Best($$) Cracker box Welder...?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by fordy, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................Got several projects that need some welding so I've been looking for a 200 amp Ac\DC welder ! The Miller is getting close too $500 as well the Lincoln and I know Harbor freight has some Cheapies as well but I have not a clue as too how well they are built . So anyone with a particular Brand name who would like too recommend , please speak up . , thanks , fordy
     
  2. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    I just read a old popular mechanics magazine with a do it yourself article for one of those, wish I could remember the year and month but Im sure it a 20 years or more ago maybe 70..
     

  3. poorboy

    poorboy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My used Lincoln I picked up for 75$ does the job for me..:icecream:
     
  4. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    Look for used.

    A bunch of those old Lincoln crackerboxes around....
     
  5. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    If you want an AC/DC welder you're much better off sticking with the big names, either Lincoln or Miller. Hobart is up there too and they are owned by Miller and TSC has some deals on them occasionally. Used is the way to go as there's plenty of equipment for sale everywhere.
     
  6. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................Was just looking at Hobart on Northern tool , they have 2 models at $239, and $449 or so . I've been looking for a Miller Thunderbolt AC\DC but nothing yet on C's list . Thanks , fordy
     
  7. FreshPaint

    FreshPaint Member

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    Hi all:
    Fordy

    The best advice I can give you is to STAY AWAY from the Harbor Freight welders. I had the Flux Mig and had only used it three time before it started to die.Now fast forward to this last past Friday when I ordered a Hobart 187 Mig, yes I payed big dollars for it but it should last a lot longer than the cheap stuff. Stick with the name brand welders and you should not have any problems. Just as a side note I have a 1955 Lincoln arc welder that still running strong. You just can't beat something that works.

    FreshPaint
     
  8. Wrencher

    Wrencher New Member

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    I'm very happy with my Lincoln wire feed. My dad was very disappointed as he said that I would never be able to 'burn through 3/8" plate'. And it's true. But I wanted a welder that I could move around the house and yard, plug into a 110 receptacle, or even take over to my kid's homes if they needed something welded.

    Wire feeds are easy to use, and if you use the right weld geometry and fit up, they will provide fine, strong welds. That is the key to welding anyway. It the geometry is wrong, the weld will never be right. Get a couple of angle grinders - one for wire wheeling the slag off the weld, and another for grinding out bad spots, porosity and splatter, and you will do fine.

    A lot of wire feeds come with a regulator for use with an inert gas. This gives you a lot of possibilities as well.
     
  9. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    I have a little 110V Lincoln wirefeed, too. I took an old lawn mower and tossed the engine, then mounted the welder on one edge and the gas bottle on the other edge. Between the handles I hung a bucket with lid. It holds my helmet, brush, hammer, electrode gel, and spare parts. It makes it handy to move around the yard to where the action is.

    I also have an old buzz box that came with the place. I think it is Sears and is ancient, but it works.
     
  10. ChristieAcres

    ChristieAcres Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I asked DH, and his welders are all Millers. One of those welders has been used for 20 years, which doesn't mean so much unless you know how MUCH it has been used (used much more than avg and has run his own business as a Welder/Machinist since 1999). He recommends them, but also said Lincoln & Hobart are good choices too. Same advice, stick to those three.
     
  11. Curtis B

    Curtis B Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm with everyone else with sticking to the three mentioned. I could not be happier with my Hobart wire feed, that is unless I could have the Lincoln that I use at work. Cost was a factor for me also, but I have used a Harbor Freight/Chicago Electric, and there really is no comparison.
     
  12. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    220V stick welder, brand isnt that important. Copper wound transformer is nice, but also makes welder very heavy. Dont get one of those 110V stick welders. They are total junk. You can usually find cheap welder at farm auction. If it still sparks, probably work fine for lot longer. I have three stick buzz box welders, at least one of them AC/DC, two of them copper wound. I always end up using the AC aluminum wound Miller Thunderbolt, just cause it sets outside handy under an old wash tub. Gave less than $40 back in early nineties. Fan quit on it not long after I got it and I never bothered to fix it. It is quite the sad looking old derelict, but still works fine. Kinda like me I guess.....

    Wire welder, if you look, had thread before. probably do want to stay with one of the big three.

    Dont buy a stick welder if you are mostly going to weld thin metal. And if you've never welded before you would probably be happier with a wire welder as there is more of a learning curve to stick welding. I have lived most my life with stick welder, so wire welders at times frustrate me, but kind of a necessary over priced evil to weld thin metal.
     
  13. Curtis B

    Curtis B Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My father said the same as you just did. I showed him how to use a wire feed, and after a little practicing he now uses it almost exclusivly even for material up to an inch thick. He welded with a stick in the oil fields for 23 years, but says it is nice to not have to stop and put in a new stick every few inches.
     
  14. longrider

    longrider Southern Gent

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    I recommend this one for the price:
    http://http://www.mylincolnelectric.com/Catalog/equipmentdatasheet.aspx?p=2493 99% of all welding can be donewith this AC machine.

    I have this one:
    http://www.mylincolnelectric.com/Catalog/equipmentdatasheet.aspx?p=2494 This one has the DC selection which is useful but not necessary for most welding jobs.


    When I finished Lincoln Electric Welding School some years back they gave me a deal on a welding machine. A one time "at cost" deal. I talked it over with my instructors and decided that this welder is the best all around machine. It cost $623 and runs off of 240v or your basic dryer hookup. I ran a box outside from the electrical box to the patio where my shop is.

    Lincoln makes their money off the AC only version of this box. It cost $450. They literally sell more of these outside the United States than all other welders and consumables combined. This AC box will weld anything on the farm.

    If I were going to set up a welding shop for hire then I would buy the Ranger 305D (diesel) and run a Mig feeder and Python off of it. The Chopper technology makes for perfect welds and takes all the work out of the handling.

    My first two jobs welding were on big steel using Miller Bobcats. The are good welders and cheap. There dont come anywhere near the quality and ease of a lincoln welder because they lack the half wave chopper tech but I still was able to pool-up a good weld- just took a lot more time to weld.

    I havent used a hobart but I cant imagine them being any different than Millers. Problably built on the same lines in the same plant.

    As far as I am concern- It aint the machine, its the technique. Knowing how to weld is whats important.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  15. ChristieAcres

    ChristieAcres Well-Known Member Supporter

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    DH would certainly agree with that statement! The quality of his work speaks for itself and he gets a lot of compliments on his welds. I thought this odd, at first, until I was shown other people's work. It never occurred to me there would be that big of a difference. In many cases, "pretty" welds aren't necessary, but when they are, technique matters a lot! To get an idea what he does, check out the Christie Machine & Welding Website link below my signature.
     
  16. Win07_351

    Win07_351 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'd 2nd the wire feed machines especially if needed for sheetmetal such as welding in floors/panels on vehicles.

    If just needed for heavy plate steel, a stick welder is fine. I'd stay with the 220 volt machines. I've owned a Hobart and Lincoln AC units and they worked fine on plate steel. Sometimes you can find them used for around $100 or less.

    I used to own a Lincoln welder/generator with gas engine which was a nice machine with AC, DC+ AND DC- It had the 6000 watt generator.
     
  17. Win07_351

    Win07_351 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That is some very nice work. Nice to see some craftsmen still left in this country.

    Quite often the pretty welds are done with the Tig machines for aircraft quality welds.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  18. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    If you buy a good AC/DC machine you can add TIG to it and make the wire feeders jealous.
     
  19. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    I really like our lincoln. we call it a buzz box. Little red 220 amp AC stick welder. Someday I want a machine that will tig too. I work with some aluminum, and stainless sometimes. The money Ive spent hiring that stuff welded over the years I could have bought 2 welders. I took 2 years of welding at a vocational school while I was in high school.
     
  20. FarmerRob

    FarmerRob Well-Known Member

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