Wednesday, June 4, 2014

welding... a necessary farm skill

water supply fitting for hose reel
For the kind of farming that i have been doing, mostly pigs, i've needed to have a way to deal with tons of food.  most of that I did with a tractor, first a david brown 995, a pretty good 2wd tractor with a loader, and later with a kubota 9580, and then later still with a kubota m125x.

the tractors have gotten bigger, and that worked for the initial operation, but at this point i've got a whole new set of implements, and i really don't want to spend much on them, and that means welding.

with the hose reel, which is what it sounds like -- a giant wheel with hose on it and a system to wind it back on the reel -- what i had to do was do an inventory of the stuff that i inherited with the farm.  i found 1000' of hose in two 500' lengths, with one kind of connector on it, and the hose reel had another.  How do you connect the two?

Welding.  a local farm supply store had the fittings, and i welded the bits together to connect the water/manure supply to the hose reel, and then looked at the other end.  the sprayer end is basically a small water cannon, and i found on on craigslist for $250 (they sell for $500 or so new) and picked it up to find out that the mount on the hose reel wasn't the same as the cannon.  $8 in pipe parts and 20 minutes of grinding and welding and i screwed the new cannon on the old reel.

At this point i have enough equipment and enough activity that there's something to weld, either to fabricate or repair, every few days.  and a welding setup on the farm means that when something does break it's down for a half hour, not several hours or several days waiting for parts, or for a repair shop.

my welds at this point aren't very pretty - working on that - but i'm sure that practice will make perfect.
rust ground off, ready to weld


sailj32 said...

Bruce - can you describe your welder? If you wish you had a different type, what would it be?

Bruce King said...

I have a miller 251 welder, which i paid something like $1200 for. It's a MIG welder (metal in gas) and uses argon. It's big enough that I can weld fairly thick metal; most of the farm implements are made of 3/8" to 1/2" plate, and it's plenty good for those repairs.

With this welder you can weld aluminum with a different end-gun, and i like that ability, but haven't done any aluminum welding yet. my stock trailer is aluminum; most everything else is steel, either mild or stainless.

I purchased this welder a couple of years ago, and used it in a shop. if I were to buy a new welder today, I'd probably buy a welder that was both a welder and generator, and truck-mount it. RIght now I have to bring the work to the welder. I'd like to be able to bring the welder to the work, as implements, tractors and so on often get stuck somewhere because they're broken and being able to weld in place would be a very nice option. I wouldn't get a bigger welder; the size of this one is good.

It's clear that this farm was maintained with some sort of portable welder. There's a lot of gates and so on that are welded a long way from electrical power.