This is a guest post by Peter E
[This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win - First Prize a 10 Person Deluxe Family Survival Kit, Second Prize an Herb Seed Bank or Third Prize a copy of Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat. For complete rules and list of prizes see this post.]
Construction and repair of equipment and structures will no doubt be necessary in a TEOTWAWKI situation and welding is one of many useful skills that can contribute to survival. Welding is merely the joining of similar metals by melting them together at the joint.Vehicles, farm equipment, furniture, structures, defenses, firearms, etc can all be repaired by welding of one kind or another.
Welding can take on many forms, some easier and more practical than others. While welding can be done with flammable gases, this type of setup is difficult to sustain in a TEOTWAWKI situation because the gases will run out and most likely be impossible to obtain on a continual basis.
We will limit this to electrical arc welding, which uses electrical current to melt the metal and create the joint. This article will be focused on the novice welder/prepper and supplies they can gather without breaking the bank, so simple will be the name of the game.
For the prepper who has the budget capacity, it is hard to beat a welder/generator combination machine. This type of machine will provide both emergency power and welding capabilities providing the necessary liquid fuel is available. If you can purchase a combination unit,do so and learn to use it, it will no doubt come in handy in the coming years.
For the prepper who has a generator already, any number of welding machines are available for purchase that would suit a survival situation. A stick welder or a flux-core wire feed welder are both good choices depending on budget and skill level. Stick welders tend to be less expensive but require more skill to use.
Flux-core wire feed welders are more costly but are easier to learn to use. That said, wire-feed machines have more moving parts and require additional consumables that may not be available should a situation occur, so that needs consideration. Avoid a dedicated TIG or MIG welder as these require shielding gas that is a consumable and will most likely be difficult to obtain. TIG machines are usually capable of stick welding and MIG welders can usually be used with flux-core wire as well. These are not bad choices so as long as the machines are capable of both and the proper filler and consumables.
If you have no current need or use for a welder or do not have a generator, the purchase of a welding machine is difficult to justify. Still, welding may be necessary in the future and is a useful skill that may be bartered. Even if a welding machine is already owned, it is likely not portable. Using little more than most preppers already have, a basic portable welding kit can be constructed that will emulate a DC stick welder. For this kit, the following will be needed:
· At least two (2) 12-volt car batteries (charged)
· At least two (2) sets of jumper cables or one set of jumper cables and a “patch” cable
· Wire Brush
· Leather Gloves
· Welding Goggles or hood with at least a shade 10 lens
· 3/32” Welding rod (more on this later)