My son is setting up to be a "Have welder, will travel" business. Has his
extra long Dodge diesel and cover, travel trailer, some tools, compressor,
Miller 135 Weldmatic, and a great hand for superb beads. But is lacking a
generator. I've been helping him spec out something, but I'm only an amateur
welder in my own little machine shop. I've more or less zeroed in on the
Honda Super Quiet EU3000/s which claims 25 amps at 125 and the Miller
requires 20 amps, so figuring a bit of loss in the transmission lines, maybe
this would be a good match? But certainly not enough for him to have a
helper grinding away using the same power source.
Anybody with experience you could share on this issue? Or have an extra
generator laying around you'd want to sell or lease? We're in South San
I don't have experience with this particular thing, but here's two
opposing points to ponder:
1. That's not a whole lotta spare amps. If the Honda is an industrial
unit that's planned for overload then sure -- but if it's marketed to
homeowners then maybe not.
2. If he doesn't have a whole bunch of spare cash, buying small now,
then getting another one when he acquires a helper may make more sense
-- it will cost less money now, and he can keep it when he upgrades, so
he'll have a spare.
Been there, done that, got the scars and T shirts to prove it.
Let me share a few things I learned in ten years of starting with a garage
wrought iron shop and ending up a steel erection contractor.
First, I admire and respect your son's ambition. Lots of "kids" his age
won't get off the couch.
Second, he needs to rethink this equipment thing a bit. A 135 wirefeed is
just okay for fixing John Q. Homeowner's gate, but it won't weld anything
heavy. He needs a welder that has enough outlets to run power tools AND the
135. Something in that class will cost around $3500.
Too much, you say? Tools are worth it if they will make you money. A good
portable welder will let you take on all kinds of work. Right now, with the
135, he's limited to gates and lawnmower handles. The heavier stuff is
where you can charge $120 an hour for man and truck, and all they want to
know is when you will be done. You're not doinking around for $25 here and
$50 there. And traveling two hours between jobs.
A good welding machine will last a long time. Buy it on time, or lease one,
and deduct the lease payments. Check with your CPA on the best way to go
for your tax bracket.
If the kid is talented, don't let that talent be limited by improper and
inadequate tools. Sure, it's an outlay, but you're talking about welding,
and welding pays pretty good. Good enough to justify proper tools. Don't
send this horse off to run with one of the reins tied to the post.
Forget the generator. He's going to end up needing a welding machine sooner
or later. Get it now, and he already has the wirefeed to fix garden gates
and lawnmower handles. And when the metal is thicker than 1/8", use a
stick. That 135 is an awesome LITTLE machine that does thin materials as
good as any of the top three brands. The welding machine will have all the
power tool capacity you need, as you can't weld and run a grinder at the
same time. Can when he gets a helper, and the welding machine will handle
Just my opinion. Keep us posted on how it goes.
Sure thing. I would be happy to help. I don't know it all, but I do have
some experiences, both good and bad that might help shorten his learning
A couple of things for him and you to think about right now ..........
Examine strengths and weaknesses. Go for the area he's best at in the
welding field. Take some courses in things he's weak on.
Examine the market for a niche. Call around and don't offer YOUR services,
but ask for what kind of service they NEED and are not presently getting.
Examine the competition. Are there fifteen guys doing the same thing you
want to do?
I hit a soft market niche. No local welding companies wanted to send a guy
or two with a truck to do quickie welding jobs at apartments. Changing
steps. Fixing the pool gate. Putting the dumpster door back on after the
garbage men knocked it off. They didn't want to send two guys and a truck
unless it was for all day. So they charged these people $500 to do it.
When I showed up, and was only charging for a couple of hours, they loved
That evolved into carport repairs, and by the time I sold the company, I had
a solid niche in the Las Vegas market and did work for 275 apartment
projects. Carports and welding.
Work no one else wanted to do.
Most welders do not have particularly good power factors. This makes
matching them up to a small generator a good bit of 'hit and miss'. Add
in the fact that the 120 volt welders tend to want strong 20 amp
cirucits, ie 25 amps would be better. Net: I'd like to see at least a 4
kw generator at minimum, 5 kw as a target. This way, you have some power
for a couple of floodlights as well as enough reserve capacity to run
the welder cleanly.
The Honda generators are really quiet (compared to a 5kw Coleman), and
have a good reputation for reliability.
I'd suggest borrowing/renting a generator, run your welder on it, see if
it seems to perform as well on generator power as line current.
Wayne Lundberg wrote:
I like your idea of renting from a few places to try the different models in
order to get a good feel for their ability to put out the required power. As
a side issue, have been doing some Craiglist searches and found a 7.5KW
Generac unit for a few hundred bucks. Must try it out too!
Generacs are the low end machines. Noisy, they typicaly use the low end
one lungers from B&S or Techumseh. Their better units will come with the
industrial quality engines from BS or Honda.
My suggestion would be to get an inexpensive unit to start. The 7.5 kw
unit would be a great way to get going, plenty of extra power, you can
always sell it later for most of what you have in it.
Wayne Lundberg wrote:
I've done that a few times. In the end, it cost me more total than a new
good one would have cost. One does not have to go out and buy a lot more
than they need, but I like buying quality, and figuring on owning it a long
time. Cheapos and those with weak metallurgy usually end up taking time out
of my productivity. If it's going to be making you money, you don't want it
out sick for the day.
Right. But the OP is planning on doing a "welding business" with a 120
volt welder and trying to skimp with a 3 kw generator. You know and I
know this won't last but why not see if it works on the cheap. If not,
you aren't out much. If it does, I'll guarantee the original set of
tools selected will be a mismatch for whatever niche he winds up in. I
couldn't reccomend a $3000 to $4000 rig (and double that with the
compressor, air tools, etc he will need).
Steve B wrote:
I think that a range of "jobs" that one could do with a wimpy
generator and a small low duty cycle 130A welder is a little bit too
limited -- the OP will be unable to bid on many attractive jobs. I
would also look for something capable of at least 200A at a 50% duty
cycle. Disclaimer, I am not a welding professional, I am a computer
On Tue, 19 Sep 2006 17:43:01 GMT, "Wayne Lundberg"
I've run a similar machine off a Honda EU2000. The generator was at
its limit, and probably restricting the welder's capacity somewhat,
but it was OK. So my guess is that the EU3000 would do fine. But a
career as a welder with a 135A wirefeed? Respectfully, that part needs
I'm a highly paid consultant earning hundreds of dollars an hour for banging
my keychains on polished mahogany tables as millionaire CEOs cringe. But I
don't have a chance with my over 40 son who has his own ideas for making a
Why not get a Bobcat?? Gives 10kw to supply the trailer, will run the socks
of the little Millermatic, and gives a decent stick welder.
The only down side I see is the price but they can be had new for $2800.
I would look for something like the Lincoln Ranger10 It gives you 10kva
which will allow you to power a plasma cutter or air compressor which will
both be needed if he is serious about portable welding, in addition to being
an excellent welding machine.
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.