Hi. Im still searching for that elusive under $100, 180+ Amp AC 220v stick welder, and came across an 1980's vintage Craftsman 35-230 A AC machine for $85. Havent bought it yet. Was wondering if any one can tell me who manufactured these for Craftsman, or offer an opinion on the welder itself.
Thanks for any info. Art
When replying via email, please remove all caps from my return address.
Take the model number off of it and check with your friendly local Sears repair center. There's a fair chance they still have parts for it. OTOH, buzz boxes usually work fine until they smoke, then they're beyond hope. Other parts, cables, ground clamps, stinger, etc. are pretty generic and you can pick up anything you need at any welding supply. But, as long as they are kept in a reasonably clean, dry place, they're damned near immortal...
Most or all of the few Craftsman welders that I've seen were made by Century. I've only actually used one. It belonged to a friend and he asked me to weld something for him and drug this thing out. I kept having problems and looked up and realized that the current setting had changed so I reset it where I needed it and it changed again.
It had a lever sticking out of a slot in the front that you move up or down to set the current and there was a hand lever on it like a brake lever on a bike that you squeeze to release it for adjustment. Every time I started welding it would let the lever slip down. I finally got the job done by having the friend hold the lever in position.
It can probably be fixed with an adjustment but I'd be sure before I bought one like it. Aside from that it worked well enough.
Best Regards, Keith Marshall email@example.com
I had a "continuously variable" sears buzzbox, w/ a cupla other bells/whistles, I think ""rated"" at 295 A. Thought I was movin up from my plain-jane Lincoln tombstone. Someone eventually stole the sears, and I'm glad they did. It was miserable, like virtually everything sears makes, except for some hand tools.
Their DieHard battery sucks beyond belief as well, not bothering to get weak (so's you can have a clue), but instead dying precipitously. And then they have the nerve to prorate the warranty...
I think mebbe the Sears peeple don't like electricity, or sump.
Well, I had on OLD craftsman 230 (or possibly 280) and it worked just fine. A lot bigger than my Emmerson, which was older and is still in use (my brother has it at his shop) The Craftsman had a crank to move the core to adjust the current, and the Emmerson has a bank of "jacks"
- you have 3 positions for the ground cable and six? for the stinger.
I think it was during the 80s that Lincoln made some machines for Sears. IIRC they were very similar in internal design to the Lincoln AC-225 (Tombstone), and they had the same type of tap switch on them.
being a hobbyist on a budget and having been given a demo where a piece of plate was "stuck" to another at right angles with a mig, then snapped apart when I was supposed to be looking somewhere else. ( Obviously no penetration.) I went with the current model Sears AC/DC box. It is a Century I believe and has that slider adjustment. I will watch for it to loosen up thanks to Keith. All in all the trailer I built and few other projects have been fine. There are better machines but for my humble needs I could not justify the higher priced wire machines especially after reading what seemed like millions of posts about gas mixes and feed problems etc. I am a simple kinda guy and the stick seems to have stuck everything together for me so far.
It does seem that mig/tig can become ends unto themselves at times--lotta stuff, fidgeting.... But ito of "good welds", mig is actually pretty hellified--excellent penetration, control, from what I have seen--I myself have just squeezed the trigger for a while, but I've seen that skinny little wire do really thick mat'l, nicely.
But, as I posted elsewhere, I do feel like a stick-welding dinosaur, what w/ teenage girls on these un-reality TV shows migging and plasma-ing away.
However, there is ultimately not that much loss in versatility w/ plain old stick: You can get rod, admittedly pricey, that will minimize spatter, look really nice, mig-like. Helps to have DC, tho--and good technique. Also, there is hellified rod for stick welding aluminum--no preparation, no cleaning, no nuthin, just BANG, good effing alum welds--on thick aluminum, too! Not pretty, but good. DCreverse, IIRC.
Can we say that real men use stick and O/A?? :) Or just broke men?? :(
I have the same Century, same clamping problem. Other than that, it works rather well on ac or dc. Its one of my spares that I scrounged. I need to either sell it to someone local or fix it and put it on ebay or something.
Rule #35 "That which does not kill you, has made a huge tactical error"