MAKE Primer: Welding (PDF) . If you need metal stuck together, there is no quicker path than buying a portable 110-volt wire-feed welder.
Being a snob, Mister Jalopy used to scoff at these small welders as not being serious machines. Then he started seeing them everywhere ó at every auto body shop and every metal gate installer; even hooked up to a generator at drag races.
Having used a Lincoln 135 Plus wirefeed welder (about $600) for a month or two, he's not scoffing any longer. Granted, it is not structural. You canít weld a bridge, skyscraper, or engine mounts to a car frame. But you can weld steel up to 3/16", which is thick enough to make furniture, wrought iron gates, and bad art.
The beauty of the small Lincoln welders is they are light and portable. And when you get to wherever you are going, you can plug them into a standard 110-volt 20-amp outlet. If you use the flux core kit, you donít even have to carry around a tank of compressed shielding gas.
This article is not a replacement for the manual or the many excellent books devoted to welding. This is a primer to explain the process and show how you can be a welder by the end of the weekend ó and end up with a couple of jigs for the effort.
This primer first appeared in MAKE Volume 03.