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Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice


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  #1  
Old 10-06-2015, 11:02:40 PM
ArodaPowerCo ArodaPowerCo is offline
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Default Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

First off, I'll tell you about my welding skills. I can MIG weld. But then, who can't? I have done things like equipment repairs, exhaust work, made headers, and light fabrication. I have used a Hobart Ironman (225 I think?) at my old job on a regular basis. Made and fixed all kinds of stuff from trailers to tree chippers to stumpgrinders. Currently I have a Lincoln 140 that I use for various projects in the garage. The thing will do wonders on sheet metal and exhaust tubing. Bigger stuff not so much. I tried stick welding once and completely sucked at it. Mainly due to never being properly taught. So you can say I have ZERO experience with it, but very willing to learn. I guess you could sum it up by saying within the narrow spectrum of MIG welding that I have done, I'm very experienced. Outside of that, welding knowledge is basically zero.

This is driven by a need to weld thicker material. Up to 1/2" and possibly more (but not much) on a rare occasion, and repair cracks in cast iron (don't know if that's possible but heard it is). I would like to have the mobility of an engine driven welder and it would be for occasional use so fuel cost isn't really a concern.

All that said, what units should I be on the lookout for? I like "oldies but goodies" (isn't that why we're all here?) and would prefer an older model with a simple engine that has a proven track record. On the other side of the coin, I don't want to end up with something made of "unobtanium" that when it breaks I'm screwed. Gas or diesel doesn't matter. Don't need it tomorrow so I have time to shop around and save money.

Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 10-08-2015, 12:09:21 AM
circuitman circuitman is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

do you have 24ovolt 50amp outlet available? if so you can't go wrong with the old lincoln 225 amp welder. they can be bought cheap usually , & there almost in destructible. plus you can make a drop cord for them!
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  #3  
Old 10-08-2015, 01:32:41 AM
ArodaPowerCo ArodaPowerCo is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

My garage is fed by a 50A circuit, and most of those amps are spoken for by the well and air compressor. Also, I didn't want to be tied to being within range of a plug. That's why I was looking for a welder/generator. Something along the lines of an SA-200?

Of course I do have a 10kW generator. That might run a 225 welder.
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Old 10-08-2015, 06:02:37 AM
RobertT RobertT is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

I really like the old Lincoln SA-200 welders. Big, trailer mounted and powered by bullet proof Continental 4 cylinder engines.

Bob
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:33:01 AM
dkamp dkamp is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

Well, your garage 240/50A service shouldn't have any problem with occasional use of a stick welder. Realize, it's not the welder's capacity that determines how much power is drawn... it's the WELD ENERGY you're applying that determines how much power is drawn.

A thin rod won't last long under high current settings... so you have to dial back the welder... which means your power consumption at the receptacle will be lower.

That being the case, AND the case that you'd like to be portable... I suggest you have BOTH-

Both an engine-driven welder, AND an AC-DC stick welder at your disposal.

Next... MIG welding is like using a glue gun... once it's set right, there's very little criticality to technique. Stick welding, is like MIG, except that your shielding is not from gas flowing through the hose, it's coming off the outside of the rod (the flux burns off, to create shielding gas). Finally, where the MIG feeds filler metal into the void by pushing WIRE in, you instead add filler material by advancing the rod towards the void.

There is no 'nozzle', but because the flux burns off to create shielding, how you address the rod to the work determines how affective your shielding is. Also, the flux, as it melts off, comes off in both gaseous and liquid flavors. The liquid forms a hard crust over the weld area to protect it while cooling. This means that you can't just 'back up' and weld over your prior pass without stopping, and chipping the flux off. If you attempt to weld over flux, you'll wind up with voids in your weld.

When metal is properly prepared and your ground is good, starting a MIG is literally just a matter of squeezing the trigger. With a stick welder, the electrode lead is always live, so you get an arc by 'striking' it... scratching it across the top of the work like a match, and lifting slightly at the end of the scratch. If the parent metal and rod is very clean, air is dry, and settings all correct, the arc may form without much effort at all.

Once struck, one must learn to 'see' and differentiate the arc from the parent metal, the rod filling, and the flux. They all have slightly different color and character. You move the arc slowly and steadily along the joint, observing the parent metal liquify, and the filler metal drip into the bead, and keep the bead advancing. As you advance, the weld behind will cool and solidify.

With ALL welding, having clean, close fitting, and properly prepared surface is the very most important step of welding. Next is to have a good solid ground connection and secured leads, then select the correct rod, set system polarity and current range per the rod's instructions, then set up your working position to allow proper pass without being tangled in the leads or obstructed along the way.

Then practice. Then practice some more. Then practice some more. Chip after each pass (SAFETY GLASSES!!!) and expect spatter in your gloves, boots, pockets, etc (right gear helps minimize 'spatter-dance'...

THen practice some more.
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  #6  
Old 10-09-2015, 01:27:49 PM
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MoRo MoRo is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

dkamp is right. One more thing to keep you busy is the fact that you have to watch the gap between your rod and the work, move your stinger down as the rod burns down, plus watching what's been mentioned above. The advice to practice a LOT is sound!

I have a MM 135 wirefeed and a Miller BlueStar gen/welder. Wanna know which I like to weld with better??? The BlueStar, on DC. Feeding the stick into the puddle becomes second nature, like eating ice cream while watching tv.
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Old 10-09-2015, 07:31:04 PM
ArodaPowerCo ArodaPowerCo is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkamp View Post
With a stick welder, the electrode lead is always live, so you get an arc by 'striking' it... scratching it across the top of the work like a match, and lifting slightly at the end of the scratch.
This would explain why my previous experience with stick welding was a dismal failure (15 years ago). Thought you had to maintain contact with the metal. Made a huge mess.

I like the idea of both. Might be better to start off with a good used "plug-in" stick machine and "practice, practice, practice" before I worry about an engine driven welder. That way I know how it's supposed to behave when I do get one.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:50:12 PM
dkamp dkamp is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

Yeah, well, the nice thing about a plug-in, is that it sits in the background and hums patiently while you fuss around, rather than the engine either roaring (or if it has auto-idle) idling down.

For an engine-driven, if it idles down, you'll hafta dink the electrode against the metal to 'wake up' the engine, and then once running, get an arc established before it decides to idle down again. Not a big deal for an experienced arc-tosser, but when you're trying to learn, it can be a little aggravating.

For what it's worth, I have several engine-drivens, as well as a Lincoln 'tombstone' 225AC, and a Miller SRH-333 (a three-phase machine, converted to run on single), as well as a Miller Bobcat in my company truck, and I can weld with ANY of them, but there's some applications where I prefer one over the other. for a newbie, the differences (comparing apples to apples) is insignificant. The only 'big' difference of any, is that the Lincoln 'tombstone' is AC only, and certainly not in the capacity range of the SRH... but the Lincoln was given to me by my grandfather, and I learned to weld with it (using wet and rotten 7018 DC rod on rusty scraps and a very poorly made extension cord), so I'm inclined to hang onto it for sentimental reasons, but it still works.

---------- Post added at 08:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:43 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArodaPowerCo View Post
This would explain why my previous experience with stick welding was a dismal failure (15 years ago). Thought you had to maintain contact with the metal. Made a huge mess.
Uh... yeah, probably. It's really kinda hard to 'arc weld' without an 'arc'.
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  #9  
Old 10-10-2015, 12:24:24 AM
ArodaPowerCo ArodaPowerCo is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

You make a lot of sense. I think I'll stick with the plug in to start with. Save engines for later.

Just realized upon further reflection that my stick welder disaster was closer to 20 years ago. Sheesh how time flies...

My first welding project will likely be building a couple "fear-no-deer" bumpers for my wife's truck and mine. I have lots of scrap lying around right now since the price of ferrous scrap is in the tank right now so I'll practice on that stuff first.
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:54:35 AM
beezerbill beezerbill is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

What kind of cast iron welding are you planning on doing? There is lots on the 'Stack here on welding cast iron, and most of it points to gas welding, using cast iron rod as the filler. Also, much attention is paid to proper pre-heat and cooling, to the point that beyond a good large gas torch you might also need either a big pre-heat furnace or at least a weed burner, and something to allow your work to cool down slowly (days) after welding.

I have arc welded cast iron using nickel rod and it is OK for welding small pieces that have broken off the edge of something (the feet on a Chinese ST generator head is an example) but probably not a good idea for welding freeze cracks on an engine water jacket. I also tried arc welding cracks in a cast iron cook stove using nickel rod and that was an utter disaster. Presently I repair cracks on my relic engines by brazing, only because I don't have a torch that gets hot enough to weld them.

So...practice arc welding on steel, and not just random steel but steel that you know can weld OK, and save the cast iron for later, after you have a lot of experience.
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Old 10-10-2015, 12:13:13 PM
BHoward BHoward is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

Have had a 225 Linkon for over 45 years and it work,s fine on a 30 amp breaker
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Old 10-11-2015, 03:16:01 PM
ArodaPowerCo ArodaPowerCo is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

Good information on the cast iron. Not anything I have a need for now, but it could have been of use in the past. Probably one of those things I'll leave to a professional for the time being.

Going to keep my eyes peeled for a Lincoln 225. Seems to be a popular unit.

Last edited by ArodaPowerCo; 10-11-2015 at 03:16:20 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-12-2015, 01:25:11 AM
circuitman circuitman is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

check out ebay!
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Old 10-13-2015, 01:33:49 AM
circuitman circuitman is offline
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Default Re: Looking For First Welder/Generator Advice

most on ebay are local pick up. one could be close. also an estate auction is a good place i bought one for $95 + a set of cutting torches went with it. then a couple weeks later picked up another at a flea market for $60, the guy needed gas money , & i couldn't turn it down, the wife almost put me in the dog house!
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