For years I have used a very basic SIP Merlin AC Arc welder (mostly
repair work, sticking the mower deck back together, and the occasional
bit of crude fabrication). Its a transformer based lump, pretty crude
with a ridiculously poor duty cycle (weld for 7 mins, let it cool down
for half an hour - improved to weld for 7 mins let it cool for 15
with the addition of a couple of large fans internally). However I put
up with it on the grounds that I don't need to weld things that often.
 In fact never mind welding, just turn it on a wait for ten mins and
it will overheat and cut out all by itself.
However the thought also occurred to me that one of the reasons I don't
need to weld that often is because its such a PITA to use, one tends to
find alternative ways of doing it! That and it might be quite nice to be
able to do some proper fabrication work from time to time.
So earlier in the year when an excuse was presented and I finally got
round to upgrading to a decent inverter based MIG setup, which has been
really nice. At the time I bought it I also got an electrode holder so
that I could also stick weld with it if I wanted - but had never got
around to trying it out until today.
 Daughter needed to do some welding for a college project, but could
not go in due to lockdown.
I wanted to weld up some bits of rebar outside, and the wind was quite
strong. So, ideal time to try it in MMA mode... and wow what a
difference! You can strike an arc with ease, it runs quiet and smooth
with a really nice stable DC arc, and makes it almost easy to get pretty
decent results with relatively little skill or practice. No buzzing,
spluttering, or sticking either.
So moral of the story, I wish I had gone for something like it years
ago, and I now have a new found respect for IGBT inverter arc welders -
they make the whole process quite civilised!
(anyone got a use for a 150A Merlin?)
- posted 5 months ago