Welding, Welders, and books about Welding

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Building an electric vehicle involves a lot of mechanical work. Often that means fabricating a custom metal part to hold something in place, which often means using a welder. You can either befriend a local welding shop, or learn to do it yourself. Search for welding books on amazon.com

MIG Welders are perhaps the easiest entry into welding. The name comes from using an inert gas that's sprayed around the target while welding. While MIG welders are supposed to be used with a gas canister, that has to be refilled by a welding shop, some MIG welders don't use an inert gas. MIG welders can be very inexpensive and can run off regular household current, making it very feasible for anyone to get started with welding. MIG welding techniques are very easy to pick up.

Arc Welding and TIG Welding allow you to do other sorts of welding jobs (MIG Welding is limited to steel, while the other techniques can weld other kinds of metals) but take more skill.

Because Welding makes incredibly bright light that will blind you and can harm your eyesight, welding goggles and welding helmets are necessary. Helmets like the one shown on the right are very useful because they automatically dim themselves. The problem is you'll have the helmet flipped up while organizing the work piece and the welding nozzle, but then both hands are tied up holding those two things and you don't have a third hand with which to lower the helmet. With an auto-dimming helmet you keep the welding helmet flipped down -- you're able to see what you're doing because it isn't dimmed, but as soon as you trigger the welder the faceplate dims keeping you from being blinded.

Monster Garage: How to Weld Damn Near Anything (Motorbooks Workshop) by Richard Finch. This book is written by the team who produce the TV show "Monster Garage". Since I don't watch TV, I know nothing of this show, but judging from what's in the book they regularly build outrageous vehicles under great time pressure. This book is their attempt to show you, the amateur that is, some ideas of how you can do this yourself in your own garage.

The book's intent is to show a raw beginner the steps of doing high quality welding that is suitable for high stress machines like race cars and aircraft. The authors don't pull any punches about how to do this, and they make it clear what is the difference between welding a park bench and welding an airplane. If the park bench breaks the only danger is someones dignity, while if the airplane breaks that likely means death to the occupants. Further, vehicles like airplanes and race cars face much higher forces than does the typical park bench, no matter how big some behinds are.

What does this mean to an EV builder? Everything. What happens in your vehicle as you go around turns, or more practically what about the forces at play when your vehicle crashes? How do you know the battery box, for example, is going to hold together and not allow the batteries to go flying during a collision? It's strong welds that will hold your vehicle together, and if you're going to do it yourself you need to learn the arts taught in this book.

The book covers the whole ecosystem of welding. It shows you the various equipment used in welding, along with practical advice for what will work or not work. It shows you how to cut and clean the metal, how to build a welding jig, and the practicalities of TIG and MIG welding.

Welder's Handbook: A Complete Guide to MIG, TIG, Arc & Oxyacetylene Welding by Richard Finch. Hmm, it's interesting that this book is written by the same author as the above book. I found the above book scared me off of welding, while this book really helped me understand welding and think "Yeah, I can do that".

What's different? It seems to me that Monster Garage is a bit boasty about what they do on the TV show, while this book just gets to practical talk about welding. This book talks about the process in every day terms, and makes it seem like a very unmystical skill to learn. At the same time the book makes certain dangers very clear, and offers simple ways to steer clear of the dangers. Finally, the book offers simple exercises to help one get started with welding.

This book covers welding with oxyacetylene torches, and arc, MIG and TIG welding. In addition it covers brazing and soldering, both being low-temperature methods that can still produce strong seams.

How To Weld (Motorbooks Workshop): I haven't seen this book, but it has a huge rating on amazon.com and the reviews there give it lots of praise, saying that it's full of pictures and advice. The only negative things in the review are that it didn't meet the needs of a specific purchaser.
Automotive Welding: A Practical Guide (S-A Design Workbench Series): I haven't seen this book, but it has a huge rating on amazon.com. Going by reviews there, the book focuses not just on welding, but any kind of metal fabrication you'll do while working on a car. It's said to be useful for novices and full of projects aimed to give you more practice and capability.
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