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Arc welder?

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by littlejimmythatcould, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    I found a arc welder for sale for $300. It's a Miller and he says it has just been rebuilt from the local Miller dealer. He also says that it will blow through 1/4 inch steel very easily, so that leads me to believe that it will serve as a good welder for my needs. He does off roading too and has used it on his jeep:ignore: . I will need it for future projects on my truck but is arc welding commonly used? I am new to welding, I have done a few practice plates at a buddy's house with a mig welder but nothing too big. Will it be easy to learn arc welding? Any comments or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Todd
     
  2. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Eh...

    Its probably a decent welder,but the price is a bit high,considering you can buy a brand new Lincoln 225 Amp AC Arc welder for about 250 bucks at Home Depot..older ones are better for heavy duty continious use,they had copper windings in the transformer..newer ones use aluminum..but are fine for the home hobbyist welder who seldom uses it more than a few hours a month..

    An arc welder is great for welding frames,heavy metal on plows,etc..but its a tricky thing to use on thinner stock...I used mine to make holes for bolts on anything 1/4" or less,they excel in blowing holes in metal!..an AC welder is cheaper than one that has AC and DC...DC(direct currect) is a bit easier to do than AC is,and you can reverse the polarity,for better welds on thinner metals..they cost about 100 bucks more than an AC only one..

    A MIG welder would be a better choice for sheet metal repairs and up to 1/4" metal..I'd say if you went for a mig welder,to go for a 220V version,they simply work better,and can weld heavy stock..110V migs are OK for muffler repair and sheet metal,but for thicker stuff the 220V ones are much better..


    NEVER buy a 110V ARC welder,they are a joke..I had 2 of them,and hated them both!..:doah: ..my 220V arc welder has saved my butt MANY times over..made tools,parts,brackets,fixed busted parts no longer available,etc..keeps my rusted chevrolets rolling!..

    It takes quite a while to get good at arc welding,but its not hard to learn or do..just learning how does not take long,but learning how to run beads that hold well,and doing overhead welding takes lots of practice,just like any other skill,it takes time to develop it...

    I just had my Miller arc welder crap out on me a few months ago..but its a WW2 vintage unit that saw more abuse than a battleship in the war,(weighs about as much as one too!)--and then some..and I doubt its anything major wrong with it,probably a switch or wire problem,or maybe it just plain died of old age!..:crazy:
     
  3. AzzKicker

    AzzKicker 1/2 ton status

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    I just bought a Lincoln AC225 from home depot for 229.00 bucks. At that price its a great unit to have for heavy duty machinery. I plan to use this baby till it craps out and by then I should have enough knowledge and skills to put my money on a good MIG or maybe TIG setup.
     
  4. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    The one I'm looking at is a 220. Now I've got to figure out how I'm going to run a cord from my dryer plug to my driveway. I live in base housing on my base and the only 220 plug I have is behind my dryer and my driveway is about 30 feet away! Is it safe to run a cord that long to the welder?
     
  5. AzzKicker

    AzzKicker 1/2 ton status

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    I was going to do the same thing but decided to do it right the frist time. ITs a little costly but in the end I know I have a good reliable power source.


    My welder needed a 50amp fuse and 6 guage /3 wire. It needs 2 positives and 1 negative. My garage was also about 30 feet away and I've had no problems.

    Now since you say your live on a base you may not have permission to make changes to the the breaker box or dig wire. So you would need an extension cord. There is a company that sells extension cord for welders and its stranded 6 guage wire so its easy to roll up etc. I would recommend that.
     
  6. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    i have an AC/DC Lincoln buzz box. It works. Believe me though, at some point you'll want a MIG. As you get to stuff less than 1/8" thick it gets harder and harder to weld. At some point, it might as well be a messy plasma cutter. ;)

    I recently picked up a package of 1/16" 6013 rods that I am gonna try. With the welder cranked all the way down and on DC I might be able to spot weld sheetmetal... I dunno, we'll see. I'm gonna give it a try. I have about 500 pounds of chopped off K5 sheetmetal I don't need... I have lots to practice with. :D

    Right now I'm welding 1/8" sheet to 1/8" wall rectangular tube (rocker project) and it works great... even with my crappy almost non-existant welding "skills". ;) :thumb:

    j
     
  7. Jonny-K5

    Jonny-K5 1/2 ton status

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    i think you'd be better off saving for a 220 mig. ive got a 110 mig, 220 mig, and 220 stick/generator. i only use the stick when its really windy outside. i hate cleaning slag.

    if its a DC stick welder, it might be worth 300. if AC, i wouldnt even bother.
    you could use this welder for 1/8+ welding, and buy a little mig later on for sheetmetal.keep in mind tho,its ALOT harder to learn how to stick weld compared to mig. you'd be better off just waiting and buying a 220 mig.

    by the way you can make your own extension cord. pretty easy to do, just by the correct plugs and cable, make it as long as you want.if there's an electrical store near you they could help. otherwise, i think homedepot has all the correct parts.
     
  8. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Arc is all I had...

    I've yet to own a MIG welder...all I've ever had is hand me down old ARC welders all my life..I'm no expert welder,but I've used 6011 rod 3/32 thick to "spot" weld in floor patches and other body panels..you cant run a bead more than a 1/2 long in most cases without blowing thru sheet metal like you'd use to patch a floor (I use 16 GA)..but I can do a spot weld pretty darn good,you get good at it after patching up dozens of rusted chevrolets..

    The 6013 rod is better on thin stuff,but it needs to be clean metal,its not good on rusty metal..hard to get started and keep the arc going..it piles up on top of the metal more than 6011 does..6011 likes to "dig deep"...I find 6011 flows right in nice on rusty steel,while the 6013 tends to lump up on the top of the metal,and not penatrate very deeply..DC reverse polarity will be less likely to burn through than AC will or DC direct polarity..

    I've used my Arc welder as a cutter too..they sell special "Cutting and Grooving" rods..turn it up high,like 150+ amps,and its almost like having a plasma cutter...I blew 5/8 bolts off my plow faster than my cutting torches could have,and saved the oxogen for brazing body patches in..we cut up old Bulldozers and cranes at the junkyard with an old Lincoln 400 amp gas powered welder that had a slant 6 mopar motor on it!,,it used 3/8" cutting rods,and when set at maximum amps,it could cut steel 1-1/2" thick much faster than cutting torches could!...

    I might have to buy a Lincoln "Tombstone" welder from Home Depot I guess,once I get the dough somehow..but my older brother still has an aincient "Marquette" arc welder he said I could use..it looks like a giant rotary phone dial where the cables plug in,with a whole bunch of different amp settings in each hole..its another 200+ pound ingot,and its also 82 miles away unfortunately..:doah: :crazy:
     
  9. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    Yeah it is pretty windy here in New Mexico with a constant 15 to 20 mph breeze on good days. Most days it's 40 mph to 50 mph. I'll find out more about that welder. Because right now all I know is what I originally posted. But I'll get with the guy and ask some more questions and let y'all know more about it. I do sheet metal work every day but we usually rivet things together, so I really look forward on learning how to weld. I really appreciate everyone's input and advice. This web site is kind of like a big family and I like that a lot. Thanks again and I'll post more when I get more info about it.

    Todd
     
  10. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    thanks for the tech/tips... when I start trying to weld some sheetmetal stuff I have another person (in addition to tRusty!) to PM pics for advice/critic. :thumb: ;) :grin:

    j
     
  11. AzzKicker

    AzzKicker 1/2 ton status

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    They all have their plus sides. Yes MIG may be easy to learn etc. But who likes the easy route anyway :).

    Stick is cheaper, Upkeep is cheaper, accessories are cheaper and less maintenance needed on the unit. It all depends how good you are at learning things. I know stick welders who put MIG and TIG welders to shame because its what they learned and its what they know best.

    Stick is not even that hard to learn and do good in, and I've only used stick for 1 week. Just know your rods and your metals and your good to go.
     
  12. DieselDan

    DieselDan 1/2 ton status

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    Head on down to HomeyDepot (or whatever you got) and check out the electrical section. They should have a rack of different wire, look for a the rubber encased 3 wire 10 gauge (IIRC), pick up the appropriate plug and socket. The wire's not cheap, mine (50Ft of 4 wire) with plugs was like $100 (ouch!)
     
  13. 73k10sub

    73k10sub 1/2 ton status

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    time 2! only I needed it go get out of the garage an on to the driveway for a couple of projects.

    A word of caution on the dryer circuit. It may not have a big enough breaker in the panel because most 220V dryers do not draw what a welder will. Be safe and check that out. A 220V stick welder is most likely going to need a minimum 50 amp breaker.
     
  14. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    x2... my dryer was a 30 I think. Different plug also. My shop has 60amps on its main breaker... so I'm sure I'm not to code by running a 50amp welder in the circuit. Its all good, I just make sure everything else is turned off before I strike an arc. :grin: Its not like I have the amps cranked up that high during 99% of my welding, but it never hurts to error on the side of caution.

    As far as making things reach goes, its np... just got to the electrical supply place and buy some cable / outlet / plugs and make your own extension cord. I made a 50 footer for mine, that way I only need one plug in my shop but I can reach all the way out to my carport, concrete slab out back and most of my driveway too.

    j
     
  15. AzzKicker

    AzzKicker 1/2 ton status

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    What wire did you use to make extension cord. After fiddling around with 6/3 wire Its not something thats easy to roll up and carry :). However I think you can find 6 guage stranded wire which should work and be more flexible..
     
  16. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    Im not an electrician, so I'm not 100% sure what to call it. I think I used 8ga, it definitely had 3 wires (duh!). The manual that came with my welder said for runs of 50' or more, to use at least 10ga wire. I used 6ga from the box to the outlet... and 8 for the extension cord. You could use bigger, but I have never had a problem, its bigger than what the manual says... and its cheaper. I coil it up in 2' in diameter loops. It is more rigid than a normal extension cord... but its not really a problem.

    j
     
  17. mofugly13

    mofugly13 1 ton bucket of rust Premium Member

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    I's called SO cord, also, SOO, SJO. Typical 'extension cord' material. It is designated by how many conductors are in it, including the ground (unlike Romex, MC, SEC, etc.). The strands in SO cord are very fine compared to strands in typical building wire, which makes it much more flexible than building wire.

    Jek, 10 Guage for 50A! OUCH!. I'd at least step that up to 8 guage wire, as you did, but if your manual says 10, well, then I guess it's OK....I'll have to check.

    Anyway, for a 220v circuit, you'll need 8/3 or 6/3 SO cord, and the appropriate cord caps, one male, one female.
     
  18. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    yeah... well, in their defense they did say "at least". ;) My cord if actually 40' long I think... and has 8ga. Never let me down yet. If I was rich, I woulda used 6.... or 4? :grin: overkill is cool.

    j
     
  19. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    I looked at my dryer breaker and I think it's 30 amps, but I talked to one of my buddies that also lives in base housing and he said he does welding occassionally and to have everything shut off. Our hobby shop on base used to have a welding room that was setup for what ever and you could take your welder in there and go to town, but budget cutbacks:doah:
     
  20. mofugly13

    mofugly13 1 ton bucket of rust Premium Member

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    Well, if you go with what they recommend, I s'pose it's OK. You went one guage bigger, so you're good to go. Like you said, overkill is cool. SO cord has a higher ampacity than regular wire of the same guage, it's the super fine strands that let it carry the extra current.
     

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