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Hi all,

Just bought a newbie welder to see if it's something I want to get into but I have a question. One of the projects I want to tackle is a broken wrought iron fence. But I live in a housing tract so I'm wondering if I need to be worried about other people's eyes when I'm welding the fence.

Like what if my neighbors look out their window, or walk down their driveway, will they be blinded by the flash? Or does that only happen to people who are really close to the arc, like 20 feet?

I could try to park my car in the way, to partially block the arc from view while I'm working. Hoping I don't have to put up a special tent or something. Also, are there any laws regarding this?
 

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They'd have to stare at it for quite a while before they got any kind of injuries from looking at. Glancing at it will not be a problem as they probably aren't going to stare. I'd be more worried about fire concerns than eye protection of folks in the neighborhood. Keep an extinguisher close at hand. Also I'm not sure how much welding you've done up to this point but welding iron requires special rods or wire.

https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/faqs/faq-can-wrought-iron-be-repaired-by-welding/
 

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Discussion Starter #4
They'd have to stare at it for quite a while before they got any kind of injuries from looking at. Glancing at it will not be a problem as they probably aren't going to stare. I'd be more worried about fire concerns than eye protection of folks in the neighborhood. Keep an extinguisher close at hand. Also I'm not sure how much welding you've done up to this point but welding iron requires special rods or wire.

https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/faqs/faq-can-wrought-iron-be-repaired-by-welding/
Never welded anything in my life, so I appreciate the tip. I just bought what is probably the cheapest welder in the world, a flux core 125 amp welder from Harbor Freight. I figure that if I enjoy it or find it super useful, I can graduate to a more expensive welder as my skill increases.
 

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I've got tha same welder. It does nearly anything I need around the house and in the garage. Not fancy but serviceable. Do yourself a favor and take that spool of wire that came with it and throw it away. Go on Amazon or to your local welding supply and get a spool of name brand wire. Even if you're experienced at welding the garbage wire that comes in that unit makes it impossible to get a decent weld.

Swing by a metal shop and ask to get a few pieces of scrap ad practice on scrap before doing actual welds. It'll help a lot ad you'll learn the machine before you weld on something people have to look at ;)

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
 

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Two quick pieces of advice:

As Downs said, practice, and if at all possible, practice on the same material you are going to weld on.

Clean the metal surfaces prior to welding. Flap disc, steel brush or sandpaper if thats all you have, then hit it with Acetone. Try and shield any wind if outdoors.

Good welds are no accident. Good weldors are true artists.
 

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Anyone with half a brain will not be staring at it. If a bunch of people gather to stare at the light like moths I'd stop and disperse them. Wrought iron might be your bigger issue. I don't know if you bought a stick or mig welder, but I've always heard iron takes special filler material. I'm not a welding expert buy a long shot, but I've played with mig, stick, and torch welding. If I were to try what your suggesting I'd probably try a stick welder first with proper rods. I'm sure welding experts could weight in on this better than me.
 

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Sorry, Just saw you have a cheep flux core unit. It's not meant for wrought iron. more like reasonably thin sheet metal. it wont produce enough "arc" to really hurt anyone. Wrought iron will disperse a lot of the heat and probably not get a good pool of liquid metal to really weld. I don't know of your power situation, but your going to want a real heavy power cord and the shorter the better. Good luck, have fun, and don't zap yourself.
 

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OK, I am 55 yo and learned to weld with a stick at 14 yo. I have used a mig and ran many spools of wire. I have tigged and love it with a thumb wheel. Even welded a bit of aluminum and brazed cast iron with a torch.

If you don't see people around who can stare or children who might stare. Go ahead. Look about and check to make sure no person who doesn't know better is watching. If they know what up and you tell them to "watch their eyes" they will look away. If they don't know it will draw their attention. I have 2 kids who seem to be good about looking away. Just take care to prevent anyone from eye damage. Most people know to look away.

At home I have the same junk welder. I used it to build a tandem axle trailer with. I have had this trailer a couple of years now. The welds look like terrible but it works and I have used it. I just modified a Moose Expedition rack for my TW with it. Basically it bolted up but the bar on the right side didn't fit. I cut it apart and rotated pieces around so it would fit. For now its good enough. I want to purchase a tube bender and make a good one but that will be a while. Gotta pay bills.

So the welder. With any weld or braze. Preparation is a good part of getting a quality weld. The cleaner the better.

I didn't have a welding hood so I would do the get ready then look away and make a spot. over and over. LOL basically tacking the whole job on the side bar. I have a hood but could not locate it and this wasn't much so I just did this for a quick solution.

I am rambling a little but the welder can work for you. One thing to know about any welder is duty cycle. If you just start welding and do it continuously. You will likely burn it up. I don't remember what the duty cycle is on that welder but it like 5 or 10 minutes each hour. Look in the book. If you run it continuously you'll burn it up. I ran mine as much as 20 minutes then would take a break to let it cool down.
 

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I got a Harbor Freight welder awile ago and hadn't welded in years.... They are right, throw the stock wire away. I used Lincoln wire from Home Depot. Works great. Also their is a different tip for flux core, it don't surround the tip because you aren't using gas. I use Pam spray and that helps keep splatter down and easy to clean off. They also sell a product just for this but the Pam spray from the kitchen was kinda free lol. You can also buy a heavier and longer power cord and plug, that's what I did. Just need to be able to wire it in tho.
 

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It would be your responsibility and common sense to provide a shield not just for sparks and debris but also to shield others eyes from exposure. It doesn't have to be all encompassing but has to show some effort of safety. The shields in some of the shops I've worked in or passed through delivering material all had standard small frames with a thin material of either vinyl or some sort of fireproof composite. We called it asbestos because thats what it was made of years ago but it's not asbestos anymore for obvious reasons.
Don't just use an old bed-sheet of packing blanket... you'll start a slow ember fire, I've seen it happen.

Any good welding supply store (the places where you get welding gas) would have these. Maybe Harbor Freight? Certainly Amazon or McMaster which does have everything.
I speak with the authority of being the worst welder to come out of an introductory welding program I had set-up for my union. Yeah, I could probably get away with "it'll hold" or "that one looks decent" but I had a problem with my eyes locating the piece before and after spark. I only took the course because I always wanted to make sure what was being provided was worth it for the crews. Welding and particularly overhead and real load-bering welding is somewhat of an art and the instructors we perfectionists in a steelworker environment though we weren't steelworkers. A battery of final tests by the city and state included having all your work boxed, marked and sent out to be X-Ray'd by a certified examiner.
But enough of that... please get yourself a great welding helmet. Not a good one, a GREAT one. Your own eye shield must protect one (really two) of your most precious assets, your eyes/sight. Doesn't matter if the helmet is some homage to Dale Earnhardt or the Green Goblin... it's the eye shield that matters!
 
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