View Full Version : Welding with stick welders

10-24-2010, 02:36 AM

Im looking to get a cheap stick welder so I can make this new hobby of mine :) I know a couple of retired boilermakers and wanted their advice on brands etc but we didn't get that far because they were adamant that it would be virtually impossible to weld bicycle frames with such a welder without blowing holes. Now everyone on this forum is quite adamant that these welders would be fine, and I believe them, because they have the anecdotal evidence.

But why would these boilermakers be so sure it wouldn't work? Could it be a difference with our standard power (240v, 10 amp) here in Australia? Or maybe they imagined trying to complete a whole weld at once? Do I need to find really old bicycles with thick tubing to make it work?


10-24-2010, 05:14 AM
Hi riley.

Welcome to the krew.

Your boiler making friends will no doubt be using proffesional mig/tig equipment that has functions that make welding light gauge material easier and more reliable and are governed by codes of practice. This type of equipment is beyond the reach of most of us but we would all like it. To get you started cheaply all you need is a stick welder of around 100A available from your hardware store. With the stick welders we are talking about there is not a lot to choose between brands and stuff.They are all much the same. The more expensive ones will have fan cooling and thermal protection which is worth having if you intend to use it a lot.
Have a look here.
Everything you need to know to get going.
You can weld light gauge material without blowing holes in it with this type of welder. It just takes practice and getting to know your equipment. The more you do it the easier it gets.

Hope this helps and good luck in your new hobby. I hope you have fun.

All the best.


10-27-2010, 09:33 AM
Thanks tim!

John Lewis
10-29-2010, 08:55 AM
Hi riley,

My first zombie bike was done with a cheap stick welder, Itb probably made it a bit more difficult as I found the current fluctuated a lot. None the less I persevered and completed the bike. The best buy I made was an autodarkening helmet.

For my next buid I bought myself a nice little dc switching power supply style stick welder that can also do TIG if I buy the necessary accessories. It is a lot nicer to use and I'm glad I have it but I could have managed just as well if I stuck to the first one.

The point is for our purposes on thin material a cheap welder is fine. It is just that you have to learn how to use it and get the best from it.

John Lewis

10-30-2010, 04:06 AM
those helmets are really cool!

Hi riley,

The best buy I made was an autodarkening helmet.

John Lewis

10-30-2010, 10:59 AM
Thanks John, I've already got one of those helmets on the way! Haven't got a welder yet mind you :P

Radical Brad
10-30-2010, 11:18 AM
Scare your boilermaker friends with this fact...

I ONLY own a cheap 240 volt AC welder... the cheapest one I could find. Every single bike on this site was done using that budget welder. Scare them even more with the fact that I almost never change the heat setting and ONLY use 3/32 6013 rod for all work.

If they don't believe you, there are plenty of photos here!
... puts a fast end to that myth!


11-02-2010, 06:25 PM
hey r_i_l_e_y. im not sure if you would have these stores there or not but there are 2 stores here in ireland(also eu) that sell the budget welder that you are looking for compleat with thermal protection and a cooling fan. the stores are aldi and lidl. there carry these from time to time, i got mine in aldi for around 60 euro(about $84 au) and its great. a use 2mm - 2.5mm mild steel rods for all my work and they do the job, just have to watch the heat, to much and you could come and visit me...lol just kidding.