Welder choice ???

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by johnkl, Dec 20, 2003.

  1. johnkl

    johnkl Well-Known Member

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    My old Lincoln 225 amp, AC buzz box is getting tired. The amp selection switch is getting funky and hard to adjust in the low ranges. Its been good to me tho and I've used it hard more than once. One of the things I never liked much about it tho is the 15 amp increments between amp settings.

    I'm thinking I'd like to replace it with another machine. The criteria for the new machine follows

    It must be a stick welder (I've got a Lincoln 110VAC wire feed)
    AC/DC
    Copper windings---not aluminum
    amp range up to at least 200

    I know Lincoln makes a machine with all the above criteria but I'd also be stuck with the 15 amp increment in the selector switch.

    Miller makes a similar machine with a selector switch that can be more closely zeroed in. Are they any good? Any other suggestions?
     
  2. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    Ive been watching EBAY quite a bit lately for welders. Im looking for a MIG (millermatic 135 or lincoln 135+). Most of the stuff on ebay are vendors selling as purchases instead of auction style. I like the miller brand because they seem to have an infinite control over the machine. There others out there but I tend to stay with the common name brand stuff on items like this. Why do you want an AC/DC machine??? Miller makes a thunderbold model that is comparable to the lincoln AC-225.
     

  3. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I'd just go to several farm auctions and get used one. The copper wound ones dont go any higher than aluminum ones around here. Copper ones last nearly forever also. New copper one is going to be expensive. I have couple copper ones I picked up over the years, one an AC/DC but you know what, I end up using old aluminum wound AC only Miller Thunderbolt welder I got super cheap long ago most of all, just because it sits outdoors all time with tub over it, thus it is most handy. I know its quirks and can make it do what I want most of time. Fan hasnt worked on it for years and cover is off it. Switch doesnt work, I just touch bare wire to terminal to turn it on. You get the idea.

    Also take a look at this website. http://www.zena.net/htdocs/Map.shtml#Top I had a chance to use one of these zena welders. I like it. Cant vouch for how long they last, but they give good deep high quality weld, definitely not a toy. They were a while back selling demonstrators on ebay at considerable discount to full retail.
     
  4. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    I would purchase a NEW Miller Thunderbolt ac\dc that runs on 240 vac. DC voltage is Better because you don't have the Inefficiency of the constant reversal of polarity that AC has . If, you do any welding for strength, it requires a Low Hydrogen rod such as 7018. You CAN't weld 7018 with ac voltage. It has to be DC. An All Purpose rod like 6011 will work just fine with AC voltage. The Thunderbolt will provide up to 170 amps for DC which is sufficient to weld with a 5/32's rod which is going to be big enough to do about 99% of any job that you will ever attempt. ...........Change your name to "Sparky"....fordy :p :worship:
     
  5. johnkl

    johnkl Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys.

    Fordy, does the Miller you mention have copper windings? Hermitjohn mentioned an AC machine he has and said it was aluminum wound. I'd always heard copper is better because its longer lasting but I also see quite a few of the Millers around. Do they hold up well with occasional hard use.

    I was just on www.harborfreight.com and saw a Hobart there. Its item number #ITEM 42329-1VGA

    Its 235AC/169DC stick welder. I know Hobart has been a respected name in welding for years but I'm wondering about this particular machine. They want $420 for it new.
     
  6. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    My thunderbolt is Very heavy. Yes, it will handle any level of work you care to get involved with. If , you have a generator in the 8 to 10 kw range you can plug a crackerbox into the generator and then your Portable. I would rate Miller #1 , Lincoln #2 , and Hobart #3. But, I have a biased opinion Because I also have a Miller, Bobcat, 225 amp portable welder with an 18 HP , Kohler engine and it has run great for the last 7 years........fordy :D :worship:
     
  7. Swampdweller

    Swampdweller Well-Known Member

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    My experience with welders is such that I'd be tempted to stick with the old, heavy, copper-wound jobs. Looks like you already appreciate this.
    Miller, Forney, Lincoln, Hobart were all good. The direction I'm going from here is portable.....and you can bet it'll be a diesel (burns used oil for fuel).

    Swampdweller
     
  8. Swampdweller

    Swampdweller Well-Known Member

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    Beg tuh differ. I can lay beautiful welds with 7018 or 7014 with my old 180 amp Forney any time of the night or day. Got several large trucks and trailers that I've built or modified over the years to prove it....

    Swamp
     
  9. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    OK, I'll have to try that . I'm always open to new idea's..and the guy I worked with said never to use AC on 7018 rod. I'm not a professional welder, but I'm good enough to make things (pipe, etc.) stick together. Anyway , it seems most of the old Lincoln's only produce Dc, although I haven't really paid any attention to the newer models. I like 7014 rod alot because it always seemed to me to be the easiest to both weld with and produce the best looking welds. I'm not really sure how strong the welds would be in comparison to say 7018. Maybe you would like to comment......Are you related to "Marie Lavough" by any chance??? :D :D :D ........fordy :eek: :no:
     
  10. Swampdweller

    Swampdweller Well-Known Member

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    Indulge me...who's Marie Lavough ?

    Welding 7018 with AC I usually run the amps around 130 and up. It's a bit touchy at the start cuz the rod wants to stick. Once you get a hot bead, it welds pretty smooth. 7014 runs easy at about any reasonable amp setting.
    I find that 7014 is strong enough for most, but if there's a question, I use 18.

    Swamp
     
  11. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    Marie Lavough was that Swamp Witch in the Song That Bobby Bare made a recording of probably 25 years ago. i can't remember the name exactly but I can hear the Melody in my head. "and another man done gone" . It was very popular when it came out and I have always loved to listen to it especially when I use to consume copious amounts of Beer, but i quit bar hopping about 20 years ago. Too many hangovers and wasted money and having to make apology's for things that I didn't remember saying while I was in an altered state......fordy :worship: :waa:
     
  12. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    "Marie Lavough was that Swamp Witch" - What type of welder is that. LOL...
     
  13. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    I miss spelled ole Marie's last name ...It should be...Marie Laveau(or x) depending on your preference. Another man done gone......bye,.... :D fordy
     
  14. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    maybe you could teach us (me in particular) what the trick is to using those wire fed welders...
    I got one that uses flux core wire or argon gas and i cant make a decent weld to save my butt... and i do try.
    I can manage some short spot/line welds that are acceptable (they dont bust when you smack them with a hamer good enough for me) I'd like to figure out how to get two pieces of body gauge metal to weld together neatly... ives seen it done and i know it can do it....
    I did make one or two realy nice welds on my truck but I dunno HOW I did, vuz right after that i kept doing what I thought i was doing right and pppffftttt crappt weld again...
    if I can find a spot welder for my clarke en100 the clarke people on the phone said it makes a good spot welder for body panels, but they dont sell/make the nozzle anymore.. go figure THAT logic out.
    it works good as a spot welder... so stop making the nozzle. :no: she said I could make one and sent me a diagram how to cut a standard nozzle to do it.. summer project.
    sonce you do both whats easier to learn to use a stick or the wire?
     
  15. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    I havent done alot of welding with a wire feed but from the sounds of you are probably using the wire with the flux so you dont need a sheilding gas. I have found that the sheilding gas makes a world of difference. Make sure that the gun is pointed down and pointed in the direction of travel(if thismakes sense). You will make a weaving side to side weld instead of a up and down weld like 6010 rod. It is almnost like using 7018 rod(drag rod).
     
  16. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I know some of the 7018 rod says for AC welders, but think even then it depends on the particular welder. Some older AC's dont like 7018 no matter what it says on package. Never had problem with it in a DC. Frankly though I mostly just use 6011. Strong deep penetrating weld. Not as pretty though.

    I dont know what all Miller put Thunderbolt name on. All I know is the thing has stood up to all kinds of use and abuse for lot years now. I never scraped the windings to see absolutely if it is aluminum. All I know is I can pick it up and carry it around if I have to. Unless your name is "A-h-nold"and you have an Austrian accent, you dont do that with a copper wound welder or at least I dont. By way I will say the copper wound welders I have are easier to strike and maintain an arc, but I am used to the Thunderbolt so no big deal.

    I do have a mig that I rarely use (sheet metal only). If you are used to a stick its more difficult to use as you keep trying to compensate for burning electrode and you end up getting nozzle too close to the work. Probably lot easier for somebody who has never used a stick welder.

    Also last time I will mention it, but that Zena welder is a marvel. If I hadnt actually used (and abused) one, I would never believe something that looked like that could do what it does. Looks like an old GM alternator, but welds better or at least as well as any buzz box I've ever used. I mean it gives a VERY high quality weld and VERY easy to strike an arc. 100% duty cycle also. Try out one if you ever get the chance.
     
  17. johnkl

    johnkl Well-Known Member

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    HermitJohn, I checked out the Zena link you provided and it does sound good. The problem is, it doesn't have an electric option. Gas, hydraulic or air powered is what they offer. How big of an electric motor would ya need to operate it?

    As far as wire feed is concerned, I rarely use mine. I have a helluva time getting things set up right, you know, the wire speed matched with the amperage. The result is cold welds. They do seem to stick but they're bumpy, not pretty at all.
     
  18. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I've got a Lincoln 225 AC welder I'll probably be selling. It's about 5 yrs. old and hasn't been used very much.
     
  19. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Kinda complicated website. Here is link where they discuss running Zena welder with electric motor. Apparently takes around 5hp electric motor for intermittant duty at full output or 7 1/2 HP for full output 100% duty. http://www.zena.net/htdocs/FAQ/electricdrive.shtml

    Not sure it would be worth it to use just with electric when an old copper wound buzz box is pretty cheap used. However if you wanted to use it mobile and in shop and could get big electric motor cheap hey then might be justifiable. Just set it up so it was easy to remove it from engine and set it up with motor or vice versa.
     
  20. johnkl

    johnkl Well-Known Member

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    I was browsing thru the Trading Post, a local buyers guide kinda paper and spotted a used Smith welder for sale. Its only AC but its industrial duty---250AMP @ 100% duty cycle---with massive copper windings. Its been in a town shop. They used it for numerous things, including hard-facing buckets. It ran hard all day and never broke a sweat. Shaped like a barrell, about 2' in diameter and about three feet high. He sez they ran 7018 and it welded like a champ. Very smooth arc and easy to strike. $150. with long cables.

    I've welded with an old PH similar to what he described and it welded great.

    I feel a road trip coming on Sunday. I'll letcha know the scoop when I pick it up. It'll give me a chance to try my new (1983 F-250) truck out.