engine driven welders

Hi,
I'm a software engineer that was retired by globalization, and I'm
looking for reviews and recommendations for a good home/semi-pro welder.
I live off the grid. I have done welding at the local high school for
the past few years but now I want to do it at home.
I want to be able to weld trailers and other misc things commonly found
in a good home shop.
What are folks experience with engine drdiven welders?
Al
Reply to
Alpine Kid
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Just a random thought, but one advantage of a engine driven welder is that they sometimes double as quite decent electric generators, or possibly culd charge a battery bank.
I will refrain from other comments.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus29226
My two cents are:
first penny - it depends on what you want to weld. Running 1/8 rod will take more machine than 3/32 rod. Are you going to weld all day, or just intermittently.
second penny - lots of good used machines out there for good prices.
third penny at no charge - buy more than you need, and it won't have to run as hard, and your duty cycle goes up.
Steve
Reply to
Steve B
They are expensive as heck if bought new. Can be not-so-bad secondhand. Be sure that a secondhand unit works in every mode and over the course of a good long test, as the electronics for repairing them (on a fancy electronic one) can be effectively too expensive for repair to be economically sensible.
Being off-grid, you might want to think long and hard about holding out for a water-cooled diesel machine. You might want to think that way anyway (they last longer, etc), but if considering a welder/generator as an off-grid backup power source, a low-speed (1800 rpm) diesel unit beats gasoline, air-cooled, and 3600 rpm all to pieces. Those are scarcer and generally more expensive, of course, but will cost less to run.
WRT duty cycle, check the manuals (often available on-line if the owner has lost it for a used one) but the few engine-driven units I have used are all 100% duty cycle at full welding amps. Check that your cables are up to spec before pretending that's true - many people put smaller/lighter/cheaper cables on, but then, it's not often that you really run 250 (or 300, 350, 400) amps (at all) much less at anything approaching 100 % duty cycle.
Similar looking units can be _very_ different. Some EDWs are very, very plain Jane, some have different electronics and can jump though hoops - ie, flip a switch to change from constant current to constant voltage, plug in a MIG unit, plug in a TIG unit, etc. One downside is potential repair cost of the fancy electronics - another is that the MIG unit or TIG unit that works with a particular EDW probably costs more than a MIG or TIG that plugs into the wall...so, you might want to carefully compare the price and abilities of a generator and a welder, or several welders, or a do it all inverter welder, with the price and abilities of a welder-generator. You'll likely lose some duty cycle, but you might be able to pick up the separate parts without having a crane (which you need to pick up the typical 600-1000 lb welder generator, or else you need the trailer package so you can tow it around).
Reply to
Ecnerwal
ive always been served very well by miller, and will buy nothing else. for your uses, the 145/185 dx would probably fit you just fine.
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Reply to
Nathan W. Collier
New ones get pretty pricey pretty quick. You can get one in the less than $1000 catagory:
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simple AC welder plus 5 kw 120/240
the less than $2000 catagory gets you DC and Tig
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And the full featured for $3000+
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Used equipment is IMHO pretty dicey. Most motor driven welders are field used by professionals. When they are done with them the description "rode hard, put away wet" is quite apt. Look for a tired engine or fairly major electronic issues. One that still has good life left tends to go for pretty close to new price. Look hard, look carefully, be ready to jump on something if it presents itself. Looking around for a year would not be surprising. Beware of Onan engines; they are great engines when they run and horribly expensive to repair when they break.
You can sometimes find a real olde, one recent NG poster had a 1936 Lincoln with a 4 cyl Continental engine that was still going strong.
Since you are off grid, another option would be to get a decent standard 120/240 genset. The units in the 10kw to 15kw are usually used for standby service only. You might find one with 100 hours in 15 years for a reasonable price. 15 kw will run any of the 200 amp class Stick, TIG or MIG welders with no issues. Total price might be less than a single unit.
Really big ones aren't much more than smaller ones:
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Alp> Hi,
Reply to
RoyJ
This is very true. I once needed a fuel shutoff solenoid for an Onan diesel engine (Onan DJE), and Onan wanted $380 for it! I had to buy some other solenoid (FW Murphy) and custom make a bracket to fit it.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus29226
A fellah I know wants to trade me a Hobart Bro. engine driven welder that came off a Liberty Ship..for very very little Stuff on my part. Its supposed to run pretty good. Equivelant to a SA 200 or similar..or so he claims.
Wheels have spokes.....chuckle
Gunner
"I think this is because of your belief in biological Marxism. As a genetic communist you feel that noticing behavioural patterns relating to race would cause a conflict with your belief in biological Marxism." Big Pete, famous Usenet Racist
Reply to
Gunner
I wanted portability as well as avoiding the expense of adding a house circuit for a welder, so I went with a Bobcat 225G new over 10 years ago. I have been very happy with it. Here are some thoughts:
A Bobcat weighs 500+ pounds; the 145/185 DX weighs 250-300 pounds. Either one will need at least a wheel kit, a trailer or pickup truck for portability. I already owned the truck and found a used wheel kit that I could adapt. You will want a certain amount of mobility.
My dealer told me that the Bobcat is a midsize unit with a typical life of about 3000 hours run time. At the end of service life, the whole unit is replaced. An engine replacement is nearly as expensive as new.
I have the Onan engine which was the only option at purchase. The Kohler (available later) is quieter and more fuel efficient.
Reply to
Thomas Kendrick
Make sure it has electric and rope start capabilities. I've had both (individually) and sooner or later, both types will get you in a bind. Andy Asberry recommends NewsGuy but deplores the crappy spam line they tag on.
Reply to
Andy Asberry
I've been off-grid for ten years. All-electric home in NW AZ running off a pair of SW4024 inverters, which have proven suitable for powering a Lincoln SW 175 stick/TIG, Lincoln Power MIG 255, and a Hypertherm Powermax 600. The stick and plasma can't be run at full capacity from the inverters alone but that hasn't been much of a limitation for my use. Backup generator is a home built unit, 14hp single belt-driving a Delco 17SI at reduced rpm, output 2kW at 24V.
Until recently I used a Hobart 8kW 16hp welder-generator for heavy welding, portable welding (never far from the shop door though), and for occasional house-power backup. But it was heavy, loud, not very efficient with fuel, and I don't do much stick anyway. So I sold it and the stick-TIG and bought a Thermal Arc Pro Wave 185 which runs nicely at full output off the inverters. My plan is to get a 6kW generator to have a more efficient and portable combination. I tried the new machine yesterday on a badly-tuned Yamaha 6kW at 5000' elevation. It could handle 5/32 rod at 110A. I didn't have time to diddle, it's possible the current could be turned up if the hot-start settings are changed and if the generator had a clean air filter.
As you may have gathered from those comments, for my use I prefer *not* to run a generator unless I really have to, and then the smallest one possible for the shortest time. I'll be giving up some capacity with the new setup but the combination of a 200 lb generator and a 42 lb stick-TIG looks promising. My plan is to build a cart for the generator that carries it at truck-floor height. Generator will be cantilevered such that it can be rolled right into the truck, then the cart detached to straddle the generator for transport. The welder can be carried loose. Photos of its shop cart (1/4" U-bolt tank-restraints added since).
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Wayne
Reply to
wmbjk
Kinda an apple to an orange but, I had a 5kw Kohler genset in a motor home. At about 2000 hrs I decided to decarbon the heads. When I pulled them there was not enough carbon to remove and in the cylinders some of the original honing was visible. Needless to say there was no ridge. I was impressed. The engine used no oil and was very quiet. The kicker is it was an 1800 RPM unit. If I could find a welder/gen that ran at 1800 with a Kohler engine!!!! Seems like all the welders run at 3600.
Just FWIW, I would buy another Kohler engine anytime.
Reply to
Clif Holland
We may be sort of close. I'm NE of Flagstaff.
This is good news. I had assumed that the high current spikes from a welder and an invertor would not work well together.
Thanks for the great pics. I'm still building my house and its the dream of working in myu planned shop that keeps me going.
Al
Reply to
Alpine Kid
Thanks for all the advise. I think that I'm narrowing in on a purchase. He is where I"m at in my thnking. kolher engine are perfered new unit or one lightly used in a home enviroment like what mine will be when I sell it:-), it should last a life time for my use miller is the quality line from Illinois Tool Works, hobart is the cheap "homedepo" line I want either a miller bobcat 225 or miller 185dx
?question I still have.
What about repairs. what parts would be available the longest and at what cost.
what about lincolns?
I also wonder is I really want an electronicily complicated all in one unit or should I lood at the system where you get a power unit and seperate tig or mig "front ends". I have heard that ready-welders are good. I really want tig and mig. Once I learned to tig and mig I just cannt go back to all the sparks and smoke of stick:-)
Reply to
Alpine Kid
Work fine. Lincoln/Miller is like ford/chevy with some people - and also like ford/chevy with other people (ie, those that think they are utterly different, and those that think they are basically similar except for paint color). I admit to being one of the latter; I'll note that gas caps from an '87 chevy fit a '95 ford, exactly...
Then I think you want to think _really_ hard about just a Generator (unit) and a Welder (unit) as opposed to Generator/Welder. Really, really, hard. If you get a TIG unit, it will stick if you ever want to. You can use the Readywelder as they first intended, with a CV supply consisting of 3-4 golf-cart batteries, or buy a power supply for it, unless you get a multiprocess CC/CV TIG unit. It's clear from their literature that using it off of a CC supply is going to be less desirable than feeding it CV, if you have the option.
The problem with a "welder and matching TIG (&/or MIG) unit" is that the TIG unit only matches one, or perhaps a few, welder units. As an oddball, it's hardly ever available used. It costs too much new, and if the welder goes teats up, so does the TIG unit (or you have to find the lone guy that wants to buy one, or someone getting rid of another welder to match it). A TIG (or MIG) unit that plugs into the wall is much easier to find, cheaper, and works without caring where the power input comes from.
If you have money to burn, you can certainly get welder/generator & mig-tig units that all play together, but it's burning money unless you have a real need for all of that at high use rates. When a W/G says it is MIG/TIG capable, they are generally glossing over the fact that you still need additional units to plug into the W/G to make that happen. Shop around and compare the total package price for yourself, seeing what you can get - you might stumble on an abnormal deal, so be open to either direction.
Reply to
Ecnerwal
Lincoln and Miller are Ford and Chevy. Love'em, hate 'em or don't care.
I'd look at stand alone generator and your choice of mig and tig welders.
Ecnerwal wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
One that I haven't seen mentioned is the Miller Legend. It's the same or higher welding current as the Bobcat. Lower generator capacity. However it generates at 1800 rpm and welds at 3000 rpm. Much less noise and longer engine life compared to a Bobcat. Main drawback is original purchase cost (the only reason I don't have one on the back of my truck).
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Reply to
Wayne Cook

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