Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Grosse Pointe, MI
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You are welding 1/4" plate to solid forged steel C's. Generally speaking, welding 1/4" correctly calls for around 180-190 amps. Can you get away with a little less (say, 140 amps)? Sure, but with the right variables such as welding in the flat position, clean metal, etc. Personally, I don't make structural welds using incorrect parameters.
That all said, you still need to get fusion to the forged chunk of steel. In addition, the welding will be done in all positions. I usually run a hotter bead and focus the heat on the C (closer to 220 amps). Another option if you don't have the amperage is to preheat the C a little and use around 180 amps.
In the end, you can make the gussets stick on with less amperage. Just don't expect the welds to actually hold when they need to.
As for getting an "arc" welder, that is a category of welders that includes a range of weld processes such as FCAW, GMAW, GTAW, SMAW, and so on. Most people these days start with GMAW (aka, MIG, but not all gases are inert now, so the correct term is GMAW). A standard MIG machine can run solid wire and flux-cored wire. To get the kind of amperage you need, you will want a 220v machine. In theory, you could get it done with a 140 amp, 110v machine using flux-cored wire, but that takes some practice to make good welds.
Last edited by Invest2m4; 07-14-2015 at 11:05 AM.