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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Fab Books and Tools

Anyone got any good suggestions for a good welding/fabrication book? Or any books or programs for building designing cages, sliders, and bumpers


I want to start doing some fabrication and need tips on welding techniques (arc/stick for right now) and what tools that every shade tree fabricator should have.

I know most would suggest going to welding classes at night but I work full time and work nights and I think of my garage as being a little above average since I have most of the basics like grinders, sawzall, press, vise, bender, drill press, beer fridge :D , lincoln arc welder, and of course good assortment of hand tools.
 

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I don't know if it was all that much help, but I bought "Welder's Handbook" By Richard Finch, it was sorta helpful.

Google has helped me out the most in regards to application, set up.

Hope these things will be of some help to you.

Your are right about one thing, there is no replacement for spending time with those that have already made all the mistakes you are going to make. Reading about watching the puddle is no substitute for the experience of the hand, eye coordination and the process of "what to do" with the puddle. If you can't go to a class in the evenings or on a Saturday, maybe you could find a friend, fellow TTORA member, relative that will take you under their wing and teach you technique, how to set up your welder to do what you want it to do, application of different consumables, techniques for different kinds of metals.

Building things you can use initially that are not critical but will give you plenty of practice welding. Fabricate your own welding cart, welding bench, skid plates, sliders, fish plates, bumpers.

Wally
 

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Try the "School Of Hardknocks"... thats how most learn. Fabricating is not something generally taught, it is learned by watching, doing, and trial and error. You can take a welding class at a local JC but welding is only a small component of fabricating.

I would suggest buying a decent 220v MIG welder and start trying to make stuff, you'll figure out what you need as you go. If your thinking this will save you money on parts stop right now... it is way more expensive to make your own junk than to buy it unless your using someone elses tools.

How do you keep a Formula Toy running if you cant fab?
 

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My girlfriend got me the Monster garage “how to weld damm near anything” for Xmas. it’s a book called performance welding which they put some picture from the show in it to market it better to sell. There is a lot of useful info in there that you can use. I have it hidden in my locker at work and I have actually used the book at work as a reference( secretly ) if you can find the book with out the monster garage stuff on it you don’t look like a rookie if someone sees you with it but monster garage was a sick show.
 

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I bought and read the " Haynes welding manual" (I believe that's the name of the book). Not bad for starting point on the baisc's of welding and cutting. Gives you the basics on equipment, welding techniques and lots of other good stuff. If you have never welded before, like me, this book will give you a beter understanding of what your getting into. It dosn't teach you all the little tricks that make your fab job easier, but plenty of practice and talking to the right people should.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
mojavehanna said:
How do you keep a Formula Toy running if you cant fab?
Working full time ;) as an x-ray tech. I made a trade for the chassi that was built and now im putting all the parts back onto it. I'm able to turn wrenches with no problems its just the damn fab work thats got me worried at the momment. I just need to get me some scrap and start bending and welding and see how it turns out.

I've seen the bendtech program and thats what im looking for, that way I won't end up wasting too much material which for me would break the bank.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
wd40prerunner said:
My girlfriend got me the Monster garage “how to weld damm near anything” for Xmas. it’s a book called performance welding which they put some picture from the show in it to market it better to sell. There is a lot of useful info in there that you can use. I have it hidden in my locker at work and I have actually used the book at work as a reference( secretly ) if you can find the book with out the monster garage stuff on it you don’t look like a rookie if someone sees you with it but monster garage was a sick show.
My brother actually got that awhile back but didnt seem to have much as far as positioning and how to form a good bead or any tips on settings on the welder. But I guess most of that just goes back to practice :welder:
 

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Ricks72 said:
Working full time ;) as an x-ray tech. I made a trade for the chassi that was built and now im putting all the parts back onto it. I'm able to turn wrenches with no problems its just the damn fab work thats got me worried at the momment. I just need to get me some scrap and start bending and welding and see how it turns out.

I've seen the bendtech program and thats what im looking for, that way I won't end up wasting too much material which for me would break the bank.
Yeah, just get a good MIG machine, JD2 bender with a 1.5" on a 4.5"CLR or 1.75" on a 5.5 CLR" on die set, and a chop saw and start making stuff. Sure your going to waste some material but that is just "tuition" in your learning experience. Ask some questions either here or on Pirate, make something, ask for feedback and repeat. You will find out that the more tools you have the easier/ faster it is to make decent parts. It takes a long time to become proficient so be patient, but keep at it and you will eventually improve.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yeah I got the pro tools 105 bender with the 1"5/8 die. Kinda wondering if just the sawzall will get me by or if a chopsaw is really needed? Also what are some of the other small fab tools that most use? Magnets, degree finder, welding blankets, stuff like that
 

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A chopsaw, even if its an el cheapo will help you cut straight lines accross the stock, trying to do that with a saws all is well .................... gonna be a lot harder to cut straightl. You could use your skill saw, that is what I use for 98% of the cuts I make on stock under .250 thick. Over that its the good ole blow torch and ground smooth and to size. A drill press will be another welcome addition to the you stable of tools.

As far as welders, I believe the more you buy the happier and more you will thank yourself later. IMO there is nothing wrong with buz box welders except they are slower than MIG welders. I use both for different portions of fabrication.

Wally
 

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Ricks72 said:
Yeah I got the pro tools 105 bender with the 1"5/8 die. Kinda wondering if just the sawzall will get me by or if a chopsaw is really needed? Also what are some of the other small fab tools that most use? Magnets, degree finder, welding blankets, stuff like that
First off get a good welding hood, safety glasses, welding gloves, and maybe some leather welding sleeves. A leather apron is nice to to keep from setting yourself on fire when grinding stuff. Safety first, you only have two eyes and you'll probably need to keep them to stay employed.

I have both sawzall and chopsaw, the chopsaw is far more versatile for fab work despite it being a LOUD and MESSY bitch. you can cut all kinds of material to length quickly and do primitive tube notching as well. These are pretty cheap too, just get a decent one (not harbor freight). Eventually you will probably want a band saw or cold saw but its still always handy to have the good old chop saw around.

Magnets are always helpfull.

Degree finder is a must, the plastic 360* dial type, I also found that the best angle finder is the one you make yourself. Use a piece on .75 or 1" x 1/8 flat stock and cut about a 1.5' and 2.5' piece, drill a hole in each end and put a bolt with a wingnut to form a pivot and you now have a nice angle finder that comes in very handy for estimating bends and such.

Drilling holes in steel is the biggest PIA to me, so get a good 1/2" chuck drill like a Dewalt or Milwaukee and some good high speed steel drill bits. Then buy a DrillDr at the same time. Trust me, the DrillDr is worth its weight in gold for keeping bits sharp and keeping the drilling of two simple holes from ruining your day. Believe it or not there is an art to drilling holes in steel that many do not understand.

Never used a welding blanket in my life, although I probably would if I had one. I make due with wet towels when needed.

Die grinders and air sander, cutters are also very handy as well as a good electric cutter/ grinder.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Now thats some good information, thanks. Did some reading over on pirate and it seems like most would first suggest some good personel protection like leather and eye/ear wear. And since it stays hot as hell down in Texas the leather sleves and open back look like what im going to start pricing. And since I work with ionizing radiation every day I dont think adding to my skin exposure due to welding will help me prevent the skin cancers im sure to get later in life :rolleyes:

I've used a friends band saw before and it made some nice cuts that a sawzall could never make. But for now I'm going to start looking for a decent chop saw if I can find one under or around $200 since thats my budget for almost any tool or part from month to month
 

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Discussion Starter #15
WallyP226 said:
A chopsaw, even if its an el cheapo will help you cut straight lines accross the stock, trying to do that with a saws all is well .................... gonna be a lot harder to cut straightl. You could use your skill saw, that is what I use for 98% of the cuts I make on stock under .250 thick. Over that its the good ole blow torch and ground smooth and to size. A drill press will be another welcome addition to the you stable of tools.

As far as welders, I believe the more you buy the happier and more you will thank yourself later. IMO there is nothing wrong with buz box welders except they are slower than MIG welders. I use both for different portions of fabrication.

Wally
Yeah a torch would be nice but thats just one more tool that cost more than what I have for right now, and another skill I need to learn :D
 

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I had a Dewalt chop saw that was nice, but theyre like $250. I now have a Ryobi chopsaw from HomeDepot that cost about $150. and it works really good too, just dont buy the cheapy blades. I use the heavy duty 1/8" thick ones.

I use the leather sleaves/ shoulders and they work great in the heat `$45. I also keep a stash of those cheap paper dust masks to help with the "black lung" youll get from cutting and grinding all day. I almost always wear ear plugs as well, these tools are loud and somehow MIG sparks seem to constantly find their way into my ears. It sucks welding in the heat b/c you cannot use a fan due to the fact that the air movement will blow away any shielding gas. Its best to tack stuff and then save the welding for the morning hours in the summertime.

You'll find that you will always want more tools, but this is a good start to be able to learn and make basic stuff. Dont worry too much about making mistakes, just learn from them as you go. I almost always make a bad bend or two and waste some tubing but thats the way it goes when doing custom one of work.
 

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Oh yeah, when drilling holes in steel it takes a slow steady approach. "Speed and feed" is the mantra, never go faster than the bit can cut or you will burn up the bit. Using oil helps cool, so you can increase the speed slightly. I digress, since your drilling at a low speed with high torque it is really easy to burn up cheap drills (dont ask me how I know) that is why I suggest a good heavy duty drill. In tools you really get what you pay for, I rarely visit Harborfreight.
 

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Recommended reading at Pirate4x4:

http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billavista/Books/index.html

My favorites that have served me well are:

  • Carroll Smith's Nuts, Bolts and Fasteners and Plumbing Handbook
    by Carroll Smith
  • Engineer to Win : The Essential Guide to Racing Car Materials Technology or How to Build Winners Which Don't Break
    by Carroll Smith
  • Welding Fabrication and Repair
    by Frank Marlow
Basically any book by Carroll Smith is an excellent book. The guy is a racing legend and knows his shit. If you want to build it right the first time, listen to what Smith has to say.

Of course, these are only to get your feet wet. Nothing can substitute real life experiences so get out and start building something, but read these first so you have an idea of what you are getting yourself into.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Shit damn... how did I miss that on pirate. Sweet I think that should cover the book part of this thread LOL
 
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