Miller330A/BP welder critiques Any Experts?

I am looking into buying one of these welders. Anybody out there own one? or maybe you previously owned one. Does this welder actually weigh 830 lbs? I'd appreciate any reviews of
this welder. Has Anybody put one on wheels or casters? comments? pro or con, power of this welder, use of this welder for aluminum welding etc.
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Do not be intimidated by the weight. They really do weigh that much. Just put it on good casters.
i

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Ignoramus29233 wrote:

What Im concerned with is being able to get it on and off the pickup truck and being able to maneuver it around without hiring a crew. Also have you actually used this welder?.. Does it have plenty of power and performance to offset its heavy weight. In other words, If I can find a lighter welder with similar performance, why buy one that weighs 830 lbs.
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wrote:

If it is going to sit in one place, and never move, that would be a good thing. If you own a fork lift, and can move it around, that would be a good thing.
Other than that, a 800#+ machine would be a chore to move around even with good casters. Lots of floors are not level, and some are intentionally sloped for drainage. Is there always going to be four or six guys around to help move this SAFELY. I know fewer guys familiar with such things COULD move it, but, apply Murphy's Law.
I'm a fan of the smaller lighter versions, although if the job calls for the big one, that would be the choice. And if you're into such heavy applications, chances are you have an overhead hoist, a fork lift, or some means of moving it.
Steve
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Engine hoists are usually only $150 at the autoparts store....and can often be borrowed.
Gunner
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OK for DC TIG on steel, or stainless steel, but terrible AC TIG on aluminum. The main problem is the age of the high frequency transformer.
They are OK stick welders, but any Miller Dialarc or Lincoln Idealarc is better at stick welding.
They use a 10 amp screw in (lightbulb base type) fuse that tends to blow. If the fuse blows the foot pedal no longer works. You can replace the fuse with a screw in circuit breaker.
We had 4 of them at South Seattle. I learned to hate them after 9 years.
If you can get it near free, and have no trouble loading such a beast into your shop, then fine grab it, but if there are any options for a newer machine then skip it. They are just getting too old. The insulation on the wires in the transformer coils is getting beyond any life expectancy.
Keep in mind that clean copper scrap is going for over $3/lb. so if you get it cheap you can always scrap it out if it dies. There is about 200 lbs. of copper inside that beast.
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Ernie Leimkuhler wrote:

Ok, thanks for the info you mentioned an Idealarc, I have a shot at an Idealarc TM-300/300 ac/dc stick welder, do you know if it can be used for tig by putting a foot control on it? The owner says it has a mechanical remote amperage control? Ive never heard of this! can this be used for variable reactance control with a potentiometer? Thanks again
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Again too damn old. You can buy a brand new Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC stick welder for around $300. Add a valve body TIG torch, for around $100, and a gas bottle with regulator, for around $150, and you have DC Electrode Negative TIG for steel or stainless steel. You can even do thin aluminum using DC Electrode Positive. All this from a 220 volt machine the size of a microwave oven, that only needs 50 amp circuit of 220 volt single phase.
Those BIG old machines need at least a 80 amp circuit of 220 volt single phase, but for max output they want a 100 amp circuit.
If you want a GREAT little machine buy a Miller Maxstar 150S for around $600. It runs on 110 volt or 220 volt, weighs 12 lbs, is the size of a lunchbox and can run a 1/8" 7018 electrode at 110 amps for a 110 volt AC 20 amp wall outlet. Later you can add the TIG torch to it.
There are reasons why everybody is dumping those old monster welding machines. They are very heavy, huge, and suck lots of power to run. Some do have really nice arcs, but I would take a new inverter over any transformer I have ever run.
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Ernie Leimkuhler wrote:

On the Miller thunderbolt Ac/Dc, If I used it for tig, is there anyway to control the amps via a foot pedal or fingertip control?
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No, but that is not really necessary for good TIG. I do a lot of TIG with no foot pedal.
It makes working on larger pieces easier.
Just learn the rules of amperage.
Here are some quotes from my past answers to question about TIG basics:

A basic selection of TIG Rod should include Steel, Stainless steel, aluminum, and bronze.
Steel ER70S-2 The basic TIG filler for steel. It comes copper plated to prevent rust, but keep it in a tube or bag anyway. Sizes: 0.045", 1/16", 3/32", 1/8"
Stainless steel 308L is the standard filler for 304 SS which is the most common type. 309L is a better filler for joining any kind of stainless to steel. 316L is the best for marine work. Sizes: 0.045", 1/16", 3/32"
Aluminum 4043 is the most common aluminum filler rod. It works well for most situations, but... 5356 is stronger, better corrosion resistance and better color match for polishing or anodizing. 4047 is my favorite for welding castings, but it is kind of hard to find. Sizes: 1/16", 3/32", 1/8"
Bronze Silicon Bronze is excellent for joining other copper alloys such as copper, brass and most bronzes. It can also be used to TIG Braze Weld steel and stainless steel. TIG Braze Welding is very useful for stainless steel since it doesn't actually melt the base metal so there is no chromium oxides formed on the back face of the metal. Sizes Sizes: 0.045", 1/16", 3/32" Sil-Phos Bronze can also work here, but only on copper alloys, never use it on steel.
An advanced selection would include: Some aerospace alloys like Inconel, Hastelloy, or Haynes alloys. They are my favorite alloys for joining odd things and are extremely strong. Pure Nickel is excellent for joining cast iron. Pure Copper is good for TIG welding copper where it will be seen. ER80S-B2 is the current top choice for TIG welding Chrome-Moly tube for planes, cars, motorcycles and bikes.
As to a vendor. The only guys I know that even list TIG rod on the Web are:
http://www.tigdepot.com
Great outfit, they carry all things TIG.
You can also mail order from Central Welding at :
http://www.centralwelding.com
Just call them and they will ship it to you.
Here is an exercise to practice when not welding.
Level 1
Take a 3/8" steel washer. Place it on a piece of white paper. Take a nice sharp pencil. Place the tip of the pencil against the paper inside the washer. Now start swirling the pencil tip around the inside of the washer to draw a circle on the paper. Keep circling the inside of the washer, while nudging the washer across the paper. Try to end up with the washer traveling in a straight line across the paper. You should end up with a long swirl pattern across the page. Keep practicing until the swirl pattern is even and in a straight line.
Level 2
Same setup, with one change. Once again slide the washer across the page while swirling the pencil tip around the inside of the washer, but now DON"T touch the paper with the pencil tip. This means being able to hold the tip of the pencil within a 1/16" of the paper without touching it and without lifting out of the washer.
Level 3
Do Level 2 while standing next to the table without any part of your arm resting on the table.
Level 4
Move to a 1/4" washer.
This exercise comes from a welding textbook from 1929, and it still works quite nicely to train your muscles for floating the torch.
Normally I do not swirl the torch while TIG welding, but this still works as an exercise to build up muscle control.
Here are 2 Quicktime movies I posted a while back
http://metalworking.com/DropBox/_2003_retired_files/TIG_Filler_adding.mov http://metalworking.com/DropBox/_2003_retired_files/TIG_Filler_Feed.mov
Here is all the info on water pumps for building your own water cooler.
For most TIG welding all you need is a pump and a bucket. A water filter isn't a bad idea either. Fittings can be purchased from most welding suppliers from the Western Enterprises catalog. TIG water fittings are 5/8" x 18 Left hand thread.
You need 50 psi water pressure to get the water through the head.
You can buy just the pump and build your own water cooler with a 5 gallon water bucket.
These guys sell the pumps direct
Depco Pump Company 2145 Calumet St Clearwater FL 33765 Phone: 727.446.1656 800.446.1656 Fax: 727.446.7867
Business Hours: -Monday thru Friday 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM ---Eastern Time
Tell them you are interested in the constant pressure gear pumps used for welding water coolers.
They have an Italian brand that works very well called Fluido-tec.
Procon replacement (Used in most Miller water coolers) Fluido-tec PA301X-100PSI $86.36
Oberdorfer (used in most Bernard water coolers) 1000R-39 $139
These pumps require a 1/3 HP 1750 RPM motor
Another source is Grainger
Product Category: Pumps & Plumbing > Pumps > Gear Pumps Description: Bronze Carbonator-Mount Rotary Gear Pump Head without Adjustable Relief Valve, 1/4 inch connectors
Your Price: $108.25 Grainger Item#: 2P381 Manufacturer: TEEL Mfg. Model#: CBN2 Catalog Page: 3270
www.Grainger.com
The pump model used by Tweco is: Procon #101C100F11B060 100 Gal per Hour @ 60 PSI
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Nope. Got one, the only only way is to turn the crank on top. It'd be real bare bones TIG. If you want to do scratch-start DC only TIG, I'd look at the little inverter TIG welder from HF. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber811
I've now talked to 3 guys who own those who love 'em.
GWE
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wrote:

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Owned a 320 (220?) back in the early 80s and used a 330 at work. In their day they were great machines! (Might want to pay close attention to what Ernie is saying about them now though...)
Seem to recall that mine was in the 700+ pound range. Perhaps not a wise thing to do, but I was able to unload the beast at my parents house by my self:-O Drilled a smallish hole in the ceiling of the carport and hung a come-along from a piece of pipe spanning 4 or 5 joists. Just *barely* had enough room to drive out from under it.
The one at work was on wheels, also had a coolant tank on the same cart which might explain the extra weight. It was also a beast to move unless the tires were fully inflated.
--
William

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