I still build trailers for my lawncare business and for some of my buddies.

I personally would highly recommend a MIG welder, but I'd say to get a GOOD one and NOT a cheapy. And by all means, practice, practice, practice.
Isn't it amazing!! The person that never has the fortitude to pursue his own dreams, will be the first to try and discourage you from pursuing yours.

Dave Beem
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2003 7:01 am
Location: Spokane WA

Post by Dave Beem »

Hey there I would agree a mig is so nice but to be honest I have never had any good luck doing alumm! I have welded alum with arc and did a great job. Like what was said what you like. May I sudjust going to a comunity colage and attend a night school on welding? it may well be worth it. I learned when I was 11 yrs old on the farm. you need to be the jack of all traids there :) good luck and keep the questions comming.
Dave

User avatar
DavidMcA
Posts: 557
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 4:49 pm
Location: Co. Monaghan, Ireland
Contact:

Post by DavidMcA »

I never knew you could weld aluminium with an arc welder...I'll have to try it sometime...I presume you need special electrodes?
David McAdam
Squirt Gallery - Its BACK!!
http://one.xthost.info/boatbuilder/boat/
BOAT IS NOW SOLD

Dave Beem
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2003 7:01 am
Location: Spokane WA

Post by Dave Beem »

Yep you sure do and they are a bit spendy about 4 times that of 6011. but they work well. You will want to have real good air flow LOL they stink! I think the ones I have are from esab.

Guest

Post by Guest »

I've never had luck welding aluminum with an arc welder either. Does it need to be fairly thick aluminum? What kinds of things have you done?

One option for those with a good quality arc welder is this...

http://www.tigdepot.com/

Take your Lincoln buzz box and for a couple of hundred dollars you can be TIG welding with it.

Dave Beem
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2003 7:01 am
Location: Spokane WA

Post by Dave Beem »

Hi there
Well I use 1/8" or better that way your not applying to much heat! alum and heat don't mix to well :)

User avatar
DavidMcA
Posts: 557
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 4:49 pm
Location: Co. Monaghan, Ireland
Contact:

Post by DavidMcA »

Yup it only takes about 600 degrees C to melt aluminium, if I remember correctly from college. I'm getting a local engineering firm to make up an aluminium plate with a lip along the edge and they say that they never weld aluminium because its too much trouble.....they bolt the parts together whenever possible.
David McAdam
Squirt Gallery - Its BACK!!
http://one.xthost.info/boatbuilder/boat/
BOAT IS NOW SOLD

oleman
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 5:59 pm

Post by oleman »

I have observed ships being constructed from aluminum. A good craftman with the correct equipment can construct anything from aluminum. Only tools required are a table saw and a sawsall!! until you get to the 2" stock or large beams.
I especially liked the bi-strips used to connect aluminum to steel. One side is steel the other side aluminum.
Any problem can be solved if money is no object!

Post Reply

Return to “Metal”