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Thinking about a Welder

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bialecki
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 60 Southern Connecticut
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2008-01-22          150582


As I get more into my tractor and implements/ attachments, I was thinking about getting a welder. I have been researching Millers' 252 mig welder. However at nearly $1900 that is a big nut to crack. I do want a welder that can weld up to 1/2" and produce good looking welds (as a beginner weldor a mig would have the quickest and easiest learning curve versus TIG or arc). I have found a used Miller Thunderbolt arc welder (AC & DC welder)for under $300, but I am not too sure if I want to go the arc welder route. It may be all that I need but this is my dilemma. I would like to hear from some others with regards to my quest.

Thanks

Dennis

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Thinking about a Welder

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2008-01-23          150598


I don't think you need a pro model like that. Have a look at catalogues such as Northern Tools or visit farm-supply stores. And see if you can easily get 240 volts to where you'll be using it, maybe off your range or dryer wiring, because arcs are cheapest and pretty easy, but for half-inch you'd want the 240. Used ones always come up (at least where I am). You might start with a small 110-v arc for a couple hundred, and later trade up to or add a mig.

You want the right clothes: leather gauntlets, cap, smock, and an auto-dark helmet is worth the cost. And if you get an arc, an assortment of rods and a container to keep them dry.



....

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Thinking about a Welder

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2008-01-23          150601


25 years ago I did production and prototype MIG, TIG for a Harley-Davidson parts supplier. I did not have any formal teaching, so I am not an expert per se. I have always messed around with arc, though Im not that good at it.

If you are welding 12-inch then you are into safety issues where structural soundness is critical. With MIG unless you spend many thousands you are not going to get a single-pass with MIG. I have a portable MIG I bought from Lowes. It is a toy. Keep in mind that with MIG unless you spend a lot of money you will not get the necessary penetration. With arc you do. If you are not good at welding or do not know much about metals, take a nite course at the local college or highschool. ....

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Thinking about a Welder

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bialecki
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 60 Southern Connecticut
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2008-01-23          150602


Thanks for the replies, I currently have a small Miller 130 mig that is great for small stuff like thin tubing. But for anything thicker than 1/8" I need something bigger. Even with the 1/8" I need to pre-heat when using the Miller 130, so this is why I wanted to upgrade, although still an novice weldor.

I appreciate the concern for safety, one thing I did buy was a decent helmet, gloves and a 30" leather jacket. I guess I am tormenting myself knowing that there is a nice used Miller arc welder available and I am in-between looking at it versus saying let me save for a larger mig welder.

Dennis ....

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Thinking about a Welder

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-01-23          150604


I have a rather unique slant on this subject and get dragged (rather willingly) on a regular basis.

For the sake of the newer members, I am a licensed engineer, a certified welder and have in the past owned & operated several fabricating businesses. My current business still fabricates a lot of it's own specialty equipment. Some might say I know what I'm talking about.

IMHO, a MIG welder in the hands of an untrained 'student' is usually a recipe for disaster. As Dennis stated "...produce good looking welds (as a beginner weldor a mig would have the quickest and easiest learning curve versus TIG or arc)."

That's exactly the problem, a relative newcomer can produce VERY nice looking, but structurally NEARLY USELESS welds right from the git-go with a MIG welder.

My $0.20 worth of advice would be to get yourself a decent USED arc welder (or buzz box), a 220volt ~225amp AC stick welder. If you think you're going to stay with stick (I still after 25+ years at it don't have anything but stick at home) then spend the few extra bucks and get a AC/DC machine. They are a dime a dozen and you can't kill them.

Best of luck.

....

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Thinking about a Welder

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2008-01-23          150607


I never had any formal welding training, but learned on my own when I was a kid with a Lincoln 180 amp. It finally played out about ten years ago, so I bought a Lincoln 250 TIG. I just could not get to like the thing, so I sold it and bought back a Lincoln stick 225 amp. I think if I would have started with wire I would have been just as capable with it as a stick, but being I just couldn't get happy with the wire I went back. I don't remember what I paid for he new Lincoln 225, but they aren't real high dollar, I'd buy one of them instead of the 1,900. dollar job. Frank. ....

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Thinking about a Welder

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bialecki
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 60 Southern Connecticut
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2008-01-23          150608


Quote:
Originally Posted by Murf | view 150604
I have a rather unique slant on this subject and get dragged (rather willingly) on a regular basis.For the sake of the newer members, I am a licensed engineer, a certified welder and have in the past owned & operated several fabricating businesses. My current business still fabricates a lot of it's own specialty equipment. Some might say I know what I'm talking about.IMHO, a MIG welder in the hands of an untrained 'student' is usually a recipe for disaster. As Dennis stated "...produce good looking welds (as a beginner weldor a mig would have the quickest and easiest learning curve versus TIG or arc)."That's exactly the problem, a relative newcomer can produce VERY nice looking, but structurally NEARLY USELESS welds right from the git-go with a MIG welder.My $0.20 worth of advice would be to get yourself a decent USED arc welder (or buzz box), a 220volt ~225amp AC stick welder. If you think you're going to stay with stick (I still after 25+ years at it don't have anything but stick at home) then spend the few extra bucks and get a AC/DC machine. They are a dime a dozen and you can't kill them.Best of luck.



Murf I can appreciate your comments with regards to poor welds, i.e., insufficient weld penetration. A few years ago I bought a new 10Hp Troy Built snow-thrower when I was using it in the second year a vane from the impeller broke off at the weld and went flying, just missed my truck, thank goodness no one got hurt. So I disassembled the snow thrower and took into work to get it welded by a friend who is also a certified weldor, He then went on to whack the remaining two vanes to show they too were cold welded and an accident waiting to happen. So he proceeded to properly weld them using the company's TIG machine. So to your point, a understanding of a true weld versus one that just looks good is appreciated.

By-the-way, as an engineer myself (BE ChE and MS ME)who loves "playing in the mud" as a friend once told me, I see too many engineers that are desk jockeys that just don't like to get their hands dirty. I say just do it! ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Thinking about a Welder

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2008-01-23          150609


Franky--git your helmet!

The wire welder thing--I think that was a case of cannot teach an old dawg new tricks.
Who loves ya ....

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Thinking about a Welder

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-01-23          150611


Dennis, I grew up on a farm, I'm the ninth generation to work the same land, getting my hands dirty wasn't an option, and I never thought there was any other way to do it.

In my case the disdain for MIG welders in the hands of rookies is from personal experience. When I had the fabricating shop (making truck bodies & trailers principally) I had a lot of locals coming in looking for a 'good' box trailer, the problem was, they weren't prepared to pay what it was worth to build one because they had been spoiled by the prices of the junk out front of the 'big box' stores and a couple of local shops who turned out junk as a way to keep the guys in the shop busy, and a few who made box trailers in their backyards as a 'paying hobby'.

In one case a older fella came in with a sketch of what he wanted based on picking and choosing from existing models, and his own needs & experience. When I priced it he nearly fell over, despite showing him in black & white where the money was, steel, parts, etc., plus some labour and it adds up!!!

Long story short, his biggest gripe was that I was 'over-building' it. He told me it was for hauling firewood from his summer place behind his 1/2 ton, so I built it to carry the weight he told me it would be carrying. He did not believe my figures of the weight of the wood either, so didn't believe that he needed a tandem axle setup with brakes either. He wanted to be able to haul a full cord of fresh cut Red Oak (he had lots of them) at a time. I calculated that at a little under 5,000 pounds.

Even after pricing out building just a 6' x 12' single axle box trailer he still thought it was too much money. Instead he and his 'friend' were going to build one for each of them themselves after splitting the cost of a welder.

I heard shortly afterwards from another customer who knew him that he had been in an accident because of the trailer, it had broken a lot of the welds from the flexing and one side of the axle shackles let go, this caused the trailer to swing wide into the oncoming lane where it struck a minivan coming the other way, several people were seriously hurt and the van and pickup were both a write-off.

I've heard many such tales of things falling apart, and been asked to repair a LOT of stuff that was welded by a 'friend' of somebody or another. In each case the weld 'looked good' but was structurally almost useless, like your snow-thrower.

Unfortunately, unless you give it the 'swing press' (BFH) stress test you can't tell if it will hold, and even then not how much it will hold.

Best of luck. ....

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Thinking about a Welder

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2008-01-23          150612


EW; You are still alive??? I began to tnink you got caught under a snowdrift and just decided to hibernate there till spring. Don't count us old dogs out yet, we have learned to snooze in the shade while we give you youngins the "ATTA BOY" pat on the back while you operate the wooden handle power shovels in the heat and the mud. It's your turn for that, so come on now earn them stripes. Frank. ....

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Thinking about a Welder

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2008-01-23          150616


Having been qualified in three different methods (not x ray) to test welds and having test many over a few years of mig, innershield and stick; saw a lot of mig as Murf has pointed out and probably others here. Poor penetration and cracks were too common. There were trained welders for a major manufactor. Problem for mig in this part of the county is the summer heat. Any gas sheilding can only handle so much air or breeze before you loose the gas shielding.

My brother recently purchased a rough cut mower and one of the mig welds on it looked great, but was only laying against one of the two pieces that were to be welded. No pentration at all. They are a large farm implement company. To me, as complicated as the mig machines we used were, it would seem a stick welder better suited for the occassional welder. I would buy a AC/DC if I were buying. Gives you the ability to weld some materials ac only does not. kt ....

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Thinking about a Welder

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bialecki
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 60 Southern Connecticut
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2008-01-23          150618


Quote:
Originally Posted by kthompson | view 150616
Having been qualified in three different methods (not x ray) to test welds and having test many over a few years of mig, innershield and stick; saw a lot of mig as Murf has pointed out and probably others here. Poor penetration and cracks were too common. There were trained welders for a major manufacturer. Problem for mig in this part of the county is the summer heat. Any gas shielding can only handle so much air or breeze before you loose the gas shielding. kt


How about the flux core wire for a mig if welding outdoors and the concern for the shielding gas being blown away?

Thanks for your input.

Dennis ....

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1539 Moravia, NY
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2008-01-23          150619


I gotta agree with the arc/stick welding. It gives you much more versitality. 6011 dirty rusty, 6013 pertty, 7018 strenght, different dia rod for different heat ability to hardface. The list could go on.

A good quality AC/DC with arc controls will allow you to also weld sheet metal.

Mig/flux core wire IMHO defeats the purpose of the wire welder. You will have to chip and clean those welds. We have the big LN25's here and the guys that weld like the part about not having to change rods however they still have to stop to keep position then have to chip out slag B4 restriking. So its not really much faster unless you are on a flat straight shot. Indoors it is a great tool with gas as long as you have a big welder with .045 wire. ....

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bialecki
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 60 Southern Connecticut
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2008-01-23          150620


Thanks Harvey, I am taking a look at a used Miller Thunderbolt 225 (AC/DC) model for $295 tonight. Seems like the way to go, especially from a wallet perspective. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-01-23          150621


Quote:
Originally Posted by bialecki | view 150620
Seems like the way to go, especially from a wallet perspective.


$1900 - $300 = $1600 for other toys, errr...... I mean TOOLS.

Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2008-01-23          150622


Quote:
Originally Posted by Murf | view 150621
$1900 - $300 = $1600 for other toys, errr...... I mean TOOLS.Best of luck.


Murf, you mean metal to build with? Great idea! kt
....

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crunch
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 264 Niagara County, NY
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2013-12-04          188406


Just acquired a Lincoln 225 stick welder almost new for $190. Now I guess I need some protective gloves, auto darkening helmet, smock, plug adapter for range receptacle on my northerntool 10Kw generator (12kw surge).

Then I guess I can start to have some fun. I am thinking of some simple jobs on my trailer to start. If that goes OK maybe a snow plow for my 4310. My tractor work income this year has almost all gone to equipment, toys, and repairs :).

....

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Abathar
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 3 Martinsville, Indiana
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2013-12-05          188408


You went with something close to what I have at home, a 25Kv 3 point generator with a Lincoln buzz box I mounted on it. I own a tool and die business so my Miller Dial an Arc TIG welder does most of what I need done if I can get it to work easy, but the easy ones never seem to happen to me.

Being able to take the welder anywhere my tractor can get to is so handy though I recommend it to anyone thinking of a home welder setup. Initial cost is more of course, but being able to run the house in a pinch when you lose power is worth the added peace of mind as well. ....

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