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Braise, MIG, or TIG?

I am an experimental artist - constantly learning new things so I can create the things I dream up. For several years now, I have wanted to learn to weld, so I can build yard-art out of rebar and scrap metal. Now that I'm in the position to actually learn how to do it, I start researching what tools I'll need. This led me to wondering what it is I need to learn: Braising (proper spelling?), where I can combine different metals, or MIG or TIG welding?

My structures will be art, not loadbearing or functional. Which would be the best method for me? Which method is simpler? Cheaper? What tools do I need for each, bearing in mind why I want to work with? If I was to get everything I need for Christmas, what can I expect to spend for a basic starter set? HELP!:confused:

Re: Braise, MIG, or TIG?

When I took a welding course many years ago, they started us with brazing (I don't know how to spell it either). It gave us the experience with a flame and a rod and helped us build manual dexterity with both hands working in concert. Works for light metals or metals that are very thin. It's probably the cheapest form since the investment upfront would only be a torch and some rods to use.

Next they started us using arc welders and we learned the right type of rods and the correct thickness, to use with the type metals we were using. We used a lot of 6012 rods to learn with.

Next we got to use a MIG welder. Now you're starting to get into money. It was the most fun and laid down a bead that was really smooth and easy if you paid attention to what you were doing. If not, the wire would keep feeding and breaking off so you had a weld that looked like a porcupine.

TIG was the most expensive and you had to have rods of tungsten carbide. You might get the rod stuck and it would break off in the weld, not good either.

Hope that helps.

Good Luck.

Re: Braise, MIG, or TIG?

If your pieces are going to be small pieces and mainly thin pieces then brazing would be what you want. if they are going to be rebar and larger pieces then you would probally want an arc wielder. if you are going to be using thin metals that are going to be fairly large pieces then you would want a mig wielder.

brazing metals is fairly simple and if your pieces are small pieces we have used clothes hangers for our brazing rods. arc wielders you can pick up fairly easily and probally find a ton of them right now in the classified ads. migs are going to be a little more difficult to find unless you pick up one of the small ones from lowes. a good mig wielder is a very handy tool, uses argon gas but as stated it layes a very nice bead, but you need to make sure that you have your settings right because you can leave a nice bead and not have good penatration.

Re: Braise, MIG, or TIG?

Personally I think a torch, (Oxy/Acetylene, Oxy/Propane, or Oxy/Natural Gas) is the most versatile. You can braze, weld, cut, or heat for bending.

Re: Braise, MIG, or TIG?

Yep ... I agree with JLM.
Besides some artists I've known working with metal like the flexablity with the gas set up and you can can create color variations in metal like copper or brass with the torch flame .
Also you can shape and bend steel to whatever shape you wish.

But you do have limits for materials used .... stainless steel for example.

Electric welders can be useful as well but costs are reflected to the type.

Arc ( or stick ) can be most affordable and useful for thicker materials.

Metal Inert Gas can be affordable for a smaller unit that uses flux core wire but becomes more costlier for using the Argon/Co2 gas units.

Tungsten Inert Gas are more expensive units as well as the need to use Argon gas.

Btw ... the issues with TIG has more to do with ruining the tungsten tip ( electrode ) not the filler rods.

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