I'm looking at a Lincoln "Idealarc 300/300 TIG welder. I don't have the code number available. But based on the Lincoln site, it appears that most - or even all - of this range of welders is "obsolete".
Provide I pay an "obsolete" price does this matter?
I don't really need the thing but I might be able to buy it "cheap".
What are your collective opinions on what "cheap" is?
Cheap to me means low cost and low quality OR low cost, decent to high quality, and the kind of thing that if it takes s shit you just shoot it or use it as a boat anchor, and not feel like you've spent a lot. Sometimes those oldies have a lot of work left in them, and can be fixed if they have minor problems. Not so trying to get parts for an old Sukiyakidomo welding machine.
Cheap also means one that you've bought and fixed up for a small amount of money and you're afraid will outlive you.
Others will have to give you opinions on worth and caveats about that particular machine.
I bought my 200 amp CyberTIG for $10, that's cheap. But even $100 is cheap. I would not hesitate to own stuff like that, it is like "old iron", made very well, with margin of safety and easy to understand. If/when a circuit board dies on it, it may have to go to the trash pile, however that is unlikely to happen.
The plus side is a big machine with lots of power for cheap. The down side... Large amperage draw, around 120 amps on 220 v Single phase. Immense weight, 600 - 900 lbs. Poor high frequency output due to old power caps and dirty spark gap. Poor AC performance on aluminum due to lack of Square Wave output. Old dried out wire insulation on the transformer wires.
I was standing right next to a Lincoln Idealarc 300/300 of late '70's vintage (grey domed top) when it blew it's reactance coil. Went off like a 12 gauge shotgun, the machine jumped an inch in the air, I jumped about 6 inches. Sprayed copper all over the inside of the machine.
These machines are reaching an age point where basic components are failing simply due to old wiring.
Avoid any machine with Selenium rectifiers. They look like a stack of square plates stung onto a threaded rod with spacers between the plates. If one of those blows it emits a HUGE cloud of Hydrogen Disulphide gas (rotten eggs).
They are getting harder to find parts for. If I were you I would go for a Miller Syncrowave, any Syncrowave from the 80's on.
Price should be determined by the value of copper minus the cost of labour to tear the thing apart to sell the copper core. We tore apart several older machines and scrapped them. When you consider the labour I don't think the company recovered anything other than floor space. Randy