Need recommendation on generator

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 Diego.
Wayne
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Wayne Lundberg wrote:

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.
--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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his
compressor,
a
amateur
maybe
Good points! Thanks.
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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 that, too.
Just my opinion. Keep us posted on how it goes.
Steve
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Thanks Steve, have forwarded your note to my son. Let me know by responding to my unfiltered address if you would like to share your experience directly one to one as time allows...
Wayne
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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 curve.
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 me.
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.
Steve
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services,
guy
had
Thanks Steve. Once again, forwarded to Lyle.
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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:

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his
compressor,
a
amateur
maybe
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!
Wayne
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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:

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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.
Steve
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Steve B wrote:

If I'm going to be using something all the time I get top-of-the-line. If I'm going to be using it occasionally, I get budget.
This is why I have an Agilent oscilloscope and a Smithy lathe.
--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Yep. I got quite a few Harbor Freight tools that are not used a lot.
Steve
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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:

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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 programmer.
i

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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 a rethink.
Wayne
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wrote:

compressor,
amateur
maybe
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 future. Sigh.
Wayne
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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.
--

Clif Holland KA5IPF
www.avvid.com
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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.

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his
compressor,
a
What you say is an eye opener. The power should be enough for more than just the welder. Your note has been forwarded to my son.
Wayne
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