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 Selecting a welder 
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Location: North of Seattle
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I've decided to build a STEN from a kit, and welding is involved. I have a yard sale grade torch set that needs about two hundred bucks to get back up and running properly, a very old Lincoln buzz box, and am considering getting an inexpensive Harbor Freight MIG/Flux core welder. Also about two hundred bucks to get me going there, too.

I haven't welded much since I learned in high school. I was really good with gas and forgot most of the stuff about stick, but the wire feed seems to have the most potential to get up and running quickly, with good weld properties.

I'm in it for about two hundred bucks (pretty much my budget for that part of the project) with torch or wire feed, but a lot of hours would be needed with the stick to bring my skills back to where they need to be.

Is wire feed pretty much the best way to go here? Heat control and blowing holes are my biggest concern on the thin metal, and it seems less likely with wire, but my knowledge is too rusty to provide much confidence.

Any guidance out there?


Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:40 am
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I would avoid the harbor freight setup like the plague. What ever you choose, make sure it uses gas, not flux core if you want nice welds. You can pick up a small miller, lincoln, hobart on Craigslist for 2 to 300 bucks. What exactly do you need to get your torch setup going? It can produce some nice welds with practice, and maybe a good option for a sten gun. ,Plus the ability to cut, solder, braze and heat things up. A new torch setup is not to much more than 200. I picked up a whole Large setup a few years back on Craigslist for 200, bottles and all.

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"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones". Albert Einstein 1947


Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:49 am
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http://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/tls/5741804637.html


Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:29 am
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Im just a garage "hobby" welder, but I don't really see anything wrong with going flux line-feed, you could even add an inert gas (Ar or C25) & get a dual shield process giving good results. Will the weld be coated at the end of your build? With full MIG setup you'll have to move fast as it'll deposit your consumable a lot faster, flux or dual shield process is slower & more forgiving. I have a small machine & setup for both, it might work out for you to get some time on it to do what you need, but I'm far away, let me know-


Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:51 am
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On a project like that I'd TIG weld it. If you don't have capibility, find someone that does.


Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:59 am
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If you have bottles and hoses for your acetaline set up you should be able to get a Lincoln 100 torch complete from a welding store for around $100. If you do not plan on doing welding for yourself and family find a friend that had a bottle type wire welder and have him weld it up ot teach you to weld and do it with his welder.

I decided to get a decent welder a few years ago. I went with a Hobart machine that is requires 220. I have used it to weld fuel tanks to trailers.


Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:26 pm
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drec wrote:
On a project like that I'd TIG weld it. If you don't have capability, find someone that does.


:plusone: TIG is where it's at if you can invest the time to practice, although it is more expensive to get set up and takes longer to learn. The plus side is that during most of the practicing your only expense beyond slight electricity is the argon (or mix.) TIG sips the gas too, for small projects.

Once you get snappy with TIG you can do really nice welds (strength and appearance) on tricky projects that nothing else will do.

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Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:45 pm
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What processes were the most common during wartime manufacture?


Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:07 pm
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For thinner gage ferrous materials typical of gunsmithing a tig is the way to go. For alumiinum Tig is also good if you run AC. For thicker materials mig welding gives good results for ferrous and non ferrous


Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:15 pm
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CarlMc wrote:
What processes were the most common during wartime manufacture?


If I remember correctly, MIG was developed during the war but wasnt really perfected till after. TIG was perfected early on in the war ('40?) and was mostly used on planes. I would guess that stick welding was the most commonly used as it was pretty common in shipbuilding and if i remember right the Liberty ships had something like 600k feet of welds.

As for what was used for gun I have no clue.


Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:44 pm
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CarlMc wrote:
What processes were the most common during wartime manufacture?



Assuming you are talking WWI &WWII I think Brazing would have been the most common. Hard to say if gas welding would have been more common during WWI and electric by WWII.

I think for what you want a nice MIG welder would be good, as well as the lincoln and miller, hobarts mentioned. Lots of car guys I think are happy with the Eastwood welder. As was stated above as long as it has gas capability then it should be good!


Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:12 am
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I came across this video of STEN manufacturing. I see a combination of stick and gas being used. I would imagine that welding was one of the processes that had to be considered in designing a firearm for inexpensive manufacture. We Americans are quite spoiled with our factories generally so far removed from the threats of war, never able to come up with a dirt cheap firearm ourselves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAUdrKG31zE


Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:24 am
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CarlMc wrote:
I came across this video of STEN manufacturing. I see a combination of stick and gas being used. I would imagine that welding was one of the processes that had to be considered in designing a firearm for inexpensive manufacture. We Americans are quite spoiled with our factories generally so far removed from the threats of war, never able to come up with a dirt cheap firearm ourselves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAUdrKG31zE


M3 "grease gun?"


Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:27 am
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CarlMc wrote:
I came across this video of STEN manufacturing. I see a combination of stick and gas being used. I would imagine that welding was one of the processes that had to be considered in designing a firearm for inexpensive manufacture. We Americans are quite spoiled with our factories generally so far removed from the threats of war, never able to come up with a dirt cheap firearm ourselves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAUdrKG31zE


The Liberator Pistol, along with the M3 that Chester mentioned

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Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:58 am
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Unicorn wrote:
CarlMc wrote:
I came across this video of STEN manufacturing. I see a combination of stick and gas being used. I would imagine that welding was one of the processes that had to be considered in designing a firearm for inexpensive manufacture. We Americans are quite spoiled with our factories generally so far removed from the threats of war, never able to come up with a dirt cheap firearm ourselves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAUdrKG31zE


M3 "grease gun?"


It was a great try. The M3's purpose was to replace the Thompson, and at around $20, it was half the price of the Thompson, and a whole lot less complicated.
The STEN cost about ten bucks and could be built with the minimum of tooling, skills, and supply chain, something the Allies were rarely short on. Necessity and the mother of invention sort of thing.


Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:24 am
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