Having access to a welder means having one of the easiest and most time efficient ways to building or repairing something. Metal is more resilient than wood; and in a SHTF situation or TEOTWAWKI, scrap metal will most likely be plentiful. All you need is the welder and you are good to go. Wait, what do you mean you do not have one? It is time for your own industrial revolution with tips and tricks for a DIY welder.
Prepping for the Novice Welder
Because welding has a vast stretch of skill requirements, these tips are going to focus on the one safest for novice welders. This also means that many of the must-have components are going to be easy to acquire and not break the budget.
When prepping for a disaster, you should consider an electrical arc and generator combination unit. This is the simplest and faster means of having a welder on hand. All you would then need is a flux-core wire feed or stick welder to accompany it. Keep in mind that stick welders are inexpensive but are best for those with experience. TIG and MIG welders need shielding glass, which may be hard to come by, so you should only consider them if you have said welding helmet.
Now, if you need to make a DIY welder, here is one way:
The DIY Car Battery DC Welder
A quick caveat about the batteries: keep a constant watch over them so that they do not overheat. Lead-acid batteries may go into a discharge mode that is dangerous.
What you will need:
A welding rod – recommended rods are 3/32” 6013 or the 1/8” 6011
2-3 old car batteries — for a total of 24v or 36v
- Take your pliers and bend the teeth of the alligator clip slightly forward. This will held with grasping the rod. Ties can help secure the clip to the rod. Since a high-amp current will be going through the rod, take all measures necessary to secure it.
- Acquire your batteries. These can come from a car, go-kart, golf cart, or anything with mid-sized batteries. Line them up side-by-side. The batteries need to be wired by putting one positive end of the middle battery to the negative end of an outside battery. Next round, take the negative of the middle battery and connect it to the positive of the remaining outside battery.
- The open positive gets to be the ground clamp and is attached to the metal sheet.
- Time for the final lead (should be one negative remaining on a battery). Connect the end of that cable to the electrode.
- Secure the work, because you will be striking the rod against it like a match. It should flare.
- You may be inclined to jump backwards, but do not drop the rod.
It will take some practice to perfect the striking technique, but that is how you use car batteries to make a welder.
If you want to see a video, check out a how-to on Youtube.
There are other ways to fabricate a DIY welder, but judging on the situation you may not be able to find all of the required goods. Batteries, however, a generally in supply, as well as wire and scrap metal. The other option is, as stated previously, to buy a generator and connect a welder to that.
When it is TEOTWAWKI, having the ability to weld is going to be a huge advantage for survivalists. You can repair damages to your shelter or make fortifications that would otherwise be unavailable to you. Do not hesitate to begin preparations now. You never know when you are going to have to break out the car batteries for some welding.
Brian – Founder of ProWelderGuide.com