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DIY Welder Project

Kevin O. Pulver

Email NOT Working
Age
54
Last Subscription Date
02/14/2020
Hi All,
It's been a while since I posted here. I didn't have the space or resources to tackle anything interesting and after a while I wasn't even lurking. It looks like that's about to change.

I moved to the Philippines a while back. In the coming year I'll be tackling a project that requires a substantial amount of welding on 4mm hot rolled mild steel plate. Running mains power to the work site just isn't in the budget. Neither is a new engine driven welder. Large portions of the country are, "off grid". There are *NO* inexpensive broken welders. When they break, they get repaired and/or sold to somebody who will fix them. Used machines sell at not much of a discount from new price.

I'm going to be stateside from Feb. through June of the coming year. Shipping a commercially built rig, or even the generator head off of one, back to the Philippines would drive the price higher than buying new locally. A home built welder head based on a heavy duty alternator should be under my economy shipping limit (50 lbs.) and labeling it "scrap auto parts" should get me under the minimum value for assessing import duties.

At this point I'm sort of pre-scrounging parts. I've got a 1 liter three cylinder including computer and wiring harness out of a Chevy Geo lined up as a power source for the trial and error phase. I've got a cheap Arduino programmable controller with four stepper motor modules. Since I'll be using the controller to regulate field current and engine speed, I'll probably be better off starting with a blown alternator. It would be nice if it had good bearings and winding's but I can fix that if I have to.

Does anyone have suggestions regarding the source for a core?
Any ideas on where I might scavenge heavy gauge magnet wire for a choke coil? Any (constructive) criticism?
That's very interesting! I lived in Peru 4 a year doing missionary work and have also visited Indonesia and Mexico so I understand a little bit about what you are talking about.

Do you mind telling us what your project is, and why you moved to the Phillipines?
 

JoeKultgen

Registered
That's very interesting! I lived in Peru 4 a year doing missionary work and have also visited Indonesia and Mexico so I understand a little bit about what you are talking about.

Do you mind telling us what your project is, and why you moved to the Phillipines?
I'm stateside in California for the next couple of months. Will be returning to the Philippines when my current project wraps up, making it my primary residence. I could give a hundred trivial reasons, but combined it all adds up to "the people". The finest scenery on earth becomes nothing more than your back yard after you live there for a year. It's the people you have to deal with on a day to day basis that make or break a place when you're looking for somewhere to live.

This Covid-19 thing will probably delay my return by a month or more. That's OK, I spent my entire life becoming who I am right now. If I have to spend an extra month or two improving my welding skills, so be it. I'll be welding up a steel hulled Banca, basically a fairly large ocean going dual outrigger canoe. Similar to this.

https://travelbynatasha.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/dsc_0943.jpg

I've got a basic cut plan that should let me get the bare hull out of ten 4x8 sheets of of 4mm mild steel. That gives a dry weight around 2,200 pounds with a draft of 14", length at waterline around 28' and 36' over all, a beam (also at waterline) of 30" and 4.5' at the gunwale. The hull plate should only use about eight and a half sheets, leaving a sheet and a half to cut strips off of for frames, stringers, and gussets. If I need more I'll use it. 30" of draft displaces roughly 6,600 lbs and still leaves 18" of freeboard on a four foot deep hull. While I have no intention of ever loading it that heavy it gives me plenty of leeway for stronger frames without worrying about losing useful load. I'm not too bad at running straight beads on flat work. I need more practice with vertical and overhead. What I'm looking to build is actually on the small side for steel hull boats. The biggest challenge is going to be finding a weld sequence that gives minimum distortion. That, and finding the patience to keep grinding out my mistakes until I get it right. :)
 

Rick McKay

Registered
Last Subscription Date
04/28/2015
I would think strongly about paying the money to get the gen-end off of an Lincoln SA 200 shipped over there. When you've finished your project, you would have a very marketable piece, providing you do a good job coupling it to another power unit. I've always wanted to do an engine swap on mine to a small diesel such as a 4 cyl thermo king engine. The only down side to the SA 200 units compared to modern units, is they don't put out 120v AC, but at least you can get 120v DC out them to run a brush type motor like a grinder or drill. The only major external electrical components on the SA units are a rheostat and a range selector. The range selector is optional, as you could direct couple the lead to the range you want (there are 4 choices). The rheostat is just a variable resistor that could be sourced from many different suppliers.

Good Luck, and Have Fun!
Rick
 

JoeKultgen

Registered
If your luck is like mine- you will get "good" at welding about 20 minutes before the last weld is done on your project.
Ain't that the truth?!
Fortunately this type of boat is mostly open. If I go with removable decking and duck boards, at least for the first year or two, I'll be able to get at any problem spots from both the inside and out. Worst case, I'll have to cut an access hole to fix a tank leak. I'm shooting for perfect and hoping to get "good enough".
 

JoeKultgen

Registered
I would think strongly about paying the money to get the gen-end off of an Lincoln SA 200 shipped over there. When you've finished your project, you would have a very marketable piece, providing you do a good job coupling it to another power unit. I've always wanted to do an engine swap on mine to a small diesel such as a 4 cyl thermo king engine. The only down side to the SA 200 units compared to modern units, is they don't put out 120v AC, but at least you can get 120v DC out them to run a brush type motor like a grinder or drill. The only major external electrical components on the SA units are a rheostat and a range selector. The range selector is optional, as you could direct couple the lead to the range you want (there are 4 choices). The rheostat is just a variable resistor that could be sourced from many different suppliers.

Good Luck, and Have Fun!
Rick
I'll try to post a couple photo's of what I'm using for a practice rig tomorrow. I had originally planned to pick up a used four cylinder diesel from a small truck to power the welder, then re-purpose it as propulsion for the boat. There's at least four Kia (Mazda) 2.7 diesels in my home neighborhood going for under $400 including transmission. Toyota is in the same price range. $600 will get you a Nissan, Mitsubishi or Isuzu. A Yanmar or Volvo already converted for marine use is more reliable but so expensive a full service oil and filter change would coast me as much as an overhaul on the Kia. They're built for ocean crossing. I just want to go island hopping.

The Philippines has some 110v outlets but 220v - 240v is the standard, using an either/or round and flat plug outlet that will take a standard US two or three prong plug. This causes some interesting melt downs when tourists arrive with 110 only chargers for their personal electronics.
 

cobbadog

Registered
I'm not sure about the access to spares for the engines you have mentioned. I have found that well known brand named vehicles and engines can be very different from one Country to another. Here we call them Grey Imports and ten cannot be swapped with an Australian delivered item so keep that in mind as well. It is a great idea but you dont want to have to order parts in from the US if this is the case.
 

JoeKultgen

Registered
I'm not sure about the access to spares for the engines you have mentioned. I have found that well known brand named vehicles and engines can be very different from one Country to another. Here we call them Grey Imports and ten cannot be swapped with an Australian delivered item so keep that in mind as well. It is a great idea but you dont want to have to order parts in from the US if this is the case.
Sorry, I wasn't too clear. My "home neighborhood" is in the Philippines and I was quoting prices for used engines available near where I'll be building. Where I'm at now, in California, none of these engines are available. Most of the vehicles they come out of are not importable to the US, or they aren't available as an option on the ones sold here. There are plenty of small diesels out there, thousands of acres of them, clean, low mileage, fuel efficient. But Volkswagen had to buy them back from customers who weren't allowed to drive them on US highways. They'll cut them up for scrap rather than let you have one for parts. Not their choice, write your congresscritter.
 

JoeKultgen

Registered
Here's what I'm playing with right now. It's not a Miller or Lincoln, not even close. However, The Chinese diesel genset is no longer imported to the US but identical to units I can buy new in the Philippines. The "welder" is a Juba ZX7-200 IGBT I got on sale off of Amazon for about $70. The genset is rated for 6.8Kw peak (5.5Kw continuous). The welder has a max draw of 5.5Kw. The crappy practice beads are vertical up 1/8" 7018 done one after another until the rig burned three rods without over heating or tripping out. So far I've burned a little over two pounds of assorted sizes and types without a problem. Keep in mind that my project calls for mostly one size and type of electrode. It's made almost entirely of 4mm mild steel and I don't really mind if this little beast gets used up by the time I'm finished. So far I'm impressed by what it can do. It will be interesting to see if it can go the distance.
7018VU_s.jpgGenset_s.jpgTiny_s.jpg
 
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