I am looking at buying a welder and would appreciate some advice on
which type to get.
My budget is limited to around the £50 mark, and it will be used for
mostly artistic work & small repairs, nothing requiring any perfect seams.
I used to weld years ago with an Oxy and Mig, although I found the
plasma cutter to be the most fun, this was at the Edinburgh Sculpture
Workshops so I had access to all of their equipment.
I have seen an 185 Amp Oxford Arc Welder locally. Would this suit my needs?
Thank you for your help.
On Sun, 03 Apr 2005 23:33:48 +0100, Heds
That's just not enough. You need the angle grinder, the box of disks,
the automatic hat, the gas bottle hire/disposable and all the rest of
it. You _can_ get a S/H MIG for 50 quid, but they're less than
wonderful. IMHO a decent MIG is 250 and a real one is 500.
On a budget limited to £50, I'd get a S/H natural draught gas torch
from eBay, some tinsnips, hammers and mallets, a half-empty propane
cylinder (2,50 from the council dump) and an immersion heater (tenner)
from the same place. Then take up coppersmithing, which is just as
much fun as welding steel and a lot less demanding on tooling.
MIG rather than stick. Stick is certainly cheaper to pick a machine
up for, but it's just not a practical tool to use for almost anything.
Yes, well it would be 8-)
So go back there, or local equivalent. Whereabouts are you ?
It would eat up your budget and leave you with something that's
useless on anything less than 1/8" plate and only really useful for
over 1/4". Neither sort of metal being the sort of stuff you can cut
witht the tools budget you'd have left over.
Agreed - even many MIGs around 250 ish are pretty poor, and you have to pay
500 ish to get a good, reliable machine with decent power, a wire feed which
works all the time and a "EuroTorch" connector to allow easy replacement of
the torch when you break the one which comes with it.
I battled with a cheap machine for years and hired a pro machine for bigger
work. Eventually I gave up with this arrangement and bought a decent pro
machine and have never looked back.
Also factor in hire of "Argonshield" from BOC - the disposable cylinders are
a waste of time as expensive and only hold a tiny amount of gas.
Thanks for all your advice.
So I should look for a MIG rather than an ARC. Next question is: Gas or
Gas less? I don't really fancy the trouble of bottles and the associated
space they would take up so I think gas less would be best.
I already have an angle grinder, disks, snips etc so that is not part of
my budget. I only need the welder, flip down mask and gloves.
Re going back to the workshops, I live in Surrey now and have not found
anything similar. Also I don't have the time to make full use of the
membership so it would be a bit of a waste.
Get a gas MIG, look at the prices of normal vs flux core wire and bear
in mind you'll need more of the flux cored stuff:
The budget gas MIGs are set up to take small disposable cylinders, but
can use full size ones with the right adapter. I would have thought a
gas MIG can use flux cored wire too with no problems.
Would be well worth getting some scrap or spare metal to practice
with, and some course notes or a decent book on welding.
BTW How thick is the metal you're welding?
In that case an arc welder should do, especially for overlapping 'lap'
joints. Maybe worth hiring or borrowing one first and practising on
some scrap to see how it goes.
Well worth reading up on how to weld, if welding galvanised or rusty
steel it needs to be ground back to clean steel first. Also keep the
welding rods dry, dry them out in an oven if necessary.
A local welding supplier should be a cheaper place to buy rods than
somewhere like Halfords or a tool hire place, plus be a good source of
Youve only got 50 notes, and you wont get anything but arc for that.
Arc is cheap to buy and dead cheap on electrodes (from 25p). The
downsides are 2:
the weld is a mess and needs a cleanup
it takes a bit of practice to get the stick waggling right. Expect
problems for the first 1/2 to 1 hour with arcs going out, and workpiece
not heated enough.
Gasless wire is very nice to use, but you wont get anything for £50,
and the wire is expensive too. £9 a reel isnt huge but it adds up with
reel after reel, theres not much on one reel.
easy, 5 minutes practice is enough
welds are clean, no need to bash the crap off them afterwards.
Since youve got 50, its arc. Dont touch the 185A one, it'll vapourise
anything you work on instantly.
The one issue I always notice with budget welders is current control
that doesnt go low enough. You need one that goes down to 15A at the
most, I dont think Ive ever needed to use as much as 40A. The brochures
promote huge currents, but thats just not whats needed, especially for
lightweight work. You could probably build a house structure with 40A.
I bought a dual gas/gasless MIG a while ago, having had a
conventional gas MIG before. I still haven't tried it with gas
because gasless has been good enough for the stuff that I do, and
less hassle. Some stuff will still need gas, so keep your options
open - it probably only makes a small difference to the price.
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